I traveled to Monaco in the French Riviera on a 10-day trip to Europe. It would be my first time traveling to Monaco (the second smallest country in the world) and actually my first exposure to the “lives of the rich and famous”, without sitting in front of a television of course.
Wealthy doesn’t come close to describing the area and even though I had a great time spending the first few days of my vacation there, I wish I would have known then what I know now.
In this series, I won’t bore you with all the travel basics, like the best time to travel, best hotels, and where to stay, etc. I will, however, highlight the three things you need to know before you go…the things you may not find easily in a travel guide.
Feeling Lucky? You Can Gamble
I’m not a big gambler personally, although I have been known to drop a few bucks on the roulette table now and then. However, if you are feeling lucky, a visit to the Casino de Monte Carlo may be worth a visit. Gambling, just like in our popular Las Vegas destination in the United States, is 100% legal. This is the same casino frequently visited by James Bond himself and appeared in three of his movies including my favorite, Casino Royale. Be ready to spend a little dough as you’ll be surrounded by high rollers who would expect no less. Worst case, just drop by to drool over the sheer elegance that eludes from every pore of this place. Just be prepared to go big or go home. It IS the playground of choice for the rich and famous.
Skip the Taxis
Monaco is only about three miles long and one half miles wide so your first guess would be to walk everywhere. Yeah, tried that and was tired almost immediately (and I was in decent shape at the time). The terrain is uneven and hills can be quite steep. So how do you get around? Even if it crosses your mind, don’t bother taking a taxi. You’ll spend almost twenty bucks for just taking a seat in a taxi in Monaco due to the minimums. So, I would suggest you take the city bus or the “Bateau Bus”. The Bateau Bus is an electric boat that crosses the harbor every 20 minutes. The buses run all the time, even in the evenings, and they are easy on the pocket book. A one day pass will run you around five bucks.
Watch What You Wear
There is no better way to spoil your trip than to be arrested for wearing too little clothing or not be allowed entry because you’re not fancy enough. So here are the general rules: no beach-type clothing while in town and check the dress code before deciding what to wear to pretty much anywhere. Clearly, the dress code in Monaco is not one to leave up to chance. That doesn’t mean you can’t wear that cute little two piece you purchased especially for relaxing on Larvotto Beach. Basically, aside from the beach areas, walking around without a shirt, wearing a bathing suit, and being barefoot will land you in a little trouble with the largest police force in the world (per capita). Yikes!
Make sure you add Monaco to your Europe travel plans. Where else can you eat breakfast in Monte Carlo, have lunch in France and enjoy dinner in Italy all in one day!