Monaco, the epitome of luxury and the playground of the rich and famous, if you get the chance to visit this haven, take it! While this is a very expensive place, there are many things to do in Monaco when on a budget. With gorgeous blue waters, warm and sunny weather and beautiful architecture, this dreamy destination is located in the French Riviera. You will find it off the blue coast of the Mediterranean sea in the French region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur.
- Currency: Euros
- Language: French
- Monaco is not part of the EU
- It’s the second smallest country in the world; after The Vatican City
- Monaco is bordered by France on the North, South and West with the Mediterranean Sea to its East
- Monaco is famous for its casino in Monte Carlo. However, residents of Monaco are not allowed to gamble or even enter the casino!
- The Monaco Grand Prix is one of the most famous races in the world.
Logistics and things to do in Monaco when on a budget
1. Getting there
Monaco is a very expensive country, catered towards the wealthy and the famous. Meaning you will pay extortionate amounts for accommodation. The good news is that there are things do in Monaco when on a budget. The best and most popular way for those of us who can’t afford yachts and lambos to visit this beautiful country is by staying in a city just outside Monaco. The most popular destination is Nice, where accommodation is much cheaper and public transport links the two areas. There is a very scenic bus route into Monaco for just 1.50 EUR. There is also a train option for those who would prefer something more direct.
We stayed in Nice and we used the bus to get into Monaco. We found it to be an amazing experience. The trip will take you under an hour and you will only need to use one bus if you do it right! You can use route 100 which starts at the Old Port (Le Port) in Nice and this bus will take you all the way into Monaco. We didn’t use the train option so I can’t give any feedback regarding it but you can find more information here.
When in Monaco there is a local bus that you can use to get around. However it is by no means necessary. With an area of about 2km squared, Monaco is small and very walkable. If you do want to use the bus it will cost around 2 EUR per trip.
2. What to do in a day
Being the second smallest country in the world, the good news is that you can see just about everything that you need to see in a day. And of course there are many things to do in Monaco when on a budget. There are several stops you can get off the bus at but I would suggest getting off at the last stop; Monte Carlo/Casino. That way you can explore the east side of Monaco first and then work your way over to the palace.
Here’s a list of things to do in Monaco when on a budget
Monte Carlo casino
You will exit the bus outside the tourism office which is great to get information on the last bus times, train options and any other burning questions you may have. Then make your way down the hill through the park where you will find the stunning “Casino de Monte-Carlo”. Famously featured in the James Bond movies “Never Say Never Again” and “Golden eye”, this is the heart of Monaco and the building is a piece of art. Fancy sports cars and the rich and famous gravitate towards here. There is also a great view from the back side of the casino so make sure to walk around and get the full view. You can enter the building for free but it will cost you 12 EUR if you would like to enter the casino area. You will also need your passport. This is probably number one on the list of things to do in Monaco when on a budget as entrance to the actual building is free.
If you are a little curious as to how the wealthy live and are up for feeling just a bit envious, take a walk along the seafront where you will find rows and rows of luxurious yachts. It’s truly awe-inspiring to see. Of all the ideas on this list of things to do in Monaco when on a budget, this will be the one to inspire you to work a little harder towards those big dreams.
Prince’s Palace (Monaco-Ville)
The palace is located in the Old Town and while it’s not the most fascinating palace around, the view from the top is exquisite. You will need to climb a steep hill of stairs to reach the top but built on the site of a fortress you will have a fantastic view of the yacht-strewn bay. The changing of the guards ceremony happens everyday at 11:55am which is always fun to see.
Explore the Old Town
Situated in the area of the palace, take some time to roam the streets of the stunning Old Town. Filled with little shops, cafes and restaurants, it’s a great place to stop for a drink or some lunch.
Saint Nicholas Cathedral
Once you’re finished at the palace and made your way through the Old Town, you should be on the ocean side. Here you will find the Saint Nicholas’ Cathedral. This is the church where all the royal family events take place; i.e. baptisms, weddings, so it’s fascinating to take a look inside. It’s free to enter and displays some impressive architecture very pretty stained glass and painted ceiling.