I have had the opportunity to travel to Monaco on two occasions and each time I have seen something different and fall in love all over again. Upon hearing this you may be lead to believe I actually have a lot of money, but I actually just research and prepare well before travelling.
One of my pet peeves is the assumption that you have to be financially well off to even enter the region. Of course, this is true if you plan on spending an entire week living in luxury or you’re purchasing a property. But just visiting for a day or two does not have to break the bank.
Getting to Monaco
Firstly, travelling to Monaco is relatively affordable, flying to Nice from LPL or MAN you can catch a flight for as little as £70, depending on when you plan to fly. Like anywhere once you land there are the transfers to consider, which can be pricey if you want a helicopter or private car but there are thrifty ways to travel.
If you are a light traveller you may choose to take the train, this can take up to an hour but is significantly cheaper than a private transfer. There is also an airport bus – the Airport Express 110, with prices to Monaco starting from 22EUROS. Alternatively, try the regular bus service, bus 100 will take you to Monaco for €1.50.
As we don’t get away as much as we’d like we went all out and got a private transfer, not quite a helicopter, but it was sufficient. When we got to Monaco we were dropped off outside our hotel and were shocked by the cleanliness and service we received for what was a relatively cheap place in comparison to many other hotels in the region. Which brings us on to the next point, the accommodation.
Where to Stay
If you want to stay in Monaco then you will expect to pay a little more than other areas, such as Nice or Cap d’Antibes, or if you want to be further afield, Fayence in the Provence-Alpes Cote d’Azur region. The good news is that Monaco is accessible from all of these locations, you may have to travel for a couple of hours but if you are planning a weeks stay then two days out in Monaco can definitely be achieved.
When looking for budget accommodation stay clear of St Jean Cap Ferrat, Villefranche and St Tropez (although the last one is quite far out anyway).
During our visit’s we have stayed in Monaco and Fayence. Monaco when visiting for a weekend and further afield when staying for a whole week. The cost of our accommodation for two nights in Monaco was £300 and for one week in Fayence £450. It really depends on what you plan to do there and how much you are willing to pay. I know, £150 a night seems steep but for this part of the world it is pretty good, there were other options that start from around £50 per night for a double room, these can be found on comparison sites such as Trivago. Again, the prices really do depend on the time of year.
When choosing your accommodation it may not only be the price that influences your final decision but the location of the rental too. Which brings us to the next point – where will you be visiting?
What to See
There’s the obvious Monte Carlo as a starting point – the pinnacle of wealth and the area you will find luxury cars, think Rolls-Royce, Lamborghini, and Ferrari. The Hotel Metropole is located in this area too, near which is the Metropole shopping centre with some very boutique and glamorous shops. Upon entering the shopping area you are welcomed by a large chandelier and everything oozes wealth.
The harbour at Monte Carlo is lovely to see, especially during award season and the Grand Prix. We were lucky enough to visit just after the Grand Prix and saw the road markings and some of the yachts were still there. To see the superyachts it may be worth a visit to Cannes during the film festival, this is due to the dock in Monaco.
As well as wealth and shopping there’s also much more to see including the Oceanographic Museum. The building itself is remarkable, placed on the edge of a cliff its location is perfect for its content. In the museum, you can take a look at more than 6,000 specimens in reconstructed habitats.
A visit to the Prince’s Palace is a fine experience open from March to October in 2018 you can visit for €11.50 per adult and €5 per child (aged 6-16). Although, the Princes Palace is the residence of the ruling Prince certain areas are open to the public. You can explore the State Apartments, with high painted ceiling’s and large chandeliers the rooms are remarkable. The original fortress was built in 1215 by the Genoese and the history of the palace is apparent when walking around.
These are the only places I have had the chance to visit at the moment but I would love to go back and take a walk around the many gardens, mainly; Princess Antoinette Park, Zoological Gardens and The Exotic Gardens and the Observation Cave.
This is definitely one of my favourite places and I look forward to returning one day soon.