From Nice to Monaco: 4 Best Ways to Get There

Written by Lisa Alexander
Aug 1, 2023
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The drive, train, or ferry ride from Nice to Monaco offers a wow factor for such a short journey. Along the way, the mesmerizing expanse of deep-blue Mediterranean waters and silhouettes of the Côte d'Azur prepare you for a spectacular destination. The vistas hint at the glorious scenery you'll enjoy in Monaco.

Gare de Nice-Ville train station
Gare de Nice-Ville train station | Photo Copyright: Lisa Alexander

Monaco is a must-see destination when visiting the French Riviera, especially if you are based in Nice. The two-square-mile royal principality skirts a yacht-filled waterfront, with its ancient castle and citadel perches on a promontory high above the sea.

It's well worth the short trip from Nice. Monaco brims with tourist attractions: historic monuments, tropical gardens, designer boutiques, and gourmet restaurants.

The best way to get from Nice to Monaco depends on your preferred style of travel. If you rent a car for your vacation in Nice, then it makes sense to drive to Monaco. If you don't want to drive, you can just as easily get to Monaco by train. The train runs frequently every day.

To truly appreciate the beauty of the French Riviera coastline, hop on a ferry from Nice to Monaco. You'll feel truly immersed in the leisurely Cote d'Azur lifestyle. Refreshing sea breezes lift your spirits, as you admire the glistening waves of the azure waters.

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1. From Nice to Monaco by Train

A waterfront street in Monaco
A waterfront street in Monaco

If you prefer traveling independently, taking the train is the best choice for getting from Nice to Monaco. It's straightforward, easy to do, and inexpensive.

The SNCF train company offers multiple routes daily throughout the day (from 5:40am until 9:20pm). In fact, many locals take this quick ride to commute to work. Among tourists, it's one of the most popular day trips from Nice.

You can walk to many attractions of Monaco from the train station, but it's difficult to see all of the highlights on a walking tour. If you travel to Monaco from Nice by train and are only day tripping, you probably want to focus your sightseeing on the Monaco-Ville and Monte-Carlo districts. Adding in the waterfront area of La Condamine makes for a very long walk.

The train from Nice to Monaco departs from the Gare de Nice-Ville (train station) on Avenue Thiers. You may want to take a taxi to the train station because it's a long walk (on busy streets) from many of the tourist hotels in Nice.

The train from Nice arrives at the Gare de Monaco Monte-Carlo (train station) on the Place Sainte-Dévote in Monaco. It takes about 15 minutes to walk from the train station to the Monte-Carlo district and about 20 minutes to walk to Monaco-Ville (the Old Town).

You may purchase a ticket online in advance. It's also possible to get a ticket at the train station.

SNCF offers a direct route from the Nice-Ville train station to the Monaco Monte-Carlo train station that takes 20 minutes. Trains depart approximately every 15 minutes during peak commute hours and about every half hour for the rest of the day.

Author's Tips: When you get to the train station, look for the letter of the voie (platform) that corresponds with your departure time. On the departure timetable at the train station, the voie will be listed as a letter such as "A" or "B" in a column to the right of the destinations and the time of departure.

If your voie is "A," then you will enter a door to the train tracks marked as "A" and then wait on the platform marked Voie A in front of the tracks where your train will arrive.

2. From Nice to Monaco by Guided Tour

View over Monte Carlo, Monaco
View over Monte Carlo, Monaco

To see as much as possible in Monaco and get there with ease, take a guided excursion. The Monaco Day Trip from Nice includes round-trip transportation and allows ample time for sightseeing at leisure. This small-group tour is a full day (8 hours).

You depart from Nice at 9:00am to begin your scenic driving tour with a stop in the charming medieval village of Eze. After visiting a perfume factory in Eze, you will continue on to Monaco. The tour includes three hours of free time in Monaco-Ville (the Old Town) where you can see the Cathédrale de Monaco and the facade of the Palais Princier de Monaco.

Then, you will have one hour of free time in Monte-Carlo to visit the Casino de Monte-Carlo and/or browse the luxury boutiques around the Place du Casino such as Fendi, Loro Piana, Omega, Harry Winston, Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen, Bulgari, Celine, and Louis Vuitton.

3. From Nice to Monaco by Ferry

View over Monte Carlo harbour in Monaco
View over Monte Carlo harbor in Monaco

The most picturesque and relaxing way to travel from Nice to Monaco is by ferry. From the boat, you'll have a chance to soak up the sunshine and admire the deep-blue hues of the Mediterranean Sea on a 45- to 60-minute trip. You'll also get a front-row seat to view the French Riviera coastline, with its villa-dotted hillsides and yacht-filled harbors.

You can purchase a round-trip ferry excursion from Nice to Monaco. The Ferry from Nice to Monaco departs from the Quai Lunel in Nice at 9:30am and arrives in Monaco at 10:15am. (Note: You must arrive at the Quai Lunel 30 minutes prior to departure, at 9:00am.) The return ferry ride departs from Monaco at 5:00pm and arrives back in Nice at 6:00pm.

The ferry service is available from mid-May through the end of October. This service is geared toward tourists rather than commuters.

Taking the ferry offers the advantage of arriving at the port. This means you can easily see the Monaco waterfront (La Condamine) in addition to the historic Monaco-Ville district.

During your full-day visit, you will have time to see many top tourist attractions within Monaco-Ville: the Musée Océanographique, the Cathédrale de Monaco, the facade of the Palais Princier, and wander atmospheric pedestrian streets lined with shops, cafés, and restaurants.

Alternatively, you could focus on the ritzy Monte-Carlo area, where you can visit the Casino de Monte-Carlo and browse the designer boutiques. It would be possible to visit both Monaco-Ville and Monte-Carlo, but you would be rushed.

4. From Nice to Monaco by Car

A path at Jardin Exotique de Monaco
A path at Jardin Exotique de Monaco

Driving from Nice to Monaco offers two main advantages. First, you will enjoy a scenic drive along the legendary Corniche road, a cliffside route with spectacular sea views. Second, you can see the various districts of Monaco more easily (and quickly) by car than by foot.

A driving tour through Monte-Carlo, Monaco-Ville, and along the waterfront in La Condamine only takes about 30 minutes. To see the same sights, it may not be worth the effort to walk. For instance, it's a steep climb from La Condamine (the waterfront) to the hilltop Monaco-Ville and another uphill walk to Monte-Carlo.

Having a car also allows you to visit out-of-the-way places like the Princess Grace Rose Garden and the Jardin Exotique de Monaco.

One practical consideration when driving into Monaco is the parking. Monaco does have several public parking lots right in the Old Town (Monaco-Ville) and by the port, but you will have to pay per hour.