One Day in Monaco: The Perfect Monaco Day Trip from Nice

The French Riviera is not only an absolute must-visit location, but it’s also a great place to use as a home base while taking day trips to other nearby towns. For instance, you could easily spend one day in Monaco as a day trip from Nice, or any nearby city!

Monaco is known for being glamorous. It’s located right on the water and is its own country, separate from France, despite technically being in a location surrounded by France. It’s filled with fantastic scenery, tropical vibes, and luxury everywhere you look.

While Monaco is exceptionally tiny, it’s filled with tons to do, but you can easily dip your toes into all that it has to offer with just a day in Monaco. Here is how to have a perfect one day in Monaco!

Disclosure: *This post contains a few affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through my link.*

Are you planning a last-minute trip to Monaco?

If your trip is coming up soon and you still haven’t booked anything, we have you covered! Below you can find our top picks when it comes to hotels, tours, getting around, and more.

Best Day Trips to Monaco

Best Tours and Experiences in Monaco

Best Places to Stay in Monaco

Port de Fontvieille Viewpoint in Monaco

Overview of Your One Day in Monaco Itinerary

For your one day in Monaco, you’ll be hitting all of the absolute can’t-miss attractions.

These are all of the places that you can’t visit Monaco without at least seeing once, so try to take the time to check out these great attractions during your day trip to Monaco.

You’ll start the day down near the port, and then slowly begin to explore other parts of the city that it’s most well-known for, like the casino!

Breakdown of your one day in Monaco

  • Getting to Monaco
  • Stroll around Port Hercules
  • Breakfast at Eola
  • Explore the Old Town of Monaco (Prince’s Palace, St. Nicholas Cathedral, Oceanographic Museum, Port de Fontvieille Viewpoint)
  • Walk along the Formula 1 Track
  • Monte Carlo Casino
  • Japanese Garden
  • Sunset at Tête de Chien
  • Getting back to Nice (or wherever you’re staying)

Map for your Monaco itinerary

Below you can find a customized map that includes all the locations you’re going to visit on this one day in Monaco itinerary.

I marked all the attractions with red and I also marked some important bus stations, train stations, and car parks with green that can come in handy for your Monaco day trip from Nice. As a bonus for Formula 1 lovers, I also marked the whole F1 track with blue on the map!

How to use this map: This map is fully interactive, so you can move around, zoom in/zoom out, and click on the icons. If you want to see a larger map, click on the bracket in the upper right corner. To see more details and the different layers, click on the tab in the upper left corner. If you want to save it for later, click on the star icon next to the name of the map. Then simply open Google Maps either on your desktop or phone, go to ‘Saved’/’Maps’, and open the map whenever you need it.

How to Spend One Day in Monaco

Stroll around Port Hercules

Start your day bright and early by heading down to Port Hercules and taking in the beautiful Mediterranean Sea. Port Hercules is the main port in Monaco that has been used for thousands of years.

However, the version of it that stands today was completely redone in the early 20th century. It’s so big that it can hold around 700 different boats if it wanted to!

If you opted for taking the train for your one day in Monaco trip, then you will need to walk around 15 minutes to reach Port Hercules from the train station.

In case you decide to drive to Monaco, you can find 2 big parking lots near Port Hercules (I put both of them on the above map) where you can easily park your car.

Beautiful yachts in Port Hercules in Monaco

Have breakfast at Eola

In case you didn’t have breakfast at your hotel, it’s time to treat your taste buds to some delicious food! On your way to the old town, make sure to stop by Eola, which is a 10-minute walk from Port Hercule.

Eola stands for ‘Eat Organic Live Active’, and as the name suggests, you can find all kinds of healthy dishes here like smoothie bowls, green juices, and avocado toasts.

This lovely little cafe is open from 9 am to 3 pm from Monday to Friday. Unfortunately, it’s closed on Saturdays and Sundays so if you’re spending your one day in Monaco on a weekend, you will need to look for another place to have breakfast.

Explore the Old Town of Monaco

Next, head over to Monaco’s Old Town. This is arguably one of the most picturesque parts of the city which is located up on a hill and has really great views of the Mediterranean Sea.

The easiest way to get to the Old Town is to take Rampe de la Major, which starts right after the roundabout by Place d’Armes (2 minutes from Eola). Be prepared that the road is a bit steep so it’s best to wear comfortable walking shoes.

Within 10 minutes, you will reach Place du Palais, the square in front of the Prince’s Palace and you can start exploring the Old Town!

Take some time to walk along the cobblestone streets and pop into any stores or restaurants that interest you that you may come across.

Old Town is the most historical part of the city, so you’ll find some unique architecture here that you won’t find elsewhere in Monaco.

Below you can find some of the must-visit places in the Old Town that you absolutely need to check out on your one day in Monaco.

Colorful houses in Monaco Old Town

Prince’s Palace

Opening hours: 10 am – 5 pm between the end of March and mid-October
Entrance fee: €10

Your Monaco day trip wouldn’t be complete without seeing where the royalty lives. The Prince’s Palace is located right next to where the Rampe de la Major ends (the road you took up to the Old Town), so you can easily make this your first stop in the Old Town.

The palace was built in the 12th century and is the home of the current prince of Monaco. If you’re lucky, you may even see the changing of the guards, which is an entertaining sight.

Because Monaco is so small and you can get reasonably close to the palace compared to royal palaces in other countries, you may even sneak a peek at the Prince of Monaco.

Although it’s a private residence, the State Apartments are open to visitors from the beginning of April until mid-October.

Inside, you can see the Palace Chapel and many majestic rooms such as the Hercule Gallery, the Throne Room, and Louise XV Bedroom, as well as numerous beautiful frescoes and old furniture.

Prince's Palace in Monaco

St. Nicholas Cathedral

Opening hours: 9 am – 6 pm
Entrance fee: Free

St. Nicholas Cathedral, otherwise known as the Monaco Cathedral is one of the most important religious monuments in Monaco. The construction of the cathedral began in 1875 but it was only consecrated in 1911.

The cathedral was home to many royal events such as the wedding of Grace Kelly and Rainier III, the Prince of Monaco and now it houses the tombs of Monaco’s former princes.

The cathedral can be visited for free, which makes it one of the best places to explore if you’re visiting Monaco on a budget. If you want to go inside, make sure to dress respectfully!

St. Nicholas Cathedral in Monaco

Oceanographic Museum

Opening hours: 10 am – 7 pm
Entrance fee: €19

While you may not associate any type of history or museum with Monaco, you must visit this one! The Oceanographic Museum was opened in the 20th century and focuses on everything involving the ocean and marine science.

Inside the museum, you’ll find lots of aquariums, artifacts, and exhibits. Take the time to explore here because you’ll truly learn a lot. It was also founded by a relative of Monaco’s current Prince, so it has an important connection to the country itself.

You can either buy your tickets on site or book them in advance.

Port de Fontvieille Viewpoint

Just beside the Oceanographic Museum, you can find a beautiful park called Jardins de Saint-Martin.

The park already offers some incredible views over Port de Fontvieille but if you keep walking to the end of the park, you will find one of the most beautiful viewpoints in Monaco.

I hope you didn’t forget your camera at home because this is truly one of the best views you’ll see during your one day in Monaco!

Walk along the Formula 1 Track

If you’ve finished exploring the Old Town, it’s time to move to the other side of the city. It’s going to be a long walk but on the way to Monte Carlo Casino, you can do a very unique thing that you can only do in Monaco: walking along the Formula 1 Track!

Because Monaco is known worldwide for hosting the Grand Prix, you absolutely must find part of the race track route and walk along it. It’s incredibly cool to think that Formula 1 racing happens here.

To help you plan your route, I marked the entire track with blue on the map I shared above (in the one day in Monaco itinerary overview section) but if you want to take it to the next level, you join a Formula One Circuit Guided Walking Tour.

It takes around 25-30 minutes to get to Monte Carlo Casino from the Old Town on foot.

Alternatively, you can walk back on the Rampe de la Major to Place d’Armes where you can catch bus line nr. 607 or 608.

The bus will drop you off 300 meters (almost 1 mile) from the casino but sadly this way you will miss walking along the F1 track.

Monte Carlo Casino

Your one day in Monaco itinerary wouldn’t be complete without visiting the famous Monte Carlo Casino. Fun fact: locals aren’t allowed to gamble in the casino, it’s considered to be illegal! Instead, the casino is entirely for visitors to Monaco.

The Monte Carlo Casino is said to be the most popular casino in the entire world. This is most likely because it’s featured in quite a few of the James Bond films, among other pop culture phenomena.

The casino dates back to the 19th century and is absolutely breathtaking on the inside and the outside. One thing to keep in mind when visiting the Monte Carlo Casino is that you have to be dressed nicely.

This doesn’t mean you need to wear your finest dress or tuxedo, but I wouldn’t suggest trying to enter wearing your favorite leggings and flip-flops.

Monte Carlo Casino in Monaco

Japanese Garden

If you still have some time left in the afternoon, check out a fun zen area in Monaco, the Japanese Garden. This park is near Monaco’s convention center (only a 10-minute walk from the casino) and is often used as a place for meditation and relaxation.

Stroll throughout the garden and take in the luscious greenery throughout. You’ll find that there’s a mix of both Japanese architecture and Mediterranean plant life, which makes for a really unique and uncharacteristic pairing that you’ll only find in Monaco.

Sunset at Tête de Chien

Last but not least, head over to one of my favorite viewpoints to see the sunset over Monaco: Tête de Chien!

Unfortunately, this viewpoint is only accessible by car so if you opted to take the train or a bus for your Monaco day trip from Nice, sadly you will have to skip this point.

It takes around 25 minutes to reach the parking lot near the viewpoint from Monaco. Just put Tête de Chien in your Google Maps and you will easily get there!

From the parking lot, you need to do a short but relatively steep hike and in 10-15 minutes you will reach the viewpoint.

From this viewpoint, you will get an incredible panoramic view over the entire coastline and Monaco. Just be careful on the rocks and don’t go too close to the edge. Can you imagine a better way to end your one day in Monaco?

Panoramic view from Tete de Chien
Panoramic view from Tete de Chien with girl in a yellow skirt in the middle

Useful Info for Visiting Monaco in a Day

Where to stay in Monaco

If you want to extend your trip and spend more than one day in Monaco, there are plenty of accommodation options available.

However, keep in mind that Monaco is known for its luxury and expensive prices, so be prepared to splurge a little on your hotel (even on a budget option).

Here are our top hotel recommendations for different budgets:

The famous Monte Carlo Casino that you can't miss when spending one day in Monaco

How to get to Monaco from Nice

Train | The easiest option is to take a speed train from Nice to Monaco. There are frequent departures throughout the day, and the journey only takes about 20 minutes. The train station in Monaco is located just a short walk from the city center.

Bus | Another option is to take a bus from Nice to Monaco. Due to current works, bus nr. 100 that used to run between Nice and Monaco is now divided into two separate routes: nr. 607 goes to Monaco, while nr. 608 goes to Menton. The journey takes around 40 minutes and the bus will drop you off at various stops throughout Monaco.

Car | If you’re planning to do a road trip in the French Riviera, you can easily drive from Nice to Monaco. The journey takes about 30 minutes via the A8 highway. Parking is quite pricy in Monaco, however, all car parks have a daily maximum rate of around €20-30, which is not that bad if you want to spend the full day in Monaco.

Guided tours | As mentioned before, there are also plenty of guided tours available from Nice to Monaco. These usually include transportation and a knowledgeable guide to show you around. This half-day trip is one of the top-rated options!

Old Town of Monaco

Best time to visit Monaco

High season | The peak tourist season in Monaco is from June to August when the weather is warm and sunny. This is also when accommodations and activities tend to be more expensive.

F1 Grand Prix | The Formula 1 Grand Prix race takes place in Monaco every year in May. Unless you want to attend the race, it’s best to avoid visiting during this time as the city can get extremely crowded and prices are inflated.

Shoulder seasons | May, September, and October are considered shoulder seasons in Monaco. The weather is still pleasant, but there are fewer tourists, making it a great time to visit if you want to avoid the crowds and save some money.

Low season | The low season in Monaco is from November to April. It may be a bit colder and rainier, but if you don’t mind the weather, this can be a great time to visit as accommodations and activities are significantly cheaper.

Port Hercules in Monaco

How to get around in Monaco

By foot | Monaco is a small city-state, so the easiest way to get around on your one day in Monaco is just by walking. It takes less than one hour to walk across the entire width of Monaco, and it’s a great way to see all the sights.

Public transportation | You can also take buses within Monaco if you don’t feel like walking. The buses are convenient and relatively inexpensive, but be aware that they can get crowded during peak tourist season.

Driving | While getting to Monaco by car is convenient, I would recommend leaving your car parked and exploring the city on foot or by public transportation.

Pin It for Later!

4 thoughts on “One Day in Monaco: The Perfect Monaco Day Trip from Nice”

  1. Hi! Is it possible to do Monaco and Menton in one day? If I was to follow your Monaco guide above excluding the Japanese garden and sunset. Thanks

  2. Absolutely stunning with so much details. Very well put together. After reading this, you need nothing else.
    Thanks for this guide, very helpful.


Leave a Comment