All about Monaco: Monaco Travel Destination Guide
What are some countries that are the Richest and Safest in the world? Did you know that Monaco is one of them?
It shouldn’t come as a surprise since we all saw James Bond pulling up at the Monte Carlo Hotel in his Aston Martin, looking suave and all.
Monaco, is a sovereign city-state, country, and micro state on the French Riviera in Western Europe.
It is located between France and Italy and is a 30 minute drive from Nice airport (or a few minutes helicopter trip).
There are no border controls between Monaco and France or Italy.
If you are visiting neighbouring Nice, make sure to also read our travel destination guide on Nice!
Hence, it makes for a fast and easy destination from its neighbouring countries.
Monaco stretches over 200 hectares and runs along a 4km coastline, 40 hectares of which have been carefully reclaimed from the sea.
The number of square meters of green space per resident is far greater than in most comparable cities, which makes it really lovely to walk around and enjoy the beautiful Riviera view.
Thanks to its ingenuity, you can find 2 ports in this tiny country that serves a large number of yachting enthusiasts.
Beach lovers can rejoice too, as you can soak in the warm Mediterranean sea waters.
Monaco has a population of around 38,000, of which around 8,000 are Monegasque nationals.
The rest, 8 out of 10 residents are citizens of countries forming part of the European Economic Area: French nationals, Italians, British, Swiss and Russians.
English and Italian are widely spoken even though the official language is French.
Without a doubt, Monaco is one of the best destinations to visit when you are in the French Riviera!
Read more about our One Day in Monaco here!
Best time to visit Monaco
We think that the best time to travel to Monaco is either during springtime or fall, where you get to experience the best weather.
April and October are ideal months for a vacation as the balmy weather makes it propitious for sunbathing on its beach.
Between December and February in winter, this luxurious getaway loses some of its sheen due to the cold. But, if you are looking to save some serious cash on hotels, this would be the best time for you.
Spring (March through May)
Highs range from 74.4°F (23.6°C) and 55.2°F (12.9°C) with warmer temperatures in the later months. Rain is quite common during this season with 3 to 5 days of significant rainfall each month.
Not forgetting the Formula Grand Prix held here every year. Come join the thrill if you plan for a visit in May!
Summer (from June to August)
The middle-year months have very comfortable weather, but it also means that this is the peak season for tourism in Monaco.
If you visit in the summer, beaches will be very crowded. The weather will be hot, and the restaurants will have long queues, and you will experience Monaco at its liveliest!
Perfect for sun lovers and party seekers.
Fall (September to November)
The temperature ranges from 56.4°F (13.6°C) to 75.9°F (24.4°C), which is really comfortable given the humidity and wind.
The rain picks up during this season, especially during November when it experiences the wettest month of the year. There will be fewer tourists during these months due to the weather, hence, hotels are more affordable.
Winter (between December and February)
Weather this time of year in Monaco gets quite chilly.
The average temperature during this season is between 53.5°F (11.9°C) 61°F (16.1°C). This time of the year is fairly slow with lesser tourists so you can have the whole city for yourself!
Major events of the year
- January : Festival International Du Cirque
- January : Le Rallye Monte-Carlo
- May : Grand Prix de Formula 1 de Monaco
- June : Monte-Carlo Sporting Summer Festival
- July : Monaco Art en Ciel
- September : Monaco Yacht Show
Some facts about Monaco
- Monaco is the safest city in the world
- It is an expensive city where its citizens have the third highest per capita GDP in the world
- One in three are millionaires in this mini country
- Governed by Prince Albert II
- An average person can walk across the width of the county in approximately 56 minutes
- Largest police force in the world
- World’s second smallest nation after Vatican City
- Monaco does not allow its citizens to enter the casino in the country
Getting to Monaco
In short, there is really just 1 bus ride that you should consider using when getting from Nice to Monaco: the 100 service.
Do you want to miss out some of the best views in the world for $1.50? Yes this is not a typing mistake!
To take the bus, make your way to the bus stop at Le Port. Last we checked, there are no signboards but do not worry as this is the right spot. If you are unsure, just ask someone.
The street name is Place de Ille de Beauté.
Bus rides will take about 45 minutes to reach Monaco. Make sure to sit on the right side of the bus and that you don’t board the 100X, as this does not give you the views!
Monaco does not have any international airport.
The nearest airport is in Nice – the Cote d’Azur Airport.
International carriers such as British Airways, Emirates, Lufthansa and Swiss International Airlines all operate flights to and from the Cote d’Azur Airport.
New York is a 9 hours flight, San Francisco is a 13 Hours flight and London is a 2 hours flight.
If you want to arrive in style, make sure to book a ride on a helicopter!
You can skip the queues and not have to lug you bags to the train station or squeeze into tiny bus seats.
Fly from Nice to Monaco in luxury and exclusivity and take in the best views of the Cote D’Azur from the skies!
The train station (Gare de Monaco) for SNCF train services is in Monte Carlo, Monaco.
The main station is linked into the European rail network, but depending on your point of origin, you may have to change trains in order to get to Monte Carlo.
From Nice, the ride takes only 20-25 minutes and brings you right into the city. Check out the timetables at the official site.
Monaco is easily accessible by car, though this may not be the best option to explore the country, since it is easily covered on foot and parking spaces may not be so easy to find and prices are high.
However, if you wish to drive into Monaco, you can do so by taking the A8 highway from Nice, and that takes you about 30-35 minutes. Total driving distances falls around 30 kilometres.
Lots of related information can be found in the official website.
There are many cruise lines that offer cruises that stopover in Monaco – Crystal Cruises, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line and Silversea Cruises.
The Regent Seven Seas Cruises and The SeaDream Yacht Club have cruises that start or end in Monaco.
The newer Cruise Ship Terminal (Nouvelle Digue de Monaco) is in Port Hercule, and from the Port Hercule cruise terminal, it is easy to hop onto a taxi for the last leg of your journey to your final destination.
You can also take the ferry from Nice to get to Monaco, taking about 45 minutes.
Getting around Monaco
Look, Monaco is really tiny. If you read one of the facts above, you will see that you can walk from one end to the other in only 56 minutes!
By having said that, there are of course instances when you wish to give your feet a rest, especially after trekking through the shopping alleys.
Monaco has 6 bus lines running round trips. Tickets can be purchased on board the bus or at the ticket machines or C.A.M website.
Refer to the website for bus service, bus routes, timetables and maps.
- Line 1: Monaco Ville – Saint Roman
- Line 2: Monaco Ville – Exotic Garden
- Line 3: Fontvieille (Shopping Mall) – Hector Otto
- Line 4: Fontvieille (Shopping Mall) – Saint Roman
- Line 5: Hospital – Larvotto
- Line 6: Fontvieille (Shopping Mall) – Larvotto
Buses operate between 7:00am and 9:30pm, Seven days a week.
In our opinion the best way to see Monaco, unless you are strapped for time or maybe you are here for a day trip only.
Walking lets you see the entire city and find some hidden spots to enjoy a coffee while resting your feet.
Pavements are well maintained and traffic is relatively light in most parts of the city, hence making this method extremely enjoyable!
Not our favourite way for sure, as the usual rates to get just about anywhere is $25.
WiFi in Monaco
Before talking about the WiFi here, we just want to point out an important info about data roaming. When we were here, one of us couldn’t get any signal at all, as Monaco doesn’t seem to be in the coverage list of the provider. So in case you wish to use data, please check with your provider first.
You will be able to get Wifi at cafes, restaurants and local eateries. The city of Monaco has also introduced free public WiFi.
To search for free wifi hotspots, check out this WiFimap and download the app.
Best things to eat in Monaco
Monaco cuisine is highly influenced by French and Italian, and you will easily find that seafood and fish are widely available.
Its national food is the Barbagiuan, a savoury, filled pastry found mainly in the eastern part of the French Riviera and in northern Italy.
You can have it as a snack or appetiser.
The name Barbagiuan came from from the Monegasque language and it simply means ‘Uncle John’.
Some guy Jean couldn’t find a sauce for his ravioli and chose to stuff with Swiss chard instead and fried it .
Long story short, this was how this yummy snack became folklore here. It is especially eaten on 19 November, Monaco’s national day.
The main ingredients are swiss chard and ricotta, but you might find other ingredients such as onions and parmesan cheese too.
Best places to hang out and have a drink in Monaco
Cafe De Paris Monte-Carlo
Cafe De Paris Monte-Carlo is located at Monte-Carlo Casino and serves Mediterranean cuisine.
You may choose to sit by the terrace, perfect for a brunch or afternoon tea.
If you prefer to be greeted by elegance, choose the indoors.
Two-course lunch menu are available at €35 which includes a starter and a main course, or a €33 menu which includes a main course and a dessert.
You may make an online booking.
Opens lunchtime from Monday to Friday only (excludes bank holidays).
Place de Casino, 98000 Monaco
Craving for Chinese food? Check out Song Qi then!
A modern fine dining restaurant that serves Chinese Dim Sum to noodles, stir-fried and steam food.
Make sure to try out their signature duck and crispy duck.
You will be blown away by the delicious food this restaurant has to offer!
7 Av. Princesse Grace, 98000 Monaco
If you are planning for a romantic dinner, you gotta try Avenue 31.
A contemporary restaurant located near the sea and Princess Grace Monument offers modern Italian and Mediterranean cuisine. We were greeted by the smiley, courteous staff and they were certainly very attentive to our requests and needs.
31 Av. Princesse Grace, 98000 Monaco
Sto Ben Boulangerie
Coffee and pastry, which Shang always have time for.
After a visit to the Palais Princier de Monaco (Prince’s Palace of Monaco), we stopped by this undiscovered cafe where locals go for their coffee and dessert fix.
We entered to orange tables and chairs, and a cute lady. This is a subsidiary by Costa Monaco which has a great variety of pastries. Trust me, you will be spoilt for choice!
8-10 rue Basse, Monaco City
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Logistics before visiting Monaco
Find cheap flights.
Air tickets are usually the bulk of your expenses. Set up an alert and snag cheap fares with Skyscanner.
Find the best accommodation.
Book a place ahead of time to get good rates. Booking.com has transparent fees and excellent rates.
Handy travel guide.
For the old school kid in you, get a travel guide book and get lost exploring the city.
You don’t need us to teach you to be a responsible adult, do you? Get a quote here.
Planned for you activities in Monaco.
Need a guide to show you and your group around? Lots of operators here to choose from here. You know who they are and how they are reviewed.
More resources to help you.
All other useful travel resources we use when we book our trips.