Your Ultimate Monaco Travel Guide 2023
Monaco is an extraordinary destination that has something to offer for everyone. From its Mediterranean beaches, to its lively casinos, to its chic cafes and restaurants, Monaco is a destination that has been the playground of celebrities, royalty, and well-heeled travelers for generations. With its mix of glamour and culture, Monaco has something for everyone. This post will provide you with an expert guide to exploring all of Monaco’s unique attractions and experiences. Get ready to uncover the hidden gems of this spectacular destination and embark on an unforgettable journey of discovery. You may also want to check out our Saint-Tropez travel guide!
Top 5 Things To See And Do In Monaco
- Monte Carlo Casino: This world-famous casino is a must-see attraction in Monaco. Built in the 19th century, the Monte Carlo Casino is an opulent and grand building that is known for its ornate interiors, high-stakes gaming tables, and glamorous atmosphere.
- Prince’s Palace Of Monaco: The Prince’s Palace of Monaco is a historic landmark that has been home to the Grimaldi family for over 700 years. The palace is known for its impressive architecture, stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea, and beautiful gardens.
- Oceanographic Museum of Monaco: Located in a stunning hilltop location, the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco is one of the most impressive museums in the world. It houses a large collection of marine life, as well as aquariums, educational exhibits, and a library.
- The Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix: The Monaco Grand Prix is one of the most famous races in the world, attracting thousands of visitors each year. The race takes place in May and is a great opportunity to experience the excitement and glamour of this high-profile event.
- Larvotto Beach: Monaco may be known for its opulence and glamour, but it also has a stunning beach that is perfect for a day of relaxation and fun. Larvotto Beach is located in the heart of Monaco and features crystal clear waters, soft white sand, and a range of amenities.
Where To Stay In Monaco
- Monte Carlo: Monte Carlo is the most well-known neighborhood in Monaco, known for its famous casino, luxury boutiques, and high-end restaurants. This neighborhood is also home to the Opera de Monte-Carlo and the Thermes Marins Monte-Carlo spa. Monte Carlo is the ideal location for those looking for a luxurious stay in Monaco.
- Fontvieille: Fontvieille is a quieter, more residential neighborhood in Monaco. This area has a marina, several parks, and the Princess Grace Rose Garden. Fontvieille is the perfect neighborhood for those looking for a quieter stay in Monaco while still being close to the action.
- La Condamine: La Condamine is a bustling neighborhood in Monaco, known for its daily markets and shops. This area is also home to the Port Hercule Marina, which hosts the annual Monaco Yacht Show. La Condamine is a great option for those looking for a lively atmosphere in Monaco.
- Larvotto: Larvotto is a neighborhood in Monaco known for its beaches and nightlife. This area is home to several beach clubs, bars, and restaurants. Larvotto is the perfect neighborhood for those looking for a fun and vibrant stay in Monaco.
- Jardin Exotique: Jardin Exotique is a neighborhood in Monaco known for its beautiful botanical garden and the Observatory Cave. This area also has several hiking trails, making it the perfect location for those looking for a nature-focused stay in Monaco.
Top Monaco Hotels
- Hotel De Paris Monte-Carlo: This luxurious five-star hotel has been a landmark in Monaco since it first opened in 1864. It features a private beach, a rooftop pool, a spa, and multiple Michelin-starred restaurants. The hotel’s elegant rooms and suites are decorated in a classic style and offer breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea and the city.
- Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo: Located in the heart of Monte Carlo, this five-star hotel boasts a stunning Belle Epoque façade and opulent interiors designed by Jacques Garcia. The hotel features a private beach, a heated outdoor pool, a spa, and several gourmet restaurants. The rooms and suites are spacious and decorated with a mix of traditional and contemporary styles.
- Fairmont Monte Carlo: This iconic hotel is built on a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and offers stunning views of the sea and the Monaco Grand Prix circuit. The hotel features a rooftop pool, a spa, and multiple dining options. The rooms and suites are decorated in a sleek, modern style and offer all the amenities you would expect from a luxury hotel.
- Hotel Hermitage Monte-Carlo: This five-star hotel is housed in a historic Belle Epoque building and offers stunning views of the Port Hercule and the Rock of Monaco. The hotel features a rooftop pool, a spa, and several gourmet restaurants. The rooms and suites are elegantly decorated with antique furnishings and offer all the modern amenities you need.
- Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort: This luxury resort is located in a quiet corner of Monte Carlo and features a private beach, a lagoon-style swimming pool, a spa, and several restaurants. The rooms and suites are spacious and decorated in a contemporary style, with floor-to-ceiling windows offering views of the sea or the resort’s gardens.
Where To Eat In Monaco
Monaco may be a small principality, but its culinary scene is nothing short of impressive. With numerous Michelin-starred restaurants and top-notch local cuisine, Monaco offers an incredible dining experience that is bound to leave you satisfied. Here are the top 5 places to eat in Monaco:
- Le Louis XV – Alain Ducasse à l’Hôtel de Paris: Located in the legendary Hôtel de Paris, this restaurant is a true gastronomic temple, boasting 3 Michelin stars and an opulent interior. The menu showcases the best of French cuisine, with exquisite seafood and meat dishes, beautifully presented desserts, and a world-class wine list.
- Blue Bay: Set in the luxurious Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort, Blue Bay offers a fusion of Caribbean and Mediterranean flavors, overseen by Chef Marcel Ravin. Expect bold flavors and creative combinations, such as lobster with passion fruit, or spicy lamb shoulder with coconut rice.
- Le Grill: Perched on the eighth floor of the Hôtel de Paris, Le Grill offers panoramic views over the Mediterranean and the harbor. The menu is centered around grilled meats and seafood, prepared in front of you on the open-fire grill. Don’t miss the legendary beef Wellington or the caviar-topped oysters.
- La Maree: If you’re looking for the best seafood in town, look no further than La Maree. This elegant restaurant offers a range of fresh fish, shellfish, and crustaceans, sourced from the Mediterranean and beyond. Try the signature lobster fricassée or the sea bass en croûte, and indulge in the extensive wine list.
- Elsa: Located in the exclusive Monte-Carlo Beach Hotel, Elsa is the first all-organic Michelin-starred restaurant in the world. The menu is inspired by local and seasonal produce, with dishes like purple artichoke soup, line-caught sea bass with fennel and citrus, and caramelized figs with olive oil ice cream.
No matter which restaurant you choose, dining in Monaco is an experience not to be missed. Be sure to make reservations in advance, dress appropriately, and prepare to indulge in the finest cuisine the Principality has to offer.
How To Get Around Monaco
Monaco is a small country, covering an area of just two square kilometers. However, there are still several methods of transportation that you can use to get around the principality. Here are some of the best ways to navigate Monaco:
- Walking: One of the best ways to explore Monaco is on foot. Most of the main attractions in the city, such as the Prince’s Palace and the Casino de Monte-Carlo, are within walking distance of each other. Walking is also a great way to experience the charm and beauty of the city.
- Bus: Monaco’s bus system is operated by the Compagnie des Autobus de Monaco (CAM). Buses run frequently, and there are several routes that cover different parts of the city. The fares are reasonable, and you can buy tickets from the driver or at one of the ticket vending machines.
- Taxis: Taxis are another convenient way to get around Monaco. You can find taxis at designated stands around the city, or you can flag one down on the street. However, be aware that taxis can be quite expensive in Monaco, so it’s best to check the fare before getting in.
- Rental Cars: If you prefer to have your own transportation, you can rent a car in Monaco. Several rental car companies have offices in the city, and the rates are reasonable. However, keep in mind that parking can be difficult to find in Monaco, especially during peak tourist season.
- Bikes and Scooters: If you’re looking for a more eco-friendly and adventurous way to get around Monaco, you can rent a bike or scooter. There are several rental shops in the city that offer a variety of bikes and scooters for rent. This is a great option if you want to explore the city at your own pace.
Overall, there are plenty of transportation options available in Monaco, and you’re sure to find one that suits your needs and budget. Just remember to plan ahead and allow enough time to explore all the amazing attractions that this tiny principality has to offer.
Monaco is known for its Mediterranean climate, characterized by mild winters and warm, sunny summers. The weather in Monaco varies throughout the year, and here’s a breakdown of what to expect during each season.
- Spring: Spring in Monaco is a pleasant time to visit, with temperatures ranging from 12°C to 20°C (54°F to 68°F) during the day. April and May are the driest months, with less chance of rain. This season is ideal for outdoor activities such as hiking and exploring the beautiful gardens and parks of Monaco.
- Summer: Summer is the peak season in Monaco, with temperatures averaging between 22°C and 26°C (72°F and 79°F). The warm weather and sunshine attract tourists from all over the world. July and August are the busiest months, and the beaches are crowded with locals and visitors alike. Don’t forget to pack your sunscreen and a hat!
- Fall: Fall in Monaco is a shoulder season, with mild weather and fewer crowds. Temperatures range from 16°C to 22°C (61°F to 72°F), making it comfortable for outdoor activities such as sightseeing and hiking. The sea temperature is still warm, and swimming is still possible until late October.
- Winter: Winter in Monaco is mild compared to other parts of Europe, with temperatures averaging around 11°C (52°F). December and January are the coldest months, but it rarely snows in Monaco. Winter is a great time to explore the museums, galleries, and indoor attractions of Monaco.
No matter what season you choose to visit Monaco, the climate is mild and enjoyable. Always check the weather forecast before you travel and pack accordingly. Enjoy your stay in this beautiful Mediterranean city!
Best Time To Visit Monaco
When planning a trip to Monaco, it’s important to consider the best time to visit in order to fully enjoy all that this vibrant destination has to offer. The ideal time to visit Monaco largely depends on your personal preferences and interests, as well as the weather.
The summer months of June through August are peak season in Monaco, with temperatures averaging around 80°F. The streets are buzzing with tourists and locals alike, and there’s always plenty to do and see. This is a great time to enjoy the beautiful beaches and explore the outdoor attractions like the Jardin Exotique and the Monaco Harbour.
Spring and autumn are also popular times to visit Monaco, with milder temperatures and fewer crowds. In April and May, temperatures range from 60-70°F and the gardens and parks are in full bloom, making it a perfect time to visit if you’re interested in experiencing the natural beauty of Monaco. September through November offers similarly pleasant weather and quieter streets.
Winter is the low season in Monaco, with temperatures ranging from 50-60°F. However, the festive season brings plenty of holiday cheer and Christmas markets to enjoy. The Monte Carlo Ballet and Opera also offer performances during this time. Ultimately, the best time to visit Monaco will depend on your interests, budget, and availability. Regardless of when you go, there will always be something to do and see in this stunning destination.
How To Stay Safe In Monaco
Monaco is generally a safe destination, with low crime rates and efficient law enforcement. However, as with any travel destination, it is always important to stay vigilant and take certain precautions to ensure your safety. Here are some tips for staying safe in Monaco:
- Be Aware Of Your Surroundings: Avoid walking alone at night in poorly lit or unfamiliar areas.
- Keep Your Belongings Close: Petty theft can occur in crowded tourist areas, so be sure to keep your valuables close to you and be mindful of pickpockets.
- Use Common Sense When Using ATMs: Always cover the keypad when entering your pin, and be cautious of strangers approaching you while you are withdrawing cash.
- Follow Traffic Laws: Monaco has strict driving laws and hefty fines for those who violate them, so be sure to follow traffic signals and wear a seatbelt while in a car.
- Take Precautions When Swimming: Monaco has beautiful beaches, but it is important to be aware of strong currents and jellyfish in the water.
By following these simple safety tips, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable trip to Monaco.
Monaco Customs and Etiquette
Monaco is known for its luxurious lifestyle, but it also has a rich cultural history that you should be aware of when you visit. Here are some customs and etiquette tips to keep in mind during your stay:
- Dress Code: Monaco has a dress code, especially in the casinos and fancy restaurants. Dress smart and avoid wearing shorts, flip flops, or any casual clothing. Men should wear a jacket and tie.
- Punctuality: The people of Monaco are known to be punctual and expect the same from visitors. If you have a scheduled meeting or appointment, make sure to arrive on time.
- Greetings: The traditional greeting in Monaco is a handshake. Kisses on the cheeks are reserved for close friends and family.
- Language: While French is the official language of Monaco, English is widely spoken and understood in most places.
- Tipping: Tipping in Monaco is not mandatory but appreciated. A 10% tip in restaurants is common.
- Social Norms: The people of Monaco value their privacy, so it is important to respect their personal space. Taking photos of locals without permission is considered impolite.
- Smoking: Smoking is prohibited in indoor public spaces, but some restaurants have designated smoking areas.
By following these customs and etiquette tips, you will have a more enjoyable and respectful experience during your visit to Monaco.
Other Things To Know About Monaco
Monaco is a small sovereign city-state located in Western Europe on the French Riviera. The country has a population of around 38,000 people and is famous for its luxurious lifestyle, stunning beaches, and glamorous events such as the Monaco Grand Prix and the Monte Carlo Casino.
The official currency in Monaco is the Euro (EUR), which is the same currency used in most other European countries. As Monaco is not part of the European Union, the country is not eligible for certain economic policies and regulations that apply to other EU countries.
The official language of Monaco is French, although many residents and visitors also speak English and Italian. In fact, due to the large number of international visitors and expats living in the country, Monaco has a very diverse community with many different languages and cultures represented.
Monaco is in the Central European Time Zone, which is one hour ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC+1). This means that if you are traveling from the UK, for example, you will need to adjust your watch by one hour to ensure that you arrive on time for any appointments or events.
Overall, Monaco is a fascinating destination with plenty to see and do for all types of travelers. Whether you are interested in culture, history, or simply soaking up the sun on a beautiful beach, this small country has something to offer everyone. So why not plan your next adventure and discover all that Monaco has to offer?
Monaco Travel Costs
If you’re planning a trip to Monaco, it’s important to budget accordingly. This glamorous destination is known for its luxurious lifestyle and high prices, but there are ways to save money without sacrificing your experience.
- Accommodation: As with any destination, accommodation can take up a large portion of your budget. Expect to pay a premium for hotels in Monaco, especially during peak season. A basic room in a mid-range hotel can cost around €150 per night, while a more luxurious option can exceed €500 per night. For budget-friendly options, consider staying in nearby towns such as Nice or Menton and taking a short train or bus ride into Monaco.
- Food and Drink: Monaco’s restaurant scene offers a variety of cuisines, but prices can be steep. Expect to pay around €25-30 for a basic meal, and even more at high-end restaurants. To save money, consider visiting local markets or grocery stores for snacks or meals on the go. Tap water is safe to drink in Monaco, so bring a reusable water bottle to save money on drinks.
- Transportation: Public transportation in Monaco is reliable and affordable, with a single bus ride costing €2. However, taxis and private car services can be expensive. Walking is also a great way to explore the compact city and enjoy its beautiful surroundings.
- Activities: While some activities in Monaco, such as visiting the Prince’s Palace or the Oceanographic Museum, come with a cost, there are plenty of free options as well. Take a stroll along the harbor, visit the exotic gardens or the stunning beaches of Larvotto, or simply soak in the glamorous atmosphere of the city.
Overall, it’s important to plan and budget accordingly for a trip to Monaco. While it may be a luxurious destination, there are plenty of ways to enjoy this beautiful city without breaking the bank.
Finding Affordable Flights To Monaco
Monaco is a glamorous and luxurious destination, but that doesn’t mean that your flight has to break the bank. Here are some tips to find affordable flights to Monaco:
- Be Flexible With Your Travel Dates: If your schedule allows it, try to fly during the low season. Flights and accommodation tend to be much cheaper during this time.
- Look For Flight Deals: Subscribe to airline newsletters and set up alerts for flight deals to Monaco. This way, you can catch discounts as soon as they are available.
- Consider Budget Airlines: While budget airlines may not offer the same amenities as premium airlines such as KLM, they can save you a lot of money. Check out airlines like Ryanair and easyJet for cheap flights to Monaco.
- Book In Advance: Generally, booking your flights at least six weeks in advance can save you a lot of money.
- Compare Prices: Don’t just book the first flight you find. Check multiple airline websites and compare prices to ensure that you’re getting the best deal possible.
Remember, while finding an affordable flight is important, don’t sacrifice your comfort and safety. Choose a reputable airline and read reviews before booking your flight.
Backpacking Monaco Suggested Budgets
If you’re traveling to Monaco on a budget, it’s still possible to have an enjoyable and memorable experience. While it’s true that the cost of living is higher in Monaco than in most other European destinations, there are still ways to make the most of your trip without breaking the bank. Here are some suggested budgets for backpacking in Monaco:
If you’re on a tight budget, you can expect to spend around €50-€70 per day. This will cover the cost of a dorm bed in a hostel, a simple breakfast, lunch at a local bakery, and a picnic-style dinner with food purchased from a grocery store. You’ll need to limit your sightseeing to free or low-cost activities, such as strolling through the Prince’s Palace gardens, admiring the Monte Carlo Casino from the outside, or walking along the waterfront promenade.
If you have a bit more to spend, you can plan on a daily budget of €100-€150. This will allow you to upgrade to a private room in a hostel or a budget hotel, enjoy a sit-down lunch at a casual restaurant, and indulge in a glass of local wine or beer. You can also add a few paid attractions to your itinerary, such as visiting the Oceanographic Museum or taking a guided tour of the old town.
For travelers who want to live it up in Monaco, a daily budget of €200-€400 or more will allow you to stay in a luxury hotel, dine at Michelin-starred restaurants, and enjoy a night out at a trendy bar or club. You can also splurge on activities such as a helicopter tour of the Riviera, a private yacht rental, or a day trip to nearby Nice or Cannes.
No matter what your budget is, there are always ways to save money while backpacking in Monaco. Consider traveling during the shoulder season (April to May or September to October) when prices are lower, book your accommodations in advance to get the best deals, and look for free events and activities. With a little planning and flexibility, you can make your Monaco trip a memorable one without breaking the bank.
Monaco Money Saving Tips
Monaco is often thought of as a playground for the rich and famous, but it is possible to experience this luxurious destination on a budget. Here are some money-saving tips for your trip to Monaco:
- Take Advantage Of Free Activities: There are plenty of free things to do in Monaco, such as visiting the Prince’s Palace, exploring the old town of Monaco-Ville, and admiring the stunning views from the Exotic Garden.
- Use Public Transportation: While taxis and private cars may be tempting, they can quickly add up in expenses. Opt for affordable and efficient public transportation options, such as buses and trains.
- Dine Like A Local: Skip the fancy restaurants and head to the local bakeries, markets, and cafes for affordable and delicious meals. You can even pack a picnic and enjoy it in one of the many scenic parks or beaches in Monaco.
- Stay Outside Of Monaco: If you’re willing to sacrifice the convenience of staying in the heart of Monaco, consider staying in neighboring towns like Beausoleil or Cap d’Ail. You can save a significant amount on accommodations while still being within walking distance or a short bus ride away from Monaco.
- Research Discounts And Deals: Many attractions, museums, and tours offer discounts for students, seniors, and families. Be sure to check their websites or inquire at the ticket office for any available deals.
By following these tips, you can enjoy all that Monaco has to offer without breaking the bank.
What To Pack For Monaco
Packing for your trip to Monaco can be tricky, as you want to look stylish and appropriate for the luxurious destination while also being practical and comfortable. Here are some tips on what to pack for your Monaco adventure:
- Dressy Clothes: Monaco is known for its high-end fashion, so bring some dressy outfits for dinner or nights out at the casino. For men, a blazer or sport coat paired with nice slacks or dark jeans is a good choice. Women can wear cocktail dresses, skirts, or dressy pants.
- Comfortable Walking Shoes: You will do a lot of walking in Monaco, so make sure you have comfortable walking shoes that are also stylish. Sneakers or loafers are a good choice.
- Swimsuit: If you plan to spend time at the beach or the pool, don’t forget to pack a swimsuit.
- Sunscreen: The sun in Monaco can be intense, so make sure to bring sunscreen with a high SPF.
- Sunglasses And Hat: Protect your eyes and face from the sun with sunglasses and a hat.
- Light Layers: The weather in Monaco can be unpredictable, so bring light layers that you can easily add or remove as needed.
- Passport Holder: Make sure to keep your passport safe and secure with a passport holder.
- Camera: Monaco is a beautiful destination, so make sure to bring a camera to capture all the stunning sights.
By following these packing tips, you’ll be sure to have everything you need for a comfortable and stylish stay in Monaco.
Can You Drink Tap Water In Monaco?
When visiting a new place, it’s important to know if you can drink the tap water. In Monaco, the answer is yes! The tap water in Monaco is safe to drink and of high quality. It’s actually one of the best tap waters in the world. The water is sourced from natural underground reserves and is treated to remove impurities.
Drinking tap water in Monaco is not only safe but also eco-friendly. You can carry a refillable water bottle with you and refill it from the public fountains found throughout the city. This way, you can stay hydrated without spending money on bottled water and also help reduce plastic waste.
However, if you prefer bottled water, you can easily find it in grocery stores, convenience stores, and vending machines around Monaco. Just keep in mind that it can be more expensive than tap water. Overall, drinking tap water in Monaco is safe and encouraged. So, stay hydrated and enjoy your stay in this beautiful country!
Other Things To See And Do In Monaco
While Monaco may be known for its luxurious lifestyle, there are plenty of other things to see and do that won’t break the bank.
- Visit The Prince’s Palace: The official residence of the Grimaldi family, the Prince’s Palace offers stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea. You can also witness the changing of the guard ceremony.
- Explore The Oceanographic Museum: This impressive museum houses over 6,000 specimens of marine life and is a must-visit for any animal lover.
- Stroll Through The Japanese Garden: Hidden behind the Monte Carlo Casino, this tranquil garden features a pond, bridges, and traditional Japanese plants and architecture.
- Watch The Changing Of The Guard At The Monaco Cathedral: The cathedral is where Prince Rainier III and Princess Grace were married, and it’s also the final resting place for many of Monaco’s former princes and princesses.
- Take A Scenic Drive: The winding roads of the French Riviera offer breathtaking views of the coastline. Rent a car or take a tour to see all the sights.
No matter what your interests may be, Monaco has something to offer everyone. So pack your bags and get ready to uncover all the wonders this beautiful country has to offer.
The Bottom Line
Overall, Monaco is a glamorous destination with plenty to see and do for all types of travelers. From luxurious hotels to Michelin-starred restaurants, the Principality is a playground for the rich and famous. However, it is also a great place for budget travelers to explore. Backpackers can find affordable accommodation and eat like a local at local cafes and street food stalls. It’s also a safe and easy place to navigate with excellent public transportation options. Don’t forget to bring comfortable walking shoes to explore the hilly terrain, and pack a swimsuit for a dip in the Mediterranean sea. Whether you’re here for a short trip or a longer stay, Monaco is a must-see destination for all travelers.