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Monaco on a sort-of-budget

May 23, 2006  Four fantastic nights in Monaco
4.5 of 5 stars based on 5 votes

The Fairytale Prinicpality can be seen (and stayed in)without the "royal" pricetag and is great for a solo woman traveler

  • Explore locations featured in this Trip List: Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, Fontvieille, Monaco-Ville
  • Category: Recent trip
  • Traveler type: Culture, Sightseeing, Repeat visitors, Beachgoers
  • Appeals to: Couples/romantics, Honeymooners, Singles, Seniors, Tourists
  • Seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
  • 1. Monte Carlo Beach Hotel
    Monte Carlo Beach Hotel, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, French Riviera - Cote d'Azur
    Show Prices
    Avg price: $1459

    A quiet and charming find that has more of a classic,comfortable, old european style rather than over the top opulence. EVERY room has a view and dinner on the balcony should not be missed. The pool area has a romance of its own having been a favorite of Princess Grace's and one look tells you why. Walk in closets, tile everywhere and a soaking tub makes even a basic room a treat that is tough to leave each day and a pleasure to return to.

  • 2. Heli Air Monaco
    http://www.heliairmonaco.com

    A fantastic way to arrive in style and beat the frequently horrific traffic coming from the NIce airport. With the Club Diamant Rouge card, round trip is less than $70 USD and the incoming view is worth every penny. Helicopters leave on a regular schedule and the trip is under 10 minutes (versus 30+ in a car for about the same price). Landing is at the Monaco Heli Port in the Fonteville neighborhood and hotel transport to and from the heliport is via air conditioned van.

  • 3. Club Diamant Rouge Card
    http://www.clubdiamantrouge.com

    The club card can be obtained by booking one night of your stay at your hotel's rack rate. The card is $55 USD and gets you a free one way transfer via helicopter with a 20% discount on return trip. It also includes free admission to most of the museum like attractions, admission to the grand casino, and a number of other discounts for shopping and restaurants. I did all of the math to see if the $55 and one night rack rate made the card a deal and, yes, it does.

  • 4. Monaco Public Transportation
    http://www.cam.mc

    For 3.60 Euro a day pass can be purchased for unlimited use of the buses within Monaco. This is a great deal considering everything on Monaco is a hill and the maps make navigation appear deceptively reasonable. Passes are purchased directly from the driver who does have the ability to make change. Route maps and approximate times can be found on the website. The buses are exceptionally clean and maps easy to follow with regard to stops and attraction proximity.

  • 5. Princess Grace Rose Garden
    Princess Grace Rose Garden, Fontvieille, Monaco

    Breathtaking is the only word to describe it. The sheer size of the Rose Garden is incredible and to see it all in full bloom (I visited in May) it honestly can bring tears to the eyes of someone who has not even close to a green thumb. When the breeze shifts and the scent washes over you, it is intoxicating. I would have been happy to lay down in the grass and die there in the beauty and smell. There is no admission and it is a sight not to be missed even by those who are not "flower people".

  • 6. Monaco-Ville
    Monaco-Ville, Monaco

    This was my favorite area, next to the hotel. The streets are narrow and full of character. Around every corner is another surprise, includin when the streets open into the grand square before the palace. There was a wonderful creperie that doused my choice with a healthy shot of Grand Marnier before being topped off by whipped cream. Monaco-Ville is also home to the Oceanographic Museum, the cathedral where royals are interred and the much anticipated daily changing of the guards.

  • 7. Splurge on a Restaurant or eat like a local?

    There is certainly no shortage of fantastic restaurants in Monaco, so finding a place to splurge is not difficult. However, it is not a necessity. While they are not on every corner, small bakeries with outstanding offerings on display can be found throughout Monaco. Many sell pasteries and wines as well making it quite easy to fill your bag with a day's worth of food. In one shop I purchased a couple of flavorful foccacia, an almond croissant for breakfast, wine and Orangina for about 14 Euros. That became Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner for a more than fair price. Crepe shops and smaller cafes are most visible in the Monaco-Ville area, but can be found in other neighborhoods if you are resourceful.

  • 8. Safety in Monaco

    Monaco has a reputation of being very secure. It is not surprising given the level of affluence in the prinicpality among it's residents and visitors. The visible presence of security staff is quite notable and impressive. Crime is minimal and not once did I have the sense of "I should not go down that street or to that area". Even the employees I spoke to confirmed that the security force is incredible and that Monaco is one of the very few places on the Riviera that you can "walk around with your purse open gawking around at aeverything and not have to give a second thought to someone trying to get their hand into it to help themselves."