A (Sort Of) Budget Traveler's Guide to Monaco

View of Monaco
View of Monaco | © Jon Mountjoy / Flickr

Monaco squeezes a lot of wealth into a destination small enough to boast being the world’s second smallest country. A little daunting, then, for the average traveler. Don’t fear, simply follow this guide and you’ll be able to have most “budgeted” stay possible in Monaco.

Where to Stay

Accommodation is the real budget-killer in Monaco, with the cheapest rooms costing well over €100. Head just across the western border of Monaco to Cap-d’Ail and you’ll find Villa Thalassa, an attractive hostel that accommodates up to 90 people. Make sure to book in advance, as affordable accommodation is in demand on this stretch of the Riviera. The real beauty with staying here is, if you are reasonably fit and not carrying luggage, you can walk into Monaco on the coastal path in about an hour. There is also the train station and bus route, both connecting Monaco to Cap-d’Ail and Villa Thalassa.

Address and Phone Number:

Villa Thalassa, 2 Avenue Gramaglia, Cap-d’Ail, France, +04 93 81 27 63

Cap-d’Ail

Another accommodation tip would be to stay just north of Monaco—and by just we really mean just—in the French town of Beausoleil. It adjoins Monaco from the hillside above and hotel prices are a lot less daunting, not to mention prices within local facilities such as shops. This is where a lot of the people who work in Monaco live, commuting down towards the coast each day. If your legs can handle it, it’s a good option for the purse strings.

What to Do

Happily there are handfuls of free things to do in Monaco. The weather should be on your side for most of the year, so wandering around the (free) sights feels like a luxury in itself. First of all, take in Monaco’s grand buildings and imposing architecture. Make sure to head to the old town—Le Rocher as it is known—where you’ll find the Prince’s Palace, Saint Nicholas Cathedral, and the Oceanographic Museum. Every day at 11:55 a.m., in the grand square in front of the Palace, the traditional ritual of the Changing of the Guard takes place.

Changing of the Guard

Monaco also boats numerous gardens, most of which are free to enter. Have a moment of calm in the Japanese garden or enjoy the spectacular views out onto the Mediterranean from the Saint-Martin Gardens. If you’re feeling in need of a cool-down, then head to the Larvotto ward, lying southeast of Monte-Carlo, for a dip in the Med. Larvotto beach is composed of a public selection so you can frolic for free to your heart’s content. Stroll along the promenade with an ice cream in hand; a cheap and incredibly cheerful activity in Monaco.

What and Where to Eat

In the morning, head straight to The Condamine Market for market produce to snack on—definitely try barbagiuan, Monaco’s national dish that is a kind of stuffed fritter—as well as cute eateries around the edge for a drink or more. The prices here are a lot more digestible. As well as the food, this area of Monaco is great for a feel of the local flare.

In the same ward as Larvotto Beach is Le Loga restaurant. This is a favorite among locals, which is always a good sign. A lot more affordable than the other Monaco restaurants, head here if you’d like a bite out.

Address and Phone Number:

Le Loga, 25 Boulevard des Moulins, Monaco, France, +37 793 308 772

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