Getting To and From Nice Airport

Nice Airport as seen from the airEverything you need to know about Nice airport transportation, from the new tramway line,  taxis vs Ubers, my favorite private car service, local buses, even helicopters… and includes sections on how to get to Cannes, Monaco, and Antibes from the Nice Airport.

 

Taking the new tramway line from the Nice Airport

The fabulous new line 2 tramway from the airport has revolutionized airport transportation in Nice.  The tramway runs approximately every 10 minutes, runs parallel to the seaside and gets you to the Nice Port in just over 30 minutes, and costs as little as 1€.  An as an added bonus, the line 2 has free wifi!

A single tram ticket is just 1.50€, but if you buy a 10-trip card for 10€ it is only 1€.  Buy the ticket at the kiosk in the terminal or from the ticket machine at the tram stop (has English directions and takes coins and credit cards), then just validate your ticket in the red puncher once in the tram (validate twice if you are two people using the 10-trip card).

From the airport, be sure to take the line that goes to the Direction: Port. This line runs parallel to the seaside and will get you close to all Promenade hotels.  The stop Jean Medecin drops you off in the center of Nice, near all the shops and downtown hotels, plus this is where you can change to the tramway line 1 (outside the station), or get to the train station (10 minute walk or 1 stop on tramway line 1).  If you are heading to Old Nice, the total trip from the airport will take 30 minutes and Garibaldi is the stop for Vieux Nice; just take a left out of the station and then another left, and you’re in the old town.  For the final stop, the tram emerges from the tunnel to arrive in the Port, probably one of the most stunning settings for a tram stop in the world.  By the way, your tram ticket is good for transferring to all buses and tramlines in Nice for 77 minutes from the start of your voyage.

Going to the airport from town, be sure to take the tramway that says Direction: Airport, not the one that says Direction: CADAM which splits off inland just before the airport.

If you have early or late flights you can check the schedule here but basically it runs from around 5:30am until just after midnight.  The tramways run every day of the year, except May 1st, which is French Labor Day, and of course if they are on strike (in which case click here for my airport strike strategies.

  • Insider tip:  Nice Airport is the only airport in the world (that I know of) that doesn’t post which airlines are in which terminals.  It’s not on any signage as you drive in, nor is it listed in the tramway.  Look on your airline ticket ahead of time to see which terminal you need to get off at or simply Google your flight (“AF 7702”) and it will pop right up. 

Taking a Taxi from the Airport

Taxis lined up at the Nice AirportNice taxi drivers have the worst reputation in France for overcharging unsuspecting tourists.  To combat this, the city has imposed a new fixed rate of 32€ between the airport and town, which is good for day or night and includes your luggage.  To make sure you won’t be overcharged (the taxis routinely try to ding tourists by adding on a hefty luggage charge even though it is clearly included) verify with the driver before he puts your bags in the trunk that luggage is, bien sur, included (“je voudrais juste confirmer que la bagage est compris dans la tarif fixe“)

A taxi into Nice will take 20 minutes and and you’ll probably need to pay in cash; all taxis in Nice technically take credit cards but for some odd reason their machine is always broken… what a racket.  You can tip a euro extra if you really want to, but it is not obligatory and locals generally don’t tip the taxis at all after getting ripped off repeatedly all theses years. 

As soon as you get in, take a photo of the taxi licence, just in case you need it later, and always ask for a receipt.

To take a taxi from Nice back to the airport, here is a list of taxi stations, or call to reserve at 04 93 13 78 78 (from a non-French phone, it’s 0033 4 93 13 78 78), and they do speak English.  The taxi will charge 4€ extra to come pick you up, so you will pay 36€.

For more on taking taxis around town (where there are no fixed rates, so you need to be even more aware of getting overcharged) click here for my Taking a Taxi in Nice page.

Taking a Uber from the Nice Airport

The best deal is to take an Uber-X from the airport for 16-20€ to Nice Center (as opposed to 32€ in a taxi)… no cash changes hands, all the driver’s info is on your phone, the driver is friendly and professional, and you rate the driver at the end of the ride.

When you arrive at the Nice airport and are waiting for you luggage, log on to the free airport wifi with one click. Once you are connected, click on the Uber app and you’ll see all the Uber cars in the vicinity.  Once you get your luggage, put in your arrival terminal and destination address and order the car.  It will take the Uber 5-7 minutes to arrive, so you will have time to get to the pick-up spot specified by the app.  The app will tell you clearly exactly where to meet, and tells you the type of car, license plate number, and driver’s name and photo, so it’s easy to spot your car.

You can also use Uber’s upgraded higher priced service, Uber Black Car, which works the same but your driver will be in a suit and tie driving an immaculate luxury sedan.  The cost to Nice Center will be around 28-32€ (still less than a taxi). And as with Uber-X, no cash changes hands, all the driver’s info is on your phone, and you rate the driver at the end of the ride.   And if you are going from the airport to Cannes, Uber even has helicopters!

A few Uber airport tips:

  • The app will tell you where to meet your driver, and will say for instance ‘Meet at Door D2’ but you will only see the D markings from outside on the sidewalk; oddly, the doors are not marked inside the airport.
  • When you get in the car, request that your driver take the route along the Promenade des Anglais, which will not only cost less than the highway but will be infinitely more scenic!
  • Uber is the best way to get to the airport for early morning flights as there are lots of drivers out in the wee hours taking people home from bars and clubs.

For more on taking Uber in Nice, click here for my Uber page.


Private Car Services (VTC’s)

A private car service costs roughly the same as a taxi but has several advantages:  You have the serenity of pre-booking and knowing that you will be met by a professional, courteous, English-speaking driver that waits for you just outside baggage claim holding a sign with your name.  My recommendation is the aptly-named Friend in France which charges a flat fee of 35€ to Nice (it’s a bit more at night), has an excellent reputation, and is exceedingly reliable and professional.  You can book through the website, email them at mira@friend-in-france.com, or call them at +33 6 99 16 22 33.   And please mention that you heard about them from Best of Nice!

Taking a Local Bus from the Airport

There is absolutely no reason to do this unless the tramway is not running for some reason.

Walk out to the Promenade des Anglais to catch the local bus #12 for just 1.50€ (same ticket as the tramway and good on both, and you can buy it from the ticket machines or from the bus driver when you board). Walk through the parking lot in Terminal 1 to the Promenade des Anglais then look for the bus stop, and don’t forget to flag the bus down or it might not stop.  Bus #12 comes by every 15 minutes or so, and will take you to the Promenade hotels, Place Masséna, and the Old Town, ending at Place Garibaldi.  And don’t forget that your bus ticket is good on all buses and trams for an hour and 15 minutes.

 

How to get to Cannes from the Nice Airport

  • Express Bus:  The Cannes Express Bus #210 leaves the airport every 30 minutes, costs 22€ (or 33€ round trip), takes the freeway and gets you there in about 45 minutes, dropping you off at the Port.  You can even buy your ticket online.
  • Local Bus:  If you are long on time and short on money, you can also take the Bus #200 for just 1.50€, which leaves every 15 minutes and takes about 90 minutes (or more if lots of traffic) as it winds along the coast, ultimately dropping you off at the Cannes Train Station.  
  • Train:  Take any tramway leaving the airport to the first stop outside the airport, Grand Arenas.  If you get off at this first stop you don’t need a tram ticket, it’s free.  Now follow the arrows on the sidewalk to the Nice Saint Augustin train station, about a 5 minute walk.  Here you can catch a train to Cannes which will cost around 5€ euros and take around 30 minutes.
  • Taxi:  A taxi from the airport to Cannes now has a new fixed rate of 85€ for up to 4 people, including luggage, and takes about 50 minutes (but can be twice that during high traffic periods like the Cannes Film Festival).   A 5€ tip is appropriate.  Note that you will probably have to pay in cash; Nice taxis are supposed to take cards, but their card machines are usually ‘broken’.
  • Private Car Services: For the same price as a taxi, you can be met by a professional English-speaking chauffeur holding a sign with your name just outside baggage claim.  I recommend Friend in France which charges a flat fee of 80€ to Cannes, is very reliable, has all English-speaking drivers, and you can reserve and pay in advance on-line.
  • Uber: 50-70€ from the airport to Cannes, depending on traffic.
  • Helicopter:  From May through October, forget the traffic… you can get to Cannes in 7 minutes by helicopter!  It’s super-fun, really fast, and at 160€ per person for the mind-blowingly-beautiful ride, it is actually quite economical (time is money!)  Reserve in advance and book online with Azur Helicoptere, or be spontaneous and click the Uber-copter option on the bottom of your Uber app when you arrive for immediate embarquement at the same price (…especially handy during transport strikes!)  Upon landing, a transfer to your hotel is included in the price.

 

How to get to Monaco from the Nice Airport

  • Express Bus:  The Monaco Express Bus #110 leaves the airport every 30 minutes, is a super bargain at 22€ (or 33€ round trip), takes the freeway and gets you there in about 35 minutes.  
  • Taxi:  A taxi from the airport to Monaco will cost a fixed rate 95€ for up to 4 people (including luggage) and takes 45 minutes (ask the driver to take the lower road for a wonderfully scenic drive).   A 5€ tip is appropriate,
    so make it a bill.  Note that you will probably have to pay in cash; Nice taxis are supposed to take cards, but their card machines are usually ‘broken’.   Interestingly, the return trip must be a Monaco taxi, and will run you at least 100€ (but they take credit cards and their card machines are never broken!).   Helicopter flying into Monaco…So on the way back at least, why not have a little fun and take the helicopter: the price is just a little more!
  • Helicopter:  This is kind of insane, but if you are only one person, for just a few euros more, you can treat yourself to a 7-minute thrill and arrive in Monaco like a rock star.  MonacAir has a killer deal of Nice-Monaco by helicopter for just 99€… 4€ more than a taxi! The flights leave every 15 minutes, and upon landing at the Monaco helipad they take you to your hotel by shuttle (included in the price).  Especially useful during transport strikes!
  • Uber: 45-60€ from the airport to Monaco, depending on traffic.  You can take an Uber in to Monaco, but you can’t take Uber back to the airport because the Uber app is blocked in the Principality!
  • Private Car Services: For less than the cost of a taxi, you can be met by a professional English-speaking chauffeur holding a sign with your name just outside baggage claim.  I recommend Friend in France which charges a flat fee of 80€ to Monaco, is very reliable, has all English-speaking drivers, and you can reserve and pay in advance on-line.
  • Train:  Take any tramway leaving the airport to the first stop outside the airport, Grand Arenas.  If you get off at this first stop you don’t need a tram ticket, it’s free.  Now follow the arrows on the sidewalk to the Nice Saint Augustin train station, about a 5 minute walk.  Here you can catch a train to Monaco which will cost around 9€ euros and take around 30 minutes.

 

To get to Antibes from the Nice Airport

  • Express Bus:  The Antibes/Golf Juan Express Bus #250 leaves the airport every 35 minutes, costs 11€ (or 16.50€ round trip), and gets you there in about 35 minutes.  The drop off point of ‘Antibes Vautrin’ is just across the overpass from the Antibes Train Station.
  • Local Bus:  If you want to save a little money, you can also take the Bus #200 for just 1.50€, which leaves every 15 minutes and takes only 20 minutes longer than the Express Bus.  
  • Taxi:  A taxi from the airport to Antibes will run you a fixed rate of 60€ for up to 4 people (including luggage) and takes about 30 minutes (Juan les Pins is 72€).   A 2-3€ tip is appropriate but not necessary as it is a fixed rate.   Note that you will probably have to pay in cash; Nice taxis are supposed to take cards, but their card machines are usually ‘broken’.
  • Private Car Services: For the same price as a taxi, you can be met by a professional English-speaking chauffeur holding a sign with your name just outside baggage claim.  I recommend Friend in France which charges a flat fee of 60€ to Antibes, is very reliable, has all English-speaking drivers, and you can reserve and pay in advance on-line.
  • Train:  Take any tramway leaving the airport to the first stop outside the airport, Grand Arenas.  If you get off at this first stop you don’t need a tram ticket, it’s free.  Now follow the arrows on the sidewalk to the Nice Saint Augustin train station, about a 5 minute walk.  Here you can catch a train to Antibes which will cost around 3€ euros and take around 15 minutes.
  • Uber: 35-50€ from the airport to Antibes, depending on traffic.

See Related Pages:  Flying into Nice, Luggage Storage in Nice, What to do in case of a Transport Strike

Photo Credits: Nice Airport from the Air by LaFrance, Helicopter over Monaco by Elizabeth Klimesch, both licenses under Creative Commons.  Airport Taxis from Aeroport Nice Cote d’Azur, Nice Airport Bus from Flickriver.com

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