Day trip from Nice, France to Monaco: PERFECT 1 day Monaco itinerary

May 24, 2023

Want to play billionaire in Monaco for the day? 

Monaco is the second smallest country in the world and is a tiny slice of manicured paradise on the French Riviera. Known for wealth, glamor, and luxury, Monaco is less than 1 square mile (the entire country is smaller than Central Park in NYC!) and is home to over 12,00 millionaires, the Monaco Grand Prix, and the famous Monaco Yacht Show. From deep blue water to artisanal French fusion eateries to grand marble architecture and yachts with matching Lamborghinis, you won’t find Monaco on my list of the 9 cheapest countries to visit in Europe this year. But, it can be an enchanting and budget friendly(ish) day trip from France, and single ladies- I recommend downloading Tinder here

If you only have 1 day in Monaco, you can still experience some of the best-of-the-best that this intriguing country has to offer. Here’s the perfect itinerary for 1 day in Monaco!

Day trip from Nice to Monaco: Things to do in Monaco

EARLY Morning

Catch the earliest train from Nice to Monaco. It’s 7 miles (12km), takes about 15 minutes, and should cost you around 5€. I use the free Trainline app to book all my train tickets in Europe– no trying to communicate with a station employee to buy a ticket or waiting in line! You just select your time and purchase your ticket in the app, then scan your QR code at the turnstiles to enter the station.  

Morning

Start your day with breakfast or brunch on the outside terrace of the Café de Paris Monte-Carlo in Monte Carlo, Monaco. It offers a delightful view of the Place du Casino square while being served international cuisine. The building, décor and service are all reminiscent of the Belle Époque period, considered to be France’s golden era. I had to have my James Bond moment and have a martini in Monaco— sorry not sorry!

Next, visit the iconic Monte Carlo Casino next door! Even if you’re not a gambler, the casino’s stunning architecture and history make it worth a visit. Be sure to dress appropriately, as there is a strict dress code. After exploring the casino, take a stroll through the nearby gardens of the Casino Square, where you can relax and enjoy the stunning scenery.

Next, head to the Prince’s Palace of Monaco, the official residence of the Prince of Monaco. Guided tours are available, or you can simply admire the palace from the outside and take in the stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea. If you can, be there for the daily changing of the palace guards at 11:55am. It happens at the royal entrance on Palace Square and is a quick, age-old ceremony performed in striking white or black seasonal uniforms.

Is Monaco safe? Yes! There’s 1 police officer to every 100 people in Monaco! So while you likely won’t need the 8 best travel safety products for women while you’re in Monaco, I do recommend them for your time in Nice, France, which is notorious for clever scammers. Be sure to be aware of the 6 most common travel scams before you go!

Afternoon

Take your time exploring as you make your way through the narrow, pastel, cobbled streets to l’Express for a sunny outdoor lunch. Nestled in the old town of Monaco close to your last stop (the Prince’s Palace), l’Express has a relaxed atmosphere on a pretty patio, perfect for a delicious lunch with Provençal and Italian flavors. The steak frites I had here was the best meal I had in Cote d’Azur! Plus champagne- because when in Monaco!

After lunch, make your way to the Monaco Oceanographic Museum, which is dedicated to the study and conservation of marine life and celebrates the brilliant frenchman Jacq Cousteau (oceanographer, filmmaker, inventor of scuba!). The museum is in a stunningly ornate building and features fascinating exhibits. You can take as much or as little time as you want and a ticket to the museum is 19€. 

Just outside the Monaco Oceanographic Museum is the Saint Martin Gardens (Jardins Saint-Martin), a STUNNING free public park that sits elegantly on the sea cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. If you want a few quiet minutes to breathe in the summer air, take an easy walk through the hedges and statues while you watch the sparkly surface of a ridiculously deep blue sea, this garden is the place!

Evening

As the sun sets, head to the luxurious port of Monte Carlo and take a stroll along the harbor, where you can admire the expensive yachts and glamorous cars. For dinner, try Le Grill, a Michelin-starred restaurant located at the top of the Hotel de Paris. The restaurant offers panoramic views of the city and serves classic French cuisine with a modern twist.

End your day in Monaco by trying your luck at the famous Café de Paris Casino, located in the heart of Monte Carlo. Even if you don’t want to gamble (I don’t either!), the lively atmosphere and stunning decor make it worth a visit.

While one day may not be enough to see everything Monaco has to offer, this itinerary will give you a taste of the country’s glitz and glamour. From the iconic Monte Carlo Casino to the stunning Prince’s Palace and the Monaco Oceanographic Museum, there’s something for everyone in this small but fascinating country.

Final tips for visiting Monaco:

  • The best way to explore Monaco is on foot, but it can be a little hilly. Wear comfy shoes or be prepared to pay for pricy taxis!

  • Some of the hotels and casinos have dress codes. Do your research if you want to go inside.

Looking for more? Don’t miss the best-of-the-best!

Are you new here? Let’s be friends! I’m Sarah— a solo female traveler (& world’s okayest travel blogger) helping you travel the world, discover surprising destinations, & have a laugh getting off the beaten path. Scroll to the bottom of this page to sign up to stay in touch (I promise not to spam you- just to share the best travel hacks, guides, itineraries, embarrassing stories, and unmissable experiences)!

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