Visiting Monaco On A Budget
Have you been wanting to plan a trip to Monaco for a while now, but have been afraid of breaking the bank? Visiting Monaco on a budget doesn’t have to be hard. You can visit and check out the lavish lifestyles of the rich and famous, but it can be done on a budget.
Monaco is one of the worlds 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.
There are only three of them in the world; one being Andora, Spain, and the other is Liechtenstein, a 25k long Principality in Europe.
Where To Stay In Monaco On A Budget
If you are not too concerned about “staying” in Monaco, it is easy to stay in France to save money. You can stay in France, and step out of your hotel and be in Monaco.
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 and walking distance to the beach. It is the perfect place to stay on a budget. They also offer a free shuttle service around Monaco including the famous Port De Hercules. This 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. If nothing else it is worth going up there and having a drink in the lobby. It is absolutely stunning.
There are also tons of Airbnb’s in and around Monaco that you can get for super cheap. Just because you are in Monaco, doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune. There are ways to explore this beautiful country without breaking the bank.
Where To Eat In Monaco On A Budget
Monaco is full of really good and expensive restaurants. Restaurants that are a once in a lifetime experience, but that doesn’t mean you have to wipe out your budget to experience them. Several of them offer up some amazing lunch 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 its self. They offer an amazing lunch special for only 25 Euro’s 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 is rumored to be an ex Michelin star sushi chef that 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 fashion 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.
Where To Drink In Monaco On A Budget
Just because you are in 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 day time or enjoy their unique nightlife. There are plenty of fun spots to go to in Monaco for drinks if you are on a budget.
- 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
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.
- Rose Garden-Monaco is home to a beautiful free garden that you can walk around or sit down on a bench and enjoy a nice book. Princess Grace Rose Garden is my favorite and is worth checking out when you come to Monaco.
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, designers 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. Although it is a little pricier than other cafes, the cars and people you will see are more elaborate.
- 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.
- Elevators and Tunnels– Monaco is a small and dense country. It is 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 short cut 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 percent 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. In France, you have to be careful and watch where you walk. This is mainly to do the lack of fines for dog owners. However, in Monaco, you don’t have to be as careful. They have free doggie poop bags located all around, so it makes it easy for dog owners to clean up after their pets. The one interesting thing is pet owners are not encouraged to throw it away, only bag it up. Monaco is not only home to a large Police squad, but they also have a large gardening crew constantly working to keep up their famous gardens. 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 or your dog are not allowed on it. If you Attempt to sit on it, you will be kicked off immediately.
Planning a trip to Monaco doesn’t mean you have to break the bank. There is so much that the South of France has to offer and it is worth getting out to explore it.
Check out my blog post on Best Villages in the South of France for other things to do in the area.