France is one of the most popular countries to visit in Europe, and southern France has become increasingly popular due to its Mediterranean beaches and colorful culture. Many travelers choose to spend the entirety of their trip in this area, but why do that when you can easily check another country off your bucket list? Monaco, the second-smallest country (and one of the richest countries) in the world, is just a short drive/train ride away from many of France’s most popular southern cities. Even better, you can see nearly the entire country in one day, so there is no need to plan for accommodations in Monaco. Keep reading to learn how you can seamlessly fit this beautiful nation into your southern France itinerary!

Is a Day Trip from France to Monaco Right for You?

Day trips are a great way to see a lot of places during one trip; in this case, it is especially exciting because you’d get to check more than one country off your bucket list! Before you embark, however, there are a few things to consider. Naturally, it is more expensive to take a day trip than to stay in one place. If you are on a tight budget, this is something to keep in mind. Click here if you need guidance in mapping out your finances.

Monaco is famous for its casinos. I definitely recommend visiting one during your visit, but you will not be able to have the true Monaco casino experience if you are simply taking a day trip. If that is your primary goal, consider extending your stay. On a similar note, many casinos will not admit guests under the age of 18. Keep this in mind when planning your day trip itinerary, if you will be traveling with minors.

Overall, I recommend this day trip for anyone who wishes to see Monaco. There is something for everyone in this affluent Mediterranean sovereign principality!

How to Get to Monaco from Southern France

If you plan on visiting southern France and building Monaco into your itinerary, setting off from Nice is the most convenient option (although, not the only option). Being that a flight is not required, there is a lot of flexibility in planning. I’d recommend traveling by train; just today alone, there were 44 trains to Monaco from Nice!

Below, I laid out possible routes you may wish to take from Nice to Monaco.

Nice, France, to Monte Carlo, Monaco

RouteEstimated DurationEstimated Price
Train22 minutes $4-14 USD
Bus34 minutes $2 USD
Rideshare35 minutes $3 USD
Drive22 minutes $5-7 USD for fuel
This chart is intended to give you an idea of your options, but please do not rely solely on this. Transportation operators, pricing, and schedules are all subject to change, especially in the era of COVID-19; it is essential to do your own research. Rome2rio is an excellent resource for this. It provides the most up-to-date step-by-step instructions on traveling to and from virtually any destination.

Of course, you may be staying in an area other than Nice. Don’t worry, Monaco is easily accessible from many southern French cities. If this is the case, check out this link to plan your route.

Picture of two trains, which you can ride to take a day trip to Monaco.

Entering Monaco: The Border Logistics

Entering another country via a land border is always a little daunting; however, it could not possibly be simpler in this case. Whether you are traveling via car/bus or train, there are no border controls between France and Monaco, and you will not be required to show your passport. However, by law, you are required to carry your passport or ID at all times; keep this in mind, as the authorities have every right to ask for it if you are stopped.

Getting Around Monaco

You might be surprised to learn that walking is one of the best ways to get around Monaco. In fact, you can walk from the east side of this small country to the west side in just 45 minutes (Monaco is only 0.78 square miles!). This is how I navigated Monaco during my day trip. I always prefer walking, when possible; it is a great workout, and it is free! It certainly does not take long to tour Monaco on foot but, if you are pressed for time and still want a workout, consider renting an e-bike (Monabike).

Taxi and bus rides are safe and affordable options for those who prefer a sweat-free trip. You can also travel throughout Monaco via water taxi, which will take you from Monaco-Ville to the Casino (and back, of course). As a bonus, this is a great way to get an up-close look at all of the luxurious yachts! Those looking for a little more guidance may opt to take the hop-on-hop-off bus.

If you enjoy the finer things in life, rent a sports car for the day. When in Monaco, do as the Monégasque do!

Picture of an e-bike, which is a great way to get around Monaco during a day trip.

Monaco Day Trip Itinerary

It may seem ambitious to try to see an entire country in one day, but it is easy in Monaco! The list below includes nearly all of the most popular attractions in Monaco, as well as some sights that are nice to pass by along the way to the well-known attractions; even better, you can see them all in one day (I did this on foot – with time to spare!). Because Monaco is so small and everything is within walking distance, it does not really matter what order you conquer them in; do whatever seems logical based on your starting point!

Monte Carlo Casino (Casino de Monte Carlo)

The Monte Carlo Casino is the largest casino in Monaco. Even if you are not interested in gambling, I highly recommend visiting this entertainment complex. The building itself has been featured in many movies and documentaries. Additionally, the Monte Carlo Casino houses the Opéra de Monte Carlo and the office of Les Ballets de Monte Carlo.

Picture of the Monte Carlo casino, which should be one of your must-see spots on your day trip to Monaco

Musée Océanographique de Monaco (The Oceanographic Museum of Monaco)

The Oceanographic Museum is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Monaco. Prince Albert I, who was also a sea captain, founded this marine science museum in 1910; many of the exhibits showcase the findings from his journeys. You may have to cut out some other activities if you choose to enter during your day trip, but visiting one of the oldest aquariums in the world is a major bucket list item.

Yellow submarine sculpture in Monaco outside of the Oceanographic Museum. If you do not have time to go inside during your day trip, at least stop and see this!

Prince’s Palace of Monaco

The official residence of the Sovereign Prince of Monaco, which is known as the Prince’s Palace of Monaco, dates back to the year 1215 and has a rich history. Although it is considered a private residence, visitors may enter the State Apartments during certain times of the year. It is not likely that you will have the time to go inside the palace during your day trip, but I highly recommend checking out its remarkable exterior.

Prince's Palace in Monaco, which is beautiful to pass by on a day trip.

Saint Nicholas Cathedral (The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception or Monaco Cathedral)

Saint Nicholas Cathedral, which is dedicated to the patron saint of sailors, is one of the most popular places to visit in Monaco. Timing can be tight on day trips (trust me, I know), but entering this Roman-Byzantine-style landmark should be made a priority. Inside, you’ll find the final resting places of most of the princely family, including Jean II Grimaldi, Grace Kelly, and Rainier III. In fact, all of Monaco’s sovereign princes (except for Jacques I and Honoré III) are buried in Saint Nicholas Cathedral. This building is not only an architectural wonder but an important part of Monégasque history.

Palace of Justice

The Palace of Justice is the seat of Monaco’s Supreme Court. This unique, circular, stone building is most famous for its architecture. If time allows, stroll by the Palace of Justice and snap a picture!

Picture of the Palace of Justice in Monaco, along with a few other beautiful buildings.

Port Hercules

Port Hercules is the only deep-water port in Monaco, and it dates back to ancient times. It can hold up to 700 vessels (many of which are luxurious yachts). Along the coast, you will find marine activities, restaurants, shops, and exciting nightlife. Moral of the story: if you are looking for anything in Monaco, Port Hercules is where it’s at!

Pro tip: don’t worry about scheduling Port Hercules into your itinerary. You will stumble upon the gorgeous view numerous times while touring Monaco; it is hard to miss!

A picture of Port Hercules in Monaco showing all of the yachts and buildings. It is a must-see during your day trip to Monaco.

Like this post? Pin it for later!

What do you plan to do during your day trip to Monaco? Contact me or let me know in the comments!

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *