Taking the Tramway in Nice 2024

Tramway tickets and fares, which lines to take where, most interesting tram stops, and how to get around the airport tram tourist rip off!

A  one-trip tram/bus fare is now 1.70€ but has unlimited same-direction transfers for 74 minutes.

You get the card (La Carte) from the machines at all the tram stops (which take bank cards, Apple Pay, or coins, no bills), or at most newsstands/tabacs displaying the Lignes d’Azur sign.   There is also a tram ticket machine at the Nice train station, but notably the airport ticket machines do not sell the rechargeable cards in a blatant ploy to rip-off arriving tourists… see below for how to get around this!

The card itself costs 2€, but you can get that 2€ refunded back at the end from at one of the aforementioned newsstands/tabacs with the sign.  (If you are using your last voyage to get to the airport however, there is no place to get that 2€ back so you’re out of luck.)

QR code for tram ticketsDo you have an Android phone? If yes, just download the free Tram Tix app from the Google Store (in English!), sign up for a virtual rechargeable tram card La Carte (saving the 2€ card fee!), and charge your virtual card up with a few trips; you can do all of this from your home country before you leave. Then when you arrive at the airport just get on the tram and wave your phone over the ticket machine to validate your voyage.  Super easy.   But again, this only works with Android, not iPhones (only because iPhones won’t work to validate the trips).

If you need to buy your tram pass from the ticket machine, here is my easy step-by-step photo guide to get your tram pass in 30-seconds.

Once you have the rechargeable card you can add as many trips as you want by using the ticket machines at the tram stops, at the newsstands, or even online with the Nice Ticket app.

Multiple people can use the same card, so if you are a family of four, just load up that card with trips then beep it 4 times when you board (but then just once every time you transfer to a different line during your 74 minutes of free same-direction transfers).  If you load your card with a bunch of trips all at once, they do get a little cheaper after 12 (1.50€ each), after 25 (1.30€ each), and after 50 (1€ each), and the trips never expire.

Another option with your card is to load a day-pass on it for 7€ which gives you unlimited trips for 24-hours, a 2-day pass for 13€, or a week pass for 20€  The only catch here is that everyone needs their own card.

You can also load your card with the Pass SudAzur, an all-access pass for 3-days (35€), one week (50€), or two weeks (80€), giving you unlimited Nice trams, all local buses in all the towns including Monaco, but also unlimited trains (Italy to Theole-sur-mer, plus inland trains)!  It’s available from July through the first weekend in November.

Validating your ticket

The underground stations have you beep your card to get through a gate, but on street-level stops you just beep your card on the little machine as you board.   This is very important as otherwise you can get a big fat fine if the ticket inspectors come on.

Once you punch it, your ticket is good for the next 74 minutes for as many tram or bus rides as you can fit in, but the catch is: in one direction only.  Beep it again at each transfer; if you are within your 74 minutes, it will just give you a green ‘good to go’ beep.

If you are multiple people using the same card, beep for each person when you first get on, but then beep just once each time you transfer within the 74 minutes.


The tramway line 1 makes a big ‘U’ through downtown, and comes every 3-5 minutes by day and every 12-20 minutes by night until around 1am. First tram starts at 4:25am, and last one finishes at 1:35am.

Line 2, which goes West to East from the airport to the Port, comes every 7 minutes or so (every 15 minutes early or late) and starts at 5:30am going to just after midnight which is great for catching early or late flights.  To see exact timing, the easiest way is to use  Google Maps, put in ‘Nice Aeroport’, chose ‘get directions’, and then click where it says “Depart at…” to set the day and time.  Google gets real time info on Nice bus/tramlines.

A few things to know…

There are two stops (Garibaldi and Jean Médecin) where you can transfer from one tram line to the other, but unlike most urban metro systems, the two lines in Nice are not joined by a common tunnel.  In both cases the Line 1 stop is above ground, and you walk a minute or so to enter the Line 2 stop which is underground.

There is also a Line 3 tramway that branches off from the Line 2 right before the airport, so if you are going to catch a flight make sure you take the one for the Aeroport and not CADAM.  The trams for the two destinations alternate, so give yourself an extra 15 minutes in case you just miss the airport one and have to let a CADAM one pass before the next one to the airport.

All tram stops have free wifi, just choose the Spot Wifi network, click OK and you’re in.

Which lines, which stops?

Here are some of the main stops on Line 1, and what you will find nearby…

  • Liberation – Daily outdoor market (Tues-Sun) with Nice’s best prices on produce, the biggest and best fish market, Gare de Sud train station to the mountains, and the massive Gare de Sud food court and cinemas.
  • Gare ThiersTrain station
  • Jean Médecin – Nice Etoile Shopping Center, Cinemas, Notre Dame Church, Arab market area, and this is where you can change to the Line 2 tramway.  Walk down and take a right to catch the bus #99 which traverses the downtown east/west every 15 minutes.
  • Massena – Rue Massena (walking street), Galeries Lafayette department store, Sephora, Zara, designer shopping on Avenue de Verdun, Apollo fountain, Promenade du Paillon water jet fountains, Promenade des Anglais and seafront.
  • Opera – Old Town, Nice Opera, Cours Saleya flower and produce market (Tues-Sun) and Brocante Antique market (Monday), Palais du Justice, seaside and beaches.
  • Palais des Expositions – Convention center, Park and Ride lot, Carrefour shopping center, and a 10-minute walk to the Riquier train station.
  • Vaubaun – Ticket office and bus to Aix-en-Provence, and the start for both buses to Eze.

The main stops on Line 2 include:

From the Grand Arenas stop you can change to the newest tram Line #3.

  • Stade is the stop for the stadiums for major sporting events or concerts, and is also the stop for the new Ikea

Free Park and Ride lots with tramway ticket

There are eight large ParcAzur lots located at various points along the tramway route (see map below), where you can leave your car for free from early morning until late at night as long as you pay for a round-trip on the tramway.

How to get around the Airport Tram Tourist Rip-off

When you arrive at the airport, the ticket machines there only sell a round-trip paper airport ticket for 10€ (!), which is not bad if you are not ‘in the know’, but is actually kind of a blatant tourist rip-off as a tram to or from the airport actually only costs 1.70€.  If you have a few extra minutes you can get into town for just 3.70€ including the rechargeable card to use during all the rest of your trip.  The insider tip is to get off at the first tram stop outside the airport (the tram is free to Grand Arenas), where that ticket machine (in English, takes cards and coins) offers all the options and you can get a rechargeable La Carte for 2€ and then each trip is only 1.70€, airport included, and the card can be used for multiple people.  Or get a day or week pass which includes the airport.  But after a long flight, it might be easier to just spend a little more and chill.  Up to you.

Tram history

The first Tramway in Nice was built in 1900, but went out of fashion just 20-odd years later in favor of the latest technology: the bus.  The last old-style tramway was shut down in 1953.   Ironically, it was the perpetual gridlock from too many buses and cars that made the the new Nice Tramway a necessity.

Photo credits: Tramway at Place Massena and Tramway by Night by Best of Nice Blog,  Old Tramway licensed under Creative Commons

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