Known as a playground for the rich and famous, Monaco in person is every bit as flashy as I had envisioned. Think luxury cars, Grand Prix races, super yachts and of course, the famous Monte-Carlo Casino.
Seeing as my trip around Europe had a budget to stick to, I didn’t actually stay in Monaco as the prices were just too high. Instead, we visited as a day trip from Nice as it’s only 30 minutes away.
Hopping on the #100 bus, I was shocked that the price was truly only 1 euro! It’s probably the best deal I found in all of Europe. You can also arrive by train, which is honestly a bit more convenient, but I recommend riding the bus at least once. As you wind along the coastal road, the views are simply amazing.
Arriving in Monaco, I instantly felt at home. After weeks of small European villages and an overwhelming amount of ancient architecture, it was such a relief to be surrounded by towering shiny skyscrapers again.
Monaco is the 2nd smallest country in the world after Vatican City, at only 1.95 square km., yet the popular is almost 38,000. Between the city’s dense atmosphere and the modern architecture, it felt almost like Hong Kong.
I loved it.
Wandering through the maze of skyscrapers, we began making our way to Monte-Carlo Casino. Made famous for appearing in multiple Bond films, this casino is not the largest in the world, but it is the most important in terms of prestige and status.
Almost 150 years old, the casino opened back in 1863 in hopes of bringing tourists and money to Monaco. Well, it worked! Monaco is now oozing with money and thousands of tourists still flock there daily.
With over 1,000 slot-machines and plenty of tables, Monte-Carlo offers one of the largest collections in Europe– although it still has nothing on most casinos in Las Vegas or Macau.
I’ll admit that I didn’t know how small Monte-Carlo was before visiting, and that I was a little underwhelmed when I saw it from the outside. Except for seeing all of the crazy luxury cars out front.
Once I stepped inside, I was totally impressed.
To get inside you’ll need to pay 10 euros and have your passport. Like in Macau, citizens of Monaco are not allowed to gamble or even go inside the casino, so they will be checking passports.
But before you head inside, wander around the perimeter to admire the views of the casino and its gardens. Then on your way back, sneak into Hotel de Paris next door to quick rub the equestrian statue of Louis XIV for good luck.
Inside there is a main area for tourists, while the serious of gamblers pay to enter the famous Salons Privés further inside.
Like in any casino, photography is not allowed. However, as I had no intension to gamble, thanks to Tourist Office Monaco, I was allowed to visit the casino before it was open to the public. Being shown around from salon to salon, I was amazed at the grandness of the interior and the history.
I think my favorite of all the rooms was Salon Europe with its Moorish influences and opulent chandelier, although the private rooms and outdoor tables with ocean views come pretty close.
Someday I’ll return to Monaco and actually stay there. Maybe I’ll even try my hand at gambling at the famous Monte-Carlo. But for now, just pretending to be rich and famous was equally as satisfying!
Have you been to Monaco? Would you like to gamble at Monte-Carlo Casino?
Thank you to the Tourist Office of Monaco for showing me around during my visit!