The best ways to get to the 2021 Monaco Grand Prix on May 20-23, including advice on traveling to the circuit and getting around on the French Riviera.
The best airport for flying to Monaco is Nice Côte d’Azur airport (NCE), just 30km from the principality, which is served by both budget and major carriers with direct flights to more than 100 cities in Europe and even as far afield as New York. Want to find the best prices on long-haul flights? Be sure to also check flights flying into major European hubs such as London, Paris and Amsterdam. There’s plenty of onward flights daily to Nice from these hubs and it can work out cheaper than flying direct.
Other Ways to Get to the Monaco Grand Prix
- Driving to Monaco: More than a few British petrolheads make their pilgrimage to Monaco by road, with a good run down south taking under fifteen hours. Don’t forget to factor in the cost of road tolls, which will set you back around €100 between Calais and Nice. Another classic motor racing destination, Le Mans, is roughly half way between the UK and Monaco, and a good place to break up the journey with an overnight stay.
- Hiring a car: If you are on holiday and decide to hire a car to drive to Monaco, don’t forget to make sure you have insurance to cover driving in multiple countries. The region has an excellent motorway system which is the quickest way to get from A to B, as long as you don’t mind paying the tolls.
- Intercity trains to Monaco: the train network in this part of the world is well developed. High-speed TGV trains depart Paris for Nice both day and night. The trip takes 5-6 hours and costs as little as €65; early booking is essential. From the Italian side, a train from Genoa to Nice takes under 4 hours and costs from under €30. Learn more on Seat61.
- Staying in Italy? Monaco is only four hours by road from Milan, three hours from Turin and two hours from Genoa. If you are living or staying anywhere along the Italian Riviera, it’s possible to make an easy return day trip to Monaco, avoiding the hassle and expense of staying in Monte Carlo itself.
- By boat: not exactly overland, but definitely worth considering for something different. Several cruise lines offer Mediterranean cruises in May which take in the Grand Prix. As well as accommodation and transfers, these cruises generally include race-day tickets to the Monaco Grand Prix (check if there is a surcharge for tickets when booking.)
How to get to Circuit de Monaco
Staying in Monaco itself on Grand Prix weekend beyond your budget? Don’t worry, you won’t be alone. Most F1 fans stay along the coast outside of Monaco where the accommodation is more reasonably priced. Whether you are staying in Nice or surrounds (around 20km to the south), to the north in Menton (10km from Monaco) or on the Italian side in Ventimiglia (25km from Monaco), getting to the circuit is surprisingly cheap and not actually too difficult. Trains are the best option, followed by buses. Don’t rule out driving yourself, particularly on Thursday and Friday before the big crowds descend on the weekend (more in Trackside).
Local Trains to Monaco
The train station in Monaco (Gare de Monaco) is centrally located on the hill behind the Sainte Devote corner. Finding your grandstand is relatively straightforward and thoroughfares are well signposted. There are regular trains connecting Monaco with both Nice (South) and Menton / Ventimiglia (North), as well as places in between and further afield (see map). Travel times are reasonable, with the journey taking around 20-30 minutes for both Nice and Ventimiglia.
Tickets cost under €4 each way. Unless there are too many people and platform access is restricted (which can happen at peak times over the weekend), you shouldn’t have to wait longer than 15-30 minutes for a train. Trains run later than buses (till midnight). Booking your tickets in advance to avoid the large ticket office queues that can form, especially at the end of the day. There are ticket machines as well, but you will need coins or a credit card with a chip. Click here to learn more and book advance tickets.
Bus number 100 travels between Nice > Monaco > Menton. Single tickets cost under €2 and can be purchased from the driver. The bus operates every 15 minutes between 6am and 8pm, but can get pretty crowded on Grand Prix weekend. Allow around 45-60 minutes for the Nice to Monaco leg and 30 minutes between Menton and Monaco. The buses stop at various central landmarks in Nice, Monaco and Menton (click here for current timetable). The Nice Airport Xpress bus (number 110) also travels a similar express route (Nice Airport > Monaco > Menton) on a regular schedule. Tickets cost €22 one way or €33 return.
Driving to Monaco
The A8 motorway is the quickest way to get to Monaco from both the French and Italian sides. This motorway does have tolls, but is much quicker than the scenic routes which wind around the coast and are better suited to a leisurely drive (preferably in a cabrio). Monaco is well signposted, but you should still have GPS navigation. There’s less traffic on Thursday and Friday, and plenty of parking in the Monaco football stadium in Fontvieille. We don’t recommend driving on Saturday or Sunday. Read Trackside for more information about parking in Monaco.
If you’re visiting the Grand Prix for a special occasion, why not consider booking a helicopter transfer from Nice to Monte Carlo? Prices start from €120 per person each way with Heli Air Monaco; the journey takes under 10 minutes.
How to Get Around in Nice
- The airport express buses are the best way to get from Nice Airport to the centre. Bus numbers 98 and 99 run every half an hour and cost €4 per passenger – just ask for a passe du jour so that you can use your ticket all day. Other bus services are as cheap as €1.50 each way, and bus 23 runs from terminal one only to the central Nice train station in, Gare Nice Thiers. Click here for more information. The closest train station to the airport is Nice St Augustin, which connects with Nice, Monaco and the Italian border to the north, and back to Cannes and Antibes travelling south.
- With over one hundred bus & tram routes on the Lignes d’Azur throughout Nice, travel is easy and inexpensive. Flat fares on public transport are a pocket-pleasing €1.50 each way and a passe du jour allows you a whole day’s unlimited travel for €5. Be warned that the full bus service stops quite early in Nice, at around 8pm. Several – but not many – night buses run till the early hours. Trams uses the same ticketing system as buses, and operate from 4.30am to midnight.
- Taxis are notoriously expensive in Nice, especially for tourists on this particular weekend. Agree a fare before you travel or insist that the meter stays on for the duration of your journey. No fare within Nice should come to more than €20, and if you’re getting a taxi to Monaco you shouldn’t pay more than €70. Uber is another option, and should be cheaper than taxis but demand can be high.