Is a Trip to Monaco Possible on a Budget?
The principality of Monaco and Monte Carlo is one of the glitziest and most glamorous areas of western Europe. It’s arguably the jewel in the crown of the French Riviera. Although it’s a region where money talks, it’s still conceivable to visit Monaco without having to break the bank.
As a well-known tax haven for millionaires, including movie stars and superstar athletes, this is an area that’s by no means cheap to live in. It’s a principality built on decadent restaurants, multi-million-dollar superyachts and its iconic Formula 1 Grand Prix.
The principality has long been the home of casino table games like roulette too. The game, which means ‘little wheel’ in French, has captured the imagination of people for centuries now and the grandeur and decadence of roulette gaming in Monte Carlo’s lavish casinos has inspired the look and feel of today’s state-of-the-art live roulette tables set in virtual surroundings.
Within this article, we’ll take a look at the numerous ways you can rub shoulders with the rich and famous on a budget.
You can explore the principality on foot
You’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that the area of Monaco is just 0.75 square miles. Providing you are fit and healthy, it’s absolutely possible to soak up the sights and sounds of Monaco on foot, without paying for taxis or buses. If a day on your feet is out of the question, the area’s public buses are the most cost-effective mode of transport. You can purchase all-day passes for as little as €5.
Visit Monaco in a single day to keep accommodation costs down
It’s important to acknowledge that it’s not overly cheap to stay in Monaco or Monte Carlo overnight. As a base line, overnight stays here cost no less than €100. That’s why it may be more prudent to consider a day trip to Monaco instead, using neighbouring towns and cities as a cost-effective French Riviera base. The area enjoys direct rail links to nearby cities such as Nice, with fast overground rail connections costing less than €5 providing that you book in advance.
Be patient for ‘happy hour’ drinks and fixed-price meals
With a little bit of forward planning, you can eat and drink on a budget in and around Monaco and Monte Carlo. If you are prepared to wait until the early evening for a drink, you’ll find many bars offering ‘happy hour’ deals until 8.30pm. This is typically designed to attract locals given that most day-trippers will have already departed by the evening. You can also head up into the Old Town and find several eateries supplying ‘prix fixe’ menus for as little as €20.
Soak in the grandeur of the Prince’s Palace for free
Monaco’s Old Town is also home to the Prince’s Palace – the home of the principality’s royalty. The grounds and buildings of the Palace are incredibly ornate. Although you have to pay €10 to head inside and explore the inner workings of the Palace, it’s free to wander the external grounds and witness the changing of the guard.
Enjoy a moment’s peace in the Japanese Gardens
Aside from the designer stores and five-star eateries, the area is also home to tranquil Japanese Gardens. Containing all the beautiful elements of a conventional Japanese garden, including a relaxing zen garden and lanterns, it’s a wonderful place to sit and take some time to recharge your batteries. It doesn’t cost a penny to enter and it’s open from 9am until 5.45pm – and an hour later in the summer months.
Window shopping the boutique stores is by no means frowned upon
Unsurprisingly, given the money that exists within the principality’s streets, there are literally dozens of designer stores and boutiques to explore. The Allees des Boulingrins is the most spectacular place to window shop, with the boutiques situated in golf ball-style pods. There is nothing stopping you from exploring what the shops have to offer and you are under no obligation to make a purchase when you enter.
All things considered, this lavish European principality is definitely a place to visit once in your lifetime. If you already plan to visit the south of France, we’d highly recommend Monaco as yet another European getaway that doesn’t have to break the bank.