Located right on the French Riviera, Monaco has long been a popular destination for tourists willing to splash the cash! The independent microstate has built a reputation as the ideal destination for those interested in gambling, sailing and living the high life.
With close connections to the surrounding French regions, it is also a great base for exploring the entire riviera – and even has services as far as Italy.
Make no mistake – Monaco is still one of the most expensive destinations in the world! This glitzy coastal resort can easily cost the average visitor hundreds, or possibly thousands, per night.
This has deterred backpackers looking to discover one of the world’s smallest countries on a budget.
That’s why we’ve built this guide! Though you can’t avoid the high costs of Monaco, we’ve done some digging to figure out great places to stay in the city to get the most out of your time – as well as some great tips for saving cash along the way.
So let’s get started!
Quick Tips – Where to Stay in Monaco
- Where to stay in Monaco for your first time – Monaco-Ville
- Where to stay near Monaco on a budget – Menton
- Best area to stay in Monaco for nightlife – Monte Carlo
- Coolest place to stay in Monaco – Fontvieille
- Best neighborhood in Monaco for families – La Condamine
- The Saint Martin Gardens wind along the coast, giving you unbeatable views of the city and the surrounding coastline
- Head to the Princely Palace to learn about the nation’s unique political system and admire gorgeous architecture
- Whilst in the gardens, head to La Terrasse Restaurant where you can discover the strong Italian influence on local cuisine
Monaco is not the cheapest place to stay in France but it may be the most elegant! These are our highest recommendations for places to stay in Monaco.
Best Hostel for Backpackers in Monaco: Forum Hotel
Despite its location right in the heart of Monte Carlo, Forum Hotel is incredibly well priced – making Monaco a little more accessible for backpackers!
There aren’t any hostels in Monaco, but this three-star hotel comes with some great communal areas, all while giving you the privacy of your own room.View on HostelWorld
Best Airbnb in Monaco: Floating Retreat
Sample the high life with a stay on this boat right in the heart of the city in the main harbour! Ideal for couples visiting the city, this boat has been beautifully restored to let you experience how the rich and famous live whilst in Monaco.
It comes with modern equipment, keeping it fully heated in winter and cooled in summer.View on Airbnb
Best Hotel in Monaco: Riviera Marriott Hotel La Porte de Monaco
Though technically in a different country, the Riviera Marriott Hotel is only a couple of seconds walk away from the Monegasque border! This four star hotel is a great compromise between luxury and budget – and is definitely much better priced than similar options within Monaco itself.
They have great facilities, and excellent reviews to match.View on Booking.com
Quick Summary: The Best Places to Stay in Monaco
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Monaco is known for its glitz and glam – so if you want to splurge out on true luxury, this is the place to be! That being said, even backpackers on a budget can find things to enjoy – it just takes a little bit more creativity and a good idea of what each of the country’s neighborhoods holds. If you are visiting France on a budget, then Monaco may sting!
Monte Carlo is by far the most iconic neighborhood in the city! This is where you will find the casinos, lavish hotels and sparkling nightlife that draws the world’s wealthiest travellers throughout the year.
Whilst you can’t help but splash the cash in this neighborhood, no trip to Monaco is complete without a visit to this area.
Monaco Ville, on the other hand, is the historic centre of the city! Monegasque culture is distinct from French culture, and you can enjoy a more local atmosphere in this part of the city.
It is also a little bit calmer, making it a great introduction for backpackers first discovering the country.
Though Monaco isn’t known for its alternative attractions, Fontvieille has some fantastic options for those looking for something a little different!
The newest neighborhood in the city, Fontvieille has been entirely reclaimed from the sea and boasts modern businesses and suave hotel suites at slightly reduced rates compared to the more established tourist resorts.
La Condamine is another great alternative neighborhood, though its peaceful nature makes it more appealing for families! Like Monaco Ville, La Condamine has retained its authentic Monegasque culture.
With slightly less tourists than its more well-known neighbour, it is also great for learning how true locals live.
For those on a strict budget, we recommend staying outside of the city entirely and commuting in for your visit! Though Nice is the most popular destination nearby, Menton is a little lesser known with tourists and boasts some excellent budget-friendly options – as well as quick connections to Monaco.
Still deciding? Check out our expanded guides below!
5 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in Monaco
Let’s take a look, in more detail, at the five best neighbourhoods in Monaco. Each caters to different interests, so be sure to pick the neighbourhood that’s right for you.
Monaco-Ville is the historic centre of the city, and where you will find many of the historic and cultural attractions! Though slightly detached from the glitz and glam of Monte Carlo, Monaco-Ville is still very much an upmarket neighborhood.
Where it differs is its focus on local culture, so you get to truly understand a Monegasque way of life.
Located right along the harbour, Monaco-Ville also comes with great views across the Mediterranean as well as towards the surrounding mountains!
There are plenty of high-end shops in this neighborhood – and for those on a budget, simply walking around the area is a joy in itself.
Things to See and Do in Monaco-Ville:
– Head to the Princely Palace to learn about the nation’s unique political system and admire the gorgeous architecture
– Wander along the winding, yet romantic, streets of the city and shop at the local boutiques and international luxury brands
– The Oceanographic Museum is the perfect place to learn about Monaco’s seafaring history as well as discover life under the Mediterranean
– The Saint Martin Gardens wind along the coast, giving you unbeatable views of the city and the surrounding coastline
– Whilst in the gardens, head to La Terrasse Restaurant where you can discover the strong Italian influence on local cuisine
– For budget travellers, Arrow Burger offers typical American cuisine – don’t be fooled by the reasonable prices, the food is still great quality
Best Airbnb in Monaco-Ville: Floating Retreat
Whilst this would be a unique accommodation choice anywhere else in the world, sleeping aboard a yacht is far more common in Monaco!
This small boat is more affordable than towing your own along, giving you the chance to taste a little piece of local luxury. It comes with luxury fixtures and fittings.View on Airbnb
Best Hotel for Backpackers Monaco-Ville: Hôtel de France
Despite only being a two star hotel, this budget friendly accommodation has great standards of service and a comfortable, albeit quite basic, offering!
There aren’t any hostels in the entire country, but for backpackers on a tight budget, this is a great way to stay centrally without breaking the bank.View on Booking.com
Best Hotel in Monaco-Ville: Port Palace
If you want to embrace Monaco’s luxury reputation and splurge on a high-quality hotel, Port Palace is one of the best options available in Monaco-Ville!
For those visiting during the Grand Prix, this hotel is located right in the middle of the circuit – giving you an unbeatable viewing point over the internationally renowned competition.View on Booking.com
Monaco is one of the most expensive destinations in the world – and most of the surrounding French Riviera is just as bad. For budget travellers, we recommend avoiding the area between Nice and Monaco and instead, head east to the French border with Italy!
This is where you will find Menton, a sleepy town that combines the culture of the two nations.
Menton not only gives you easy access to Monaco and the French Riviera but is also a major gateway to Italy’s coastal resorts! This makes it the ideal choice for those on a budget that want to explore the most expensive regions of the three countries.
It also boasts its own cultural highlights, acting as an Italian enclave within France.
Things to See and Do in Menton:
– The Jean Cocteau Museum is dedicated to the late artist – it has excellent exhibits with an interactive twist
– Royal Westminster Casino, right in the heart of Menton, is a somewhat budget-friendly alternative to the more lavish offerings in Monaco
– If you are visiting during February, head to the Fete du Citron where you can learn about the city’s reliance on lemon crops
– Mare Nostrum Brewery is the main drinking venue close to the town – especially popular with the hipster crowd
– La Nautique offers an interesting fusion of French and Italian cuisine that is focused on fresh, locally sourced seafood
– Nearby Ventimiglia is only a few minutes across the border and offers a good introduction to the Italian Riviera
Best Hostel for Backpackers Menton: Hotel Richelieu
This recently refurbished hotel is a favourite with backpackers thanks to its low prices and great social spaces! Though they only offer private rooms, there are still plenty of opportunities to mingle with other guests at the hotel.
Rooms are fully air-conditioned and come with access to high-speed WiFi.View on HostelWorld
Best Airbnb in Menton: Studio En Centre-Vieux
Another excellent centrally located accommodation choice in Menton, this studio is the perfect choice for those on a budget that want a little extra privacy!
Its location in a residential building allows you to experience the town like a local, and it is only a few minute’s walk away from the waterfront.View on Airbnb
Best Hotel in Menton: Hotel Chambord
Only a short walk from the coast, and right on the main street in Menton, Hotel Chambor is perfect for those on a budget that want to explore the wider French Riviera region! Rooms come well equipped with WiFi, air conditioning and balconies overlooking the sea.
Every floor also has elevator access.View on Booking.com
When you think about Monaco, chances are you’re thinking about Monte Carlo! This is the main entertainment and tourism hub of the city, and where the worlds rich and famous come to party.
Without a doubt, a night on the town in Monte Carlo will set you back – but it will be one of the most glamorous nights you will ever experience.
The party doesn’t stop just because the sun has come up – the casinos are open 24 hours and the streets burst with life during the daylight hours! This is where you can try to spot some of the celebrities that frequent the city, as well as their sports cars and yachts.
It is also the main shopping destination for those interested in luxury goods.
Things to See and Do in Monte Carlo:
– No trip to Monaco is complete with visiting the iconic Monte Carlo Casino – easily the most popular attraction in the country
– Right next to the casino is the Cafe de Paris, one of the most popular cafes in the city with the upmarket clientele of Monte Carlo
– Speaking of upmarket dining experiences, Louis XV by Alain Ducasse has been awarded three Michelin stars!
– Need to ease off on the spending? Take a stroll through the gorgeous Japanese Gardens whilst admiring the coastal views
– La Metropole Shopping Centre is teeming with luxury brands and high-class goods – as well as delectable restaurants
– The New National Museum of Monaco is located in the far north of the neighborhood and has great exhibits about the nation’s history
Best Hostel for Backpackers Monte Carlo: Forum Hotel
Our top pick for backpackers in Monaco, this three-star hotel is surprisingly well priced given its lavish location! Rooms are fully air-conditioned and come with high-speed WiFi access, safes and soundproofing.
There is an excellent restaurant on-site that serves Mediterranean cuisine, as well as a small bar where you can mingle with other guests.View on HostelWorld
Best Airbnb in Monte Carlo: Studio with Panoramic View
Also located only a short walk away from the casino, this studio is surprisingly budget friendly – perfect for those that want ultimate privacy in Monte Carlo without breaking the bank!
It also comes with sweeping vistas across the city and the coastline, allowing you to soak up the atmosphere.View on Airbnb
Best Hotel in Monte Carlo: Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo
If you’re going to stay in Monte Carlo, you might as well splurge on a five star hotel – and the Hôtel de Paris is one of the best rated in the city!
It is located right next to the famous casino and comes with plenty of additional facilities to ensure you feel like a VIP.View on Booking.com
Just across the harbour from Monaco Ville, Fontvieille is the most modern neighborhood in the city and is home to the burgeoning start-up culture of the area!
Built on reclaimed land, Fontvieille is a feat of engineering that beautifully showcases the contemporary wealth and lavish extravagance of the nation.
Don’t be put off by this wealth, however, as Fontvieille is also a great spot to soak up contemporary Monegasque culture!
Its location right next to the French border makes it one of the cheapest areas within the city limits, and gives you easy access to other excellent destinations along the French Riviera.
Things to See and Do in Fontvieille:
– Louis II Stadium is the only sports arena in the country and is home to Monaco’s national football team
– Musee Naval de Monaco is housed within a boat in the harbour and has exhibits dedicated to the small nation’s naval history
– Princess Grace Botanical Garden, dedicated to the late Grace Kelly, is a beautiful walk along the Monegasque coastline
– For a more budget-friendly coastal walk, take the short trip across the border to Cap d’Ail and enjoy the Mala Beach Coastal path
– Eglise Saint-Nicolas is a beautiful, though fairly modern, church that allows you to discover the main religion of the city
– Les Perles de Monte Carlo boasts a gorgeous location right at the edge of the harbour – with an equally delightful menu for you to choose from
Best Airbnb in Fontvieille: Luxury Seafront Apartment
Located within a premium residential complex in the most modern neighborhood of Monaco, this apartment comes with unbeatable sea views and is only a short walk away from the contemporary harbour!
The kitchen is sleek and well equipped, and the whole apartment comes with luxury fittings.View on Airbnb
Best Hotel for Backpackers Fontvieille: Hôtel Columbus
This ultra-modern hotel only opened last year, and is already one of the best rated three star accommodation picks in the area! They provide a complimentary breakfast every morning, and there is a seasonal swimming pool available on-site.
The restaurant specialises in Mediterranean cuisine and is popular with both guests and locals to the area.View on Booking.com
Best Hotel in Fontvieille: Riviera Marriott Hotel La Porte de Monaco
Just across the border in Cap d’Ail, the Riviera Marriott is only a short walk away from Fontvieille and is perfect for those that want a touch of luxury without paying the premium charged for staying within the city limits!
It comes with balconies, a large pool and daily breakfast buffets.View on Booking.com
Whilst La Condamine is a great neighborhood for discovering local culture, it is also one of the most peaceful neighborhoods – making it a perfect option for families! The streets are larger, and showcase an authentic side to life in Monaco.
Though it doesn’t have all the glamour of Monte Carlo, it does have some intriguing architecture and locally-owned restaurants.
This all changes, however, during the penultimate week in May when the Monaco Grand Prix makes its way to the area! Here you will be able to watch some of the best riders in the world battle it out along the city’s streets.
Outside of the event itself, La Condamine maintains a party atmosphere throughout this period.
Things to See and Do in in La Condamine
– Stade Nautique Ranier II is a large sporting venue that also occasionally opens up to the public as an outdoor swimming pool
– Swim the Riviera are a small tour company based in the heart of La Condamine that offer safe, guided swimming excursions of the surrounding seas
– Place d’Armes is the main market in the city, offering you a more authentic alternative to the luxury shopping in the tourist strips
– Rando Dans Monaco is another fantastic small tour company – they specialise in laid-back walking tours with small groups
– For an upmarket meal that is nevertheless family-friendly, we recommend heading to La Brasserie du Mystic
– For those travelling without children, La Rascasse is an excellent bar right on the waterfront with surprisingly affordable prices
Best Airbnb in La Condamine: Studio Confortable
Unfortunately, there aren’t any family-friendly AirBnB choices in the city – however, those travelling as a couple will benefit from this luxurious studio!
Located right next to the train station, it is well placed for exploring other cities along the French Riviera. It also comes with great views.View on Airbnb
Best Hotel for Backpackers La Condamine: Charlotte
La Condamine is a relatively residential neighborhood, so finding a hotel can be tricky. For backpackers, this apartment offers a cost effective solution that allows you to live like a local whilst in the city!
Fully air-conditioned, it comes with a kitchenette as well as a separate bedroom for added privacy.View on Booking.com
Best Hotel in La Condamine: Ambassador-Monaco
Another surprisingly budget-friendly pick, this three-star hotel is one of the best-reviewed in the area – perfect if you want a more typical hotel experience! Rooms come fully air conditioned, and a breakfast buffet is provided every morning.
There is also a well-rated pizzeria on-site.View on Booking.com
Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Monaco
With mesmerising panoramas across the Mediterranean, high class nightlife and entertainment venues, and a decades-long reputation for luxury – it’s no wonder that Monaco is such a popular holiday destination for those wanting to sample the high life!
That being said, there are still plenty of options for backpackers wanting to explore one of the world’s smallest countries.
For the best neighborhood, we are going to go with Monaco-Ville! Not as intense as Monte Carlo, it is well connected with every other neighborhood on this list and is a great starting point for those visiting the country for the first time.
That being said, choosing a nearby town outside of the country itself is also a good option for those sticking to a strict budget.
We hope this guide has helped you narrow down your options whilst planning your upcoming trip to this coastal gem!
Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments!
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