Money, Money, Money, Moneyyyyy!!! (For the Love of Money – O’Jays).
This next country and its locals are some of the wealthiest in the world. Monaco, also known as the Principality of Monaco, is the second smallest country in the world with a length of just 3.18 km and a width of 1.1 km.
It is well-known that this micro state is rich, located on the French Riviera on the warm Mediterranean sea. Roughly a third of their population are millionaires, and they aren’t afraid to show it.
Visiting this micro state can be achieved in several ways:
1. Catching the train from Nice (€4.10 from Nice central or €5.00 from Nice Airport)
2. Local buses from Nice airport along the coastline (€1.50)
3. Helicopter from Nice airport (€140.00), if you have the money why not!
Most people do a day trip from a nearby (Usually Nice, France) town on the French Riviera, or you can spend the night within Monaco itself – however do expect to pay higher costs for accommodation.
To see everything in Monaco you need a full day, however if you want to relax and do it slowly a weekend trip should have you covered. Personally, I spent two nights there to see it properly.
Being so small everything is within walking distance from the centre of town and the main train station. I stayed to the west, right by the border and next to Stade Louis II football stadium. This is where football matches are held for the national team and AS Monaco.
Nearby was the heliport. Right on the Mediterranean you can stand and watch helicopters come and go with a beautiful backdrop.
If you are willing to splash some cash you can take a scenic flight of the coastline.
Just out on one of the piers you’ll get a great view of one of the cliff faces, where you can get an amazing shot of the Museum of Oceanography (Aquarium). If you’d like to visit it will cost you €16.
Walking around the piers and the coastline is really beautiful and peaceful.
There are quite a few ports within Monaco where locals or visitors can dock their yachts or super yachts.
Everywhere you look you’ll also see really expensive cars. Taxis are Mercedes or Teslas and the most common cars on the road are Range Rovers, Ferraris, and Bentleys.
One major event that hits the streets of Monaco every year is Formula One. Right by Port Hercule is the start/finish line for the Grand Prix and you’ll notice a lot of the ground markings on the road.
One of the most famous parts of the track is the hairpin turn.
Up the top of the cliff (Known as the Rock in the quarter of Monaco-ville) you can climb up to see the Prince Palace of Monaco.
It is a 13th century palace and is home to the monarchy of Monaco, Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene.
You can get a tour of the Grand apartments for €8. The courtyard has some shops for you to go through as well as some views of the nearby ports below the Rock, the other side of the entire country and the mountains that surround it.
Near the Palace is Saint Nicholas Cathedral. With free entry, this 19th cathedral is the burial place of the previous Prince of Monaco, Rainier III, and his wife Grace Kelly, both of whom pioneered the development of the country.
An unknown spot you could take a walk through is Fort Antonie Theatre. It is an open air theatre that has great views of the Mediterranean and the countryside, and is a great spot to relax.
For passport stamp collectors, I suggest going to the tourism office in Monte Carlo as unlike a lot of other micro states that charge you for a passport stamp, you can get one from Monaco for free.
In Monte Carlo (the main area of Monaco) you’ll see a lot of tourists. Most tourists who come through on day trips and spend a majority of their time here.
This is due to the Parc du Casino, which is a little park area with some fountains that overlook the major tourist sight in Monaco, Casino de Monte Carlo.
This Casino is a Beaux-Art and is featured in several films like James Bond. The inside is beautiful, however no photography is allowed during the night session (unsure about during the day) inside.
Entry during the day for tourists is €10, and in the evenings it goes up to €17. However, for this €17 they give you €10 credit to be used at the bar, towards casino chips or towards a meal in the restaurant. I used it as my tourist item from Monaco and kept a €5 chip.
The dress code is casual as long as you are not wearing shorts, flip flops, or sports shoes. During the evening other patrons are usually dressed up in dress shirts and dresses, ready for a night of gambling and opulence. There are two restaurants in the casino, Le Salon Rose (The one I went into, much more affordable) and Le Train Bleu (Pricier meal).
Another popular spot to eat is Le Louis XV in the Hotel de Paris, where a lot of the locals come to eat. Outside the Monte Carlo Casino and Hotel de Paris, where all those expensive cars are parked during the evening when the locals or visitors come to splash some cash.
If you are a car fanatic this is a great time to get some photos.
As you move to the furthest east parts of Monaco you come to the Japanese Gardens, which is a lovely spot to have lunch or just a stroll through the themed gardens.
In Monaco there is only one major beach to catch some waves and go for a swim in the sea, Larvotto Beach.
It is a fairly small but not so busy beach, and it’s a great spot to relax as a lot of tourists use the pools within their hotels instead.
Scattered across the city you’ll come across quite a few sculptures representing key moments in Monaco history, like the Monument of Princess Grace, to ones of significant events like the grand prix.
Once you pass the Monte Carlo Bay Casino you have officially reached the far east of Monaco and are now in France, having walked the entire length of a country!
Monaco and the Vatican are the only two countries in the world where this is an achievement for anyone to easily accomplish!
Even though Monaco is quite pricey and very small, it does have a fair amount to offer. Its tiny, windy historic streets have hidden spots for you to discover with restaurants and cafes fit for all price ranges for anyone to enjoy and relax.