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Monte Carlo, Monaco Port Reviews
Monte Carlo On Your Own Shore Excursion
By Tom Ogg

 


Monte Carlo Monaco on your own shore excursion review
Fabulous Monte Carlo, Monaco
 

Overview:

Monaco is a principality that dates back centuries. During the later part of the twentieth century it arrived as one of the leading business, cultural and sports centers not only in Europe, but in all of the world. Prince Rainier married actress Grace Kelley and Monte Carlo was launched into the world limelight as a world class destination. Today, Monte Carlo's unbelievably high profile continues. A visit to Monte Carlo and Monaco is something that you will remember forever. Monaco's currency is the euro and you will find ATM machines everywhere. Monaco experiences absolutely perfect Mediterranean weather.

Cruise Port Location and Information:

Monte Carlo Monaco on your own shore excursion review
Docked at Monaco's New Cruise Terminal

 

Ships dock at Monaco's brand new cruise ship terminal located on the outter most part of the Monte Carlo yacht harbor.

Monte Carlo Monaco on your own shore excursion review
Anchored at Monaco

Because of the limited space at the cruise ship terminal, some ships will also anchor offshore and tender into port.

Docked in Monte Carlo
Entering Monte Carlo's Harbor

Keep your camera ready on the tender into Monte Carlo, as your first view of the downtown area are stunning.

Monte Carlo Tender Wharf
The Monte Carlo Tender Wharf

 

Tenders will drop you off close in on the cruise ship terminal. They will also depart from here, as well. It is an easy 15-minute walk into downtown Monte Carlo.

Monte Carlo Harbor ferry
The Ferry To the Other Side of the Harbor

If you are heading to the casino or points on the eastern side of Monte Carlo, you may want to take the ferry that crosses the harbor, as it will save you a good amount of walking time.

Monte Carlo Monaco on your own shore excursion review
The Ferry Sign

Since the ferry is constantly traversing the harbor, look for this sign to find the ferry. You will see it to your right after you start to walk into the city.

Star's and Bars in Monte Carlo
The Stars N' Bars Internet Cafe

If you are looking for an Internet Cafe there is one right on the way out of the port itself just about one hundred yards from the tender wharf.

Exploring on Your Own:

Monte Carlo Harbor From Palace Trail
The Harbor Taken From the Trail to the Palace

Monte Carlo is best Explored on your own. First, traffic is horrible and most of the main attractions cannot be driven to. However, walking in Monte Carlo is wonderful and everything is within easy walking distance. Also, public transportation is excellent in Monte Carlo itself and to nearby destinations. This area of France is easy to explore on your own. It is best to plan your day and a good way to see Monte Carlo is to start by climbing to the Palace and surrounding areas, then spend some time in the harbor area. This is a great place for lunch. Then you can walk around to the casino area and visit the parks and structures there. If you are thinking about also exploring some of the other villages from Monte Carlo, this is a great spot to catch the bus west.

Monte Carlo Tourist Train
The Monte Carlo Tourist Train

If you do not want to do too much walking, taking the tourist train to see the sights is your best option. You can pick it up in a number of places and it will allow you to see just about everything.

Shopping Tips:

Monaco-Ville Shopping Street
Shopping Street in Monaco-Ville

As one might expect, there is ample shopping opportunities in Monte Carlo. If you are looking for that very special million dollar watch, as an example, you will find many to choose from. Want to purchase a Ferrari? No problem, just visit the dealership.

Monaco Palace Shopping Street
Another Shopping Street in the Palace Area

While there are a number of tourist shops in the main harbor area, the best shopping is located in Monaco-Ville, the medieval pedestrian streets that adjoin the Palace that date back to the 12th century. There are a ton of shops and boutiques selling everything imaginable from Monaco. There are many designer clothing stores, jewelry stores, fine car dealerships and other expensive stores to be found in the harbor area and by the casino, but unless you are looking to spend a lot of money, this is the place to focus on shopping.

Port Highlights:

Trail to Monaco-Ville and Prince's Palace
The Trail Leading to the Prince's Palace and Monaco-Ville

After leaving the port area you can easily find the trail that leads up to Monaco-Ville and the Prince's Palace. It is a steep climb in some parts, but the views are terrific. There is also an elevator that will take you un into Monaco-Ville that lets you out near the aquarium. However, I would strongly urge you to take the train because of its beauty.

Docked in Monte Carlo Cruise Terminal
Looking South From the Trail to the Prince's Palace

Near the top of the trail you are confronted with wonderful views of France all the way to the Italian border and beyond. It is simply breathtaking.

Prince's Palace in Monaco
Prince's Palace

The Prince of Monaco lives in the Prince's Palace, which dates back to the 12h century. The palace has been occupied by the Grimaldi family since the 1200s who have ruled Monaco without interruption until today.

Prince's Palace Guard
The Palace Entrance and Guard

The palace is guarded all of the time and there is a "Changing of the Guards Ceremony" every day a little before noon. There are also several tours f the palace given every day.

Prince's Palace Royal Guard
A Royal Guard at His Post

The guards at the Prince's Palace remind everyone of how special Monaco is and that each and every government is different. Monaco has a governmental structure that works.

Monaco Cathedral
The Monaco Cathedral

You should also visit the Monaco Cathedral. This is where Prince Rainier and Grace Kelly were married and also where Grace Kelly is buried. There are also a good number of the Grimaldi family buried here, as well.

Monaco-Ville Cafe
Monaco-Ville Cafes

If you are in Monaco-Ville for lunch and to watch the "Changing of the Guards" ceremony, there are several wonderful little sidewalk cafes along the narrow pedestrian street that you might enjoy.

Monte Carlo Harbor and Menton
An Overview of the Harbor in Monte Carlo

The foot of the harbor is where all of the action is. It is made up of restaurants, boutiques, shops and so on. They populate the harbor front and the side streets that take off from there. This is where we will go next.

Monte Carlo Buildings
Monte Carlos Beautiful "Building Scape"

On the way back down the trail to the harbor area one can't help but notice the unique way that the hillside structures create an interesting collage of buildings.

Monte Carlo Abstract
Monaco Harbor Contrasts

The seemingly contrasting visuals lead one to really appreciate Monaco for what it is.

Monte Carlo pedestrian street
The Main Street From the Prince's Palace Back to the Harbor

As you eventually make your way into the harbor area you will find a wide pedestrian street that will lead you down to the harbor front.

Monte Carlo Restaurants
A Typical Harbor Area Sidewalk Cafe

The area around the harbor front is loaded with excellent sidewalk cafes. This is where I would suggest that you spend your lunch time. Seafood, crepes and French cuisine is offered in a typical French environment.

Monte Carlo Sidewalk Cafes
More Sidewalk Cafes

You will find quaint cafes up nearly every single street that leads off of the water front.

Monte Carlo Harbor Cafes
Sidewalk Cafes on the Waterfront

There are also many sidewalk cafes right on the water front. It is just a matter of fiding the right menu, right price range and right ambiance for your personal tastes.

Monte Carlo Yachts
Yachts Lied Up in Monaco

Leaving the harbor area one walks up the eastern side of the harbor one gets a wonderful view of some extremely expensive yachts and an overview of the entire harbor.

Monte Carlo Building Scape
Looking at Monaco From the Eastern Side

Once you get to the top of the walkway you will be treated with yet another view of Monaco that is very motivating. The city is breathtaking and this view just adds to it.

Monte Carlo Casino Square
The Casino, hotels, fountains and shops that make up the Casino Square

Walking past the casino and into the various gardens that occupy the area above the casino, one is treated to a view of the entire area. This is probably the most expensive real estate in the world.

Monte Carlo Casino
The Casino

One of the things that is so unusual about Monte Carlo is the density of expensive automobiles. You see Ferraris on every block and driving around town like they were VWs. This picture just about sums it up. Be sure to check out the boutiques in and around the casino. One jewelry store has solid diamond watches in their window that must cost hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars. This is the very heart of Monte Carlo.

Off the Beaten Path:

Nice France Beach Overview
The Beach in Nice

Monte Carlo is just the start of the wonderful villages and cities located on the French Riviera. To explore the neighboring villages of Eze, Villefranche, Nice and beyond be sure to read the special report on transportation in the French Riviera. The best way to see any of the Cote d' Azur villages or cities is to take the local bus.

Nice to Menton Bus #100
The Bus From Monte Carlo to Nice

Taking the Bus: Take bus #100 to Nice and all points in between. The only spot this bus does not go to is the village of Eze. For Eze, you need to go to the train station and take the elevator all the way to the top and catch the bus there. It will stop right across the street from the entrance to Eze. The fare to Nice (or anywhere in between) is 1.70 euro. Also the buses run frequently, so there is never a long wait. The sign on the bus will say "Nice",

If you have been there and done that for all of the places between Monte Carlo and Nice, then try going east on the bus to Menton. It is the same bus #100, but heading east towards Menton. Menton is a wonderful beach oriented city that has several beaches including akid friendly one. Great restaurants, shopping and tons of fun. The bus will say "Menton" on its sign. Again, it is the same price.

You will see bus stop signs all over Monte Carlo, but a good place to pick up the bus to Nice is on the east side of the harbor on the road that comes from the casino. The bus to Menton uses different roads to go east through Monte Carlo, so the best place to catch it is on he road above the gardens behind the casino.

Taking the Train: There are only a couple of reasons to take the train from Monte Carlo. If you are going to travel past Nice, say to Cannes, then the train is the way to go. Also, if you are ported in Villefranche, then the train might be more convenient. The train station in Villefranche is right on the beach practically, while the bus goes through Villefranche on the upper road that requires a good amount of climbing to get to. While climbing down into the old section of Villefranche is not as difficult as climbing up, it is still might be challenging for some. Be aware though, that not all Monaco - Nice trains stop in Villefranche. So be sure that the one you are going to ride does.

The Monaco train station is deep underground and has two entries. The main entry is only about two blocks from the bottom of the trail that leads to Monaco-Ville and the palace. If you walk north (away from the trail) you will see a store selling newspapers, candy and the like. The entrance is right next to that. You can ask anyone and they can help you find it. You will proceed through a long, but well lit tunnel to get to the tracks. To purchase a ticket, go up the escalator into the train station's main area and buy one from the ticket booths located there. If you want a fabulous shot of Monte Carlo tae the elevator located just beyond the ticketing area to the top and exit the entry way and cross the street. You are now on top of Monte Carlo overlooking the entire city. Return to the tracks in just the reverse order to catch your train.

Dining and Drinking Suggestions:

You can't miss in Monte Carlo. Just pick a restaurant and enjoy!

Must Do List:

Visiting Monte Carlo On Your Own is something that no one should miss.
 

On Your Own Reviews
(How to Venture On Your Own with Detailed Information)

Traveling the French Riviera On Your Own By Bus: Thinking about exploring the Cote d Azur between Menton and Nice? Here are all the details to be able to accomplish it with no hassle. Have a FUN day!

Visiting the French Riviera On Your Own by Train: Thinking about exploring the Cote d Azur via train? Here are all the details to be able to accomplish it with no hassle. Have a FUN day!

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