Ah, Monaco. You bring to mind images of luxury and fame; from the world famous Monte Carlo Casino to yachts, helicopters, and fast cars – you sure do know how to put envy in the eyes of everyone who visits. I spent one day in Monaco pretending to be rich and famous… ha, who am I kidding? I spent the day fawning over the many luxurious items I came across, from big boats to luxury apartment buildings. It was definitely a great day trip in the French Riviera. Here’s how to spend one day in Monaco!
Monaco is the second smallest country in the world (Vatican City is first). A small principality about the size of Central Park, it boasts a population of almost 40,000; with every 1 in 3 persons being millionaires or billionaires (thanks in large part to its status as a tax haven). So you can imagine a city that is the playground of millionaires is going to be impressive! I was honestly pretty amazed by how clean the city was, how well dressed the people were, and just how many expensive stores were on every street. There were chandeliers in the shopping mall, for crying out loud!
Monaco is easily accessible from Nice; it’s only ~20km away.
Buses and trains make regular departures and are the cheapest option. Or if you feel like splurging, you can always take a helicopter ride from Nice airport and arrive in style. I saw helicopters arriving on rooftop pads frequently during the day. No big deal in Monaco!
Driving to Monaco is also very simple, and there are numerous parking garages. But be prepared to spend a premium on parking. Since we rented a car for our drive through the French Riviera, this was how we arrived and we paid ~20 euros for parking.
While you can certainly spend a few days in Monaco living it up, if you are among the peasants like me, I felt one day was more than enough to see the sights and hold on to what money I have (ha).
This was pretty much the only Monaco attraction I knew about before visiting. This famous casino is the go to place for gambling and brushing shoulders with the rich and famous. If rolling the dice isn’t your thing, you can take a peek inside the lobby, but you’ll have to pay 10euros to go inside the casino. The view from outside is spectacular as well!
Stroll along this bay to see the big yachts up close!
This aquarium and museum seems to rise out of the cliffs from the Mediterranean. It’s worth a visit especially if you are a marine enthusiast.
This Romanesque Catholic Church is where many of the Grimaldi family (Monaco royalty) is buried, including Grace Kelly. History lesson: The famous actress married Prince Rainier III in 1956 and became a Princess!
The royal home sits atop a hill overlooking Monaco. You can visit inside or view the changing of the guards just before noon. The palace offers the best views of the city!
Tip: Monaco is made up of mountains on three sides and the Mediterranean Sea on one border. Take advantage of the numerous free elevators and escalators throughout the city – your feet will thank you!
This was my favorite part of the city. The narrow streets with colorful buildings are a great place to grab lunch or an afternoon gelato!