How to get from Milan to Monaco: Day Trip
Monaco is a great place to visit if you are looking for luxury and excitement. With its beautiful scenery and fascinating history, Monaco is sure to make your vacation one to remember. In this blog post, we’ll give you all the information you need to know about getting from Milan to Monaco by train. We’ll share the different ticket options, how to get to the station, what to expect, etc. on a Milan to Monaco day trip!
How to get from Milan to Monaco: Day trip ideas
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Monaco is one of the smallest countries in Europe, also known as a microstate. The Principality of Monaco is surrounded on land by its neighbor France, and Italy is just 16 km (10 miles) away.
Due to its location on the northern coast of the Mediterranean Sea, Monaco makes for an easy day trip from Nice on the French Riviera. It is the quickest way to get there (20-minute train ride – one way) and is also one of the popular routes to explore when you are on a Southern France road trip.
But you can also visit Monaco from Milan, Italy.
If you’re looking to travel from Milan to Monaco, the best way to do it is by train. The journey takes about 4 hours and there are several trains every day. You can buy tickets in advance online or at the station.
Here are all the ways of getting to Monaco from Milan Italy.
Getting to Monaco from Milan:
- By road: You will be covering a distance of 350 km (217 miles). And it will take 4+ hours to get there if you are driving
- By train: Train takes approximately 4-5 hours, and there is one change in between, before arriving in Monte Carlo, Monaco
- By bus: Buses are a cheaper option, but they take over 6 hours (one way)
- By flight: If you wish to fly, you have to get to Nice (France) from Milan and then take the train or bus to Monaco. There are a lot of day tours available as well from Nice.
- Tours: No day tours are available from Milan. But you can book a 4 day guided tour of the French Riviera from Milan which also includes Monaco
- Other day trips from Milan: Milan is also a great spot to explore places like Lake Como, Verona, and parts of the Italian Riviera on a day tour!
We decided to take the train from Milan to Monaco for a day trip. And yes it is 1000% doable. Monaco is super compact, and you can actually cover the entire country’s width by walking (and in a matter of a few hours).
Driving there for just a day will be more time-consuming and not to mention parking issues.
When in Monaco, you can walk, use public elevators or join a 45-minute bus tour to check off the primary tourist attractions.
To make the most of your visit we do recommend booking the earliest available train ticket, and picking the latest option (after 08:00 pm to beat the evening office rush) to return back to Italy.
Depending on the chosen route, you have to cross the French border near Menton.
- To carry your passports at all times
- Both Italy and France are EU members and they use the Schengen Agreement for tourist visas (if you need one. US and Canadian passport holders travel visa-free, and can stay up to 90 days)
- Monaco is not an EU member, but it has a special relationship with France for border control. Monaco is part of the EU customs territory.
Read: How to get from Florence to San Marino, another European microstate
Milan to Monaco by train: Step by Step guide
Here is a detailed step-by-step guide to planning your train journey from Milan to Monte Carlo, Monaco
Step 1: Book train tickets from Milan to Monte Carlo
Milan is located in the Lombardy region of northern Italy. It is one of our favorite cities in Europe, and the perfect city break destination – good food, shopping, and cultural attractions.
Milan Centrale is the central train station and this is where you will embark on your journey to Monaco.
If you have arrived in Milan via public transportation, you won’t miss this central train station.
Here are a few things to keep in mind about train services in Italy:
- Italy has high-speed trains that can get you around the country quickly. These trains are comfortable and efficient, but they’re also more expensive than the regular regional trains.
- There are three types of high speed trains in the country
- Frecciarossa trains (fastest connections to all major major Italian cities);
- Frecciargento trains (connections from Rome to other Italian cities); and
- Frecciabianca trains (the slower of all the Frecce trains).
- If you’re traveling on a budget, regional trains are a great option (Regionale). They may not be as fast, but they’re much cheaper and you’ll get to see more of the country along the way. These train tickets need to be validated at the station.
- Train tickets can be purchased in advance, either online or at the station. We recommend booking tickets early to save money, and also to get the best schedule to make the most of your day trip.
- You can buy tickets online here – TrainLine | Trenitalia (we have used both for Italy)
For this trip, you have to book the following tickets
Milano Centrale Railway Station (Milan) > Ventimiglia Railway Station (Ventimiglia) > Monaco-Monte-Carlo station (Monte Carlo)
Your journey will look like this, Milan to Ventimiglia – travel time is 3 hours 45 minutes. And then 45 minutes to get to Monte Carlo.
Italian InterCity trains connected us from Milan to Ventimiglia, and the final leg of the journey was operated by SNCF (a French company). It was booked on TrainLine.
We booked our tickets just a few days before travel, and the tickets cost us 100 euros for a return trip (per person).
Note: Monaco-Monte-Carlo Station is the only train station in the country. Book your tickets here
Step 2: Take the train from Milan to Ventimiglia
From Milan Centrale arrive at the Ventimiglia Railway station. This is the longest leg of your day trip and here you will be changing into another train to get to Monaco.
On this train journey, you will be crossing the Italian border to France. Menton will be seen outside the train window.
During this leg of the trip, border control officials will be entering the train compartment and requesting your passports (for checks).
You will arrive at Monte-Carlo station in about 45 minutes.
Step 3: Arriving (and leaving from) Monaco-Monte-Carlo
The last stop on this trip is your final destination – Monaco Monte Carlo train station. This is the only station in the country so you know you won’t be elsewhere!
Once you are out of the train, you can choose elevators to get out to the Casino, Exotic Gardens, or the Grand Prix area. All the primary tourist attractions of Monaco are within a quick walk away.
Note: There is no border security, or checking of passports or stamps when you enter Monaco. You will find cafes and tourist information centers at the station to get help!
Departure from Monaco: This train station is the same route to get back to Italy, after exploring.
Genoa to Monaco by train
If you are planning a trip to Genoa, then you can visit Monaco from this Italian city as well. And the train ride will be shorter.
You have the option of taking the high-speed Thello trains, which take a little over 2.50 hours to get to Monte Carlo station. Thello is a railway company that offers high-speed/ direct connections between France and Italy.
Or you can use the same train services as listed above (InterCity and SNCF), and reach Monaco slightly faster (than Milan).
When traveling from Milan, we crossed this station as well, but there was no change in Genoa. This train selection will take about 3-4 hours (high speed will be 3 hours, and InterCity will be 4+ hours).
Trains depart from Genoa Piazza Principe Station and they arrive at the (same) Monaco Monte Carlo station.
Things to do in Monaco in one day: Monaco day trips
Monaco is a tiny country located on the French Riviera. Although it is just 2 square kilometers in size, it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.
Monaco is known for its luxury hotels, casinos, and yachts. It is also home to the annual Formula One Grand Prix.
Here is a detailed list of things to do in Monaco in one day
Note that Monaco has four districts, Monte Carlo, Fontvieille, La Condamine, and Monaco Ville – the Old Town. You can easily cover all on a day trip, but most likely will spend most of your time in Old Town!
Once you arrive at Monaco-Monte Carlo Station, you can either exit to see the Casino or Jardin Exotique de Monaco.
For the purposes of this itinerary, let’s select the casino as your starting point.
1. Visit the Monte-Carlo Casino
The Monte-Carlo Casino is a world-famous gambling destination and has been featured in a number of films including Monte-Carlo, GoldenEye, and Bay of Angels.
It is free to explore the Casino complex and the lobby area. Ensure you are dressed smartly for the trip.
2. Catch a performance at the Opéra de Monte-Carlo (if interested)
Up next is the Opera House. It is connected to the Grand Casino and is adjacent to the famous Hotel de Paris.
The Opéra de Monte-Carlo is one of the world’s most prestigious opera houses and has been hosting performances since 1875.
The Monte Carlo Opera was commissioned by Prince Charles III (1818-1889), and today you can catch a performance of opera, ballet, or symphony.
3. Have brunch or lunch at the Café de Paris Monte-Carlo
The Café de Paris Monte-Carlo is an iconic café located in the Place du Casino. The café is famous for its outdoor dining area, which offers stunning views of the casino and the hustle and bustle of the complex. The food is great as well!
When you leave the Casino complex you can walk, or go on a loop of the hop-on and hop-off sightseeing bus tour to get to other spots in the Old town, Fontvielle, or La Condamine.
Head to the Old Town first to check off all the primary tourist attractions.
4. Take a walk through Monaco’s Old Town
Monaco’s Old Town or Monaco-Ville is a lovely area to explore, with narrow streets and vibrant colors. You can stroll through the old town, stop to window shop or enjoy a coffee at one of the many cafes.
Most of the iconic photo spots in Monaco are located in this Old Town District.
5. Visit the Prince’s Palace of Monaco
The Prince’s Palace of Monaco is the official residence of the Prince of Monaco. It is located in the old town quarter of Monaco-Ville and overlooks the Mediterranean Sea.
The palace was built as a fortress in 1191.
Then in the 13th century, Francois Grimaldi, a member of an aristocratic family, disguised himself as a monk and was allowed shelter there.
He later killed and captured the fortress. Since then, the palace stayed with the Grimaldi family!
You can take a tour of the palace during the summer months, which includes the State apartments, private apartments, and the Royal Chapel.
6. Watch the changing of the guard at the Prince’s Palace
The changing of the guard is a daily ceremony that takes place at the Prince’s Palace. The ceremony includes a military parade and is a popular tourist attraction.
7. Visit Monaco Cathedral
Also known as the Saint Nicholas Cathedral, the Monaco Cathedral is located in the old town quarter of Monaco-Ville, close to the Oceanographic Museum.
The cathedral was built in 1875 and features a Roman-Byzantine style of architecture in white marble.
It has tombs of the royal family including Princess Grace Kelly.
8. Visit the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco
The Oceanographic Museum of Monaco is located in a building designed by architect Paul Delefortrie and was founded by Prince Albert I.
The museum features a variety of exhibits on marine life, as well as an Aquarium which is home to over 4,000 fish.
We recommend booking tickets for the museum as you will be only visiting for a day, and do not want to miss this!
9. Shop in Monaco’s luxury boutiques
Monaco is home to a number of luxury boutiques, selling items such as designer clothing, jewelry, and watches.
Some of the most popular shopping destinations include the Monaco One and Centre commercial de Fontvieille.
10. Finish at the La Condamine district
La Condamine district is the main business hub of Monaco and it is home to Port Hercules. The port dates back to Greek and Roman times and is a must-visit on your day trip to Monaco.
There is where you will find the yachts of the rich and famous. There are many cafes and eateries near the Port of Hercules as well, where you can grab a bite to eat before returning back to Milan.
Here are some additional things to do in Monaco
Take a stroll through the Jardin Exotique de Monaco
The Jardin Exotique de Monaco is a beautiful garden located on a cliffside overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. The garden is home to a variety of exotic plants and flowers, as well as a cactus collection.
Attend the Monaco Grand Prix (if you are in town for the event)
The Monaco Grand Prix is a Formula One race that takes place annually on the streets of Monaco. It is usually held in late May or early June, and tickets start around 110 euros (grandstand).
The race is considered to be one of the most prestigious in motorsports, and tickets are hard to come by. If you are planning a visit to this event, be sure to book tickets in advance!
When you book the hop on and hop off bus tour, it takes you on the Grand Prix route!
Visit the Princes Grace Japanese Garden
The Japanese Garden is a beautiful garden located near the Grimaldi Forum. It was created in 1994 by Prince Rainier III.
The garden features a number of traditional Japanese elements such as bridges, ponds, and trees.
And access to the gardens is free.
Additional travel tips for Monaco: Frequently Asked Questions
We have compiled some of the frequently asked questions here to help plan your trip better!
Yes, you do need a passport to enter Monaco. Your passport should be valid for at least three months or 90 days beyond the period of your intended stay in Monaco. Passport holders from the US and Canada require no visa for stays of up to three months. If you have a passport from a country that requires Schengen Visa for travel in the European Union/France or Italy, then the same tourist visa applies for entering Monaco.
Yes, you can. In fact, Monaco is an easy day trip from Nice (and way closer than Milan). You can catch a train from Nice Riquier station and arrive in Monte Carlo in about 20 minutes. Trains are operated by SNCF and their frequency is also really good!
One day in Monaco is enough to see the primary tourist attractions, namely the Old town, and the Monte Carlo district.
If you plan it well you can even add some relaxation time with shopping, hanging out at the cute, viewpoints, gardens, and more. If you are traveling from Nice (France), you will have more on your hands to explore than from Milan. But either way, you won’t miss the main sites!
Monaco is super compact and you can walk the entire width of the country in a few hours. The primary spots can be covered on a day trip, but if you wish to check off some beaches, relaxation, and have shopping time, 2 days will be great!
If you are visiting Monaco for the first time, there are a few things that you should not miss.
First, take a walk through the old city of Monaco. The streets are narrow and winding, and they are lined with shops and cafes.
Be sure to stop at the Prince’s Palace, which is the home of the ruling Grimaldi family.
Next, visit Monte Carlo Casino. If you are feeling lucky, you might want to try your hand at gambling.
Finally, take a ride on the Monaco Grand Prix circuit. This is a great way to see the city from a different perspective. You can walk, or take a sightseeing bus tour to see it all!
Is Monaco worth visiting?
Yes, definitely! Monaco is an amazing place to visit – the food is great, the weather is amazing, the people are friendly, and there is so much to see and do.
A full day in Monaco will allow you to appreciate the principality’s history and enjoy its luxurious vibes!
Travelers to Europe usually check off primary city destinations like London, Madrid, Venice, Barcelona, Berlin, Prague, or offbeat places in Eastern Europe, European microstates are often not a priority.
So if you have the opportunity, definitely take a trip to Monaco from either Milan or Nice! You won’t regret it.
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