Port Hercules

Are you planning a trip to Monaco and looking for some tips. In this article, I will show you how to visit Monte Carlo and what are things to do in one day. You’ll be amazed at how easy to see the tourist attractions by the end of the day.

Monaco is the second smallest country after the Vatican. When we hear Monaco’s name, we think of the luxury boats, cars, the Monte Carlo casino, and the Monaco Grand Prix. It all sounds like a myth but the truth has to be seen.

Monaco and the city of Monte Carlo generate a different image. And they were often seen as a tax haven because there is no personal income tax. One of the reasons why most rich foreigners live here. Isn’t that intriguing? See how it is in reality.

So if you want to testify it for yourself, continue reading as I will explain how to do things in one day without spending the night in Monaco.

First, Plan The trip.

I have planned this trip many times but always postponed, and how more I hold off, my desire gets bigger to see this place. So I set three days on this trip, but I didn’t spend all my time in Monaco, as there are other beautiful places to see in French Riviera, France.

As for travelers, visiting Monaco on a budget is possible to do easily regardless of being the world’s wealthiest country. There are beautiful things to do without spending so much money if you do it right. And not necessary to spend days in Monaco, as you see most of the highlights in one day.

Monaco Tips And Budget

First and foremost, Monaco doesn’t have an airport unless you hire a private helicopter. If you’re looking for a budgetary trip to Monaco, flying to Nice would be the best option. 

However, flying during the weekend can be expensive. Nice is also a renowned destination in France due to its beautiful beaches and warm temperature. Undoubtedly if you search on Skyscanner, you will find cheap tickets to Nice. It may be interesting to read about how to find cheap flights. I flew for less than one hundred euros on weekdays.

Also, if you want to minimize the cost for Monaco, it is sensible to stay in France (Nice) and make a day trip to Monte Carlo. It is very cheap to get there by bus or train. 

Arriving At Nice Airport And Getting To The Center

It’s incredible how cheap you can get to the city center in Nice. Outside terminals 1 and 2 – you have tram lines number 2, which costs 1.50 euros. Tickets are available from the machines, and you can pay with credit cards or euros currency. 

It takes a 20-minute ride to the city, and every stop it indicates on the board. So if you have booked a hotel in Nice, look at the nearest tram stop.

Taxi is expensive – I take the Uber on my return flight because trams didn’t run, and it charges me 31 euros for a ten-minute ride. I have no choice. May 1 is worldwide labor day, and I didn’t know it could affect some of the public transport in France.

Where To Stay

My first plan was to stay in Monaco, but when I saw the lowest price of a standard room was more than one hundred euros, I decided to stay in Nice.

That’s it. If you want to visit Monaco on a budget, get a room in France (Nice). There are many affordable places to stay if you check on Booking.com. I’m staying at Residence Pearl, a small studio located in the Old town of Nice, France.

In addition, Nice is a beautiful city and much cheaper than Monaco in terms of food and drinks.

How To Reach Monaco From Nice (France)

It’s super easy! You can take a taxi, train or bus. The trip takes less than one hour plus you can enjoy the scenery.

  • Taxi is expensive. I know because a short ride of 10 minutes with Uber to the airport in Nice cost me 31 euros. So imagine a longer ride will triple the price and maybe more.
  • The train to Monte Carlo costs 4.20 euro one-way, taking 25 minutes.
  • Bus number 100 €1.50, takes 45 minutes, plus the scenic view if you sit on the right side. 

You see, you have different options on how to get to Monte Carlo which doesn’t cost you a lot of money. 

If you check the bus website Lignes d’Azur you’ll find the timetable. 

Where Is The Bus Stop In Nice To Monte Carlo

To find the bus to Monte Carlo, you need to get to Port Lympia station, within walking distance from the city center of Nice. 

Otherwise, tram line number 2 will take you to Port Lympia as it’s the end stop of line 2. The tram costs 1.50 euro, and you can use the same ticket for the bus to Monaco.

Reminder: If you stay in the old town of Nice, you won’t find tram line 2 – take line 1 to Grimaldi station and change.

Don’t get confused with the express bus (100X) – these are not the same. I recommend taking the number 100 with a destination Menton.

Find The Bus At Rue Fodere

Take the stairs and cross the road when you get off the tram. The bus stop may be intricate to find, but if you ask anyone, they’ll point you there.

Like any bus stop in Nice, you will see the bus number on the pole, and if you aren’t sure, do not hesitate to ask anyone. The people in Nice are accommodating and willing to help you compared to other cities in France.

There are buses every 15 minutes to Monte Carlo if you miss one. And for the ticket, if you haven’t buy yet, you can purchase one from the driver for 1.50 euro.

The French Riviera, Côte d'Azur

The bus makes a stop on the way to drop and pick up passengers and takes 45 minutes to get to Monte Carlo. Just sit back and enjoy the ride. Try to get a seat on the right side of the bus for a scenic view of the French Riviera. 

Phone Roaming Tips!

Be sure to close your mobile roaming before entering Monaco, as it can cost you a lot. Monaco is outside the European cell phone roaming; even opening my Google maps from time to time cost me so much.

Suppose you are familiar with the app Maps.me – better to download these before your trip. It is an easy map to use as navigation for driving and walking because you don’t need the internet.  

Or get a city map at the visitor center near the bus stop (Casino). But sometimes I’m not satisfied using the paper map. Therefore I used my google maps; I forgot to download Monaco on (Maps. Me). Lessons to be learned next time.

Where To Get Off In Monte Carlo

When you depart in Nice, you won’t miss a stop because each stopped annunciates, and it also shows on the board. So you have an idea of where you are. 

Once you reach Monaco, the first stop is at Place de Armes. You will notice that many people are getting off here for the Palace.

The next one is at the Port, where all the luxury yachts moored. The third stop is the Casino – if you need a city map, it is better to get off here before exploring Monte Carlo. The last one is Place de Moulins – a hilly location, and from here you have a beautiful view of Monte Carlo.

Be sure to get off at one of the four stops because the bus will continue to Menton, where the end stops.

Getting Around In Monte Carlo

The tourist attractions are not far from each other, and walking is the best you can do. However, during my visit on the last day of April, they were preparing for the Grand Prix event, and some streets were not accessible, so I had to make some detours.

Monaco is not completely flat because of its location on a rock in the Mediterranean Sea – some parts are steep. But there are accessible elevators you can take.

The only thing that can aggravate is the heat. It was over 30 degrees during my visit, which is strenuous, especially if you do some ascending walk. But no worry, you can take the bus anytime if you feel tired.

The city of Monte Carlo makes it easy for visitors to find the cheapest way to get around. Bus number 2 takes you to the tourist attraction for 1.50 euro. 

What Are Things To Do In One Day

Please don’t get so excited. Monte Carlo is very photogenic, and it’s overwhelming where to begin. And with patience, you will see the tourist attractions by the end of the day.
You can choose for yourself where to start!

As I mentioned above, if coming with a bus from Nice, you have to choose which stops you get off.

I started at the Casino, where I got off the bus and went to the visitor center for the city map. And from there, I started my walk and continued around.

Monte Carlo Casino And The Square

Monte Carlo Casino

When you visit Monaco, you can hardly miss the Casino. It is also something Monte Carlo is known for, and it transports you to a completely different world. So whether you want to gamble or not, be sure to look inside.

This Casino embellishes with statues, paintings, and beautiful stained glass windows. If you happen to be here in the morning, there’s a chance you can visit inside without being paid for the entrance. I only needed to show my covid-19 passport and ID.

Japanese Garden

Monte Carlo has several beautiful gardens that you can visit. But some have an entry fee, such as the exotic garden, but it was closed during my visit.
So if you want to visit one of the gardens without being charged – the Japanese Garden is well worth it.

The location is just a ten-minute walk from the Casino.
Feel a little bit of Japan while in Monaco, an authentic Japanese experience. It’s a lovely place to spend some time if you need to escape the crowded city. It’s Monaco’s green and quiet corner.

Port Hercules

The Port is the most photographed spot in Monaco.
It is a picturesque area with all the insanely expensive yachts of all sizes moored in the beautiful blue-green water—the most prestigious harbor in the world.
Imagine yourself living rich and famous for a few minutes and pretending the illusion is a reality for a short while.
However, getting up there – you have to do some steep walks to see the mesmerizing views. But the exertion gives fulfillment once you reach the viewpoint.

La Condamine

It is between the Rocher (Monaco-Ville) in the west and Monte-Carlo behind Port Hercule.
A wander through La Condamine has an unusual atmosphere in a typical Mediterranean decor. You will find the market held daily in the square from 6:00 am to 2:00 pm, where you find regional products like fruits, vegetables, etc.
If looking for reasonably priced food, this is the place to be. However, if you come here at noon, you may be sitting in a crowded place. I’m having trouble finding a table for me alone.

The Prince Palace

You will find Prince Palace in Monaco-Ville. It is the first stop (Place D’Armes) if coming with a bus from Nice. 

The location is on a high rock near the harbor of Monaco. And to remind you that it is an ascending walk to the palace grounds, but well worth the effort.

Usually, as a tourist, you can visit the throne room and the chapel in the Palace with an entrance ticket. But it is no longer open for visitors since Covid-19. 

The change of the guards happens at 11:55 in the morning. I’ve missed it, but a delightful stroll around the public square was more than satisfactory.

Wandering Through Narrow Medieval Streets

You’ll get to the old town from the Palace square. It is undoubtedly worth walking through the colorful narrow alleyways to find the terraces, shops, and souvenirs.

The contrast around it didn’t feel like you were in Monaco – it is a place where fewer people are around. And without becoming fully aware, you will come out to a small square where you find the cathedral. Thus, it’s worth taking the time.

The Cathedral Of Monaco

You find the Cathedral in the old town not far from the Palace.
An imposing building frequently visited by many when exploring Monaco’s Old Town. The beautiful interior is worth admiring—the churches with many histories where several Royal family members are burry in the crypt under the Cathedral. The Cathedral is open daily and free to visit.

Palace Of Justice

This impressive building is very close to the Cathedral. I accidentally stumbled upon it during my walk, and I didn’t know that is the Justice of Palace in Monte Carlo. I only find out later on when looking at the photo.

It has two staircases at the front that meet on a balcony on the first floor. The striking buildings can draw your attention and make you stand still for a moment. It is not open to visitors, which you can only admire from the outside.

Going Shopping

It is no doubt that shopping is one of the things to do in Monte Carlo. Remember, Monaco is a tax haven. Did you know that shopping in Monaco is entirely tax-free? Yes, it can be very tempting even if you only go window shopping. I wasn’t planning to buy anything, but walking on one of the shopping streets opened my eyes.

The Beach (Larvotto)

Larvotto is a seaside in Monte Carlo, an artificial sandy beach made of small pebbles but has crystal clear blue water. You also have a stunning view from the shore. I wasn’t planning to swim – I only had a quick peek to see where people sunbathe. To get there can be done by walking, or take the number 6 bus from Casino Square and Fontvielle.

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