Monaco is the second smallest country in the world. Nestled between Southern France and the Mediterranean Sea, this unique country is worth a visit, even if it is just for a day visit from your hostel in a neighboring area of France.
The official language of Monaco is French, but most locals are also fluent in English and Italian. Most visitors have no problem communicating in the stores, at the attractions, and on the streets.
While some of the locals are Monaco natives, many are rich Europeans who reside in this tax-free country to save their investments. The reason residents aren't charged tax is because all government money is earned through the Monte Carlo Casino. If you visit the casino, you are expected to dress formally and pay an admission fee. Although this is the most prominent attraction in Monaco, you do not have to participate in the Monte Carlo Casino activities to enjoy Monte Carlo. Entrance into the lobby is free, and there is art, architecture, and foliage outside of the casino. It's actually illegal for Monaco residents to enter the casino, so skipping gambling will make you more like a local!
Another reason people love to visit Monaco is because of the royalty. Princess Grace Kelly is buried inside a church along with everyone else of the nation's royal lineage. Nearby you can enjoy seeing the castle and the changing of the guard. The national government is interesting to learn about, such as the fact that the national band has 100 members, but the army only has 80.
Motor enthusiasts will enjoy Monaco due to the Formula One race. During the actual race, tickets are expensive and difficult to obtain. However, because this race takes place on the streets, you can follow the race track any time of year for free. The Fairmont Hairpin is a sight not to be missed, even for those not interested in car racing.
Perhaps the best piece that Monaco has to offer is the views. The country is situated on a few hills overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Some beaches are available for sunbathing or swimming. Even in a small space, you can find beautiful walking trails, such as one going through a Japanese garden and even a seaside trail going to another country. Many lavish yachts are docked in the harbor. Due to limited acreage and a protection agreement with France that Monaco will not expand its land, you can spot tall towers and even buildings being constructed over the water.
Monaco is an incredibly expensive country to visit, but a hostel budget traveler can still find ways to enjoy many of its aspects. Sightseeing is free, after all! All of the churches and cathedrals offer free entrance, and inside you can find many pieces of religious art and tributes to the country. A few affordable walking tours are offered, which may be worthwhile in order to gain full appreciation for much of what Monaco has to offer.
Because Monaco is such a small country and property prices are incredibly outrageous, it's unreasonable to have an affordable hostel in Monaco. A better accomodation option is to stay in a neighboring French city and take train or bus transportation to Monaco (you can see the nearby cities indicated on our map). Nice is the largest nearby city, which offers several hostels, plenty of transportation options, and even a few attractions of its own.
Hi, I'm Jessica Lippe,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Monaco hostels. Welcome.