At 0.81 square miles, Monaco is the second smallest country in the world, just behind the Vatican City! Although, small in land mass, it’s actually one of the most densely populated countries in the world! Monaco definitely lives up to its reputation of being a ritzy and glamourous place and has the highest density of millionaires in Europe. In fact, 32% of its population are millionaires! This post covers how to visit Monaco from Nice and what to see and do in Monaco once you get there!
How to Visit Monaco from Nice
There are a few ways you can visit Monaco from Nice.
The train is the easiest and fastest way to get to Monaco. Simply hop on the train in Nice at the Nice-Ville train station and hop off in Monaco. There are 2-3 trains within the hour and the journey takes around 21 minutes.
Bus #100 takes you from Nice to Monaco in a little less than an hour or so. The ride is supposed to be scenic (sit on the right side!) but can be crowded at times. This bus runs every 15-20 minutes or so.
You can also drive to Monaco from Nice but make sure to look up parking beforehand.
Alternatively, you can also take a boat trip to Monaco from Nice. The way to do this is to book a tour like THIS.
Check out my complete guide to Nice HERE or below!
Transport in Monaco
Once in Monaco you can either walk from place to place or take a local bus (#1 or #2).
When I got off the train, I pinched myself a little because I couldn’t believe I was in Monaco. While Monaco was not really a bucket list destination for me, it was still very surreal to be there.
Monaco is essentially divided in to 3 sections; Monte-Carlo, Monaco-Ville and La Condamine. All the main attractions of Monaco are essentially in Monaco-Ville, barring the casino which is in Monte-Carlo. I got off the train station and visited Monte-Carlo first and then headed over to Monaco-Ville.
What to See and Do in Monaco
The most famous site in Monte-Carlo and perhaps all of Monaco is its casino. It was built in 1893 by Charles Garnier, the architect who’s other famous work involves the Paris Opera House. The grand entrance and atrium is a sight to behold! You can tour the casino and the gaming rooms daily but have to adhere to the dress code to do so.
Also, check out the cars parked in front of, to the side of or at the back of the casino!
After visiting the Casino, you can either take the bus to Monaco-Ville or walk via La Condamine. I opted to walk so that I could see more of Monaco.
One of the best view points to see the principality is on the right side of the palace (when facing the palace) and next to the statue of a woman with a fishing net. This statue is dedicated to the reign of Price Albert I. From that view point, you can see the port of Monaco and most of the country!
There is another great viewpoint to the left of the palace when you are facing it. This view is of the Port of Fontvieille. There’s a similar view of Fontvieille but with a different angle near the Cathedral.
Changing of the Guard
The famous changing of the guard outside the Prince’s Palace draws hundreds of crowds in front of the palace everyday. The event starts at 11:55 daily but come around 11:30 to get a good spot. These guards have ensured the security of the Palace since their creation in 1817.
The palace is the official residence of the Sovereign Prince of Monaco, Prince Albert II. It’s changed form and purpose over the years and the current version is what Prince Albert’s father resorted in the mid 1900s. You can visit the palace April to October and view the state rooms. Tickets are available at the gift shop to the left side of the palace.
The Cathedral of Monaco was built in 1878 and is another landmark in Monaco. Mostly made famous by the wedding of Prince Rainer to the American actress Grace Kelly in 1956. You can also see their burial places here as well.
Wander the Streets
Check out the pretty pastel colored streets on the opposite side of the palace. These are jam packed with places to eat and souvenir shops. There was even a little open market the day I visited.
This garden boasts of great views of not just Monaco but also France and Italy. It’s home to more than a thousand species of cacti and other plants. I skipped it because I heard it was only worth it if you were a huge plant enthusiast AND I knew I was going to see a similar garden in Eze’ on the Riviera.
This museum was built by Prince Albert I as a monument to his love for all things sea related. In addition to things like ship models and oceanography tools, there’s also an aquarium which may be great if you are traveling with kids.
Every late May/early June, Monaco hosts the Formula One racing event. While there are many Formula One racing tracks around the world, the Monaco circuit is perhaps the most famous due to its with many elevation changes and tight corners as well as having to race through the tunnel. All this makes it one of the most demanding tracks in Formula One.
If you go to Monaco late May or early June (even if it’s not the racing weekend), you may still find crowds and even parts of the viewing platforms still up.
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