Monaco makes a great day trip from Nice. The legendary casino, the Prince's Palace where Princess Grace once reigned, the gardens, the museums, the nightlife: Monaco has it all. Highlights of Monaco include the Prince's Palace, Oceanographic Museum and Cathedral in Monaco Ville and the Casino in Monte Carlo. All can be easily visited on a day trip from Nice even though they're on opposite sides of the tiny country.
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Bus or Train?
The bus is cheaper at €1.50 plus if you buy a Ticket Azur it includes your tram ride to the bus. The train costs €4.10 from Nice train station to Monaco.
The train is faster at 20 minutes from Nice Ville station; the bus takes 50 minutes
Part of the Nice-Monaco train passes along the coast but there are several tunnels. Line 100 is spectacularly scenic. Following the Basse Corniche, the bus climbs over Villefranche-sur-Mer for a view over the entire bay and then descends to Beaulieu-sur-Mer for a glimpse of the Belle Epoque villas lining the road before going on to Eze-sur-Mer and Monaco. Line LR112 takes the even more scenic Moyenne Corniche, passing by Eze village.
The bus leaves from Port Lympia behind the church and makes several stops in Mont Boron before depositing you directly at the Monte Carlo Casino or at the Place d'Armes near the Prince's Palace. The train leaves from any one of Nice's train stations (Saint Augustin, Nice Ville or Riquier) allowing you to choose the nearest one before going on to the Monaco station. Then there's a walk or short bus ride to Monaco Ville or Monte Carlo. The last bus returning from Monaco is at 20.24 whereas the last train is at 23.58. The 100 bus runs every 15 minutes or so while the train is every hour or half-hour depending on the time of day. The bus is likely to be more crowded during the summer whereas the train is only crowded during rush hours.
Monaco day Trip By Train
The Monaco-Monte Carlo train station at Place Saint Devote is a large, modern complex. Of the six exits look for the exit (sortie) "Parvis St Devote" or "Port Hercule".
Check schedules and buy tickets on thetrainline.
It's about 10 minute (1km) walk either to the Casino or to Place d'Armes at the foot of the Prince's Palace.
Bus lines 1 or 2 take you to Monaco Ville or to Monte Carlo. Bus 1 goes right to the Place de Casino; Bus 2 is a short walk away. Bus 3 and 4 takes you to the Place d'Armes and the Condamine market. From there you can walk uphill to Monaco Ville or transfer (free if under 30 minutes) to the 1 or 2 going up the hill. Buses 5 and 6 take you to Monte Carlo, the Grimaldi Forum and Larvotto beach.
Monaco Day Trip by Bus
Take tram line 2 to Port Lympia. Pick up bus 100 from behind the church (corner of rue Fodere and rue Pacho). Note that if you bought a ticket Azur for €1.50 from the ticketing machine, your ticket is valid for the ride to Monaco. Otherwise buy a separate ticket for €1.50 from the driver. The bus runs every 15 minutes or so from Monday to Saturday, less frequently on Sundays. Note that the bus makes several stops in Mont Boron only for picking up, not discharging passengers. The bus stops at Place d'Armes, Monaco train station, the Casino and Place des Moulins before going on to Menton. For the return trip it's best to board at Place des Moulins before people crowd on at the Casino. Ask for a Ticket Azur from the driver which will include your bus or tram ride in Nice.
Another possibility is to take bus 112 from Nice's Vauban bus station but it only runs every two hours. The scenic ride takes the Moyenne Corniche, stopping in Eze village. The bus deposits you at the Monte Carlo Casino. Avoid bus 100X which takes the very unscenic autoroute.
Suggested Itinerary for a Monaco Day Trip
Board the 100 bus, making sure to sit on the right for the best views! Step off the bus at the Place d'Armes, the first stop after the tunnel. Head to the roundabout, turn right and go downhill on ave du Port to
Behind the colorful stalls selling fruit, vegetables and cheese is the Condamine food hall with stalls selling inexpensive snacks and meals. It's the best dining deal in all Monaco!
Across the street are steps leading up the hill as well as a bus stop for the 1 and 2 buses to
Wander the tidy streets
Check out the view over the port
Check out the Prince's Palace
Visit it if you like and it's open (more info here).
Go on to the
The late Princess Grace is interred behind the altar. Also notable are several paintings by Nice master, Louis Brea.
Nearby is the
More info here.
After visiting Monaco Ville head to Monte Carlo. Either walk down the hill and across to Monte Carlo (about 650m) or take the 1 or 2 bus to the
Monte Carlo Casino
Visit the Atrium for free after noon. Access to the gaming rooms requires a fee, a passport and "smart" clothing. More info here.
After shopping, window-shopping and soaking up the atmosphere, head back to Nice either by train or bus. Bus 100 leaves from ave de la Costa at the top of the Casino gardens. Or, follow ave de la Costa north at it turns into ave des Moulins. Follow to Place des Moulins and board the bus there to be assured of a seat going back.
Or, take in Eze village on the way back. To do this, take the 112 bus from ave de la Costa (check the schedule carefully) to Eze village and then the 82 bus to the Nice bus station at Vauban.
Getting Around Monaco
Public buses are frequent and efficient. A ticket for one ride is €2 but if you'll be taking a number of buses, consider buying a day pass for €5.50 either at a ticket machine or from the driver.
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