If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably not planning to roll up to Monaco like Daniel Craig in Casino Royale. You want tips on how to visit Monaco on a budget. Well, you’ve come to the right place, because we had an awesome time visiting this tiny country and didn’t break the bank when we visited back in 2015. To be fair, we didn’t experience the country in a nice car or yacht, we didn’t gamble, and we certainly didn’t drink champagne on a yacht. We did, however, drink champagne and enjoy a beautiful day walking around one of the richest and healthiest nations on Earth.
One of our favorite ways to explore expensive destinations is to visit them on a day trip. This means, we take a train, car, etc. to visit for the day, but then return to wherever we are staying for the evening. Obviously, this means less time spent in the respective expensive destination, no accommodation cost, etc. Make it a day trip from Nice – take the train and save a ton of money on accommodation.
The train from Nice Ville to Monte Carlo, Monaco takes just 20 minutes and should only cost a few euro. Trains run all day, making it easy to head back to Nice when you’ve finished exploring.
One thing that you’ll note is that champagne is not actually that expensive in Monaco. Avoid paying for individual drinks at a bar and opt for a bottle from a liquor store/bottle store. Take the bottle up to the park or down to the beach and enjoy a couple of drinks with your partner/friends or maybe an entire bottle by yourself if you’re traveling solo!
We had lunch at Planet Sushi because it was the cheapest decent option we could find. Essentially, we were looking for something that was both healthy and cheap – often a difficult combination in affluent communities. The sushi wasn’t good but it was definitely fine enough that we would eat there again if we returned to Monaco on a budget.
This one is probably the most obvious. Monte Carlo is famous for a couple of things: casinos and yachts. Don’t risk what little budget you have on gambling. There is a reason the casinos and hotels are so nice. The same goes for Vegas. The reason that the casinos and hotels are so nice is that the house always wins.
When you visit the South of France, Italy, and other coastal Mediterranean destinations, you’ll note that many of the beaches are lined with chairs and umbrellas. Invariably, these are the “private” beach clubs that require paid entrance or minimum spends on food and beverage. Opt for public beaches or public pools. If you can’t find one, go to the cheapest private club and pay for just the chair and umbrella. You could also sneak into a rooftop pool club and just buy 1 drink.
There is no need to take a taxi anywhere around Monaco. The entire country’s area is just over 2 square kilometers (about 500 acres and 202 hectares). There are families in the southern United States with much more land than that. Walking around Monaco is easy – even in the hot, humid, summer heat of the Mediterranean. Walk around the casino, the marina and harbor, around to the Saint-Martin Gardens, and up to the Park Monaco. Monte Carlo didn’t make our list of the most walkable cities, but that’s only because it is so small we didn’t think it was qualified for the list. It is certainly VERY easy to walk around the entire country.