The tiny Principality of Monaco, set alongside the stunning French Cote d’Azur is better known for its casinos, Grand Prix, and actress Grace Kelly. In this one day in Monaco itinerary, we will be sharing how to make the most of your visit!
Monaco is also well known for being the home of the rich and famous. This has resulted in it becoming one of the most extravagant places on the French Riviera than even other haute destinations like St Tropez and Cannes or even Dubai United Arab Emirates.
Second only in size to the Vatican City near Rome, one can easily walk across the whole country in about an hour, affording more than ample time to explore the city in just one day.
Everything here comes at a price, all the more reason you may consider spending not more than a day exploring this beautiful country.
One Day in Monaco Itinerary: Trip planning
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The official name of this European microstate is the Principality of Monaco. As mentioned it is a sovereign state located on the French Riviera in Western Europe.
Monaco is bordered by France to the north and Italy to the east, making it one of only three countries (the others being Spain and Andorra) to be completely surrounded by another country.
Monaco has an area of just 2.02 square kilometers (0.78 square miles), making it the second smallest country in the world after Vatican City, and with a population of just over 39,000 (2020), it is also the most densely populated country in the world.
Here is what you can do in Monaco in one day
One day in Monaco itinerary: Explore Monaco in 24 hours
- Visit the Place du Casino
- Explore the La Condamine district
- Check out the Le Rock
- Hang out in Old Town Monaco
- Visit Old Monaco Museum
- See the Prince’s Palace
- La Rascasse for the night
The Principality of Monaco is a constitutional monarchy, with Prince Albert II as its head of state.
The country is renowned for its luxury hotels and casinos, as well as its tax laws which make it a popular destination for wealthy individuals from around the world.
For a first-time visitor, it is important to prioritize the area you wish to spend the most time in. Monaco has four districts, Monte Carlo, Fontvieille, La Condamine, and Monaco -Ville, the Old Town.
Monaco is an up-and-down destination, so the most important tip is to take advantage of an escalator or lift whenever you stumble across one. At the end of the day, your feet will thank you for that.
If you are in Monaco for a day and have issues with mobility, then Bus#1 and Bus#2 are your best bet to take you wherever you want to go.
Another option is to pay for a Hop on and Hop off sightseeing bus tour to take you around (and get down as you prefer).
Other excursions and tours that you might like:
- Luxury photoshoot in Monaco
- Day trip Nice to Monaco and other parts of the Riviera
- Lamborghini Driving Experience from Monaco
Where to stay in Monaco? Hotel Recommendations
Monaco may be a pocket-sized destination, but it is in no way pocket-friendly.
The casino may be one of the opulent buildings in Monte Carlo, but there are plenty of places in the area near it if you wish to book a room for your one-day stay.
There are numerous five-star properties with Michelin-starred restaurants with incredible views of the Mediterranean.
Hotel de Paris from €849 per night: This iconic five-star property is situated right next to the casino and has an indulgent Parisian design. The decor is absolutely lux with plush linens and a regal palette. There are three Michelin-starred restaurants on the premises to dine in. Book your stay here
Hotel Metropole – from €354 per night: With marble floors, chandeliers and multiple Michelin starred restaurants, Hotel Metropole displays the general Belle Epoque era kind of opulence. The rooms are stylish and come with grand views and there is an in-house spa to indulge in as well. Check prices and availability here
Columbus Hotel – from €209 per night: Bright and airy rooms with contemporary riviera style interiors and private balconies make Columbus Hotel the perfect place to stay for couples and families.
Located in Fontvieille, a lively and authentic neighborhood of Monaco, and near the landmark Prince’s Palace, travelers can explore Monte Carlo from here in style. Check current prices and availability for Hôtel Columbus Monte Carlo
Monaco one day itinerary
Monaco is best visited as a day trip from Nice.
Considering the high parking fees of €30 per day, driving in your car to Monaco is not recommended. Instead, train connections from Nice are more convenient to travel to and from the city state.
Moreover, the route is scenic and the regional TER train takes just 20 minutes and leaves every thirty minutes.
Time your return train trip to Nice after 8:00 pm to avoid the maddening peak hours rush, as most of the public transport gets really crowded.
You can also visit Monaco from Milan in northern Italy (via Menton). This journey is also done by trains (and no car is necessary).
Visit the Place du Casino
Leave the train station from the highest exit, the Sortie Monte Carlo. Once you are outside, look for signs or ask for directions to the Place du Casino. It is just a ten minutes walk away. This is the heart of Monte Carlo and possibly the most glamorous spot in entire Europe.
The Monte Carlo Casino is a world-famous gambling and entertainment complex. Featuring a beautiful setting on the Mediterranean Sea, the casino is known for its luxurious atmosphere and gambling opportunities.
This recently converted modern esplanade of red stone is surrounded by Belle Epoque buildings, palm trees and fountains.
In the middle of the plaza is the Monte Carlo Casino, which opened in 1863 to lure tourists and add to the income of Monaco, which it certainly did.
Even if you are not a gambler, it is worth taking a look at its onyx columns, marble atrium and stained glass of the Carlo Casino, all adding to the dipped-in-money feeling.
Visitors to the casino will find a wide variety of gaming options available, including Roulette, Blackjack, Craps, and Poker. The casino also features a number of restaurants and bars, as well as a dance club and live entertainment.
The Monte Carlo Casino is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Admission to the casino exterior and lobby is free.
Entry to the casino is €17, which includes a €10 bet voucher to place one bet. You are required to wear smart casual clothing, and no shorts or flip-flops are allowed. Jackets are a must after 7:00 pm and don’t forget to carry your passport!
Steps away lies the stunning Hotel de Paris Monte-Carlo, with a beautiful facade deserving for this ultra luxury hotel.
Rest your weary feet for a while at the picturesque Cafe de Paris Monte-Carlo, a Monaco sightseeing staple since 1868.
Explore the La Condamine district
Though not as old as Monaco Ville, the La Condamine district is the main business hub of Monaco and home to the sparkling Port Hercules.
The port dates back to Greek and Roman times and is a key stop on any Monaco itinerary with its gleaming yachts against the backdrop of pricey residences perched on the hills behind.
This is also the starting and ending point of the famous Monaco Grand Prix with a part of the grand prix route going around the harbor on Boulevard Albert Premier.
You may like this tour: La Condamine Romantic Walking Tour
To get here from Place du Casino, head west and take the elevator down to Quai des Etats Unis by the side of the port.
Check out the Le Rock
From Port Hercules head to the Le Rock area to visit the oceanographic museum, a famous Monte Carlo neo-classical institution set on a cliff rising dramatically out of the Mediterranean.
This historic aquarium was established by Prince Albert the grandfather of the current prince over a century back.
Considered to be one of the best of its kind in the world, the museum is home to over 6000 species of fish, both poisonous and nonpoisonous.
Just outside the museum, you can opt to take the Monaco Little Train Tour, which takes you around Monaco on a brisk thirty minutes trip.
Hang out in Old Town-Monaco Ville | Monaco Cathedral
After the oceanographic museum head to the most illustrious part of Monaco, the Old Town. You won’t have far to go as a part of The Rock is in the Old Town itself.
When strolling through the narrow cobbled streets you will come across the unmissable Saint Nicholas Cathedral where the much adored Princess Grace Kelly was laid to rest after her tragic death in a car accident in 1982.
Visit Museum of Old Monaco
While you are in the Old Town it is a good idea to check out the Museum of Old Monaco, located on 2, rue Emile de Loth, in order to gain a deeper insight on the principality’s rich heritage and diverse culture.
See the Prince’s Palace
One of the highlights of a day trip from Nice to Monaco is a visit to the Prince’s Palace, a Renaissance structure built on the site of a 13th century fortress and home of the current royal family.
If you are there between October and April, you can take part in a lavish 40 minutes guided tour of the State Apartments. Here you will find gorgeous frescoes, the Carrera marble staircase, the mirror room and the absolutely stunning Blue Room.
Note: If you are on a cruise, or taking the train back from wherever you came, this is the time to wind up your Monaco itinerary.
It is all downhill from the palace via a winding path to the station by following the sign posts, but do stop to admire the views on the way down.
La Rascasse for the night
If you decide to stay back in Monaco for the night and are looking for some lively nighttime entertainment, the legendary nightclub of Monaco, La Rascasse, will fit the bill perfectly.
The club is located at Quai Antoine, in Port Hercules, and really comes into its own during the F1.
You may like this tour: Monaco and Monte-Carlo by Night from Nice
Alternate tour recommendations for one day in Monaco Itinerary
Here is another Monaco day trip itinerary that includes a few different attractions in Monte Carlo.
In this itinerary, instead of existing to the Casino, choose the Exotic Garden area. The Jardin Exotique de Monaco is a botanical garden with amazing views of Monaco’s beaches and cliffs! Do check its opening hours prior to your visit.
From here walk to Port Hercules to grab a bite to eat. Along the way, admire the port area and the cool yachts lined up along the banks.
Snap a photo or two, and then settle in for an early lunch.
Next hop on the sightseeing bus tour, and check off the following – Casino, Grand Prix, Old Monaco Museum, and then head to Monaco One for shopping!
When you return back to the train station area, you can quickly pay a visit to the Sainte-Dévote Chapel, and then grab some food from the Casino Market (budget eating).
1 day in Monaco Sightseeing Map
Beyond exploring Monaco in a day
If you have spare time in Monaco, there is plenty to see at this point south of France.
A greater part of the Fontvielle district is located on reclaimed land and is a newer area lying south of Monaco Ville, with a port, parks, and museums. The top feature here is the Princess Grace Rose Garden with its 4,000 rose bushes.
These Japanese gardens were established by Prince Rainier in 1984. You can check out the vintage car collection of Prince Rainier III at the Terraces de Fontvielle.
Sadly, a day trip to Monaco does not include beach time, but if you are a fan of outdoor activities, a fun way to relax and explore some coves and swim is at Larvotto Beach.
The beach is on Avenue Princess Grace, a bit north of Monte Carlo. The 400m long pebble beach is full of pricey clubs and restaurants, perfect for designer beach lounging.
Beach access is free but it tends to get very crowded at times.
Thermes de Marin Spa
Connected to the Hermitage Hotel in Monte Carlo, the Thermes de Marin Spa is the best-known name in the world in spa and wellness circles.
If you want to pamper yourself after a hard day of climbing up and down the slopes, this is the place to head to for some relaxation and rejuvenation.
Day trips from Monaco
While Monaco in itself is a charming destination on the French Riviera, its convenient location to Nice and other popular towns makes it an ideal base to explore some interesting places on a day trip.
A fast train from Monaco can bring you to Menton in just twelve minutes, making it an ideal way to spend a day at leisure from Monaco.
The idyllic town is home to beaches and gardens, among which the Jardin Botanique Exotique is the most famous.
Stroll down the ancient streets and don’t forget to keep a camera handy for Instagram photos of the Mediterranean, the red-roof houses, and the mountains in the background.
While in Menton, do pay a visit to the basilica, another important local attraction.
This sun-drenched lively city on the French Riviera needs no introduction with its unmissable attractions and natural beauty.
A breezy thirty minutes train ride from Monaco will bring you to the railway station in Nice, from where all the attractions are within walking distance.
In Nice, you can chill out at the La Coulee Verte, where visitors come to picnic and kids frolic among huge dinosaurs as others watch the world go by.
An institution of its own in Nice is the Flower Market, where you can wander among rows of fragrant flowers, organic fruits, and vegetables that are worth spending time in. On Mondays, this is converted into an antique market.
St Tropez, France
Your full-day trip from Monaco to St Tropez will bring you to the most iconic beach town in the world namely, St Tropez.
As you travel west, you will come across stellar views along the Esterel Corniche road and the town of Port Grimaud and its canal system, reminiscent of Venice.
At St Tropez, explore the famous Pampelonne Beach and the provincial markets in Place des Lys every Tuesday. Visit the public squares and buy from cafes and shops before heading back to Monaco.
Travel Tips for Monaco
The Principality of Monaco follows the tourist entry requirements that are similar to France (and Italy). When we traveled from Italy via France – our passports were checked at the French border.
If you need a Schengen visa for France, your tourist visa will be valid for Monaco as well. Since France is part of the Schengen Area, due to the Neighborhood agreement between France and Monaco you can enter the principality too and stay up to 90 days.
For US and Canadian passport holders, no visa is needed but Schengen rules apply.
Monaco is an expensive destination, so it is important to create a budget before your trip. This will help you make the most of your money while in Monaco.
Plan to set aside a minimum of €170 per person per day for your twenty-four hours in Monaco. This includes stay in an average hotel (€195/double room) and €47 and €16 on meals and transportation respectively.
If you are in a group or a family with kids, the cost will reduce further as kids get to stay free in most hotels.
Note: Euros are the official currency.
While the crime rate in Monaco is lower than in most European countries, it is advised to be vigilant in tourist places, public areas, and especially the Monaco train station.
Ensure that your passport and other important belongings are secure and in sight at all times.
Security is provided by a 515 strong-armed police force which makes Monaco the most secure square mile in Europe. With such a super wealthy population, it is unlikely that anyone would want to steal your money.
More Monaco travel tips:
When traveling to Monaco, there are a few more things to keep in mind.
First, Monaco is a small country, so it is important to plan your trip accordingly.
Since it is a small country, it is important to pack light. This will save you money on transportation and allow you to see more of the country.
Monaco is a popular destination, so it is important to be prepared for crowds. This includes being aware of the best times to visit and avoiding peak times if possible.
Monaco is home to some of the best food in the world. Be sure to enjoy the local cuisine while you are here.
Monaco is quite expensive for an extended trip. If you’re on a budget we recommend a day trip from Nice, Menton, or Ventimiglia in Italy. All of these places are feasibly accessible by trains to Monte Carle.
Yes, you can walk. It takes less than one hour to walk across the entire width of Monaco.
Keep in mind that Monte Carlo/Monaco is elevated and hilly. You can use the hop on and hop off bus tour plus walk to maximize your stay in this small country.
Yes, you can surely walk around the main areas/districts in Monaco. There are inclined and elevated areas so we do recommend wearing comfortable shoes to explore various attractions.
If you wish to break for a bit, hop on a bus or use public escalators and elevators (free) to get around.
Here are the free things to do in Monaco
Monte Carlo Casino (exterior, no play)
Saint Nicholas Cathedral
The Sculpture Path
Changing of the Guard (Landmark)
The Japanese Garden
The best time to visit Monaco is in the late spring and fall. April, May, October, and November are great months for a vacation in Monaco.
During these months, the weather is pleasantly warm and great for spending time outdoors. If you are planning a stay here, you might find a nice hotel deal!
Was one day in Monaco enough?
While one day in Monaco is more than enough to see the main attractions of the playground of the princes and celebrities, a couple of days more can make the vacation more exciting if you head deep into the French Riviera.
You can easily spend one day each in Menton, Nice, and Cannes for an all-rounded experience in this lavish region!
Monaco is a great place to relax and enjoy your time. Be sure to take advantage of the opportunity to do so while you are in one of the smallest countries in the world.