A guide to Cycling the Col de Vence

View of mountains from the summit of Col de Vence

Cycling the Col de Vence – a ride from sea level to the heavens

This ride takes you from Sea level to just under 1000m / 3280ft in elevation as you ride from Nice to the summit of Col de Vence. The first section of the ride takes in the beautiful coastline which the Côte d’Azur is so famous for. It serves as a good warm up all the way to the base of the climb at Cagnes-Sur-Mer. From there the only way is up. The gradient never gets too steep but this is a long climb so make sure to measure your effort. The town of Vence is a good marker to let you know you are about halfway up the climb.

If you are cycling the Col de Vence in Summer, then be mindful the heat can be quite intense. This is especially as make your way further up the climb, where there is little shade to provide you with relief. When we rode this climb in the middle of July the temperatures were well into the 30Cs and this certainly added to the intensity of the ride. Once at the top you get a really lovely view back across to the Mediterranean. To finish the ride descend back to the town of Vence and then branch off to the left. You will then have a different road to ride all the way back to Cagnes-sur-Mer.

Quick Stats

Distance: 74km / 46mi

Start elevation: 5m / 15ft

Max elevation: 964m / 3,162ft

Metres climbed: 1,152m / 3,780ft

Metres descended: 1,152m / 3,780ft

Categorised climbs: 1

View of lush green hillside and a viaduct

Stunning landscapes surround you on the descent from the climb.

Food and water

You can resupply with food and water along this route. Firstly at the start of the climb at Cagnes-sur-Mer and then also at he village of Vence which is halfway up the climb itself. Whilst this route is not very long distance wise, it can get extremely hot on the climb as the roads are very open and exposed to the sun. Definitely take two bottles of water with you.


  • Riding along the stunning coastline all from Nice to Cagnes-sur-Mer.

  • The Commanding views back towards the sea from the summit allow you to really appreciate just how much you have climbed.
View of the city of Nice and the beach

As you set off from Nice you can see Col de Vence looming in the distance.

Col du Vence

Length: 19.3km / 12mi

Average gradient: 5%

Start point: Cagnes-sur-Mer

Elevation at top: 963m /3160ft

Cyclist eating lunch at the beach of Cagnes-sur-Mer

Lunch with a view of the white, sandy beach at Cagnes-sur-Mer.

Whilst not as famous a summit as others, you still need to get a photo from the sign at the top.

Discover our comprehensive guide to Cycling in Nice

The climb of the Col de Vence is just one of many great cycling routes near the city of Nice which you can enjoy. This area of the Alpes Maritimes is very popular with cyclists year round owing to the great weather and variety of terrain on offer.

If you are not familiar with this region then, our comprehensive guide will help you plan everything you need for your cycling holiday. The guide includes information such as:

  • a map of the Alpes Maritimes with climbs and towns marked
  • where to base yourself whist on your cycling holiday
  • cycling hotels and lodges
  • bike hire outlets
  • getting to and from Nice
  • non-cycling attractions and activities in the region

Click here to see a list of cycling routes available from Nice. Our cycling route suggestions start in Nice as we know from experience the majority of people visiting the area will stay in, or close to the city.

Subscribe To Our Monthly Newsletter.

Subscribe To Our Monthly Newsletter.