How to get around Monaco
Getting around Monaco - my advice
Taxi or bus?
Need a lift?
The Azur Express
Getting to Monaco
As is well known, Monaco is tiny. It’s pipped for the "smallest nation in the world" title only by the Vatican. Less than two miles long and a little over half a mile wide at its broadest, the principality lends itself to leg-work. You can walk from one end to the other in under an hour.
Well, you can – if you skirt the slopes and gradients. Monaco perches where the Alps tumble to the sea. It has many ups and downs.
So there may well be times when you want to rest the legs. I’d advise against taxis because they’re hellishly expensive and, snarled up in the traffic, won’t get you to your destination much faster than the efficient and surprisingly cheap bus service.
There are five bus lines, one of which is pretty certain to be going near where you want to be.
Tickets are one euro a trip, or three euros for unlimited travel for a day. Under-sevens travel free. Buy tickets from the driver and remember to validate them in the on-board machine. If you take a second trip within 30 minutes of that validation, it comes free. Just show your ticket to the (second) driver, say: “Correspondence”, get a receipt and Bob’s your uncle.
The same tariffs and conditions apply to the Bateau Bus (boat bus), which shuttles across the port and back. It’s a useful way of saving the legs if going from Monte-Carlo to Monaco-Ville, or vice versa.
Ordinary bus services knock off in the early evening, when a half-hourly Night Bus service takes over until just after midnight. On Saturday and Sunday nights, there’s a further hourly service from 1am to 4am – for which you might be grateful on leaving the nightclub.
Details on +377 97 702222, www.cam.mc.
The other aid to tired feet is the network of public street lifts. Once back from the sea-front, roaming the principality can grow vertical quite quickly. Seven free street-lifts exist to ease pedestrians up some of the steeper bits. They’re a boon, I can tell you.
And there is an eighth, little-known lift up to the Monaco-Ville, the palace and Oceanographic Museum. You have to go to the end of the old port, to the Quai des Pêcheurs car-park. Go in and, at the back, there’s a lift and then an escalator which chucks you out right in front of the museum. It saves quite a slog.
Nor should you snub the Azur Express. The dinky little tourist train looks a bit ‘Bognor-Regis’ but who cares? It’s rather fun and you’re on holiday. It starts off from the Oceanographic museum up in the old town and, in half an hour, shows you many Monaco highlights – with English commentary – for 6 euros.
And, finally, a word on driving. If motoring into the principality, observe all speed limits and regulations as if your life (or wallet) depended on it.
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Park in the well-signalled public car parks, where there’s free parking for an hour (see www.monaco-parkings.mc/establishment for a car-park map). Monaco has CCTV cameras like other towns have lamp-posts. A traffic indiscretion will not escape official notice, even if you’ve got foreign plates.
This is the only place where I’ve twice had my car impounded for desperate parking. Should this happen to you, go to the Poste-de-Police de Fontvieille and expect to leave at least 150 euros lighter.
For tips on how to get to Monaco from Nice airport, please see my Monaco flights page.