One Day in Monaco Itinerary: What to Do in Monaco for a day
One day in Monaco allows you to see the highlights of this city state. Follow this one day in Monaco itinerary to see the best things to do in Monaco for a day.
The Principality of Monaco is a dazzling and glamorous city-state nestled along the French Riviera.
When you think of Monaco, I bet Formula 1, James Bond, Ferraris and super yachts come to mind. Well you are not far off! With its world-renowned casinos, prestigious yacht-filled harbor, and prestigious Formula 1 race, Monaco is a playground for the rich and famous.
However aside from the rich and glamor, Monaco also has a lot to offer, from gardens to the beach to world class museums, you will find a wide array of activities to enjoy during your one day in Monaco.
This one day Monaco itinerary will show you the highlights of Monaco and the best things to do in Monaco in one day.
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Some Facts About Monaco
Monaco is a sovereign country on the northern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. It is a city-state that has its own royal family and parliaments. It is not part of France or Italy! Interestingly Monaco is also not part of the EU (European Union).
Monaco is the second smallest country in the world, spanning just 2.02 square kilometers (0.78 square miles). It is bordered by France on three sides and the Mediterranean Sea on the fourth side. Although not bordered by Italy, Monaco is less than 20km away from the Italian border.
Monaco is a tax haven for the rich as it has no income tax on its residents, therefore attracting wealthy people to live there. In fact it is the country with the highest concentration of millionaires and billionaires.
Languages Spoken in Monaco
The official language of Monaco is French.
French is widely spoken and used in government, business, education, and daily life. It is the primary language of instruction in schools and is commonly spoken by the local population.
However, due to its international character and the presence of a diverse expat community, other languages such as English and Italian are also commonly spoken in Monaco. English, in particular, is often used in business and tourism-related interactions, given its global prominence.
Currency in Monaco
The official currency of Monaco is the Euro (€). Since Monaco does not have its own currency, it adopted the Euro as its official currency in 2002.
You can use credit cards in Monaco but it’s always a good idea to carry some cash with you. There are also ATMs in Monaco where you can withdraw cash if needed to.
Where is Monaco? How To Get To Monaco?
Monaco is located on the French Riviera, about 20km east of Nice.
Monaco does not have its own airport; the closest airport near Monaco is Nice Côte d’Azur Airport.
If you are traveling from Nice to Monaco for a day trip, the best fastest way is to take a train to Monaco. The cheapest way from Nice to Monaco is to take a bus although it generally takes longer than the train.
If you are traveling from other parts of France to Monaco, you will need to take a train.
How To Get Around Monaco?
If you are only planning to spend a day in Monaco, you can most likely walk around since the main attractions in Monaco are not that far from each other.
There are public elevators in Monaco so you can easily get around the hilly Principality with ease. Impressively enough, Monaco has 79 lifts and 35 escalators the public can use.
Alternatively buses are very convenient in Monaco. They run from 7am to 9:30pm everyday and the bus network covers all of the main attractions in Monaco. There is also a night bus service from 12:20am to 4am on Saturday and Sundays.
If you plan to take the bus, you should use City Mapper to find routes and bus time.
Districts in Monaco
There are a few different districts in Monaco.
Monaco-Ville (The Rock): Also known as “The Rock,” Monaco-Ville is the oldest part of Monaco and sits atop a rocky promontory. This historic district is home to the Prince’s Palace, the official residence of the ruling Grimaldi family, as well as the Cathedral of Monaco and the Oceanographic Museum. It offers charming narrow streets, stunning views, and a glimpse into the principality’s rich history.
Jardin Exotique (Exotic Garden): Located on a cliff high above Monaco near the border of France, the Exotic Garden is known for the garden showcasing a remarkable collection of rare and exotic plants from around the world.
Monte Carlo: Perhaps the most famous district of Monaco, Monte Carlo is synonymous with luxury and elegance. It is renowned for its world-class casinos, upscale hotels, high-end shopping boutiques, and the iconic Casino de Monte-Carlo. Monte Carlo is also where you’ll find the renowned Circuit de Monaco, which hosts the Monaco Grand Prix.
La Condamine: Situated around the bustling Port Hercules, La Condamine is the harbor area of Monaco. It offers a vibrant atmosphere with numerous restaurants, bars, and cafes along the waterfront. La Condamine is also known for its vibrant market, the Condamine Market, where you can find fresh produce, local delicacies, and unique goods.
Fontvieille: Fontvieille is a newer district in Monaco, built on reclaimed land along the sea. It features modern architecture, residential areas, parks, and recreational spaces. Fontvieille is home to the Stade Louis II, the stadium of AS Monaco Football Club, and the Princess Grace Rose Garden, a beautiful public park dedicated to Princess Grace of Monaco.
Larvotto: Situated on the eastern part of Monaco, Larvotto is known for its sandy beach, Japanese garden, promenade with beach clubs and restaurants as well as cafes. It is very lively in the summer months and offers a vibrant nightlife.
Monaco One Day Itinerary
This one day Monaco itinerary includes some of the most famous attractions. While you may not want to do all of them or you might want to spend more time at some of the attractions over the others, I hope this sample one day Monaco itinerary can give you some inspiration to help you plan your day trip to Monaco.
This one day in Monaco itinerary covers some of the districts mentioned above, in particular The rock, Monte Carlo and Larvotto.
9am – Train or Bus to Monaco The Rock
Start your day bright and early so you can maximize your one day in Monaco.
Assuming you are traveling from Nice to Monaco, start early to catch either bus 100 or the train to Monaco. Be sure to sit on the right side of the bus or train to enjoy the view on your way to Monaco.
If you are taking the bus, get off at Place D’armes as this is the first bus stop in Monaco. If you are taking the train, take bus 1, 2, 4 or other buses from the train station to the Rock.
10am – 11:30 am: Musée océanographique de Monaco
After getting off the bus, walk towards your first stop of the day, Musée océanographique de Monaco.
Musée Océanographique de Monaco
Opening Time: 10am to 6pm (Jan – Mar, Oct – Dec); 10am to 7pm (April – June & September); 9:30am – 8pm (July – August);
Ticket Price: 19€ (adults), free for children under 4 years old
Time Needed: 1.5 – 2 hours
The Musée Océanographique de Monaco, or the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco, is a renowned institution dedicated to marine science, oceanography, and marine conservation.
It is situated on a picturesque cliffside location overlooking the Mediterranean Sea in Monaco-Ville, the old town of Monaco.
The museum was founded in 1910 by Prince Albert I of Monaco, a pioneer in oceanography. Its stunning architecture and scenic location make it a prominent landmark in Monaco. The museum’s mission is to promote public awareness and understanding of the marine world, as well as to contribute to the conservation of marine ecosystems.
The museum houses numerous aquariums that showcase a variety of marine life, including colorful tropical fish, sharks, turtles, and coral reefs. The museum also features educational displays on marine science, marine exploration, and environmental conservation.
Note that Musée Océanographique de Monaco is closed on Christmas Day and the Grand Prix weekend.
11:30 – 1pm: The Prince’s Palace & Saint Nicholas Cathedral
After visiting the Prince’s Palace & Saint Nicholas Cathedral, walk over to the Prince’s Palace of Monaco.
The Prince’s Palace of Monaco (Palais Princier)
Opening Time: 10am to 5pm (April 2nd – June 30th; Sep 1 – Oct 15th); 10am to 6pm (July 1st to Aug 31st)
Ticket Price: 10€ (adults)
Time Needed: 1 hour
The Prince’s Palace is the official residence of the ruling Grimaldi Family in Monaco. Located on “The Rock” in Monaco, the palace offers stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea and the surrounding area.
The Prince’s Palace has a rich history dating back to the 13th century when it was originally constructed as a Genoese fortress. Over the centuries, it has undergone expansions and renovations, transforming into the magnificent palace it is today.
The Prince’s Palace is open to visitors during the day during several months of the year.
One of the best things to do (for free) is to watch the Changing of the Guard ceremony at 11:55am in front of the palace everyday.
Note that tours will be closed during the Grand Prix weekend.
Saint Nicholas Cathedral
Opening Time: 9am – 6pm (except during religious services)
Ticket Price: Free
Time Needed: 30 minutes
The Saint Nicholas Cathedral is a Roman-Byzantine-style cathedral about 15 minutes walk from the Prince’s Palace.
It serves as the principal place of worship for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Monaco and is the final resting place of several members of the Grimaldi family, including many of Monaco’s former rulers.
One of the notable features of the Saint Nicholas Cathedral is its grand organ, which is renowned for its exceptional sound quality. The organ, built by the famous organ builder Aristide Cavaillé-Coll, has been the centerpiece of many concerts and performances held within the cathedral.
While you are walking around, be sure to stop by several viewpoints on the Rock (one is right next to the cathedral) to capture some stunning views of Monaco while you are above.
1 – 3pm: Lunch and Explore La Condamine
Make your way down from The Rock to La Condamine and the Port Hercule area of Monaco.
La Collection Automobiles
Opening Time: 10am – 6pm (except Christmas day)
Ticket Price: 10 € (adults). Cheaper if you do combined tickets with the Prince’s Palace.
Time Needed: 30 minutes
If you are into vintage cars then you must not miss La Collection Automobiles, a museum in La Condamine district in Monaco.
Prince Rainier III loved collecting old cars and when his garage ran out of space he decided to open his collection to the public in 1993 and formed this museum.
In this 3500 square meter space, you will find some of the most exotic and rare cars in the world.
Monaco Grand Prix Circuit
After visiting the La Collection Automobiles, follow the Monaco Grand Prix Circuit to walk towards Monte Carlo.
The unique thing about Monaco Grand Prix is that the race takes place on the streets in the city! Even if you do not watch the Grand Prix in May, you can still follow the 3.3km circuit once the race is over.
3 – 4:30pm: Monte Carlo
As you follow the Monaco Grand Prix Circuit, you will inevitably come to the renowned Monte Carlo district of Monaco.
Monte Carlo is the home to many sports events, including the world championship boxing games, European Poker Tour grand final, auto shows and many other events.
Monte Carlo Casino
One of the most iconic landmarks in Monte Carlo is the Monte Carlo Casino. It is one of the most prestigious gambling establishments in the world and has become synonymous with luxury, sophistication, and high-stakes gaming.
The Monte Carlo Casino was built in 1865 featuring Belle Epoque design. This famous casino has also been featured in many movies, including several James Bond movies.
Besides the casino, you can also check out Place du Casino (the square facing the Casino), grab a drink or a bite at the famous Cafe de Paris, admire the beauty of Opera de Monte-Carlo, shop at high end boutiques (pretty much any expensive brands you can think of), and stroll through Jardins de la Petite Afrique (the Little Africa Gardens).
4:30 – 6pm: Explore Larvotto
The last area you will visit during your one day in Monaco is the Larvotto district on the east side of Monaco.
Known for its beach and luxury apartment building, Larvotto beach is probably one of the most glamorous beach in the world. Being the only public beach in Monaco, Larvotto beach is extremely popular in the summer, despite not having white sands (it is a pebble beach).
Besides Larvotto Beach, you should also stop by the Princess Grace Japanese Garden (you will see this first when you walk over from Monte Carlo) as well as the Grimaldi Forum.
Keep in mind Princess Grace Japanese Garden closes at 5:45pm or 6:45pm depending on the season.
After checking out Larvotto, you can either head directly back to Nice (or wherever you are staying) or grab dinner in Monaco before heading back.
Monaco Tours and Excursions
If you don’t want to explore Monaco by yourself, don’t worry there are a lot of tours you can take and still have a good time in Monaco.
Eze is a medieval village perched on top of a hill. Many guided tours have a stop in Eze to see the traditional perfumery and explore the hilly town before heading to Monaco to see the highlights of the Principality.
What Is the Best Time to Visit Monaco?
May to September are peak tourist season to visit Monaco because of the warm weather and low rainfalls. July and August have the most number of clear days in Monaco.
However summer months can be humid in Monaco and South of France.
The Grand Prix takes place in May in Monaco so there is a lot of festivity during that time. But there is also a lot more people during this time and buses and trains there could be crowded.
In addition many attractions in Monaco are closed on the F1 Grand Prix weekend.
The shoulder seasons of spring (April to May) and autumn (September to October) offer pleasant weather and slightly fewer crowds compared to the peak summer months. It can be an ideal time to visit if you prefer milder temperatures and want to explore Monaco with relatively fewer tourists.
The winter months from November to March constitute the low season in Monaco. While the weather is cooler, it can still be quite mild compared to other European destinations.
This period sees fewer tourists, and hotel rates may be lower. However, do note that some attractions and restaurants may have limited hours or closures during this time. I visited Monaco in November and actually liked it a lot. It was not super cold and I got lucky with a clear day, so this is another time you can consider visiting.
Besides the Grand Prix in May, Monaco also has the Monte Carlo Rally and various yacht shows that attract large crowds. If you want to avoid the crowds and high hotel prices then you should avoid these large events.
Is One Day Enough For Monaco?
While Monaco is a small country, one day can provide you with a taste of its highlights and allow you to experience the essence of the principality.
With careful planning (including starting early) and prioritizing key attractions, you can make the most of your day in Monaco. However, it’s worth noting that Monaco offers a range of attractions, events, and experiences that can easily fill up multiple days if you have the time.
In one day, you can explore Monaco’s old town, visit the Prince’s Palace, indulge in a leisurely lunch, explore the glamorous district of Monte Carlo, and try your luck at the famous Casino de Monte-Carlo. You can also take in the stunning coastal views, enjoy a stroll along the harbor, and immerse yourself in the chic ambiance that Monaco offers.
Is Monaco Worth Visiting?
Monaco is such a unique and glamorous place that it is absolutely worth visiting Monaco for at least a day.
Even though Monaco is a very small country, there is a lot of history to Monaco. In addition, its glamor and wealth is something that you will not find anywhere else in the world.
One day in Monaco allows you to see the best places in Monaco while 3 days in Monaco would let you explore areas of Monaco that most tourists do not know about.
If you do have time when you are visiting the French Riviera you definitely should spend at least a day to visit Monaco and see for yourself.
Other French Riviera Resources
If you are planning a trip to the French Riviera, be sure to check out the following resources:
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