Taking the bus from Nice to Villefranche-sur-Mer is the cheapest way to get there (besides hiking if you’re up for that!) but if you just use Google Maps, you won’t be able to figure out how to get there. By using the Lignes d’Azur app, you can see the real bus schedules and plan ahead for your bus trip from Nice to Villefranche-sur-Mer!
How to Take a Bus from Nice to Villefranche-sur-mer
Step One: Download the Lignes d’Azur App
It’s difficult to find the routes from Nice to Villefranche-sur-Mer by using Google Maps, so the first thing you need to do is download the Lignes d’Azur app instead.
This app is a lot more accurate and has buses and timetables that aren’t shown in Google Maps.
Step Two: Don’t Use Current Location, Only Type in Bus Stop Names
After you download the Lignes d’Azur app, you shouldn’t use the “Current location” to find the bus stop closest to you.
Instead, you can use the map in the app to look for the bus stops that are closest to you as well as the bus stop closest to where you want to go.
Then you can type in those bus stop names into the search bar. The names with a circle next to them represent bus stops.
So below, you’d want to click on the fourth option:
You should type those bus stop names directly into the “Start Location” and “Destination” search bars. For some reason, this shows more accurate bus schedules.
For your trip to Nice, it’s important to know how to use the Lignes d’Azur app, and will definitely save you the headache and pain of spending more money than you need to in order to get around!
Step Three: The Best Option is Bus #15
The bus that goes directly from Nice to Villefranche-sur-Mer is Bus #15.
This route starts around 6:30 am and has about 20 stops on the way. Below I’ll write out the bus stops in Nice so that you can use the Lignes d’Azur app to see which stop is closest to where you are staying.
The bus stops in Nice for Bus 15:
- Promenade des Arts
- Barla / Arson
- Port Lympia / Arson
- Gustavin / Carnot
- Parc Louisa
- Le President
- Les Cretes / Carnot
- Chateau de l’Anglais
If you aren’t near any of those stops, you can find the bus stop nearest to your hotel or accommodation and then type in one of these stops until you find a bus that will take you there. (I’ll go over the rules for public transport in Nice in the next section).
Unfortunately, the bus doesn’t drop you off directly in Villefranche, but you have an amazing view of the town below and the beach while you walk down the steps from the highway.
I’ll go over the differences between the three bus stops so you can choose which one is best for you.
The bus stops that stop in Villefranche-sur-Mer:
- Leopold II
- Madone Noire
- Ange Gardien
These stops are in order by how far you would have to walk to get to Villefranche-sur-Mer. Why in the world would I mention ones that make you walk further?!
Because there are insane views of the town and the beach below, so the further you have to walk, the better the view!
If you want to go to Villefranche-sur-Mer beach, you should get off at Leopold II, Madone Noire, Schifanoia, or Ange Gardien.
So Leopold II would be a 17-minute walk to the beach of Villefranche-sur-mer (the Plage des Marinieres). Madone Noire would be 13 minutes, Schifanoia would be 9 minutes and Ange Gardien would be about 8 minutes.
If walking is an issue, you may want to consider taking the train or getting off at Ange Gardien. You will also have to walk the length of the beach to get to the center of Villefranche-sur-Mer and you’ll have to walk back up to the bus stop when you want to go back to Nice.
If you want to get to Villefranche-sur-Mer town, you should get off at Octroi. It’s about a 6-minute walk from there to the center of the town.
Don’t forget to put the reverse itinerary into the Lignes d’Azur app to find out the last bus time back to Nice so that you don’t get stuck! Right now, the app is showing that the last bus goes back to Nice around 10:30 pm, but always double-check.
Just click on the “Select Date and Time” and keep pushing the time back. It won’t show all of the buses on the schedule for that day, only the three or four closest to the time that you have put into the app.
I also never recommend taking the last bus since you always want a bit of a buffer in case you miss the bus or the schedule isn’t exactly right (buses are late and early all the time!).
Step Four: Buy a Plastic Public Transport Card & Load It
Now that you know which bus stop you need to get to and which stop you want to get off at in Villefranche-sur-Mer, you will need to buy a Lignes d’Azur bus ticket or pass.
Once you arrive in Nice, you’ll need to buy a plastic card at one of the ticket machines that are located at most tram stops that will keep your bus and tram tickets on it. There are ticket machines at both of the Airport terminals right next to the tram itself.
You can buy the cards at kiosks like the one below. Not all bus and tram stops have them though, this one at Place Garibaldi has one. You can use your credit card to buy them as well.
Although you can refill this card using the Lignes d’Azur Tickets app, you have to obtain the plastic card first before you can refill it using the app.
You only need to buy one card if you’re traveling in a group, and you can scan that card multiple times to count for everyone in your group.
For example, my husband and I share a card, and when I get on the tram or bus I will scan my card twice.
You can use the Ligne d’Azur Mobile app or Google Maps to find the best route from where you’re staying in Nice.
Each time you use the card you can take as many buses or subways as it takes to get to your destination as long as it is within 74 minutes. However, no roundtrips are allowed.
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Dayna Brockbank is a travel and language-learning blogger who has lived around the world but has now settled in Nice, France. She speaks 3 languages at varying levels of fluency: Spanish, Italian, and French, and graduated with a Bachelor’s in Spanish Education. She and her husband focus on making travel part of life by living cheaply and traveling on a budget.