Planning the ultimate holiday in Monaco
Monaco may be the world’s smallest country after the Vatican, but it has plenty to boast about: a prime location with stunning views bordered by France and the Mediterranean Sea, the greatest number of millionaires and billionaires per capita in the world, the Monaco Grand Prix, and the legendary Grand Casino. Not surprisingly, it’s renowned for being one of the best places to holiday on earth, and the most fitting way to get there is by private jet charter.
Measuring just 500 acres from border-to-border, the principality of Monaco has influences of France and Italy but a flavour all of its own. With the beauty of the Monte Carlo harbour, some of the best shopping in the world, plenty of activities and wonderful weather, the only time you’ll break a sweat in this tiny tax haven is when choosing what will fit into your itinerary.
To help you get started, we’ve put together our pick of things to do in Monaco, where to eat and stay in Monaco, and why the best way to enjoy Monaco travel is by private jet hire.
Best months to travel to France and Monaco
If you’d prefer a comfortably warm climate, plan your Mediterranean travel for May and June. The weather – and crowds – heat up in Monaco and France throughout July and August. For off-season Monaco travel, plan your visit for October and November (the wettest months) or December and January when the Monaco weather drops to about 12°C.
Things to do in Monaco
It’s helpful when planning your trip to one of the most beautiful places in Europe to keep in mind that the principality is split into four areas: the old city of Monaco-Ville, the port quarter of Condamine, and the entertainment hubs of Fontvieille and Monte Carlo.
For the historical sights of Monaco, Monaco-Ville’s old town of winding lanes is perched on a dramatic pistol-shaped rock. It’s best explored on foot, so stroll along the 16th-Century pedestrian walkway of the Rampe Major for exquisite views over Monaco. When you reach the top, you’ll arrive at the palace – the 13th-Century fortress that is the private residence of Prince Albert and Princess Charlene. At midday there’s a tour of the state apartments and you can see the changing of the guard.
Visit Monte Carlo by beginning with a trip to Monte Carlo Harbour, for the world-famous sight of luxury yachts bobbing at anchor. You’ll also want a taste of some of the country’s best restaurants and bars. No Monte Carlo visit is complete without seeing the Casino de Monte Carlo – an impressive structure of marble and gold which opens each morning for tourists to soak up the exquisite belle époque architecture. The casino opens each day at 2pm.
The Côte d’Azur is renowned for its year-round sunshine, azure waters and idyllic beaches. Monaco’s Monte Carlo Larvotto Beach is where the international jet-set head to see and be seen, soaking up the sun against a glitzy backdrop of beautiful buildings, chic bars and swanky restaurants.
The Musée Océanographique de Monaco is a must-see. The aquarium is one of the most respected in the world and its rooftop terrace and café provide sweeping views of Monaco and the Mediterranean. Beneath the aquarium, which is built into a cliff, is a secluded beach that few visitors to Monaco know about. To reach this tiny gem, follow the aquarium signs and once there, find the stairs pointing towards parking, then follow the steps to the back side of the museum. You will see a path that leads to a small set of stairs on the right – which will take you to one of the most magical and unspoiled beaches in the world.
You’ll want to build a bit of retail therapy into your Monaco travel so head for the designer enclaves of Avenue de Monte-Carlo, Avenue des Beaux Arts, and the Allées Lumières in the Cercle d’Or district. For a local shopping experience, try the Condamne Market on Place d’Armes for fresh fruit and vegetables in true Provence-style. For an authentic taste of Monaco France, the quaint Les Puce des Fontvieille flea market on the Quai Jean-Charles Rey is open all day Saturday.
Monaco Grand Prix
The Formula One Grand Prix takes place in Monaco at the end of May, and winds through the roads around the port and casino, which can be accessed only with a ticket. Monaco Grand Prix weekend sees Monaco’s elite vie for space and air time with sports stars and celebrities. Hotels are booked up months in advance and prices soar, so plan your trip ahead of time.
You can reach the Monaco Grand Prix by a regional train from Nice, France or Ventimiglia, Italy, or you could include a private flight cost in your Monaco travel budget. Keep in mind that the Monaco Grand Prix brings a large number of private jet rentals to Europe, so book a private jet as early as possible to take advantage of the best private jet cost on offer as well as availability.
Monaco has no airport of its own, but there are two private jet airports nearby – Cannes Mandelieu and Nice Cote d'Azur. Monaco has a number of helipads so a private jet charter will allow you to travel direct from Nice or Cannes by helicopter, straight into the action of the Monaco Grand Prix.
Where to stay in Monaco
Monaco hotels are known for being ornate and luxurious. The iconic Hotel de Paris – one of Monaco’s oldest – is due for renovation in 2020. The hotel has spectacular views of the Casino de Monte Carlo. Sister hotel, The Hermitage, is within walking distance of the casino, and has offered their guests luxury par excellence since the early 20th Century.
For a more modern stay, The Fairmont Hotel has trendy restaurants, stores and clubs on the ground floor, including The Billionaires nightclub.
If you’re visiting Monaco on a budget, you’ll find slightly cheaper accommodation in the La Condamine quarter.
Where to eat in Monaco
Although the main culinary influences in Monaco are French and Italian, you will find cuisine and wines from all over the world. For a taste of local food, look out for treats like barbagiuan (pastry with rice and pumpkin) and stocafi (dried cod with tomatoes).
Le Louis XV by Alain Ducasse à l’Hôtel de Paris has three Michelin stars and an interior to match – visitors are forgiven for thinking they’re in the Palace of Versailles! Monte Carlo by Joël Robuchon has two Michelin stars and treats patrons to delicious Mediterranean dishes that fuse French and Italian cuisines. The Buddha Bar in Monte Carlo is right on trend with Thai, Chinese and Japanese food served as DJs entertain guests. You’ll want to stop by the lounge for great cocktails and a bit of celebrity spotting.
The areas of La Condamine and Monaco-Ville offer the best-value food and if you need your budget to stretch a little further, travel to France (just a hop over the border) to visit the daily food market in Beausoleil.
Monaco travel for families and couples
A private tour is a great way for the whole family to enjoy the sights of Monaco. A driver-guide can pick you up at your hotel in an air-conditioned minivan and take you to some of the best attractions on the Côte d'Azur. Baby seats and booster seats can be provided and the trip adapted to your needs. Strollers or wheelchairs can also be accommodated. There is no end to how creative your driver-guide can be when helping to set up your tour.
Some of the best family-friendly hotels in Monaco include the Novotel Monte Carlo, Hotel Columbus Monte Carlo, and the Ambassador Monaco.
Couples visiting Monaco can take a romantic detour to the medieval village of Eze. Visit the exquisite mountaintop gardens, people-watch in wine bars and dine in restaurants lining the winding, cobbled streets, and round it off with a stay at the Château de la Chèvre d’Or, famed for its breathtaking sea views.
Private jet charter to Monaco
You can take a bus, train or taxi from Nice Côte d’Azur Airport, which is 22km from Monaco, or you could rent a plane – this will cut out the unnecessary commute by flying you direct from Nice Côte d’Azur Airport or Cannes Mandelieu Airport. You can land by helicopter at any number of helicopter pads inside the principality.
So what does it cost to charter a plane in Monaco? The charter plane cost varies depending on the aircraft and distances travelled. A 40-minute flight in a small plane could cost about £2,250, while the private jet rental cost of a 1.5-hour flight in a mid-size jet will be approximately £27,700. As the size of jet and flight times increase, so the cost of flight on a private jet increases.
If you’d like to know how to charter a plane, simply contact our team for a quote and we’ll talk you through the private charter flight cost and arrange everything you need for your private jet charter to Monaco.