I’m so grateful and excited to have partnered with the Monaco Office of Tourism in the production of this article. They provided us with two passes for Monaco Le Grand Tour, as well as museum tickets, so I could share my very own and true opinions about their Principality and its attractions!
Cross the French border and visit Monaco, a stunning Principality built on the side of a mountain on the Cote d’Azur.
Although best known for its Monte Carlo Casino and Grand Prix, there’s much more to appreciate about Monaco year-round. And, despite popular belief, you don’t have to be loaded to enjoy the beauty of what Monaco has to offer.
First of all, if you don’t speak French, you don’t have to worry. It seems many, if not all, of the people you come across speak English. Second, anyone can immerse themselves in the luxe lifestyle Monaco has to offer. If you do visit Monaco, you won’t regret it.
As I shared on Instagram, my boyfriend, Mike, and I visited a few towns and cities along the Cote d’Azur. Monaco-Ville was hands down my favorite. So much so that even though we only planned to spend one day there, we decided to spend two.@VisitMonaco without breaking the bank & still admiring its beauty. Click To Tweet
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For our trip, we stayed in an Airbnb in Nice. We chose an Airbnb only a ten-minute walk from the train station. Staying in an Airbnb was cost-effective (a nice studio was half the cost of a hotel in downtown Nice near Avenue Jean Médecin). Haven’t signed up for Airbnb yet? If you sign up now, you can claim this $40 travel credit that never expires!
From Nice, you can easily take the train to Monaco! The first day we took the train was the day of Monaco’s annual ePrix. Although we anticipated crowded streets in Monaco for the ePrix, we didn’t anticipate people stacking into the train like a pack of sardines.
Once the train arrived in Nice, people flooded from the ramp and into the train like a pack of Americans trying to snag a deal on Black Friday.
But it goes to show that the train is one of the best and simplest ways to go to Monaco. The train trip home that day, and back to Monaco the next morning, were not nearly as crowded.
And it’s a nice ride. The train drives along the coast for 20-30 minutes, so you’ll get some beautiful views of the coastal towns between Nice and Monaco. When you arrive in Monaco by train, you can take the stairs from the station down with a charming view of the town during your descent.
Once you reach the bottom of the stairs, it’s easy to hop onto Monaco’s hop-on hop-off bus called Monaco Le Grand Tour. There is a red bus stop marked with a map that says Monaco Le Grand Tour.
Monaco Le Grand Tour
It’s a pleasure walking around Monaco. Every building is stunning, and the dramatic landscape surrounding it contributes to an enjoyable experience.
I still recommend getting a pass from Monaco’s hop-on hop-off bus, Monaco Le Grand Tour. If you don’t pre-book tickets, you can easily purchase them on the bus.
They are 22€ each for adults, 20€ for students and seniors, and 8€ for children.
During high season (summertime), these buses stop every 15 minutes. During low season (winter), the buses stop every 30 minutes.
The benefits from the experience are tenfold:
- You get the opportunity to ride a double-decker bus all over Monaco!
- There is a free audio guide for you to learn about Monaco culture and history.
- Since the city is built on a mountain, you’ll skip some walks uphill and catch the bus instead.
- With twelve stops, the bus stops everywhere you might need to go.
- You can see more of the city, especially if you’re crunched for time!
Plus, if you’re like I am, and you’re shy about taking pictures, you don’t have to worry about those fears on this bus. You will be surrounded by visitors from countries around the world who are also in awe of the surrounding beauty.
Place du Palais, the Prince’s Palace
Visiting the Prince’s Palace gives you a glimpse into the lavish life of Monaco’s royalty.
You cannot take any photos inside the museum. Instead, focus on listening to the complimentary audio guide. You’ll feel like you’re walking through the history of the Prince’s Palace.
From the Prince’s Palace, you can either walk or take the Monaco Le Grand Tour Bus down to the Oceanographic Museum and Aquarium.
Musée océanographique de Monaco, The Oceanographic Museum
Don’t miss out on this one.
When you first enter, you can follow the stairs down and into the aquarium. When you enter the aquarium, you feel like you are actually amongst the fish.
The aquarium sits at the top of the Monaco rock, 85 meters (278 feet) above the sea.
On the top floor of the museum, you can snag a panoramic view of the city and the sea. This could be a great place to take a break and enjoy the view at the museum’s rooftop restaurant.
On your way out, you’ll find fluorescent coral very remniscent of succulents.
The entire experience is unlike any I’ve had before at an aquarium or aquatic museum. Add this to your itinerary, fo’ sho’!
If you purchase a Monaco Le Grand Tour pass, you can ride the bateau bus (boat bus) from one point of the harbor to the other.
Otherwise, it’s only 2€ per person for a peaceful one-way ride with a pretty view of the harbor and, of course, Monaco.
Being on and around the harbor is exciting if you’re not accustomed to the lavish lifestyle of the wealthy. There are glamorous yachts all around the harbor. You might get lucky to glimpse into someone’s extravagant yacht cushioned with leather seats and equipped with a stocked bar.
Walk Through Monaco-Ville
When you visit Monaco, definitely make time to walk around Monaco-Ville. At every turn, you’ll see beauty – whether you admire the pastel-colored buildings, or the dramatic landscape in the background.
We tried a couple of restaurants on the Promenade. Our favorite of the two was the reasonably priced and delicious burgers served at Grubers. For a satisfying meal in Monaco, their prices were very reasonable, and food very good.
Casino Monte Carlo
Absolutely a must: make the time to stop by the Casino Monte Carlo. Even if you don’t pay the entrance fee to step inside, the building itself is gorgeous. There are three other casinos in Monaco you can visit.
We actually stepped inside the Casino Café de Paris, a casino full of colorful slot machines located right beside the Casino Monte Carlo. It’s fun to walk around, and maybe even test your luck with a few euros on the machines.
Don’t worry: you don’t have to break the bank to visit Monaco. Walking around the Principality is a treat of its own, and you can easily find attractions that will interest anyone you’re traveling with (or just you, if you’re traveling alone!).
For me, taking the train along the Côte d’Azur was the icing on the cake. It’s amazing to see the communities built on top of cliffs and along the sea.
Are you adding Monaco to your bucket list? Then don’t forget to pin or share!
Although Monaco was my favorite place along the Côte d’Azur, there was so much I didn’t see!
What’s your favorite town along the Côte d’Azur? Or, if you’ve visited Monaco, what were your favorite parts?