Monaco is a city-state on the south-eastern edge of France overlooking the Mediterranean. That sentence alone should make you want to get there as soon as possible. It’s a beautiful independent microstate known for famous attractions such as Monte Carlo and its wonderful residential and commercial areas. Because of that, people come from all over the world to visit this place, so it’s a good idea to take a moment to consider how to plan a vacation while here. One day in Monaco will be full of things to see and do, especially if you visit during one of its famous events. And even if you don’t, this itinerary will make sure you don’t miss out on the most important sights. Let’s get going!
Plan your trip to Monaco
1. What’s the best time to visit Monaco?
2. A few facts about Monaco
3. One Day in Monaco Itinerary
3.1. Head to the Monte Carlo Casino
3.2. Explore the Oceanographic Museum
3.3. Visit a wonderful park
3.4. Check out the cathedral
3.5. See where the prince lives
3.6. Sit down for lunch in best Monaco restaurants
3.7. Check out the city’s stadium
3.8. Hit the beach
3.9. Monaco nightlife
4. Where to stay in Monaco?
5. Day trips from Monaco
6. Extra tips for visiting Monaco
What’s the best time to visit Monaco?
The very first thing that you have to consider is the best time to visit Monaco. In terms of the weather, you should know that the area has a Mediterranean climate. That means you are going to see warm summers and mild winters, the latter coming with a lot of rain.
Because of that, the majority of tourists are going to visit the area during the summer. So, if you want to experience the best weather, then you’re going to have to deal with crowds. However, there is plenty to do in the “off-season” as well as in the busy season for tourists. Although the entire area is famous for having wealthy people around and the costs can be high, there are still plenty of reasons for regular people to visit, too.
The Monte Carlo Rally, casino events, Formula E races, and the football season are just some of the events that draw individuals to this part of the world. However, the most famous one has to be the Formula One Monaco Grand Prix – it is one of the most famous races in the world with almost a century long tradition. Monte Carlo Fashion Week is also very much worth visiting, and if you come during the European Night of Museums, you’ll be able to visit these institutions for free.
In addition, the city of Monte Carlo features major events every month such as The Princess of Hanover’s Rose Ball.
Thus, depending on your interests, the best time to visit can vary, but coming here during spring and summer is often the best choice.
A few facts about Monaco
Monaco is a microstate, which means it is a very small, sovereign region. It’s not actually a part of France as some people believe. It is a monarchy, and the family ruling it (the Grimaldis) has been on the throne for more than 700 years!
Monaco also only has 38,000 residents, and only 6,000 people have a passport that is from Monaco. You’ll also be interested to learn that this area does not have any airports. However, it still draws in people from all over the world.
Finally, the city is known for being home to James Bond in three of the feature films.
One Day in Monaco Itinerary
It’s good to know that The Monaco Bus Company operates five separate routes in the city. Taxis will also take you to most other places, but there will be times when you have to walk. So, before you begin your one day in Monaco, make sure you’re wearing some comfortable shoes. That being said, these are the things to see and do while here.
Head to the Monte Carlo Casino
Upon arriving in Monaco, the one thing that many people want to do is head to the famous Monte Carlo Casino. You can tour the casino starting from 10 AM, whereas the games can be played from early afternoon. So, if you’re not planning on playing and just want to have a look around, it’s best to do this first on your one day in Monaco.
To get there, it’s best to take a cab or walk along the waterfront and see some of the incredible yachts that are anchored there. It should be noted that the Monte Carlo Casino is part of a larger complex, so after you spend some time gambling and living out your James Bond fantasies, you could potentially watch a show or ballet if any are playing. Of course, you’ll have to plan ahead for that before you arrive, but it’s very much worth it.
Explore the Oceanographic Museum
People who love ocean life should certainly check out the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco, even if they are staying for just one day here. With over 6,000 specimens gathered, this museum is one of the most renowned oceanographic museums in the entire world. You can book an entrance ticket here.
Impressively, the museum has been open since 1910. Apart from all the animals, though, you can check out various models of ships, as well as tools and weapons. Therefore, there’s plenty to see here, and it’s actually a great thing to do with kids when in Monaco.
Visit a wonderful park
The sights of Monaco don’t start and end in Monte Carlo, although there are numerous great attractions such as Jardins de la Petite Afrique. This park is free to enter and has beautiful flowers, trees, and walking paths that you can enjoy. Perfect for taking a break from all the sightseeing and when you just want to savour the moment and the fact that you’re in this incredible place.
Check out the cathedral
After the museum and the park, the Saint Nicholas Cathedral will be next on your itinerary. It is a wonderful church built at the beginning of the 20th century. Go in and marvel at the Episcopal white marble throne and the wonderfully crafted altar.
The church is sometimes also called the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception and was actually built on the place where the first parish church in Monaco once existed, back in the mid-13th century. Do go in if the cathedral happens to be open when you’re here – it’s well worth it!
See where the prince lives
Monaco is a monarchy, and the prince running the country has his residence, built in the late 12th century, just northwest of the cathedral. What makes this palace quite unique when compared to those of other rulers in Europe is the fact that it had to be designed with function, not a luxury in mind. In fact, it is one of the most fortified residences of this kind you can find anywhere in the world!
Sit down for lunch in best Monaco restaurants
There are some truly amazing restaurants in the city. People who visit Monte Carlo Casino can take a brief walk to the Le Salon Rose, a very beautiful and intimate setting. There, chefs will serve Mediterranean cuisine along with local and imported wines.
For people that are looking to go to another famous restaurant, like Quai des Artistes, it’s often best to go by taxi. Branded as a Parisian-style brasserie, people that eat here are welcome to have a variety of dishes from duck and steak to delicious desserts.
If these are just a bit out of your budget, a good choice is Il Terrazzino, an Italian restaurant whose affordable prices are a very nice surprise for visitors to Monaco. They make excellent pasta here, but the menu is quite extensive, so you should be able to find something for yourself quite easily.
Other notable restaurants include the likes of Yoshi and Buddha–Bar Monte Carlo, so there is quite a lot to explore when it comes to food here. In any case, you can count on a delicious meal!
Check out the city’s stadium
Outside of Monte Carlo, there are world-famous attractions such as the Stade Louis II. In season, you can catch sporting events there that will let you mingle with a diverse crowd. It’s not a very big stadium, so getting tickets in advance would be the smart thing to do if you’re planning on seeing something that is likely to attract a bigger crowd.
While you’re waiting for a match, you could stroll on the Avenue du Port near the Port de Cap d’Ali, which offers incredible views for people to take in or pose for pictures. It’s actually a great way to soak in the vibe of this very special place, especially on a warm sunny day, and feast your eyes on more beautiful yachts. Take it easy and enjoy your stroll!
Hit the beach
Should your one day in Monaco take place during summer, eventually you will start thinking about how lovely it would be to just jump into that inviting Mediterranean you see everywhere. Luckily, for that, there is Larvotto Beach. This artificial beach is well-maintained, open to the public, and has umbrella rentals so you can spend the whole day soaking up the sun in comfort. Not to mention that the scenery behind you will be quite spectacular.
Experience Monaco nightlife at its best
After recharging your batteries on the beach, it’s time to explore Monaco’s nightlife and have a good time in an adult atmosphere. There are numerous famous bars and clubs in the area. And many of them also serve food, so you can sit down for a nice dinner, as well.
For example, Jimmy’s Monte Carlo is a very unique nightclub where you can party into the wee hours of the morning. It’s best to catch a cab again from Quai des Artistes or any other place that you’re at.
La Rascasse is another bar that stays open late and comes widely recommended. The bar serves great drinks, has live music, can give you a bite to eat, and comes with a terrace where you can get some fresh air and enjoy the atmosphere.
Le Bar Americain is another great place to visit, with a beautiful terrace, fantastic interior, and delicious cocktails. The food will not disappoint, either. No matter which place you choose, though, experiencing Monaco nightlife is a must on any Monaco itinerary. You really have to see what a place like this offers at night.
Where to stay in Monaco?
Le Méridien Beach Plaza
22 Avenue Princesse Grace, MC 98000 Monte Carlo, Monaco
Seek out Le Méridien Beach Plaza. This hotel is on the water and has numerous amenities that you will enjoy the entire time that you’re staying there. Your room could have a view of the water and you can order amazing room service.
Hotel Columbus Monte Carlo
23 Avenue Des Papalins, 98000 Monte Carlo
Hotel Columbus was recently renovated and now is a great and affordable (when compared to the competition, anyway) option for a stay in Monaco. A fantastic swimming pool with loads of greenery around it is something everyone is bound to enjoy, plus the view is great. The rooms are spacious and fairly luxurious, and the hotel restaurant specializes in Mediterranean cuisine. All in all, a great place to stay.
Hotel de Paris Monte Carlo
Place du Casino, Monte Carlo City Centre, 98000 Monte Carlo
If you really want to live it up, Hotel de Paris Monte Carlo is really hard to beat. Located in a building from mid-19h century, this hotel will captivate you with luxury and class from the moment you step foot inside it. I mean, it has its own wine cellar! Two swimming pools are also available, and the rooms feature marble bathrooms and are exquisitely decorated. Oh, and pets are allowed, too.
Hotel de France
6 Rue de la Turbie, 98000 Monte Carlo
If you’re trying to stay in Monaco without spending a pretty penny, then check into some of the hostels. Hotel de France in Monaco is an inexpensive option that is still central to many of the elements of the city. That way, you can spend more money on enjoying the area and culture and less money trying to find lodgings that come with a lot of benefits.
Day trips from Monaco
The location and size of this tiny sovereign state are perfect if you want to go on day trips from Monaco and cross the border into other countries. And there is quite a lot to see, so here’s a few suggestions that are bound to interest you.
A wonderful city on the south of France, Nice is only about half an hour away from Monaco, which makes it an ideal destination for a day trip. This is what the French Riviera is all about, and you will get to enjoy some spectacular food, art and a vibe that is modern and slightly glamorous but always inviting. One day in Nice is just what the doctor ordered!
The second largest city in France certainly has a lot to offer, and it’s really not that far from Nice. Just continue along the coast westwards and you’ll get there in about two hours. One day in Marseilles can be spent in a variety of ways, enjoying shopping, famous museums, incredible restaurants and sights, but you can also get out of town a bit to explore Provence.
But you can also head east from Monaco and cross the border into Italy. Once you do that, head to the lovely little town of San Remo. The vibe here is something amazing, with loads of colours, friendly locals and great wine wherever you turn. Also, should you be here in winter, you may want to arrange so that you can go and visit the famous San Remo Festival.
Back to the French Riviera for the last of our day trips from Monaco. Cannes is a city of art and culture, famous for its film festival. You may want to avoid that festival, though, as the prices blow up and the city is swarmed by visitors. But during the rest of the year, one day in Cannes is an absolute treat, with one of the most beautiful promenades in the country.
Extra tips for visiting Monaco
If you’re going to visit Monaco, then it’s a good idea to think about making friends. According to the experts, not only can friendships turn into something long-term and fun, but they can lead to new adventures that you’d never have otherwise.
Monaco is a one-of-a-kind place and the people who come here are instantly more interesting for having stopped by. Whether you are an individual looking for a full vacation or you’re just spending the day, there is so much to do in this city that you’ll want to keep coming back. Fortunately, people on all budgets can find something fun to do, but it’s better to come with a full wallet. All in all, as long as you like warm air, a summery breeze, and interesting people, you’ll be all set to have a great experience!
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