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Monaco Day Trip

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.

Ferry to Monaco

Clearly the most pleasant way to do a day trip to Monaco is by passenger boat. From mid-May through September there are departures three times a week: Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. The boat leaves at 9:30am, arrives in Monaco at 10:15 and departs for Nice at 5pm. The boat leaves from Port Lympia and the ride offers beautiful views of the entire coast from Nice to Monaco including Eze, Villefranche-sur-Mer and Cap Ferrat.

Driving To Monaco

Obviously, you can drive to Monaco, park there and visit the country. I don't advise it. Traffic into and out of Monaco is notoriously jammed up, especially during rush hours. Once you get in, the signs are confusing and detours for road work are common. It's a nightmare. Parking, although reasonably priced, is always in one of the many underground parking garages where another network of signs directs you to your destination.

Public transport is easier and less stressful!

Taxi to Monaco

A taxi from Nice to Monaco costs €60-€80 each way. It's somewhat cheaper to take an Uber but note that Uber is allowed to drop off passengers in Monaco but isn't allowed to pick up passengers in Monaco.

Bus or Train?

Price

The bus is cheaper at €2.50 plus if you buy a Ticket Azur (€2.50) it includes your tram ride to the bus. The train costs €4.10 from Nice train station to Monaco.

Speed

The train is faster at 20 minutes from Nice Ville station; the bus takes 50 minutes

Scenic

Part of the Nice-Monaco train passes along the coast but there are several tunnels. Line 600 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.

Convenience

The bus leaves from Port Lympia (stop Arson Fodère) 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 600 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.

Walking
It's about 10 minute (1km) walk either to the Casino or to Place d'Armes at the foot of the Prince's Palace.

Public Transport
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

100 bus to Monaco

Take tram line 2 to Port Lympia. Pick up bus 600 from behind the church (corner of rue Fodere and rue Pacho). Note that if you bought a ticket Azur for €2.50 from the ticketing machine, your ticket is valid for the ride to Monaco. Otherwise buy a separate ticket for €2.50 from the driver (€2.10 if purchased in advance). 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 602 from Nice's Vauban bus station but it only runs every two hours. It tends to be less crowded in summer than the popular 600 line. The scenic ride takes the Moyenne Corniche, stopping in Eze village. The bus deposits you at the Monte Carlo Casino.

Avoid bus 80 which takes the very unscenic autoroute from Nice Airport Terminal 2 to Monte Carlo and Menton. That bus although fast (50 minutes) and comfortable costs €19.

Suggested Itinerary for a Monaco Day Trip

Board the 600 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

Condamine Market

Condamine market

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

Monaco Ville

Things to See in Monaco Ville

Monaco Ville

Wander the tidy streets

Street in Monaco Ville

Check out the view over the port and the Formula 1 racetrack that runs along the port.

View over Monaco's Port

Check out the Prince's Palace

Prince's Palace, Monaco

Visit it if you like and it's open (more info here). Or, get there at 11:55am and check out the changing of the guard.

Go on to the

Cathedral

Monaco Cathedral

The late Princess Grace is interred behind the altar. Also notable are several paintings by Nice master, Louis Brea.

Nearby is the

Oceanographic Museum

Oceanographic Museum, Monaco

More info here.

Where to Eat in Monaco Ville

Time for lunch? There's not a lot to choose from in Monaco Ville. Try Restaurant L'Aurore. This cavernous place does a booming business with tours mainly because the Italian-style food is good and reasonably priced. Just don't expect a calm, quiet experience at the height of the summer season.

Monte Carlo

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. I recommend the bus as the walk is not particularly scenic and involves a number of stairs, escalators or elevators. The bus takes you to Monte Carlo Casino.

Monte Carlo

Things to See in Monte Carlo

Monte Carlo Casino

Monte Carlo Casino

Visit the Atrium for free after 10am. 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 607 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.

Where to Eat in Monte Carlo

There are loads of dining possibilities in Monte Carlo, most of them pricey. The absolute best is Le Louis XV-Alain Ducasse in the Hotel de Paris. This three-starred Michelin establishment is the finest dining experience on the Riviera. Book ahead and plan on "elegant dress" and a jacket at least for dinner.

The Cafe de Paris is an iconic spot marked by Belle Epoque architecture and a terrace opening onto the Place de Casino. The brasserie-style food is excellent and the decor eye-popping. A drink on the terrace is a wonderful finish to the Monte Carlo experience.

For more casual dining, I recommend Pulcinella at 17 rue du Portier, halfway between the Casino and the Grimaldi Forum. The Italian-style food is good and the prices are reasonable.

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.

Related Pages

Monaco Travel Guide

Day Trip from Nice to Eze and Monaco

Monaco Highlights

Day Trips from Nice

Monaco Practicalities

Further Resources

Regional bus schedules

 

Last Updated May 16, 2024

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