Cheap Public Transportation Tram 2 to Nice Côte d’Azur Airport (NCE)

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by Henk Bekker

in Côte d'Azur Riviera, France, N24, NAdX, Nice

Tram 2 is usually the cheapest transportation option to Nice Côte d’Azur Airport (NCE) but note the La Carte / L’Aero system from 2024.

Tram line 2 is the cheapest and fastest way to travel to Nice Côte d’Azur Airport (NCE) on public transportation from the city center, Vieux Ville, and port.

Tram line 2 is the cheapest and fastest way to travel to Nice Côte d’Azur Airport (NCE) on public transportation from the city center, Vieux Ville, and port.

Getting to Nice-Côte d’Azur Airport is the cheapest, easiest, and fastest on tram line 2. Tram 2 (blue on maps) runs from Aéroport Terminal 2 and Aéroport Terminal 1 parallel to the Mediterranean coast and the Promenade des Anglais to the old town and city center of Nice Ville with its final stop at Port Lympia. Trams run every eight minutes for much of the day with a total traveling time over the full route of less than half an hour. The tramway replaced airport express buses 98 and 99 as the best way to travel from downtown Nice to the airport and in contrast to these buses, the tram has no airport surcharge. Tram tickets to Nice Airport cost only the standard €1.70 per journey if already owning a rechargeable “La Carte” card — otherwise expect to pay €10 return.

From 1 January 2024 a rechargeable “La Carte” is necessary to travel on trams and buses in Nice. La Carte is NOT sold at the airport but a “L’Aéro” card is — €10 for an airport return. See details below. For small groups and families, a private transfer may work out easier (but probably not cheaper).

Traveling on the tram is free for everyone between airport terminals 1 and 2, as well as to Grand Arénas — the first tram stop from the airport and a convenient stop for numerous buses and St Augustin railway station.

Note: two tram lines run from Nice Airport: tram 2 (blue) goes to Nice center while tram 3 (green) goes to the north and is of little interest to most tourists. If on the wrong line, simply change trams at Grand Arénas.

Tram Line 2 to Nice-Côte d’Azur Airport (NCE)

Map of tram lines 2 and 3 to Nice Côte d'Azur airport NCE
Download pdf map from “Plan autour du Tram” at Lignes d’Azur

Nice’s Tram Line 2 (Ligne 2 de Tram) runs from downtown Nice alternating to either Nice Côte d’Azur Airport (NCE) or to the CADAM prefectural administration center in the western outskirts of the city.

The line splits at Grand Arénas near Saint Augustin SNCF train station, with every second tram going to CADAM Centre Administratif and the others to Nice Airport to stop directly at both Aéroport Terminal 1 and Aéroport Terminal 2. If on the wrong tram, get off at Grand Arénas and take the next tram 2 or tram 3 traveling to the airport.

En route from Port Lympia on the east of Nice’s town center, tram 2 passes the important transportation hubs of Garibaldi and St Jean. It runs through a tunnel underneath the old town and town center but emerges from the tunnel near Magnan and travels above ground, mostly along Avenue de la Californie that runs parallel to the more famous Promenade des Anglais (and the Mediterranean Sea).

Traveling time on the tram is only half an hour from Nice Airport to Port Lympia.

Trams operate at high frequency with four-minute intervals during peak periods. The flat-floor access trams have a capacity of 300 passengers per journey.


Buying Tickets for Nice Airport Tram

Nice Promenade des Anglais

NOTE: Traveling on the tram between Airport Terminal 2, Terminal 1, and Grand Arénas is free for everyone. On all other rides, validation of tickets is always essential (including for day passes) — spot fines are €60 payable immediately, or add €40 to pay later.

From 1 January 2024, no single-use tickets are sold for travel on trams and buses in Nice. All travelers need a rechargeable, contactless “La Carte” that may be loaded with whatever journey is desired, e.g. a single (€1.70), a 24-hour pass (€7), a 7-day pass (€20), or any number of multi-trips from 1 to 100. A trip to or from the airport should thus be €1.70 if loaded onto “La Carte”.

Here comes the catch: “La Carte” is NOT for sale at the airport or any of the airport tram stops (including Arenas)! The vending machines at the airport tram stops only sell “L’Aéro”, which is €10 — it allows for a return journey to and from the airport with 74 minutes of travel in each direction and any number of transfers required (but no backtracking). “L’Aéro” may be loaded with further airport returns (@ €10) but not with other types of tickets. €10 return is still reasonably cheap for a European airport transfer but travelers feeling overcharged compared to the locals are not wrong. For small groups, a private transfer may be less hassle but probably not cheaper.

“La Carte” cost €2 and loaded journeys are refundable (but not at the airport). “La Carte” is available from bus drivers (but few Lignes d’Azur buses stop near the airport) and from tram station vending machines but NOT at the airport or Arenas.

According to Nice Airport, the closest “La Carte” sales point to the airport is Arénas Tabac Presse, 455 promenade des Anglais 06200 Nice (Monday to Friday: 7 am – 6.30 pm).

Tickets may also be bought through the apps of Lignes d’Azur but again in most cases, a “La Carte” will be required in 2024. (The English website is a nightmare but the apps work fairly well.)

“La Carte” is anonymous while the fairly similar “Ma Carte” is personalized and aimed at locals. Prices for single trips and up to week passes are the same, while “Ma Carte” also allows for longer subscriptions and non-tourist benefits.

Transfer Connections on Tram 2

Tram Line 2 has several convenient connections (correspondence) with other public transportation methods including at:

  • Grand Arénas -– easy walk to Nice-Saint Augustin train station. (Travel on the tram is free from both airport terminals to Grand Arénas.) Most regional trains stop at Nice-Saint Augustin SNCF station making it often more convenient than traveling via Nice-Ville SNCF main station.
  • Parc Phoenix — first stop after Grand Arénas — terminus for buses 200 (Cannes), 400 (Vence), and 500 (Grasse).
  • Jean Médecin – with Tram Line 1 and one-stop to Gare Thiers (Nice Ville main train station) or to Masséna with many bus lines.
  • Garibaldi / Le Château – with Tram Line 1 and many bus lines.
  • Port Lympia – bus 607 (previously 100) to Monaco — from early 2023, use stop Arson / Fodéré near Port Lympia when traveling to Monaco.

As a direct consequence of tram 2, the former pricey airport express buses 98 and 99 have been canceled (but some of that lost revenue is being recouped with the L’Aèro card!) and very few Nice City buses stop at the airport. Bus 12 still runs past the airport (Aeroport Promenade stop a short walk from Terminal 1) and along the full length of Promenade des Anglais — a lovely ride but in regular buses without space for luggage.

More on Travel to Nice-Côte d’Azur Airport:

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About the author:

Henk Bekker

Henk Bekker is a freelance travel writer with over 20 years of experience writing online. He is particularly interested in history, art, and culture. He has lived most of his adult life in Germany, Switzerland, and Denmark. In addition to, he also owns a travel website on the Lake Geneva region of Switzerland and maintains statistical websites on car sales and classic car auction prices. Henk holds an MBA from Edinburgh Business School and an MSc in Development Finance from the University of London.

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