You’re probably asking yourself a lot of questions as you plan your Nice to Monaco day trip. Precisely how far is Monaco from Nice? Is Monaco even doable as a day trip from Nice, or should I stay the night? Am I going to go broken from even a day in Monaco, even if I don’t play a single game of roulette? Is Monaco even worth visiting?
I’ve got answers to all these questions, not to mention a personal story that I hope is entertaining. Even if you don’t end up taking your own trip to Monaco, I think reading this post to the end will be more than worth your while.
Continue scrolling to learn not only how to take a Monaco day trip from Nice and what to do once you get there, but to get an idea of what else to do on your trip to Europe. Because let’s face it: Nobody takes a trip to Monaco without some larger context, irrespective of how pleasurable the principality can be.
How to Get from Nice to Monaco
If you’re deciding whether or not to visit Monaco, getting there will definitely not dissuade you. As many as 80 trains per day operate between the nucleus of France’s Côte d’Azur and the adopted home of the late Princess Grace, with an average journey time of around 20 minutes each way. Depending on which of the things to do in Monaco most appeals to you (and I’ll get to those in just a second), you could visit Monaco in a morning or afternoon, just to say you’ve been there.
Personally, when I took my own day trip to Monaco from Nice, I combined it with a visit to Èze, a medieval town perched high on a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean. Because I spent much of the morning there (and took a bus, which is quite a bit slower than the train, from Èze to Monaco), I actually only spend a few hours in Monaco. Still, my friend Bas and I were able to cover a lot of ground.
Things to Do in Monaco
Try Your Luck (or Don’t) at Monte Carlo Casino
Both Bas and I were in the midst of rather long European trips, so neither of us brought enough cash along on our Nice to Monaco day trip to actually gamble inside Casino de Monte-Carlo, as the principality’s most famous structure is actually known. However, we did spend some time just outside, which was remarkable if only due to the fancy array of cars that drove up on our watch.
Hit Europe’s Most Misunderstood Beach
One of the questions you might as yourself as you assess the issue of Monaco worth visiting is the amount of money you’ll spend. I’ll expand on this in a few paragraphs, but one things that surprised both Bas and I was that Larvotto Beach, the most popular beach in Monaco, is actually free and open to the public. It delighted us, too. After a morning in Èze and the walk from the train station to the casino and back, both of us wants to take a dip.
And Have a Cocktail (or Two)
When I mentioned earlier that neither Bas nor I brought enough money to gamble, I should’ve clarified. We had probably 50 euro between us, which seemed wiser when we departed than it did when we arrived. Thankfully, in addition to being free to access, the beach we visited on our day trip Nice to Monaco had cocktails that only cost €10 each, which is actually cheaper than I’ve seen elsewhere in Europe.
Ascend the Prince’s Palace
Monaco is only a few miles long, so one thing Bas and I both wanted to do was walk all the way across it. However, it was hot when we were there (early August) and the way up to the 12th-century Prince’s Palace was steep, so this objective of our Nice to Monaco day trip remained unmet. Nonetheless, the palace building itself was just as delightful as the panoramic view of Monaco’s harbor.
Watch Port Hercules Illuminate
This was true both in broad daylight, as well as during and after sunset. In some ways, the most iconic part of our day trip from Nice to Monaco came right at the end, when we watched the aptly-named Port Hercules light up. It was beautiful, and sobering: Neither of us had remotely what it took to be invited on one of the yachts docked there, that was very clear.
Is Monaco Expensive?
I mentioned earlier that cocktails on Monaco’s beach were surprisingly affordable, and promised that I’d speak more to the cost of things in Monaco. Before I do, however, I need to hammer home a point I’ve made multiple times: Bas and I visited Monaco neither to gamble nor shop, nor really to eat or drink (though we did, as I mentioned, have a cocktail or two).
If you follow this Nice to Monaco day trip, you could theoretically spend almost nothing. However, if you sit down for a meal, buy any retail goods or decide to go inside the casino, you’ll find that prices are higher even than Nice, which is one of the most expensive cities in France apart from Paris. Yes, Monaco is expensive—but only if you plan to spend money.
Is Monaco Worth Visiting?
Another fact I mentioned earlier is that visiting Monaco from Nice is both easy and fast. With the exception, perhaps, of Vatican City from Rome, it’s the easiest border-crossing day trip I’ve ever taken, keeping in mind that neither of these territories have a border. With this in mind, Monaco is absolutely worth visiting—you don’t really have to expend anything to do so.
On pure tourist merits, of course, answering the question “is Monte Carlo worth visiting?” is a less equivocal task. Sure, Monte Carlo Casino is iconic, and the beaches aren’t half-bad. But there is a stuffiness in Monaco, and it borders on sterility at times. It’s neither as beautiful as Nice nor as culturally interesting. If, for some reason, you don’t have the time to visit Monaco, I wouldn’t lose sleep over it.
The Bottom Line
I’ll assume, by now, that you’ve decided whether a Nice to Monaco day trip is in the cards for you. I’ll also assume, if you’ve read up to this point, that you’re probably in the “yes” column as far as whether or not to take one. Although Monaco is not the most exciting place to visit in Europe (or even along the Côte d’Azur), it’s certainly worth a visit, if only because visiting Monaco is so easy and consumes basically no time.