So I'm probably going to post this in the Italy forum too! My husband and I are coming to Europe this summer and we are spending 3 nights in Nice, and 4 in Cinque Terre (Vernazza). More and more I'm hearing of side trips I should do from Nice, like Antibes, and am starting to think I should change this to 4 days in Nice, and 3 in Cinque Terre - opinions? I'd love to get to Corsica too but from what I'm seeing that's too much of a challenge. We aren't really lie on the beach people so I'd like to see as much as possible.
I love walking and history--I'm also not a lie on the beach person--and I really loved my trip to Nice in 2008. Day-trips I enjoyed back then from Nice: Eze (views, Fragonard tour, and my favorite: walking down sentier Nietzsche from Eze-le-Village to Eze-bord-de-Mer), Monaco/Monte Carlo, Cap Ferrat (great walking), La Turbie (Trophee des Alpes--but I went on the wrong day, and it was closed!), and Villefranche. I visited in December, so things were not as crowded or hot, and public transportation was easy and cheap. If I went again, I would also probably go to Menton.
I went to the Cinque Terre in 2001, stayed at the Manarola hostel, and enjoyed walking all the trails between the towns and swimming near Corniglia (rocky!). To me, there were more easy side-trip opportunities from Nice. Hope you have a great trip!
In 2005 my wife and I planned to do 3 nights in Nice and 2 in Vernazza. After spending 2 hours in Nice we changed it to 1 night in Nice and 4 in Vernazza. It was the best move we ever made on any vacation. Vernazza is incredible and we really did not like Nice. This was part of a trip that went Paris-Beaune-Annecy-Arles-Nice-Vernazza-Venice, and we love every moment that we spent in France except those in Nice, so this isn't a 'I like Italy better than France' thing.
Nice has a ton of side-trip possibilities, including Monaco, Grasse, Antibes, Juan-les-Pins, Cannes, Eze, St. Paul de Vence, Villa Ephrussi, and Villa Kerylos - for starters. So, even if you hate Nice (and I wasn't thrilled with it), you're not "stuck." Vernazza does not have nearly as many easy day trip opportunities.
Thanks for your input, and yes that's sort of what I'm hearing, is great side trips are sometimes just a 15 minute train ride away! I think I will switch it if I can and do 4 in Nice and use it as a base, and 3 in Vernazza.
If you take the bus to Monaco its only one euro each way and it foes along the coast,very scenic. We spent the extra euro and got off at Eze sur Mer for a swim on way back. Can't beat a three euro day!
The Nice of 2005, that one poster refers to, is not the Nice of 2014. There is now a beautiful recreation area stretching from Place Massena to Espace Yves Klein, at the border of the old town. Walking/bicycling paths, fountains, sculptures, playgrounds, really delightful. There are art museums - - Matisse and Chagall, and a Roman archaeological site. Excellent public transportation to get you around. Eze and Villa Ephrussi and good recommendations for day trips. You'll have more than enough to fill four days.
We spent 2 nights in Vernazza and visited 4 of the 5 towns (combination of train, boat, and foot). By midafternoon on the 2nd day we were ready to leave. Even 3 nights seems excessive to me. The only reason I would return would be for another meal at Il Pirata.
I would give more time to Nice because of the range of easy day trip options. We like to have at least 2 nights and one full day in Cinque Terre, or 3 nights would give you more time to relax (if you were beach people).