Have you been wanting to plan a trip to Monaco for a while now, but have been afraid of breaking the bank?
Yes, Monaco is expensive, but you can also visit Monaco on a budget. Check out the lavish lifestyles of the rich and famous, without spending an arm and leg to do so.
I lived in Monaco or Cap’dail for over 3 years, while I was there I learned some tips and tricks that will help you save money on your vacation.
Monaco is one of the world’s smallest countries, or Principality to be correct. This means it is ruled by a Monarch, but rather than being ruled by a King or Queen, it is governed by a Prince.
It is known for it’s lavish lifestyles of the rich and famous parking their mega yachts outside while they watch the Grand Prix.
Monaco is a special place, you can enjoy the same places as the rich and famous without spending the same amount of money.
Visiting Monaco doesn’t have to break the bank.
Where To Stay In Monaco On A Budget
First, let’s start with where to stay in Monaco on a budget. Monaco is very small and if you are looking to book a hotel within Monaco, they are going to be super expensive.
However, the amazing thing about Monaco is that it’s very small and it borders France.
So if you want to save some money without making much difference on your holiday. You should book just along the border.
I suggest staying at the Marriott in Cap d’ail.
It is right on the border of Monaco and France. Located in a beautiful port, a step away from Monaco as well as within walking distance to the beach.
Cap d’ail is the perfect place to stay when visiting Monaco if you want to save money.
They also offer free shuttle service around Monaco including the famous Port De Hercules, Monte Carlo Casino, and Monaco Cathedral.
It is only a 10-minute walk to the center of Monaco from this hotel.
Cap d’ail is a great place to stay and save some extra cash.
If you want to actually stay in Monaco, a good and cheap alternative is the Columbus Hotel.
It is gorgeous, but oftentimes they run great specials making it a steal.
If you don’t care too much about your budget and are looking for a place to splurge for the night, the Hotel de Paris is beautiful.
Hotel Paris and Monte Carlo Opera House is a must-stop while you are in Monaco.
Monaco On A Budget: Where to eat
Monaco is full of really good expensive and nonexpensive restaurants. These restaurants are a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
However, that doesn’t mean you have to splurge to enjoy them. Several of them offer up some amazing specials that can’t be missed.
- Beef Bar Should not be missed on your trip to Monaco. Specializing in steaks and burgers, their food is to die for. They also offer up some amazing vegetarian dishes. Dining there is an experience in itself. They offer an amazing lunch special for only 25 Euro which includes a starter, main and a glass of wine. Dine like the rich and famous without having to pay the price.
- MC Kodera Hands down, this is the best sushi I’ve had outside of Japan and you can’t beat the price. The chef was an ex-Michelin star sushi chef who decided he wanted to enjoy the laid-back lifestyle of the South of France. Watching him roll sushi is pure magic. Don’t be thrown off of the food court-style restaurant, you can’t miss this place when visiting Monaco.
- Grubers Nothing beats a good old-fashioned hamburger and Grubers has great burgers at a cheap price. Although this is not a fancy restaurant, their burgers are pretty damn good. Enjoy their truffle burger and a pint of beer for under 10 Euros. It is right in Port Hercules in Monte Carlo.
Where To Drink In Monaco On A Budget
Just because you are in Monte Carlo, Monaco, doesn’t mean you have to break the bank when going out for drinks.
One of the best things to do is to go out and either enjoy a lovely glass of rosé during the daytime or enjoy their unique nightlife.
There are plenty of fun spots to go to in Monaco for drinks if you are on a budget.
- Cafe Paris – This is the coffee house next to the Monte Carlo Casino, although it is probably the most expensive cafe to get a coffee from in Monaco, it is a great budget activity. Sit in the cafe for hours and watch all the expensive cars pull up to the casino. This is the best people-watching in Monaco.
- Gerhards – My favorite local spot to drink in Monaco, it is a fraction of the price compared to other bars. Grab a bottle of wine and sit out and enjoy the beautiful cliffs of Monaco. They also have an amazing Flammkuchen (German Pizza). If you have never had one, you must try it. It has a white sauce base topped with bacon and onions, it will change your life.
- Brasserie – Nothing beats a happy hour and Brasserie has the best happy hour in town. If you want to drink cheap in Monaco, make sure you hit up the happy hours where you can get 2 x 1 drinks. The brasserie has 1 every day from 6pm- 8pm. It’s the perfect time to come out and enjoy the last bit of sun in the summer with a few cold brews
- La Rascasse – When happy hour is over at Brasserie, it is time to hop over to Rasscase. Their happy hour is from 8pm- 10pm, so when everyone is done at Brasserie they head over there. This is when the music starts getting good and people get out on the dance floor.
Free Things To Do In Monaco
To keep your trip budget-friendly in the French Rivieria means you need to take advantage of doing all the free things Monaco has to offer as well.
There are plenty of free things to do in Monaco. If you enjoy hiking, there are plenty of great hikes or you can enjoy a leisurely coastal walk.
This is my favorite hiking spot and coastal walk from Monaco.
- Plage Mala – This is probably one of the best beaches in the South of France, and it is a lovely walk from Monaco. It is about an hour walk along the coast from Port of Hercules with stunning coastal views along the way. Be careful when you go as they tend to close the boardwalk down when swell and the waves pick up a bit.
- Tet de Chien –This is an amazing hike you can do for the afternoon from Monaco. Climb to the top and enjoy the stunning views of Monaco, as well as Italy and France.
- Changing of the Guards – Always fun and free to come out and watch. You might even see Prince Albert while your there.
- Rose Garden or Japenese Garden – Monaco is home to beautiful free gardens all around. My favorite is the rose, Princess Grace Rose Garden. That was dedicated to Princess Grace Kelly. Walk around or sit down on a bench and enjoy a nice book.
Cheap Things To Do In Monaco
Not everything can be free, but there are still a lot of cheap things to do in Monaco.
- Cafe Paris– Enjoy a coffee and a croissant while people watching. All the fancy cars, designer clothes, and exotic breeds of dogs make for excellent street-side entertainment. One of my favorite past times is to have a coffee and just watch the people and cars pass by. Cafe Paris which is located next to the Casino is a great place to do so.
- Be sure to keep an eye out for the Prince or Princess. You will notice them being escorted around in their black Mercedes with their 01 license plate.
- Aquarium – The Aquarium in Monaco is worth checking out. It isn’t free, but you can normally get tickets for under 20 Euros and the building itself is spectacular. It is right on top of the rock (the area where the Prince lives) and has stunning ocean views. Be sure not to miss the rooftop.
Getting Around Monaco On A Budget
Monaco is pretty small and it is easy to walk pretty much anywhere, but they also have a great public bus system.
It is easy to hop on and off for the day for 5 Euros, or you can buy a one-way pass for 2 Euros. It is cheaper than the hop-on-hop-off tourist bus, and it will take you to all the same places. Get to the Monte Carlo Casino in just minutes.
- Elevators and Tunnels– Monaco is a small and dense country, actually the most densely populated country in the world. Making it is easy to walk around and get almost anywhere. However, it is very convenient to know about their tunnels and elevators as they will save you time walking around. There is always a short-cut elevator that will take you exactly where you need to go, but you just need to find it.
- Also, the train station makes a great shortcut right through the center of this small country.
Random Fact About Monaco
After living in Monaco for such a long time, you start to notice and learn things about it that you normally wouldn’t notice when you just visit for a day or two.
Here are some random facts I picked up after living there for 3 years.
- Public Bathrooms – Monaco by far has the most public bathrooms I have ever seen in Europe, and it can be almost impossible to find a public bathroom in Europe. Most public bathrooms you have to pay for. They are protected by a code or you have to pay to access them. However, in Monaco, it is very likely that you will pass several on a 10-minute walk. And they are always clean.
- Police Officers– Monaco has the highest percentage of police officers per resident, having over 500 police officers per 30,000 residents. This helps to keep Monaco one of the safest countries in the world and they are always available to help you when you are lost or have a question.
- Surveillance Cameras- Monaco is the highest monitored country in the world. Keeping an eye on you the whole time so you don’t need to worry about crime here. Many times people will leave their iPhone or Louis Vuitton purse on a table to reserve it.
- Dog Poop– This can be a major problem in the South of France, but not in Monaco. They have free doggie poop bags located all around, so it makes it easy for dog owners to clean up after their pets. Also, pet owners are not encouraged to throw it away, only bag it up. Pet owners are encouraged to leave it on the pathway, where garden workers will pick it up and properly compost of it, helping to keep the city more eco-friendly.
- Keep off the grass– Monaco is very pristine and they like to keep it that way. They have fresh gardens everywhere with nicely manicured grass that is inviting to sit on, have a picnic and enjoy the summer sun. However, you are not allowed to. If you Attempt to sit on it, you will be kicked off immediately.
You don’t have to worry about breaking the bank on holiday it is easy to go there and visit Monaco on a budget.
I shared some tips and tricks that I picked up while leaving there to help you enjoy your holiday and make it a little bit cheaper.
Have you been to Monaco? Do you have any other tips and tricks that you would like to share? Say so in the comments below.