Adam’s Travel Report – 2022 Monaco Grand Prix

The Monaco Grand Prix was always on Adam Rosales bucket list of F1 races to attend one day, and last year he made it a reality. Read Adam’s detailed report.

Monaco is an iconic city that is synonymous with Formula 1, all the way back to the start of the modern world championship. The Monaco Grand Prix has been on the calendar every year since 1955, with the exception of 2020. 

My partner and I wanted to do something big for our anniversary so we made plans to attend the race in 2020. We purchased grandstand tickets in 2019, along with a yacht hospitality package for free practice on Thursday, since it was one of my partner’s requests for this trip. 

Everything was booked. Flights, Airbnb, race tickets, plus a side trip to Italy. It was going to be an epic trip to celebrate and splurge a bit. Then March 2020 rolled around and we all know what happened with that. I was able to get refunds for most things except for the yacht hospitality package that we’d purchased from Senate Grand Prix, since they had a strict “no refunds” policy. I was however able to roll over the yacht package to 2022 and two years later than planned, we were finally able to indulge in an incredible trip for our 11 year anniversary. 

Exploring Monaco Before Race Weekend

The circuit is jam packed into the streets of Monaco, right along the harbor. Having been to big circuits like Spa and Circuit of The Americas, it’s both fascinating and mind-blowing how they can have a Formula 1 race in the hilly and narrow streets of Monaco. Walking around in the days before the track is closed to traffic, and seeing it up close, it just doesn’t seem possible.  

The circuit is built annually on public roads that are open every day. Although hilly, roads used by the circuit are easy to navigate and it is possible to explore the track by foot. There are plenty of restaurants and bars all around the circuit. Brasserie de Monaco is located right by the swimming pool, essentially giving you the opportunity to enjoy a drink or dinner right on a Formula 1 track. 

On Wednesday before the race, we had lunch at the now closed Stars N Bars right near the harbor. We walked through the open sidewalk opposite the garages and through the pitlane. Most of the views to the garages were blocked by unloading team trucks but we could still see the racks of bodywork and the cars being assembled, and were able to touch a McLaren front wing (without paying a €50k fine like Max Verstappen). 

The restaurant table gave us views of the F1 Paddock under construction. Sky Sports F1 presenter Craig Slater sat at a table next to us to have his lunch as well. After we ate, we were able to wander through the paddock, walk alongside the hospitality buildings and emerge on to the Monaco Harbor pier. It definitely felt like a “behind the scenes” experience to be able to explore the track and watch the pitlane and paddock being assembled in person.

Where We Sat for the Monaco Grand Prix

When buying tickets direct from the circuit, most are sold by the day. This gives you the ability to piece together your own weekend with a different grandstand each day if you want, and plenty of fans do this. It makes a change from most other races on the calendar where you buy a seat for three days and sit in the same grandstand each day.

K6 Grandstand: Thursday Ticket €30

We did not know our plans for Thursday so didn’t buy anything in advance. We were able to walk up to a ticket booth on Thursday morning and purchase affordable tickets near the entrance. The schedule changed last year, with F1 practice finally moving from Thursday to Friday, in line with every other race on the calendar. As a result, the tickets were cheap for Thursday, with only FIA Formula Regional by Alpine, F2 and Porsche Supercup on the track. 

K6 Grandstand: Arrival

We entered on Rue Princess Caroline, near a bridge across the main straight and under the stands facing the harbor. Staff were pretty strict on where you were allowed to enter, and our tickets were checked multiple times before arriving at our seats.

K6 Grandstand: Amenities

Indoor temporary bathrooms were located under the stands, with no lines on Thursday. We did not see any food vendors in the immediate vicinity, but these may have been further down towards K1 or in the middle of the grandstand. The other side of the straight before the entrance has a ton of food or drink vendors and restaurants/bars. Beers available through vendors on the street in plastic or paper cups cost €8. There is a small discount if you return and reuse the cup. 

K6 Grandstand: Views

The view from K6 Grandstand was great. You can see the cars exiting the Tabac corner and going through the first swimming pool chicane. The picturesque views of the harbor were a bonus, and it’s a great panoramic sight to see in person. If you sit at K1 or K2 you’ll be able to see the tunnel exit in the distance and the short straight to tabac. If you get seats in the top row of K6, you can also turn around and see the starting line and the podium (see video above), making these seats even better. There were some trees partially blocking the view, but everything was still visible. If you sit towards K1/2/3 you’ll be in the shade as the sun gets past the buildings behind while setting in the later afternoon. Otherwise, there’s no shade and the screen is up on top of the hill going up after T1, which is pretty far away. It was too far to see the names and times on the screen (unless you bring some binoculars) but the video feed was visible.

Yacht Package (Tabac View): Friday Ticket €900

On Friday, we watched from a yacht, moored near the Tabac corner. It was a surreal experience. For a bit of a splurge, It was incredible and well worth the €900 per person, in my opinion. I booked places on the 27m yacht through Senate Grand Prix. 

Yacht Package: Reservation

I originally booked for Thursday in 2020 at €500 per person, which included the first two F1 practice sessions. I first rolled it over to 2021, then 2022. Prices went up for 2022 and because the F1 sessions were moved from Thursday to Friday, we ended up going on Friday. We paid the price difference.

Yacht Package: Arrival

We checked in at the smaller harbor over the hill from Monaco at Port de Fontvieille. It’s not possible to board the boats after the track is closed early each morning, as they are moved away from the pier for safety reasons. We were transported on a smaller boat (known as a tender) around to the main harbor with a few other people. Some guests were dropped off at other boats sold by Senate, and we were last. We had to climb up a ladder at the front of the boat.

Yacht Package: Hospitality

Once onboard, we were immediately greeted with an offer of champagne, beer or food. Eventually, we met several fun people on the boat that helped build the vibe. One guy was an American hockey player who played in Sweden; he was getting on well with the Swedish members of the boat staff! Lunch was served after F2 practice but before the first F1 practice session. Salads, cheeses, ham (prosciutto) and fruit were available. It was a pretty decent spread for a grazing lunch. The hot food came out about an hour later. There was ratatouille, meatballs, some veggie dishes. The grazing food offer was also constantly refreshed and always available. After I ate, I had an espresso. Over the course of the day, I probably had about 15 glasses of champagne and about 10 beers (DR3 lager by Blue Coast Brewing). I drank a lot but with the constant eating, I was feeling good all day until they asked us to leave the boat around 7:30pm. I definitely made the most of it all. At that point the track was open so we were able to walk off the boat and straight on to the track. We had dinner reservations at Tiny Thai by the starting line, a 5 minute walk.

Yacht Package: Tabac Views

The views from the yacht allowed me to see the tunnel exit and the exit of the chicane all the way down to the exit of Tabac. I couldn’t see the swimming pool chicanes. The boat had a decent view of the screen up on the hill but we could barely read the lap times. Cell service was good enough and was able to follow official timing on the F1 app. I would easily do yacht hospitality again in Monaco. It was pricey but we had a blast. My wife made friends on the boat and was drinking with them on the couches most of the afternoon. Not sure I would do race day; maybe qualifying, depending on the price. 

Grandstand O: Saturday Ticket €225

We sat in the top row of Grandstand O for qualifying on Saturday. This grandstand is actually perched on top of the water in the harbor; they use every bit of space in Monaco. It was hot and there was no shade but the views of the circuit were incredible. You could see from the exit of the Tabac corner, through to the exit of the swimming pool. There was a bit of a breeze from behind the stand but it was hot. Luckily the guys next to us had a small umbrella and my wife was able to be in their shade.

The seats in this stand are pretty narrow. My bottom was sore and my back hurt a bit the next day. I saw some people with cushions, I’m sure that would make it much better. It’s very tightly packed and the guys in front of me kept elbowing my knees, I basically had to straddle them. Even my wife was a bit uncomfortable, and she isn’t nearly as tall as me (I’m 6’4”). The vibe of the crowd was fun but not too loud or raucous. It was loudest for Leclerc on an out lap and whenever he went P1. But overall it was pretty tame, especially compared to the crowds of Mexico City. After Leclerc took pole position, all the boats in the harbor started honking their horns.

Grandstand O: Arrival

To get to Grandstand O, you basically take the same entrance that goes to Grandstand T (Ave du Port) but continue through to a ticket check next to the harbor behind the stand. There were lots of street vendors, restaurants and bars outside the ticket and bag check area before getting to the stands. We walked through the train station and down the marked paths to the circuit area. We had to wait for about 10-15 minutes while they checked everyone’s bags. It was pretty disorganized and kind of a free for all, but not too bad. They did a bag check just to get into the vendor area of the event on the surrounding streets. Once you get to the bridge for your section they check/scan your tickets and do another quick pat down or check with the metal detector wand. You need to show your tickets at least four times to get to your seat. A ticket lanyard is definitely worth it for this event. All the staff were pretty strict on following the rules.

Grandstand O: Amenities

You have access to the snack bar and bathrooms under the T2 Grandstand. There are also some other snack bars and beer stands behind Grandstand O on the dock for the boats. Some portable bathrooms were available too, and the lines weren’t too bad. I’d recommend carrying some cash, as some vendors would not accept card payments. It was also faster and easier than using a card.

Grandstand O: Views

From the top row of Grandstand O, you could see from Tabac exit to the swimming pool exit. It was great, you could see the cars bottom out and break hard for the second chicane. There was a screen nearby and the audio rotated between French, English and Italian every few minutes. Service was good enough to follow along on the F1 App timing. WiFi was available, but it was slow. Aside from the narrow bench seating, it’s a great spot to watch. The lower rows feel CLOSE to the circuit. It’s pretty exciting walking by while cars are on track, but the circuit workers don’t let you stand there for long before yelling at you to move.

Grandstand T2 Upper: Sunday Ticket €495

On race day, we chose seats in the T2 Upper Grandstand, opposite the pits and near the exit of the swimming pool.

Grandstand T2 Upper: Arrival

The entrance was a slightly different tunnel from the city streets on the other side of the main straight. There was a bridge across the straight and a tunnel under pitlane to the section. It was easier to walk past the train station down towards Place d’Armes, entering off Rue Saige. Leaving after the race was a bit of a standstill. The staff blocked off grandstand exits to try and keep people moving but it just didn’t make sense. We were still out of the grandstand after about 20-30 minutes, but you need to be patient.

Grandstand T2 Upper: Amenities

Food, beer and temporary indoor bathrooms were right under our seats. There were lines for the bathrooms at peak times, but not too bad. The snack bar and beer area was a free for all with little organization. No lines early in the day but it started to get really busy from about 1pm. It still only took about seven minutes at its worst to get a beer and snacks. It was €8 a beer and €6 if you reuse the cup. I took a pic of the menu but the prices for everything were fairly cheap. Again, cash was easier but they accepted card payments. They had 1-2 card readers while they had like 10 people taking orders bar style. It was really fast and somehow still friendly.

Grandstand T2 Upper: Views

We had aisle seats at the top row of Grandstand T2 on race day. We were directly opposite the Mercedes garages and could see most of the pitlane, but not the exit. We couldn’t see too much of the track actions besides them flying by into rascasse but damn it was great. The sounds reverberated off the commentary booths and lounges above us. We didn’t get wet from the rain unless we were walking down for beer or using the bathroom. We could see the drivers getting on the gas while exiting the swimming pool chicane. Pretty much like any main grandstand at a race where they kind of fly by, this grandstand has more action in pit lane than on track. I was able to see first hand when Red Bull and Ferrari double stacked their pitstops, the moment when Ferrari ruined Leclerc’s chance of victory. Since the paddock was separate from the pits we were able to see all the drivers walk into pit lane on Sunday morning, then again in their race suits after the drivers’ parade. The crowds were pretty loud here but still nowhere like Mexico City. Post race, we could see all the drivers exit their cars and speak to members of their team and the media. The podium celebration takes place on the starting grid area, so we didn’t get a view, but it was broadcasted on the big screens.

Where We Stayed for the Monaco Grand Prix

We stayed at an Airbnb about a 5 minute walk from the Casino area. The price was inflated but not too scary. We paid $2600 USD for 7 nights (Wed-Tues), which worked out at approximately $370 USD per night. Not bad compared to the hotels in Monaco, especially that close to everything. It’s possible to save money by staying further up into the hills or nearby on the French side (only a short walk, really), but there aren’t too many choices that have both good reviews and amenities. We spent a little extra for both.

Exploring Nice

Accommodation in Nice is much cheaper than Monaco, of course. Before we went to Monaco for the race, we stayed in a 2 bed/2 bath Airbnb in Nice for about $120 a night. The train from Monaco to Nice and back only costs about €4.20 euro per person, each way. I imagine it would get pretty busy on race weekend but the carriages offer two levels of seats. I would just plan on leaving early/late if doing this for the GP and always buying tickets in advance so you don’t need to queue at the station. You can also ride the cheap and frequent trams to get around. Nice felt like a laid back beach city with various hotels and restaurants along the Promenade des Anglais next to the water. There are some public areas to enjoy the beach without having to book loungers in a private area with a hotel or restaurant. The Old Nice area has a historic medieval vibe to it with small walking paths and plenty of restaurants to choose from. I definitely recommend exploring this area.

Getting Around in Monaco

Everything is pretty walkable, just be ready for hills, stairs, elevators and escalators. Monaco has some crazy elevation that is hard to imagine without seeing it in person. Wear comfortable shoes and be ready to walk up hills. From the casino area down to the Grandstand T entrance, it was about a 25-30 minute walk. You can use the train station to get from the bottom up the hills a little easier but it can get pretty crowded at peak times. There’s some public elevators that can get you into the station, which is pretty much at the highest point of Monaco.

There’s no Uber in Monaco. You can take an Uber from France or Italy into Monaco but cannot request one from Monaco. You would have to walk back into France to request one; depending on where you are in the principality, it may only be a short walk to the “French border.” There are taxis available in Monaco you can call, though they are more expensive than those from France and price get even more inflated on race weekend. Getting the details of a French taxi or Uber driver is a good idea; they may be willing to do a pick up for you in Monaco. 

Nice Côte d’Azur Airport

We flew in and out of Nice Côte d’Azur airport. Leaving the airport by tram was cheap and easy. We paid for 10 trips on the app for €10. You could buy a card or tickets at the kiosk too. After the race on Monday, we booked a helicopter transfer via Monacair from Monaco to the Nice airport. The flight itself was a pretty cool and fun experience even though it was short.

It was kind of a strange experience with some positives/negatives. The bag weight of traveling this way is pretty important. So I called to ask about our bags (4 total), they offered to pick them up separately and drive them to the terminal for us for €80. I didn’t think I really had a choice since our bags weighed more than the maximum, so I just did that. The car to pick us up for the helicopter was 30 minutes late. So we kind of missed our “designated” time but I don’t really think there is one. It’s not super organized. It seems like you just kind of board whatever type of helicopter you book. I paid €650 for a private transfer but ended up getting joined by another couple with 4 bags of the same sizes as us.

Pretty annoying that I paid for a private helicopter trip and wasn’t allowed our baggage then another couple with the exact bags were put onto our transfer. They didn’t actually charge me the bag transfer fee. I didn’t make a deal of it because at that point, we were almost late for our flight. Blade was also doing transfers for €220 per person, maybe we will look at those if we ever come to the race again. 

Where to Eat & Drink in Monaco

Overall, the prices were much cheaper than we had anticipated. It’s about the same as what I’m used to in Austin, Texas. We paid around €15-20 per entree. Pizzas around €9-18 depending on where you go. Grocery stores like Marche U had cheap snacks, water and pre-made meals.

We packed some snack sized ziploc bags for the trip, bought some snacks at Marche U and took them to the race with us so we had some stuff throughout the day like fruit and cheese. Combined with some bags of chips it worked out. The only things you’re not allowed to bring are metal bottles, glass or alcohol. Bag searches weren’t too invasive but I only had a drawstring style bag and not a full backpack.

It’s a good idea to look up restaurants in Monaco and make reservations ahead of time on race weekend. We had some great meals at Mozza, Izakaya Cozza, Tiny Thai, Maya Mia and a few other random places. I’m glad we made reservations or else it can make finding a place for dinner or even lunch a bit of a hassle. I kept seeing people get turned away. Rue De Portier, where Mozza is located, has several places.

On Monday after the race we had dinner at Izakaya Cozza, and Charles Leclerc showed up to pick up his car from the Valet (see Ferrari picture above). Our waiter told us that Charles and his friends were having drinks and dinner there the previous night. On race weekend that group of restaurants had a pre-fixe menu priced at €95 per person, which was pretty steep. Earlier in the week, our waiter at Mozza gave us a heads up about this pricing for our dinner reservation on Sunday, but things were back to normal by Monday.

Exploring Monaco

Monaco has a wide variety of things to do, race weekend or not. I imagine it’s a very nice place to vacation, even on a non-race week. Visiting the Prince of Monaco’s private car collection is a great way to see the evolution of automobiles, from Horse Carriages to Formula 1 cars. I was really surprised by what is in the museum. AS Monaco Football Club hosts some top tier matches at Stade Louis II within the city. On race week there is an annual charity football match with current and former F1 drivers, as well as other notable people, such as Francesco Totti and Stefano Domenicali in 2022.

You can go for a swim or lay in the sun at Larvotto Beach then have dinner at one of the many great restaurants in the city before a fancy night out at the Casino de Monte-Carlo. You don’t necessarily have to gamble to enjoy the beautiful building from inside or out but enjoying a cocktail from the bar and playing a few games can be done without breaking the bank as there are no extravagant minimums to play at most games. It’s worth remembering that  EU residents can enter the casino with their national ID card, but the rest of us need to bring our passport along. If you’re into sports cars, you will see a lot of exotics being driven around the city such as a limited edition Pagani or a few different Bugatti along with the more limited production Ferraris and Lamborghinis. It’s quite the car show outside the casino on race week.

La Rascasse had a cover charge on Saturday but was pretty crazy. It was like a big dance party right next to the track. There was loud music and €10 drinks, plenty of people dancing. It was a fun vibe and fun to people watch. Lots of F2 team staff and race marshalls were partying in the crowd that spills out onto the track. 

Final Thoughts

Attending the Monaco Grand Prix was a great experience. If you’re willing to spend a bit to stay in Monaco, being able to make a short walk to the race makes it so much better. Things are cheaper than Miami and on par with most cities I’ve been to; maybe a little higher than most of the major Western European cities I’ve visited, but not by much. Race tickets and a place to stay are probably the most expensive. If you can speak or understand a little French it would help but Monaco seemed more Italian than French. I was able to communicate in mostly English and a bit of Spanish, since I can understand some italian and they understood some Spanish. People were friendly and we felt very welcome as tourists.

I would definitely recommend traveling to the Monaco Grand Prix. It’s a hell of an event that just doesn’t make logistical sense. A real sight to see and experience. Splurge a bit and party, it’s a little crazy from the outside perspective but definitely worth it to be there. 

Monaco Grand Prix: Cost Breakdown

  • Airbnb in Nice: 3 nights = $630 USD
  • Airbnb in Monaco: 7 nights = $2600 USD
  • Return Flights: Austin-Nice = 80k Delta Skymiles + $66 USD
  • Helicopter Transfer – Monaco to NIce = $650 USD
  • Race Tickets:
    • Thursday: Grandstand K = €30 
    • Friday: Yacht Hospitality near Tabac = €900  
    • Saturday: Grandstand O = €225  
    • Sunday: Grandstand T2= €495

READ MORE: Monaco Grand Prix Travel Guide

2 thoughts on “Adam’s Travel Report – 2022 Monaco Grand Prix”

  1. I found a ticket for Saturday qualifying grandstand T lower for 300 euros. Would you say it is worth it?
    I am not sure if T lower has any good views of the track. I would appreciate it if you can give me some feedback since you’ve been on grandstand T upper/high and you can probably guestimate if T Lower is worth it.

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Hello, I’m really sorry for not replying. I was working in Monaco and very busy. Did you go for it? The views from T grandstand are pretty good, both low and high. But I think T1 section is better because of the views at exit of swimming pool, which than T2 doesn’t have so much and T3 doesn’t have at all.

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