Did you know that Monaco is the world’s second smallest country by surface area, only after Vatican City? Did you also know that it has the world-famous Monte Carlo casino, where citizens aren’t allowed to enter? And lastly, did you know that you don’t need a full day to experience the city? Shocking.
I left Nice, France from Nice Ville and took a regional train to Monaco, which was only 20 minutes long! I didn’t buy my ticket in advance but when I got to the station, I only needed to wait 15 minutes or so for the next train.
Pro-tip: Get to the platform early to claim a seat because there are tons of people riding the regional train towards Monaco.
There are buses in Monaco that can take you around the city but I chose to walk. Monaco is very hilly so if you’re walking, wear comfy shoes and be prepared to sweat!
I went first to the Prince’s Palace. From the train station, I walked downhill to the bottom of where the hike uphill behinds to take you to the palace. The views of the port are stunning! Just so many fancy boats.
At the top of the hill, I headed to the gift shop since that’s also where tickets are sold. You can buy a combination ticket to get access to both the palace and the oceanography museum, which is what I bought.
Pro-tip: Students with valid IDs get a pretty big discount! However, your ID needs to have an expiration date because my UCLA Bruincard was denied.
The ticket to the Prince’s Palace comes with an audio guide, but it’s the kind where it have to hold it to your ear like a cell phone. I thought that was a flawed design because my arms were getting sore so earbuds would have been nice but the hand held device didn’t even have that option. Pictures aren’t allowed inside the palace, but the whole tour took around 30 minutes to visit the designated state rooms.
Outside the palace are streets aligned with colorful gift shops and cafes.
I wandered along the streets and came up on a road that overlooked to the palace.
After touring the palace, I went on my way to the oceanography museum. I passed by the Saint Nicholas Cathedral, which there was some official event going on so I couldn’t go inside.
And in the oceanography museum, you can expect it to be like a typical aquarium.
After the aquarium, I headed over to Monte Carlo! The world-famous casino is situated just across the port from the Prince’s Palace so it did take me awhile to get there by foot and you have to walk uphill for that last stretch. The lobby itself is open for tourists to enter, but there’s a 10 euro fee to enter the casino. I didn’t bother entering but just took a quick picture.
Then I headed to Le Metropole, which is supposed to be a high-end shopping mall that ended up being kind of boring. I would skip this mall as it’s not particularly pretty inside or out.
By this point, I was pretty much done exploring Monaco. I could have gone to the Princess Grace Rose Garden but it was such a hot day that I really wanted to head back to Nice. The train back was jam-packed so I’d arrive at the station early as well to get a seat. Otherwise you’re like sardines in a can, but standing up.
Apologies that I didn’t include any details about food – there are so many options for meat-eaters and since I tried to stay vegetarian while I was abroad, my food adventures were a bit boring.
I’m running out of memories since I misplaced my travel journal and can’t find it ANYWHERE but I hope you enjoyed this read! All in all, you really only need half a day to explore Monaco.