When you think of Nice, France do you think of charming hilltop villages? I sure didn’t! Nice has some of the most amazing medieval villages and hilltop villages in all of France and they are all just a day trip away. Here are 8 of the most beautiful villages near Nice, France.
Depending on how long you will be on the Cote d’Azur, I would choose 2-3 of these “villages perchés” and add them to your itinerary.
If you are short on time, this is the best tour from Nice that will take you to a handful of hilltop villages in the area!
The hilltop village of Peillon will literally take your breath away and is one of the most picturesque villages on this list. This village has stunning views from any angle and is included on basically every list of gorgeous villages in Provence.
However, what a lot of people don’t find are all the different viewpoints there are!
Peille is absolutely enchanting and is almost completely devoid of tourists. It is also a great starting place to hike the nearby Cime de Baudon! One of my favorites on the list, I really couldn’t believe that a village this beautiful wasn’t in Tuscany, but just an hour and a half from Nice.
This town has a lot to offer, including incredible viewpoints, gothic fountains, war monuments, chapels, small local restaurants, and quite a few nearby hikes!
3. La Turbie
Looking for a hilltop village with some Roman ruins thrown in there? La Turbie is one of the coolest villages on this list JUST for the history alone, let alone how beautiful it is.
Did you know that La Turbie was mentioned by Dante in the second part of his Divine Comedy?
If you plan to move to France or just want to understand the French better, definitely read this book or this book before your trip! Trust me, it will make your transition and understanding of French culture so much better.
With history, the best views of Monaco you’ll ever see, and a sea view that reaches all the way from Italy to Nice, La Turbie may just become your new favorite place.
If you’d like to get to La Turbie on a tour instead, check out this one that takes you to Eze, Monaco, and La Turbie which includes a ride around the Monaco Grand Prix Track!
Another incredible town I didn’t include on this list because it’s not within a day trip of Nice, but that you definitely should add to your bucket list is Saint-Cirq-Lapopie.
Eze is on everyone’s French Riviera itinerary and for good reason. It is much more easily accessible than some of these other villages on the list and has some of the most incredible medieval streets that you can find.
It also has panoramic views of the Côte d’Azur and the Mediterranean Sea below from the top of its botanical garden.
You can also spot the Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat peninsula, which is home to the most expensive house in the world as well as the most expensive real estate in the world (worth more than 200,000 euros per square meter!)
However, because Eze Village is so famous, it can be hard to feel the quiet, local feeling that a lot of the other villages have. I definitely still recommend visiting, but early in the morning and not on a weekend.
Also, if you want a place to stay in Eze you can go to this blog post.
Also, make sure you also visit one of the lesser-known villages on this list so you can get the feel of a less-touristy Provencal village.
This village is known as the highest coastal village in all of Europe. It is 780 meters above sea level! At the top, you can find the ruins of a castle that overlooks the coast of Menton (which is an adorable town right on the Italian border).
Don’t be surprised if you hear a bit more Italian than French in this town as well, as this town used to belong to Italy and many of the locals still speak Italian.
Sainte-Agnes, Gorbio, and Roquebrune-Cap-Martin are all quite close to each other and can be done together in one day. You can also hike to Sainte-Agnes from Peille through Cime de Baudon if you are looking for a great day hike.
Just a short distance away from Sainte-Agnes you can find yet another adorable village. Just like Sainte-Agnes, it used to be an Italian town until it finally became French in 1860.
There is also a small free museum in this town and a campsite as well if you’d like to try camping here! (Here are a few tips you should know before you go camping!)
A literal castle-on-a-hill, this village is much more popular than others on the list because it is more easily accessible by train and a short (very uphill) walk.
In fact, after visiting here, you can head straight down to the beach right below the Roquebrune-Cap-Martin train station at the Pointe de Cabbe.
Since this town is quite a bit more touristy (but still so beautiful and worth visiting) there are a lot more dining options and we saw quite a few families out having dinner in the main square underneath the castle.
You can even fly over Roquebrune-Cap-Martin in a helicopter from Monaco if you’re feeling super adventurous!
The closest hilltop village to Nice is Aspremont. It is known for its houses and buildings being built in concentric circles which makes it look incredibly beautiful from afar.
I put this one last because it’s not quite as beautiful as the other villages and has a few phone lines that distract from the town.
However, this town is VERY easy to get to from Nice by public transport and even though it’s a bit more modern than the others, I still think it was worth a visit.
More Hilltop Villages A Bit Further Away
Here are a few more hilltop villages in the area that you may want to add to your bucket list as well. As soon as I visit them myself, I’ll add them to this list with pictures.
- Saint Paul de Vence (the most famous village near Nice besides Eze)
- Haut de Cagnes