Hop-on hop-off Tourist Bus, and the French Riviera Pass

The Nice Open Tour Double-Decker Hop-On Hop-Off Tourist Bus might seem a bit hokey and really expensive at 23€/day 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 (cruise passengers, for instance)
  • Really don’t feel like cracking a guide book

Where it Goes

With a new circuit for 2021, you can now catch the Open Tour bus at the train station or the Port, or at any one of their 12 stops.  The loop includes Place Garibaldi, several stops around the Old Town, a few stops along the Promenade des Anglais, one near the Russian Cathedral, and a stop on the Port followed by a stunningly beautiful drive around the point to the town of Villefranche-sur-mer.  The bus passes 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, and you can buy your ticket from the driver when you board, or online in advance.

Open Tour Hop on/Hop off bus map for Nice

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

The Best Deal

French Riviera PassThe Open Tour bus rate is 23€ for a day, and children from 4-11 are 8€.  But if you plan to do the Open Tour bus and go to even one museum, you would be far 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 good for 24/48/72 hours at a cost of 26€/38€/56€, and available at the tourist office and at some hotels. This pass gives you access to the Open Tour Nice tourist bus, plus a trip on the little Tourist Train (which goes through Old Nice and up to the Chateau), plus free admission to all Nice museums, the Russian Cathedral and the Parc Phoenix arboretum.  Note that some of Nice’s best museums are on Cimiez Hill (Matisse, Chagall, Roman Ruins) but the Open Tour bus no longer goes there.  The French Riviera Pass also gets you into several good museums outside of Nice (the Oceanographic Museum in Monaco, Villas Rothschild and Kerylos, the Picasso museum in Antibes, Renoir in Cagnes-sur-mer…) but the hop on/hop off bus doesn’t go to any of those places either.

However, there is a notable awesome addition to the French Riviera Pass that tips the scales to make this pass really worth it: you now can take a free boat trip from the Nice Port (one of the stops on the Open Tour circuit) which cruises around the seaside villas of gorgeous Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat or else to the Lerins islands off Cannes.

But wait, there’s more!  If you have time to fit them in, you can take advantage of a lot of little touristy extras:  some Socca or a wine-tasting or a walking tour in the old town, a drink and chips at the Hard Rock Café, a glass of Champagne and a few betting chips at the Casino, etc., etc…

If you kinda know what you plan to do in Nice, click here for a cool interactive table where you can just check off the boxes and then see how much it would cost without the French Riviera Pass.  This chart was designed for seeing if it is worth it for kids, so if you are an adult, add 15€ for what you would have spent on the museum pass.

If you time it right you can string your French Riviera pass out over an extra day: as long as you get in the door of your final activity/museum just before the pass expires, you can stay all the rest of the day.

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