The best beaches in Nice are among the main highlights of this glamorous coastal destination on the French Riviera. The coast has pebbled beaches, azure waves, and hours of sunshine. Most of Nice's beaches are arranged along the Promenade des Anglais, which stretches 4 miles along the Baie des Anges. On the other side of town, rocky shoreline and deep water are fantastic for diving and swimming.

    Beaches are a mix of private and public, and while private beaches include deluxe sun loungers and an endless supply of cocktails, Nice’s public beaches offer a relaxing atmosphere and a chance to rub shoulders with the locals. These are the beaches of Nice you need to check out, whether you're looking for old-world magnificence, thrilling water sports or family-friendly fun.

    1

    Plage de la Réserve

    Best for mingling with the locals

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    Plage de la Réserve has a pleasantly secluded feel, tucked between the sea and steep cliffs. The convenient location near the centre of Nice means it gets busy, but the crowd is mostly locals making the most of the weather. Pick a sunny spot and enjoy the view of Phare de Nice lighthouse and the ferries coming into Nice Port.

    The beach is a mix of smooth rock and fine gravel, with a deep bay. Locals love to dive from the rocks or the top of a diving platform. Next to the beach is a striking Art Deco restaurant, La Réserve de Nice, which serves fresh local fish accompanied by stunning sea views.

    Location: 122 Boulevard Carnot, 06300 Nice, France

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    2

    Le Voilier Plage

    Best for children and families

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    Le Voilier Plage is a wide stretch of beach with abundant space and a gentle slope to the sea, which is doubtless what makes it so popular with families. It's right in the middle of the Baie des Anges, with fine gravel, clear blue water, and small waves. There are toilets and cool showers where you can rinse off after a dip.

    One half of Le Voilier Plage is public, the other half private. Spend a little extra for the private part to get access to more upscale facilities, day beds to lounge on, and a restaurant. More importantly for parents, the private half includes a colourful play area for kids.

    Location: 58 Prom. des Anglais, 06000 Nice, France

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    3

    Lido Plage

    Best beach in Nice for water sports

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    Lido Plage is buzzing during summer, as it’s the main hub for water sports in Nice. Go wakeboarding or water skiing, take a kayak trip along the coast, and float around the bay on a banana boat or water tube. Parasailing is also popular – it's not unusual to hear gleeful shrieks as people take off from the beach.

    Swimmers like to dive off the remnants of an old pontoon out in the water, left over from a former casino. The beach is Nice's usual light gravel and deep blue waters. It includes a private restaurant, La Baieta, which has its own dedicated section of beach. A good selection of bars, bistros and tapas restaurants lines the promenade.

    Location: 15 Prom. des Anglais, 06000 Nice, France

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    4

    Opéra Plage

    An elegant beach rich in history

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    Opéra Plage is the oldest private beach in Nice, spread in front of the city's sumptuous opera house. It's been run by the Maiffret family since 1889, so you can expect excellent service and classic Riviera refinement. Luxurious sun loungers are set up beneath vintage blue-and-white-striped parasols to take advantage of the gorgeous bay views.

    Whether you need a cocktail delivered to your lounger, a massage, or a local or international newspaper, staff are happy to help. Eat at the swanky beachside restaurant, where grilled sea bass and rib steak are accompanied by a constantly updated wine list. Nice Old Town, Nice Cathedral, and the Palais Lascaris Museum are just a short stroll from the beach.

    Location: 30 Quai des États-Unis, 06000 Nice, France

    Phone: +33 4 93 62 31 52

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    5

    Plage du Centenaire

    Best for clean air and green spaces

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    Plage du Centenaire is a broad, sweeping gravel beach backed by a wide pedestrian promenade. The beach is accessible for wheelchair users, and it's also one of the few beaches in Nice where smoking is banned. It's divided by the Peillon river, which flows under the promenade and out into the Baie des Anges.

    During the warmer months, the beach has a lifeguard and temporary facilities, but out of season, it's just a nice quiet stretch of shingle to park your beach towel. On the other side of the promenade is a beautiful 19th-century park, Jardin Albert 1er, filled with palm trees, rose gardens and tinkling fountains. Music festivals take place in the park every summer.

    Location: 109 Quai des États-Unis, 06300 Nice, France

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    6

    Villefranche-sur-Mer

    Best for building sandcastles

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    Villefranche-sur-Mer has something no other beach in Nice can lay claim to – sand! Bring along your bucket and spade, and delight in finally being able to build sandcastles. The sheltered bay means the water is warm and shallow, popular with swimmers and snorkelers. The beach is a hit with local families, so expect it to be bustling in summer.

    The bay itself looks stunning, with boats bobbing in the water and colourful houses along the steep slopes. There are numerous beachside cafes and restaurants to choose from, and ice cream stalls set up along the sand in the summer. Villefranche-sur-Mer is a scenic 15-minute bus journey along the coast from Nice.

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    Location: 23 Prom. des Marinières, 06230 Villefranche-sur-Mer, France

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    7

    Plage Beau Rivage

    Best for wallowing in luxury

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    Plage Beau Rivage is the place to be seen in Nice. It’s a glitzy spot full of waving palm trees, lavish sunbeds and 5-star facilities. Sit on the plush sun lounger, shaded by a wide parasol, which doubles as a solar panel to charge your phone! Staff will deliver your every whim, from snacks and coffee to cocktails and champagne.

    Enjoy a dip in the Mediterranean, or take advantage of Beau Rivage's water-skiing and wakeboarding facilities. Above the beach, the gourmet restaurant serves a delicious mixture of tapas, finger foods and inventive Mediterranean flavours. After sunset, cocktails on the terrace are accompanied by DJ sets or live music.

    Location: 107 Quai des États-Unis, 06300 Nice, France

    Phone: +33 4 92 00 46 80

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    8

    Plage de la Plateforme

    Best for sunbathing

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    Plage de Plateforme is backed by steep cliffs, making it a bit of a sun trap and more private than the beaches along the promenade. There's no sand on this southwest-facing beach, but the smooth stone of its manmade pier is surprisingly comfortable. Spread out a beach towel and work on your tan.

    If you're an adventurous swimmer, Plage de Plateforme is a great spot for a dip, with ladders at the edge of the platform leading straight down to deep pools of glittering turquoise water. Currents can be strong, so take care when swimming. The beach is accessible on foot along a well-maintained coastal path, which takes around 20 minutes.

    Location: 30 Boulevard Maurice Maeterlinck, 06300 Nice, France

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    9

    Plage de Carras

    Best for 4-legged family members

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    Plage de Carras is one of the few beaches in Nice that welcome pets, so it's your best choice if you're bringing along furry friends. This section of promenade features benches shaded by broad canopies – great if you or your pet want to get out of the sun. The beach is also easy to access for wheelchair users.

    Plage de Carras is also the only beach in Nice where you can jet ski. Boats are available for hire at Jet Evasion between May and September. There's also a beach volleyball court and, at the western end of the promenade, a small port that's mostly used for diving and swimming.

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    Location: 385 Prom. des Anglais, 06200 Nice, France

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    10

    Plage de Sainte-Hélène

    Best for space and peaceful contemplation

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    Plage de Sainte-Hélène is at the western end of the sweeping Promenade des Anglais, which runs the length of the waterfront. Fewer people make it out this far, which means more space to spread out your beach towel. Appreciate the tranquillity while admiring views of the sparkling Mediterranean and the peak of Mont Boron across the bay.

    The wide gravel beach is punctuated by heaps of rocks that are great for scrambling or sunbathing. Along the waterfront, the restaurants are small and friendly, and mostly serve homey French or Italian cuisine. For something a bit more upmarket, sip cocktails at the glamorous rooftop bar of Radisson Blu. Buses number 12 and 32 stop right next to Plage de Sainte-Hélène.

    Location: 243 Prom. des Anglais, 06200 Nice, France

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    Victoria Hughes | Contributing Writer

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