Wondering how to spend a day in Monaco? You’ve come to the right place!
As soon as you step foot on the shores of Monaco, you’re transported into a world of glitz, glamour, and opulence. Spend a day in Monaco with its pristine beaches and sparkling blue waters to the ornate architecture and luxurious yachts dotting the harbour. There’s no shortage of things to see and do in this tiny principality.
When I spent a week in Nice France, I spent a full day in Monaco and even returned for another evening to try out some of the restaurants. I hope my personal experience helps you enjoy a day in Monaco too!
With just one day to explore, you’ll want to make the most of your time by following the ideal itinerary that takes you through the highlights of Monaco’s rich culture, history, and cuisine. Get ready for a day full of adventure, indulgence, and unforgettable experiences that will leave you yearning to come back for more.
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A Day in Monaco – is 1 day enough?
Visiting Monaco for a day is not enough to fully experience all the wonders this glamorous city-state has to offer. However, it’s enough time to see some of the main attractions and get a taste of the local culture.
So, you might be asking just how many days in Monaco should you spend. If you are just wanting to explore Monaco, and not beyond, I would say at least one night giving you a full 1.5 to 2 days. How long to spend in Monaco depends on your overall South of France itinerary. As you may wish to make this your base to explore the nearby towns of Menton, Eze, and lesser-known hidden gems like Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, Cap-d’Ail and La Turbie
If you have even less time, for example, a half day in Monaco I would only spend it visiting Old Town.
A Monaco day trip offers a little something for everyone. Whether you’re a lover of history, a foodie looking to indulge in some gourmet delights, a car enthusiast or simply seeking out the best views of the sparkling Mediterranean.
If you’re wondering what to do in Monaco for a day, I’ve got you covered. I’ll take you through the perfect way to spend your day (mapped out geographically too!). Buckle up, get ready for an adventure, and let’s explore the very best of Monaco!
Monaco Itinerary – 13 Amazing Things to See & Do
#1 Old Town
Start your one day in Monaco with a visit to Old Town. The narrow cobblestone streets, lined with colourful buildings, exude charm and character. The scent of fresh-baked pastries from nearby bakeries fills the air. Pop into one for your coffee and croissant fix.
Notable buildings to seek out in Old Town in Monaco include
- The Monaco Courthouse – you can’t tour the inside, but the exterior is impressive with its elegant staircase
- Chapel of the Visitation – is a Baroque chapel dating back to the 17th century which is now art gallery (Free entry)
- Old Monaco Museum – is a small cultural heritage museum, including an interesting history of the Monesgasque language (Free entry)
- Saint Martin Gardens – a pretty park along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea
The best things to do in Nice and Monaco is to visit their Old Town, so that you can compare which one you like better.
#2 Nicholas Cathedral
Saint Nicholas Cathedral is a stunning Neo-Romanesque design with intricate details and towering spires that will take your breath away. The stone comes from the nearby hilltop village of La Turbie. As you step inside, you’ll be met with the awe-inspiring sight of the high-vaulted ceilings, intricate stained glass windows, and magnificent altar.
This cathedral, located in Old Town and built in 1903, holds the remains of former Princes and Princesses of Monaco. But it was the wedding of actress Grace Kelly that made this church so infamous. It’s simply one of the things to do in Monaco and shouldn’t be missed.
- Opening hours: open daily from 9am to 6pm (except during religious services)
- Entrance fee: Free
#3 Musee Oceanographique de Monaco
The Oceanographic Museum of Monaco is housed in a stunning building perched on a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean Sea in Old Town. Founded by Prince Albert I in 1910, this museum is one of the oldest and most famous oceanographic institutions in the world.
It boasts an incredible collection of marine life, including sharks, sea turtles, and exotic fish. This is a perfect destination for families, marine enthusiasts, and anyone seeking to learn more about the wonders of the ocean.
- Opening hours: open daily from October to March 10am to 6pm, April to June and September 10am to 7pm, July to August from 9:30am to 8pm
- Entrance fee: 18€
Grab your Oceanographic Museum of Monaco Ticket now – check prices and book your dates!
#4 Prince’s Palace of Monaco
The Prince’s Palace in Monaco has been the residence of the Grimaldi family for over 700 years and boasts a fascinating history and stunning architecture that will leave you in awe.
As you explore the palace, you’ll be transported back in time to a world of opulence and grandeur. Marvel at the intricate tapestries, impressive artwork, and ornate furnishings that adorn the halls and chambers.
Take a moment to stroll through the palace gardens, which offer breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea.
- Opening hours: From April to June and September to October 15 open from 10am to 6pm, from July to August open 10am to 7pm | Closed from October 16, 2023, to April 1, 2024, and the Formula 1 Weekend
- Entrance fee: €10
#5 Changing of the Guards
The Changing of the Guards is a timeless ceremony that is steeped in tradition and history. Every day at 11:30 am the sight of the immaculately dressed guards, with their bright black tunics and bright azure blue hats, marching in perfect unison is a truly awe-inspiring sight.
Whether you’re a history buff or just looking to experience a slice of cultural heritage, the Changing of the Guards is a fun activity to witness.
#6 Lunch at Le Marche de la Condamine
Having lunch at Condamine Market in Monaco is a culinary delight that’s not to be missed. This bustling market, located in the heart of the Le Condamine neighbourhood, boasts an array of vendors offering fresh produce, artisanal cheeses, and mouth-watering street food.
A recommended vendor to go to is Chez Roger who makes the best socca. Pull up a chair and enjoy a delicious meal while taking in the vibrant atmosphere of the market.
If you’re looking for a bit more refined lunch, but still something low-key (aka, won’t break the budget), dine at Castelroc in Old Town, serving up exceptional Monégasque cuisine. This will be one of the things to do in Monaco in one day so you get a taste of the local cuisine and atmosphere.
#7 La Condamine neighbourhood
The Condamine neighbourhood in Monaco is a vibrant and bustling area full of charming boutiques, local shops, and lively cafes.
Take a leisurely stroll through the narrow streets and alleyways, soak in the lively atmosphere, and marvel at the historic architecture that surrounds you.
What to visit in Condamine:
- Le Dressing – a high-end thrift store selling luxury French brands like Hermes, Celine, Christian Dior and Yves St Laurent (1 Rue Princesse Florestine)
- Jardin Exotique – is a beautiful botanical garden located on the cliffside offering stunning views of the bay of Monaco. Note the garden will be closed for 2023 for renovations – the only portion open to the public is the greenhouse (Jardin Exotique, 62 Bd du Jardin Exotique)
#8 La Collection Automobiles de S.A.S. le Prince de Monaco
Take note for all car enthusiasts, this is part of the itinerary you’ll not want to skip! As you step into the Prince of Monaco Collection Automobiles you’re instantly transported to a world of classic cars and glamour.
The pristine collection, housed in a stunning setting, showcases over 100 rare vehicles, each with a unique story to tell.
- Opening hours: from July to August open daily from 10am to 7pm, from January to June and from September to December open daily from 10am to 6pm
- Entrance fee: 10€
#9 Port Hercule
The bustling Port Hercules in Monaco is a sight to behold, with luxury yachts and boats bobbing in the shimmering blue waters. From the marina, take in the breathtaking views of Monaco’s skyline and the surrounding hills.
Whether you’re people-watching or just soaking in the high-life atmosphere, a visit to this iconic port is a must for your 1 day in Monaco.
#10 Formula 1 Track
The Formula 1 Track in Monaco is one of the most iconic and challenging circuits in the world of motorsport. The winding streets of the famous Monte Carlo have played host to the world’s fastest and most skilled drivers for over a century, and the track is steeped in history and prestige.
As you walk along the circuit, you’ll be struck by the sheer speed and intensity of the sport. The tight corners, narrow straights, and steep inclines require precision and skill and watching the drivers navigate these obstacles is truly awe-inspiring.
Whether you’re a die-hard motorsport fan or simply curious the F1 Track in Monaco is a must-visit destination.
#11 Casino de Monte-Carlo
The Monte Carlo Casino is a legendary icon of luxury and glamour. The ornate architecture, the exquisite details, and the opulent decor all transport you to a world of extravagance and indulgence.
The excitement of the casino floor is palpable, with the sound of chips clinking and the murmur of anticipation. Whether you’re a high roller or just looking to soak up the atmosphere, the famous Monte Carlo Casino is a must-visit destination for your one day in Monaco.
- Opening hours: open daily, 24 hours
- Entrance fee: Free to enter the atrium and the area with slot machines and €17 to enter the gaming area
- Optional things to do:
- take a stroll through the Japanese Garden which is the park in front of the Monte-Carlo square
- Café de Paris Monte-Carlo is a fun spot for people-watching with an overpriced cocktail in hand
#12 Sunset Watching
When it comes to watching the sunset in Monaco, there are two standout options: Fontvieille Harbour and Larvotto Beach.
Fontvieille Harbour is a peaceful and picturesque spot, where you can watch the sun dip below the horizon and the lights of the yachts twinkle on the water. If you have extra time be sure to take a romantic stroll through the nearby Princess Grace Rose Garden.
Larvotto Beach, on the other hand, offers a more lively atmosphere, with the buzz of beachgoers and the sound of waves lapping at the shore. Both locations offer a breathtaking view of the sun setting over the Mediterranean, making for an unforgettable experience.
Monaco is renowned for its culinary scene, with an array of restaurants offering exquisite cuisine and stunning views. One of the most romantic and luxurious places to dine is at the Michelin-starred Le Louis XV-Alain Ducasse à l’Hôtel de Paris, where you’ll be treated to an unforgettable gastronomic experience.
Another fantastic option is the Blue Bay at the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort, where you can indulge in a fusion of Mediterranean and Caribbean flavours while taking in the gorgeous sea views.
For a more casual dining experience head to Les Perles de Monte-Carlo which raises its own oysters and offers fresh seafood with a seaside dining experience.
7 Fun Facts About Monaco
- Monaco is the second-smallest country in the world after Vatican City, with an area of just 2.02 square km
- The population of Monaco is around 39,000, making it one of the most densely populated countries in the world
- Monaco is known for its Formula One Grand Prix, which takes place on the streets of Monte Carlo and is one of the most prestigious races in the world
- The official language of Monaco is French but Italian and English are also widely spoken
- Monaco has no income tax, which has made it a popular destination for the wealth
- The Monte Carlo Casino was the inspiration for Ian Fleming’s James Bond novel “Casino Royale”
- The Grimaldi family has ruled Monaco since 1297, making it one of the oldest royal families in Europe
Monaco in One Day Travel Tips
How to get to Monaco
Monaco is a small country located on the French Riviera, making it easily accessible by air, road, or rail. A day trip to Monaco from Nice is the most popular way travellers experience the city.
- By air: the closest airport to Monaco is Nice Côte d’Azur Airport, which is located about 30 minutes away by car. From the airport, you can take a taxi or rent a car
- By road: Monaco is easily accessible by car via the A8 motorway connecting Monaco to France and Italy, making it easy to reach from either direction
- By rail: Monaco has its own train station, which is served by the French rail network SNCF. Trains run regularly to and from Nice, Cannes, and other cities in the region
- By boat: ride the ferry from Nice to Monaco and back with this round-trip ferry transfer, check prices and book dates
- By Tour: join a group tour from Nice and spend a half-day in Monaco and the nearby village of Eze – check prices and book your dates
Once you arrive in Monaco, the country is small enough to explore on foot, but there are also taxis, buses, and rental cars available for getting around.
Of course, there’s the extremely popular Hop On, Hop Off bus tour. Give your feet a rest and enjoy the amazing views from the double-decker bus – check prices and book your dates!
Best time to go to Monaco
Monaco is most famous for hosting the annual Monaco Grand Prix race in late May. Note: Monaco Grand F1 2023 dates are May 27-28. Unless you have pre-booked race day tickets do not visit Monaco that weekend.
The peak tourist season is during the summer months from June to August when the weather is at its best and the streets are alive with events and activities.
If you prefer to avoid crowds, consider visiting in the shoulder seasons of spring (April to May) and autumn (September to November), when the weather is still pleasant, and the crowds are fewer. During these months, you’ll be able to enjoy Monaco’s attractions without the long lines and busy streets.
FAQ Monaco Day Trip
Is Monaco worth visiting?
Yes, Monaco is worth visiting as it’s considered the jewel of the French Riviera boasting stunning coastal scenery, and the world-famous Monte Carlo Casino.
How many days to spend in Monaco?
Ideally, spend one night giving you at least 2 days to spend in Monaco to explore its many attractions, from the opulent Monte Carlo Casino to the charming Old Town.
Is Monaco a day trip from Nice?
Yes, Monaco is an easy day trip from Nice, only 20 km away, and reachable by car, train or bus. Spend the day exploring and return to Nice for a nightcap to reflect on your day in Monaco.
How long does it take to walk around Monaco?
It won’t take you long to walk around Monaco seeing it’s just 2 km². It roughly takes an hour to walk from one end to the other, but add time to fully explore its attractions and hidden gems.
What is the best month to visit Monaco?
The best month to visit Monaco is May or September as you will experience the warm temperatures with far fewer crowds.
France Travel Resource
France offers a plethora of other enchanting destinations. If you’re seeking to explore the country’s diverse and picturesque regions, there are several destination guides that can assist you in planning your journey. It’s here you find some of these beautiful places:
- Avignon, known for its historic architecture and the famous Palais des Papes, is a must-visit city in the Provence region. Its rich cultural heritage and charming streets make it a delight for history and art enthusiasts, not to mention its amazing Provencal market!
- The Provence villages, with their quaint charm and scenic beauty, provide a glimpse into the rustic and idyllic countryside. Provence is home to the distinguished title of 7 of the Most Beautiful Villages in France.
- The Luberon region, known for its stunning landscapes and hilltop villages, is another gem worth exploring. Whether you’re wandering through the picturesque streets of Ménerbes or exploring the ochre cliffs of Roussillon, the Luberon region offers an abundance of natural beauty, delicious cuisine, wineries and so much more!
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As a Holidaymaker
Spending a day in Monaco is a delightful experience, full of charm, beauty, and glamour. I hope you get to experience this Monaco one day itinerary that has you exploring the winding streets of Old Town to gazing at the mega yachts in the harbour, every moment is a feast for the senses. Enjoy a leisurely lunch, soak up the Mediterranean sun, and maybe even try your luck at the casino.