12 Wonderful Things to do in Monaco on a Budget

Last Updated:

*FYI - this post may contain affiliate links, which means we earn a commission at no extra cost to you if you purchase from them. Also, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Check out our Privacy Policy and Disclosure. for more info.

With lamborginis zipping by every corner and giant yachts as far as the eye can see, Monaco is well known for being Europe’s playground for the rich and famous.

And you know what? With its glimmering azure water, oh so opulent architecture and warm balmy climate, it’s easy to see why Monaco is a preferred getaway for the mega-rich.

But you might ask, what about the rest of us who can’t afford yachts and lambos? What about things to do in Monaco on a budget?

Don’t worry – visiting this beautiful city-state is very doable on a budget. I’ve done it twice – once as a broke high schooler and one more time as a (somehow more broke???) university student. Here’s how.

Save this list of things to do in Monaco on a budget for later!

You’ll be very glad you did.

First: Cheap Places to Stay in Monaco

There are many places you can stay overnight in Monaco, but if you really want to save some money, consider staying at a hostel or AirBNB in Nice (one of my favourite places in France) and doing a day trip instead.

Public transit conveniently links the two areas, with the cheapest option being only €1.50 each way by bus (and a commute time of 30-45 minutes).

Alternatively, you can take the train for only a few euros more.

Here are some affordable places to stay in Nice:

If you’re very set on staying overnight in Monaco, remember that “cheap hotels in Monaco” still can be quite pricey compared to other destinations.

Nonetheless, here are some budget stays in Monaco:

  • (Affordable-ish hotel) This hotel 10 min walk from the Palace
  • (One of the cheaper options) This hotel near the train station

PS: Travelling on a budget? Be sure to read my guide on the Cheapest ways to Travel Around Europe.

Monaco view at sunset
Photo by Joachim Lesne on Unsplash

Things to do in Monaco on a Budget

Wondering what to do in Monaco for cheap? While Monaco has a reputation for being a luxurious playground for billionaires, many of Monaco’s best activities are completely free (or very inexpensive).

Here are some ideas for things to do in Monaco that are both budget-friendly and fun:

1. Old Town and The Prince’s Palace of Monaco

Monaco is divided into four districts: Monaco-Ville, La Condamine, Monte Carlo and Fontvieille.

Each district has its charms, but as a first time visitor, the area you should prioritize is definitely “Monaco-Ville”, particularly the Old Town, which is home to a variety of Monaco’s most important attractions, including the Prince’s Palace of Monaco.

Plus, golden pedestrianized alleyways make this area an absolute dream to explore. Have I mentioned that drooling while taking photos is completely free?

If you’re able to, feel free to time your visit for the Changing of the Guards, which is a free spectacle that you can admire from the Palace Square daily at 11:55am.

NOTE: You can also opt for a (paid) tour of the interior if you want a closer look.

Girl posing in front of Monaco royal palace in a black dress
Baby Christina circa 2014

2. Monaco Cathedral

Another beautiful attraction nestled in the Monaco-Ville district is Monaco Cathedral (AKA Saint Nicholas Cathedral), one of Monaco’s most important landmarks.

This beautiful limestone church in Roman-Byzantine style is the final resting place of many Monacan royals including Grace Kelly and Prince Ranier… well worth a visit, and a great thing to do in Monaco on a budget since there’s no entry fee!

NOTE: They enforce a dress code at the cathedral which means no shorts are allowed, and all shoulders must be covered.

Monaco Cathedral in the day time with tourists walking in
Monaco Cathedral.

3. Saint Martin Gardens (AKA Les Jardins Saint Martin et Sainte Barbe)

Originally opened in 1816 as Monaco’s first public garden, this tranquil piece of the principality consists of a luscious mix of Mediterannean flora and fauna, along with additional exotic species from around the world.

With elegant sea views and plenty of leafy spots to hide from the sun, this is one of the best things to do in Monaco for free!

View of green park on a rock in Monaco
Photo by Liza Uleksina on Unsplash

4. Monaco Palace of Justice (Palais de Justice)

While often overlooked by visitors, the Monaco Palace of Justice is one of the prettiest buildings in the entire principality, and well worth a quick stop/photo.

Fun fact: The grey stone used for this building (inaugurated in 1930) is the same stone that was used fo the city’s ramparts.

Monaco Palace of Justice on a blue sky day
Image by Hans Braxmeier from Pixabay

5. Princess Grace Rose Garden

For a tranquil escape in the middle of Monaco, be sure to visit the rose garden dedicated to Princess Grace, which opened in the principality back in 1984, two years after the princess’ untimely death.

This garden has a vast collection of 8000 rose bushes in over 300 varieties, along with a picture-perfect central fountain and a statue of Princess Grace herself.

6. The Japanese Garden

If you couldn’t tell by now, Monaco is a big fan of gorgeous gardens.

Another wonderful thing to do in Monaco on a budget is to stop by the principality’s Japanese garden, an exquisite and meticulously maintained oasis in the middle of the city, made complete by intricate water features and zen tree installations.

Love gardens? Read all about Keukenhof, the biggest and most magnificent gardens in Europe.

Japanese garden in Monaco
Photo by Richard on Unsplash

7. Larvotto Beach

When planning for your visit, be sure to bring your swimsuit with you so you can take advantage of one of the best free things to do in Monaco: Larvotto Beach.

This public beach offers the perfect spot to relax and soak in the Monacan sun after a long day of sightseeing… and hey, if you use your imagination, you might just be able to fool your brain into thinking you’re tanning on your own private yacht.

Beach with bright blue water in Monaco
panorama of Larvotto Beach in Monte Carlo, Monaco

8. Stade Nautique Rainier III

And while (as you can probably tell), there are a great deal of free things to do in Monaco, other great activities can be really inexpensive!

For example, we spent the latter half of our afternoon at the Stade Nautique Rainier III, an awesome public pool we found right by the marina in La Condamine.

For a couple of euros, we got access to the pool and chair rentals for the day. 

This Olympic sized swimming pool is heated (although we didn’t need it that day!), and in the winter, even becomes a skating rink.

Outdoor Pool in Monaco
Poolside paradise.

9. The iconic Monte Carlo

One of the most famous attractions in Monaco is the Monte Carlo Casino, probably the most luxurious casino in the world… although funnily enough, it is illegal for locals to gamble here.

And while it would cost a pretty penny to gamble here, and even a whopping 17 euros to step inside, wistfully admiring from the outside is free… as is perusing the casino’s atrium.

Even for non-gamblers, a visit to this iconic place is a must. After all, it’s said that the architecture here inspired Ian Fleming’s work for Casino Royale, AKA the first ever James Bond novel.

NOTE: If you do choose to enter, a strict no shorts and no flip flops dress code is observed.

Monte Carlo Casino in Monaco
The famous Monte Carlo Casino.

10. The Champion’s Promenade

Football fans, take note – there’s a spot in Monaco where you can (quite literally) walk in the footsteps of your favourite football heroes.

Located by the water at Grimaldi Forum, the Champion’s Promenade is Monaco’s answer to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a trail featuring golden footprints and signatures from winners of the “Golden Foot Award”, which has honoured the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Footprint of Zidane in gold, on display in Monaco
Image by Hans Braxmeier from Pixabay

11. Tête de Chien

For those who don’t mind a bit of huffing and puffing, one of the most incredible viewpoints in Monaco is known as Tête de Chien (Dog’s Head) and offers sublime panoramic views over the French Riviera.

Here is a guide on how to reach it.

High-up viewpoint of Monaco and the French Riviera
Photo by Nathan Huon on Unsplash

12. Window shopping

Last but not least, unless you feel like dropping a few casual thousand euros on a new designer bag or shoes, the good news is window shopping in Monaco is completely free and still pretty glamorous given the beautiful shopping venues at your dispoal.

For an especially swanky experience, be sure to stop by Le Metropole shopping centre, which is filled with glittering chandeliers and a marble staircase.

BONUS: Splurge on a helicopter ride

This is 100% not a budget thing to do in Monaco, but honestly, some things in life are worth the splurge, especially in bucket list destinations like Monaco…

So, I’m going to just casually point you towards this Monaco helicopter tour which is shockingly affordable considering its location.

View of Monaco from above
Photo by Mark de Jong on Unsplash

Other Tips for Visiting Monaco on a Budget

Visiting Monaco on a budget is super easy if you stick to free activities and plan smartly.

I’ve written a lot about the ways you can save money for travel, but here are some Monaco-specific tips and tricks for ensuring you don’t spend half your life savings during your visit.

For dirt cheap eats, visit a grocery store, local market, bakery or pizza place

Having a sit-down meal in Monaco doesn’t come cheap.

Luckily, if you’re really on a budget, here’s one of my best travel tips: grocery store prices are pretty comparable to what you would find elsewhere, so you can always grab some snacks/takeaway foods like wraps and have yourself a picnic.

Monaco Cathedral and a peach building with mint shutters

Alternatively, you can get some cheap takeaway meals at pizza joints, bakeries and local markets (there’s a large one at Place d’Armes), where you can take in more authentic local goodies.

If a sit-down meal for you is a must, I’ve heard that many restaurants in Monaco-Ville (the Old Town) offer set menus for a decent price.

Be wary of the lunchtime rush though, where you’ll be fending for a spot against many other eager travellers.

Side note: While taking a peek inside a supermarket in La Condamine district, I stumbled upon THESE gems: Speculoos-inspired Twix ice cream bars. I, like the giddy child that I am, bought the box and devoured one on the street. … because I have no sense of propriety.

Twix Speculoos Ice Cream Bar in Monaco
Yes, this is real.

How can you get around Monaco for cheap? Work those leg muscles!

With an area of about 2km squared, Monaco is small and therefore very walkable.

This means no need to spend extra on special sightseeing tours or taxi rides. I mean, to save tired travellers from hilly Monacan terrain, there are even free public elevators that can get you up in a jiffy!

Another option of course is you can bus, which will set you back €5.50 for a 24h day pass.

A nice perk of this however is that the day pass includes access to Monaco’s “boat bus” (yes, creative name) which brings you from Quai Kennedy – Digue Sud on a BOAT, so if “boat ride in Monaco” was on your bucket list, you can check that right off!

Steep stairwell in Monaco
Photo by Lazar Gugleta on Unsplash

I hope you enjoyed this guide to Monaco on a budget!

At the end of the day, Monaco is a lovely place and you should take the time to see it, regardless of what your budget is.

The first time I visited, I was a frumpy little high schooler on an organized school tour. Even then, I remember being blown away by the colour of the water and the endless display of yachts!

It was truly like something out of a postcard. I felt the same way when I revisited years later.

Maybe one day I’ll be making enough of the big bucks to call Monaco home?

HA just kidding – I’d be better off attempting to marry rich. Wish me luck!

Yacht in Monaco
Photo by Danilo Capece on Unsplash

My Go-To Travel Favourites:

🧳 Eagle Creek: My favourite packing cubes

💳 Wise: For FREE travel friendly credit cards

🍯 Airalo: My go-to eSIM

🏨 Booking.com: For searching hotels

📷 Sony A7IV: My (amazing) camera

✈️ Google Flights: For finding flight deals

🌎 WorldNomads: For travel insurance

🎉 GetYourGuide: For booking activities

11 thoughts on “12 Wonderful Things to do in Monaco on a Budget”

    • Hahah awwww Irma! This post was written about my experience last summer. I haven’t actually left yet haha (I leave on May 17) & sorry I missed you yesterday! I actually came by the office but you were in a meeting 🙁 I’ll be sending you an email shortly with social media and blog links for the Photo Tour!

  1. awesomest place ever, It is great that you are enjoying your life.. Lucky you….All people are not lucky like you..touchwood…keep enjoying.. 🙂

  2. Hi Christina, Awesome post! I should stop by Monaco on our family travel to Europe. Good to know that it is convenient to travel from Nice, so maybe we would consider that as an option. I guess it is easy to cross over to Italy as well? Very informative post. Thanks!


Leave a Comment