Hop-On Hop-Off Tourist Bus

The Nice Open Tour Double-Decker Hop-On Hop-Off Tourist Bus might seem a bit hokey and really expensive for a circuit that takes just over an hour to complete, but it could actually be the way to go if you…

  • Have mobility issues
  • Want to see a lot in a limited time and don’t feel like cracking a guide book
  • Just don’t want to have to deal with figuring out the local buses and trams
  • Want to see at least 2 museums on Cimiez (especially on Sunday when most city buses to Cimiez run on a sparse schedule)

Where it Goes

The circuit of 14 stops includes Cimiez, which frankly is not that easy to get to on the local bus, especially on Sunday.  The bus stops at the Chagall museum, and then at the Cimiez Monastery, where you can peek into the Coliseum ruins, stroll through the 500-year-old Olive Grove that used to host the legendary Nice Jazz Festival, visit the Matisse Museum, check out the Roman bath ruins through the fence behind the Matisse museum, and take a walk through the fabulous Italian-style Monastery gardens.

Other stops include Place Garibaldi, 3 stops along the Promenade des Anglais, a stop on the Port with a scenic drive around the far end of the Port past Coco Beach, and a stop on all three sides of the Old Town.  Here’s the map that they give you when you board, with a timetable.  The bus passes by each stop every half-hour from 10am to 6pm from April through the end of October, and every hour from 10am to 5pm in the winter.

The bus is equipped with headphones in 8 languages which provide a rather lame running commentary on the sights; the explanations are very dry and basic, but at least this gives you some context of what you are seeing, and saves you from having to crack a guide book! (For a super quick and much sparkier read on Nice history, click on Fascinating Facts about Nice on this site… you’ll be glad you did!)

Tickets and Pricing

You buy your ticket online or from the driver as you board.  The basic rate is 22€ for a day, (or better: 25€ for 2 days), but there are several discounts available: Seniors (over 65) and students (with student ID) get discounted to 18€, and children from 4-11 are 8€ for two days.  And in a bid to attract cruise passengers coming from Villefranche or Monaco, if you have a TER train ticket, a train pass or a bus 100 ticket for that day, you get 3€ off the adult fare. (For other discounts that you can get from your train ticket, click here)

Best Deal

If you plan to do the Open Tour bus and go to even one museum (admission 10€), you would be better off to buy the French Riviera Pass for 26€, which includes the Open Tour bus plus all museum admissions, plus lots of other stuff.  The French Riviera Pass is available at the Tourist Office and at some hotels, and is good for 1-3 days at a cost of 26€/38€/56€.  This pass gives you a day on the Open Tour Nice tourist bus, a trip on the little Tourist Train (which goes through Old Nice and up to the Chateau), free admission to all Nice museums (and several good ones outside of Nice: the Oceanographic Museum in Monaco, and Villas Rothschild and Kerylos).  You also get a 30-minute Segway ride on the Prom, a glass of Champagne and a few betting chips at the Casino, a wine-tasting in Old Nice, and if you take the 3-day pass, Marineland is included.

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