10 Places To Visit In Monaco On A Budget

Monaco has a reputation as a place of luxury, superyachts and supercars but I’m going to shatter the myth that you need to have lots of money to enjoy Monaco as a tourist.

Monaco/Monte Carlo is spread over a lot of hills, so if you’re a first time visitor you may not be aware of this and you should plan a way to get around to save yourself time and effort.

To help Monagasque residents do the same, the Principality has a nifty network of public lifts and walkways (78 lifts, 35 escalators and 8 travelators) so you can move between elevations in the different districts without much effort at all.  For a free downloadable map of where to find the lifts and travelators are you can download it here:  Monacopubliclifts

10 Places To Visit in Monaco On A Budget

From beautiful gardens to historic buildings, there are lots of cheap (or free!) things to do and see in Monaco.  Here are 10 suggestions for top places to go in Monaco when you have no, low or limited budget!

  1. The Changing of the Guards outside Palais Princier

The Palais Princier on Le Rocher (the ‘Rock’) is the official residence of the ruling Prince of Monaco and has a lengthy history.  The Grimaldis, an aristocratic family from Genoa have fought to keep the Palais (and their independence) over centuries, waging wars with France, Italy, Spain, Germany, England and the Earls of Provence in order to do so.

Every day at 11.55am, Monaco’s Changing of the Guards ceremony is held in the large public square in front of the Palais Princier.  It’s free to watch for tourists and a brief insight into a tradition has not changed in more than a century.  Even if you don’t go into the palace, you can watch the ceremony and the square has great photography vantage points over the ports on both sides.  Insider tip:  Look for the guards white uniforms in summer and black in winter.

palais princier

The daily Changing of the Guards ceremony in Monaco

2. Saint Martin Gardens

The free entry public St Martin Gardens are a wonderful place to walk around with wide pathways, fountains, statues, flower beds and shaded benches under pine trees.  The views overlooking Port Fontvieille and toward the Monaco Oceanarium are fantastic.

From the Palais Princier, head for Ruelle Sainte-Barbe and follow that all the way along to the Monaco Oceanarium. Insider tip:  Look for the bronze sailor statue of Prince Albert I.

3. Monaco Cathedral

Another of Le Rocher’s attractions is the Monaco Cathedral.  It is well maintained inside; tourists can visit for free from 8.30am-7pm (6pm in winter) except during mass.

The Cathedral is known for its Bréa altarpiece, as well as being both the place of marriage as well as the final resting place of Prince Rainier and Princess Grace.

Monaco Cathedral

4. Musée de la Chapelle de la Visitation

Largely unnoticed by many tourists who visit the hugely popular Monaco Oceanarium nearby, the small Musée de la Chapelle de la Visitation is home to Mrs Piasecka Johnson’s astonishing collection of religious art with baroque masterpieces by Ribera, Rubens and other Italian masters.

It is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10am-6pm. Adults cost €3 / Students €1,50 / Kids under 12 years are free

5. Le Petit Bar

If you are planning on visiting the Palais Princier or Monaco Oceanarium and are looking for a restaurant with friendly service, good prices and tasty food you can’t miss heading to Le Petit Bar on rue Basse.

Le Petit Bar in Monaco, a worthwhile stop if you are sightseeing in Monaco

It gets busy quickly, especially in summer so I recommend making a reservation in advance if you can.  Excellent tapas, fabulous tiramisu and all mains priced under €15.

6. Musée Naval

Unfortunately, major review website TripAdvisor has a ton of reviews from tourists who have mistaken this small museum for the much larger Monaco Oceanarium!  How they could mix up the two vastly different experiences I don’t know but I believe the name having ‘naval’ in it has confused many visitors to Monaco.

The Musée Naval is a small museum dedicated to model ships.  Nothing at all to do with fish or natural history! Located on the Terrasses de Fontvieille, it is home to a collection of 250 model ships including the Titanic, submarines, Viking ships, a Venetian gondola and US battleship Missouri.

The Musée Naval is a museum dedicated to model ships

Ideal for families with kids or anyone keen on model making or seamaship, it is open every day except Christmas Day and New Years Day.  The entry fee is €4 for adults and €2,50 for kids 8-14 years.

7. Musée Collection of Voitures Anciennes

Also at Fontvieille, you can find the private collection of Prince Rainier III showcasing over 100 vintage cars.  The museum is accessible for families with kids in baby strollers or people who are wheelchair bound.

Exposition de Voitures Anciennes, Monaco

Open 7 days from 10am-6pm. The entry fee is €6,50 for adults and € for Students & Kids 8-14 years.

8. Chemin des Sculptures

A free sculpture path from the Jardin de l’Espace de Fontvieille allows visitors to discover some of the sculptures in Monaco.

Chemin des Sculptures in Fontvieille

Many sculptures are placed in lovely flower beds or along scenic paths and throughout Monaco you can find over 100 works from artists including Colombian painter/sculptor Fernando Botero, Marseillais artist César, Emma Sigaldi, and Lalanne.

9. Casino Square

A trip to Monaco must include a visit to place du Casino, better known as Casino Square.

The surrounding caféterias and restaurants are not aimed at the budget traveller, however it remains one of the best locations in Monaco for people watching especially from Café de Paris.

Get your photo taken on the steps outside the Casino de Monte-Carlo or sit in the gardens opposite and admire the supercars that drive past.  The square is really beautiful at night because the surrounding buildings are illuminated.  Insider tip:  In summertime, Casino Square hosts free concerts so check the Monaco Tourism website for dates.

Casino de Monte Carlo is a must-do photo opportunity when visiting Monaco

10. Japanese Garden

Dotted with pines, maples and flowering shrubs, the Japanese Garden was created in 1994 and is a wonderful surprise in Monaco located near the Grimaldi Forum. It is free to visit and open 9am until sunset.

free sightseeing monaco

The Jardin Japonais (Japanese Garden) is a free attraction in Monaco

Nearby, you can wander along the free seafront zone and see a small pathway called ‘The Champions Promenade’ that has footprints of some of the world’s top footballers including Diego Maradonna, Pélé, Ryan Giggs and more.  Plage Larvotto, Monaco’s main beach is nearby also with public and private beach zones and a kids playground.

*** SPECIAL GIVEAWAY TO ACCESS RIVIERA FOLLOWERS ***

For a limited time from 17th April 2017 to 24th April 2017, you can be upgraded for FREE when you download the GPSmyCity app to get GPS-enabled directions to all of the Monaco sights mentioned in this article.  Simply download the app here:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/free-city-maps-walks-470-cities/id417207307?mt=8   ** Perfect for families, backpackers, cruise ship passengers, tourists on a budget **

Have you visited all of these locations in Monaco?  Please share this article on social media, thank you!

 

 

 

 

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