One Day in Monaco: A Monaco Itinerary
Are you visiting Monaco? Monaco is the second smallest country in the world, right behind the Vatican City, hence one day is quite sufficient to have a great time!
We had a great time when we visited Monaco, and now we have compiled the best things to do in Monaco for a day trip. Read on for to find a travel guide and itinerary to help you spend a glorious day here!
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What's covered in this post
- One Day in Monaco: A Monaco Itinerary
- One Day in Monaco: Some background about Monaco
- Google Map for Walking around Monaco
- How much time do you need in Monaco?
- Day trip to Monaco: Getting to and getting around Monaco
- One day in Monaco: What to do in Monaco for a day?
- Where to eat in Monaco
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- Thoughts about One Day in Monaco
- Logistics before visiting Monaco
- Like it? Pin it!
One Day in Monaco: Some background about Monaco
The word Monaco seems to always conjure up images of James Bond, Formula 1 (F1) Grand Prix and suitcases full of money being thrown on the table by gamblers at the casino.
Or luxury yachts and extravagant hotels, such as the Hotel de Paris Monte Carlo.
The truth is probably not far away, but you will be missing out if you think Monaco is only for the rich and famous. There is another side of Monaco in the Old Town that is not commonly seen, which we will take your through today.
Anyone can have a good time here!
The history of Monaco goes back to 1215, when France, which it was part of, granted the land to Genoa.
The land has since been in control by the Grimaldi family and in 1861, was granted full country status as part of the Franco-Monegasque treaty,
Today, it is widely known as the playground of the wealthy, and is one of the richest and safest countries in the world.
Later in this Monaco Travel Blog, you will find out more on what is Monaco famous for.
Google Map for Walking around Monaco
Here is a Google Map that contains all the places covered in this 1 Day Monaco Itinerary.
There are 2 layers, one covering the things to do in Monaco, while the other layer shows you where to eat in Monaco.
How to use: Take note you will have to be signed in to your Google Account.
- Click on the image below, a new page will open
- If you are signed into Google, the map will be automatically saved
- Make sure to do this step so that you can easily refer back to the locations even when you are offline.
- Next time, simply open up Google Maps again and find this map under “Your Places” –> “Maps”.
Expert tip: Be sure to download offline maps in Google Maps when you have an internet connection. You might not have data or access to WiFi, and the offline version will come in super handy.
How much time do you need in Monaco?
Since Monaco is a pretty small country, it means that you can easily visit it as a day trip, but of course, there are lots of people who prefers to spend a bit more time here.
If you plan to take part in as many activities as possible and take it slow, 3 days 2 nights is sufficient for a stay here.
This gives you the chance to see as much of Monaco without compromising on the travel experience.
Day trip to Monaco: Getting to and getting around Monaco
Sitting along the French Riviera, this Mediterranean country is landlocked by France, and its coastline faces the beautiful Mediterranean Sea.
Getting in and out is very easy, thanks to the highly developed public transport system which allows you to easily drive in, take a bus or train, or if you have the budget, by helicopter.
Some of the lucky ones will take their boat and sail into the famous Hercule Port, or you can simply hire a private shuttle to bring you in.
The easiest way will be from the city of Nice, only about 30 minutes away by bus service 100.
From Nice and a number of French cities. you can take a train to Monaco too. The main train station in Monaco is Gare de Monaco Monte Carlo. If you are arriving by this method, you should definitely pay a visit to Sainte Devote Chapel, a short walk from the train station.
Can you walk around Monaco?
Can you walk around Monaco? Well, yes!
Getting around Monaco doesn’t require any fancy machinery though, just 2 good feet.
The country has a total area of only 2.02 square kilometers, which makes walking one of the best choices to get around.
How long does it take to walk across Monaco?
How long does it take to walk through Monaco then?
A person can usually walk from one end of Monaco to the other in an average time of 56 minutes.
However, we got to tell you upfront, Monaco is hilly, and you might find yourself face to face with a seemingly endless flight of stairs.
But fret not, as there are lots of elevators spread across the land, making the upper regions accessible for anyone.
The local bus service brings visitors to all the popular spots in the country, so this could be a suitable alternative for you. Or you can get a ticket for the Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour that takes you around the entire city.
To get in-depth information about how to get to Monaco and around it, check out our destination guide to Monaco!
Here’s what you will find over there, and start making plans for your Monaco visit!
- Best time to go to Monaco
- Major events of the year
- Some facts about Monaco
- Get to Monaco
- Getting around Monaco
- WiFi in Monaco
- Best things to eat in Monaco
- Best places to hang out and have a drink in Monaco
Read on to learn about Monaco in a day!
One day in Monaco: What to do in Monaco for a day?
Why visit Monaco? And how many days to spend in Monaco?
We think one day is sufficient, but if you are not rushing for time, 2 or 3 days would be better to take it easy.
In the worst case, just go ahead and spend a few hours in Monaco, you will not regret it.
For those of you planning a day trip to Monaco from Nice, you will be pleased to learn that you do not necessarily need to spend or gamble away, a fortune here.
We are not going to say that it is an affordable place, but it doesn’t have to be expensive, especially on a day trip only.
Monaco is blessed with natural beauty, set in a picturesque hilly location, with the best views of the Mediterranean sunsets.
Below you will find the best attractions of Monaco, starting with the world-famous Monte Carlo.
One day in Monaco: Walk through posh Monte Carlo
This is where the illustrious Monte Carlo Casino stands, and you will be pleased to know that the casino warmly welcomes visitors.
There is no entrance fee nor dress code, but games on the tables are on the high side.
Whether you choose to wager a bet or not, it is still worth your time to saunter through the hallways of the casino, people watch and admire the stunning architecture.
Everything about this part of town spells lavish and luxury, and outside the Grand Casino, you will find the main square where the Bentleys, Ferraris, and Rolls Royces are parked.
Make sure to walk around the building to its rear for some great photo op too.
You can spend one day in Monte Carlo, but you would be missing out on a lot more stuff. Find out more below!
Explore the Old Village Monaco-Ville
In this contrasting district, you will see the other side of Monaco, one that is seldom seen by the world.
This is the historical district, widely known as the Old Town, and it is here that you can find unique old buildings and narrow winding roads.
Step into another world when you are in Monaco-Ville to get a sense of how it used to be when luxury yachts and fast cars were not the order of the day, where 5-star resorts were nonexistent.
You will definitely feel like you are in a small town, colourful buildings all around you, and this is the most authentic Monaco experience you can have away from the bright lights.
The Rock of Monaco
Known as Rocher de Monaco to the French, it gives Monaco the dramatic landscape it is known for.
Rising 62 metres from the sea, this monolith is where the Old Town, or Monaco-Ville is located.
The history behind this rock is fascinating, as it served as a shelter for early humans, and this is evident by artifacts found in a cave in St Judist’s Gardens.
On this rock, you will find some of Monaco’s most famous sites such as the Prince’s Palace and Saint Nicholas Cathedral.
No trip to Monaco is really complete without coming here.
Prince’s Palace and Palace Square
Also located in the Old Town is the Prince’s Palace.
As you might expect, the Prince’s Palace is the official place of residence of the Prince of Monaco, Albert II.
At present, he is the reigning monarch of the Principality of Monaco, and head of the house of Grimaldi.
The palace was built during the 11th century when the German Emperor Henry granted the Genoans a fortress to protect against pirates.
However, it wasn’t until the 1500s that the palace was transformed into what it looks like currently.
Today, during certain parts of the year, the palace is open for the public to visit.
This period is from April to October, and do check the official website to get the actual dates.
You should also know that the Palace will be closed during the Grand Prix week.
In the courtyard, the golden statue of “Maliza” stands proud, greeting you as you approach the palace after a long tiring walk (unless you took a bus up).
From the outside, it may not look as splendid as some of the famous palaces in Europe, but step inside and you will be transformed into a totally different world.
The State Apartments, which is what you are allowed to visit, is filled with beautiful art pieces and decorated with lavish furniture, marble floors, and stunning stairways.
Outside in the palace square, you will find that at 11.55 am daily, a changing of the guard will take place.
Honestly, we do not know what is the fascination over this process, but if it’s your cup of tea, you now know the time you should be there.
And if you are searching for souvenirs in Monaco, consider the shop near the square here compared to those in Monte Carlo. You’re welcome since we just saved you a fortune.
So if you are here in summer, definitely pay a visit to the Prince’s Palace.
Where the rich and famous comes along and park their boats, Port Hercule is a landmark that is closely tied to the Monaco name.
In movies and pictures, this is one of the most used scenery to showcase Monaco.
For us, it is really a pleasant experience strolling along the port and admiring the boats, at the same time imagining which one will suit us best.
And while doing that, you can stop by the numerous restaurants and pubs to enjoy a tipple too.
Although most will think that this is for the rich to mingle, you would be in for a nice surprise as this is also a spot where local families come around and enjoy the sun and the sea.
While here, make sure you cross over to the adjacent Condamine street for more culinary options.
For early birds, make your way to the local market at Place d’Armes Square. You will find the freshest produce in all of Monaco without spending a bomb!
Exotic Garden of Monaco and Observatory Cave
Since Monaco is such a tiny country, some of you may think that there isn’t much in terms of nature here.
But surprise, surprise, there are spots hidden among the glitz and glamour here, waiting to be discovered.
One such spot is the Exotic Garden of Monaco and Observatory Cave.
Get there by taking the bus service number 2, as it is located up in the hills, offering a superb vantage point over the country, the port, and out into the sea.
This special garden is filled with unique flora since 1933, and you will get to see many different succulent plants coming from all over the world.
At the price of $7.20, the ticket also comprises the admission to the Observatory Cave.
It is located almost 100 metres below the gardens and takes about 300 steps to reach, one way.
Here, you will be taken through by a guide who will explain the formation of the cave as well as how it used to be a shelter for prehistoric men!
Do check the website before visiting as they are closed twice a year, and sometimes also when they need to do maintenance.
On the northwest end of Monaco, you will find this quaint and peaceful Japanese Garden.
Tip: Before you get there though, motorheads might notice the famous hairpin bend right in front of the Fairmont Hotel, a distinctive section of the Formula 1 race track.
Built in 1994 by the directions of Rainier III and designed by landscape architect Yasuo Beppu, this little piece of Zen is a great place for you to come relax.
Soak in all the components of the Japanese Garden, complete with a pond, adorned with lanterns, a striking waterfall, a tea house, and most importantly, a Zen Garden.
As one of the 4 traditional quarters of Monaco, Fontvieille is actually an area completed built by reclaiming land.
From the time of its birth, it has been developed into an industrial area focusing on high-tech and nonpolluting businesses.
It is suitable for you to visit too, as there are a few really nice spots to check out, such as the Fontvieille Park, the car collection of the Prince of Monaco, Princess Grace Rose Garden, the Naval Museum, and the Museum of Stamps and Coins.
Each of them has its own charm, and you can certainly pick out a couple to spend your time in Fontvieille.
Passport stamp in Monaco
If you want a free and unique souvenir, look no further than getting your passport stamped in Monaco.
Since there are no customs or checkpoints to pass through when visiting Monaco, visitors to this country will not automatically get a stamp.
To get one, head to the Office de Tourisme (Monaco Tourism Office) near the Monte Carlo casino. It is a 4 minute walk from the Monte Carlo Casino.
Once there, head to the counter and as the staff for a passport stamp. Take note it is open Monday to Saturday, 9 am to 7 pm, and Sunday 11 am to 1 pm.
Another location to get a passport stamp is at the train station, where you will find a tiny tourist office.
Drive around in a Ferrari
If you love cars and are willing to splash a bit of cash, this is the perfect activity, especially in the off-season when traffic is much lower.
Pick from either an F458 or F450 Ferrari to go on this once-in-a-lifetime drive along the French Riviera.
You will be accompanied by an instructor and choose between 30 or 60 minutes of exhilaration.
The driving route is extremely scenic and has enough twists and turns to test out your driving skills!
You even drive through the Monaco Grand Prix just like the F1 drivers!
Where to eat in Monaco
While dining options are plentiful in Monaco, they don’t really come cheap.
We were lucky to have tried out a few places, and here are our recommendations on the best places to eat in Monaco.
McDonald’s in Monaco
Yes, that’s right, McDonald’s.
Nope, we have not lost our minds. The reason why this fast food joint is in this list is simple: this is where you can get some of the cheapest food in Monaco, with a gorgeous view to boot.
Prices for food here are pretty typical and similar to anywhere else in Europe.
But what we really liked here is being able to look out towards the sea and enjoy the view while munching on a Big Mac.
- Boulevard Louis II, 98000 Monaco
Probably another shocker, but hear us out first.
Located above McDonald’s in the same building, we don’t really fancy eating here, although you can.
The reason Starbucks makes our list is because of the top notch views it offers, in an alfresco setting. No glass windows between you and the Mediterranean sea.
- Boulevard Louis II, 98000 Monaco
Cafe de Paris
You would be forgiven if you thought that you were in Paris, as this iconic restaurant has that Parisian vibe.
Serving up local and regional cuisine, Cafe de Paris is one of the best and wallet-friendly places to dine while mingling around with the locals.
Think stylish and trendy, with fresh food and a lively atmosphere.
- Place du Casino, Monte Carlo 98000, Monaco
- Daily 8am to 2am
Marché De la Condamine
As we mentioned earlier, this is the local market in Condamine, right next to Port Hercule.
Come here and pick out a spot to enjoy the fresh local cuisine. Try out some babarjuans, which are fritters made from Swiss chard and ricotta. It’s a local favourite.
Among the vendors, you will find the finest Monegasque specialties and eat to your heart’s content.
- Place d’Armes, Monte Carlo 98000, Monaco
- Daily 8am to 2am
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How long is Paris to Monaco travel time?
If you are visiting Monaco from the capital Paris, there are a few ways you can consider:
- By Bus – Takes 14 hours, suitable for hardcore bus lovers
- By Train – 6.5 hours or more, depending on the train line
- By Driving – great choice, we love road trips! The French countryside is lovely. Takes around 9 hours
- By Flight + Bus – Many flights from Paris depart for Nice, from which you can take the bus, train, or helicopter (more info in our Monaco Guide)
How much do I need for a day in Monaco?
Well, if you are not staying overnight, you can reduce your expenditure significantly, since hotels in Monaco are generally quite high-priced.
If you are following this itinerary, you will see that most of the activities are free of charge. Yay!
Assuming 2 meals and getting around in public transport or walking, you should cater roughly €60. Do check the individual websites of attractions for their prices if you are visiting any.
Where to stay in Monaco?
If you have enough time, we do recommend staying a night. It gives you more time to wander around and enjoy the night lights at the harbour, play a few hands at the casino or just chill out in one of the many cool bars around.
For those on a really tight budget, here’s a tip for you: consider staying in Beausoleil instead of in Monaco instead.
Beausoleil (France) is a neighbouring town situated above Monaco on the hillside.
While they share a border, there are no customs controls here.
You can rent an apartment and walk down to Monaco, but remember, the return journey is up a series of steep staircases. But you do save a fair bit.
Accommodation in Monaco is aplenty.
Or search for your favourite on Booking.com
Thoughts about One Day in Monaco
Monaco was not somewhere we planned to visit, but rather it came about due to circumstances.
We were in Paris, then down to Nice, and Monaco was really somewhere that fit the schedule and timing well.
We went without many expectations but left feeling that it was a pretty special place, somewhere great to spend one day, or perhaps a few.
During the off-season, you get the whole place to yourself, and walking around the country is a wonderful way to explore all the nooks and crannies.
You might have also noticed we left out the Oceanographic Museum, and that’s because in general, we have mixed feelings about aquariums. Since we did not have the time or the knowledge, we decided to skip it.
Do you want to visit Monaco? Let us know in the comments!
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Logistics before visiting Monaco
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Find cheap flights.
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Find the best accommodation.
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Handy travel guide.
For the old school kid in you, get a travel guide book and get lost exploring the city.
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Planned for you activities in Monaco.
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More resources to help you.
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