Leon Van Gasteren from the Netherlands made a flying trip to the 2015 Monaco Grand Prix. Here’s his report on how to spend a day at F1’s most famous race, and not break the bank.
Every year I try to go to two races; one complete weekend and one practice day. The plan for 2015 was to visit the Italian Grand Prix (whole weekend) and a practice day at the German Grand Prix (at the Nurburgring). Unfortunately the German round was cancelled, so we had to look for an affordable alternative. To my surprise I discovered that the Monaco Grand Prix was relatively cheap to visit for one day. We booked a flight from Eindhoven in the Netherlands) to Nice France for 80 EUR, and booked an Ibis Budget Hotel near the airport (€60 for 3 persons) and a grandstand ticket for Thursday (€70). We left on Wednesday-evening and returned on Thursday night.
On the ground
We arrived at Nice airport at 9:30pm on Wednesday; there were lots of fellow F1 fans on the flight, including Max Verstappen’s sister. After a 5 minute-walk we arrived at the hotel. The Ibis Budget Hotel had simple but clean rooms; not luxury, but fine for €60 a night. The next morning we had a 15-minute walk to the train station (Nice Saint Augustin). The train brought us to the city center of Monte Carlo within 30 minutes. The atmosphere in Monaco is quite different from other circuits I visited, because the circuit is in the middle of the city. Unfortunately it was not possible to walk around the circuit (like in Spa) so you are committed to your grand stand. But we didn’t complain, it was a great experience just to be there!!
We booked grandstand A1 with a great view on Saint Devote, the opening corner. At the top of the grandstand, you also have a great view on Tabac Corner and the harbor. In Saint Devote many drivers had off-track excursions (Alonso, Massa, Sainz, Bottas, Maldonado, Ricciardo), so there was lots of action in front of our grandstand. Because we stayed just 1 day unfortunately we haven’t seen the famous Monaco nightlife. Between the Formula 1 sessions we lunched in the city where the prices were reasonable (Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona is more expensive). At the end of the day, we returned by train to the center of Nice, where we had dinner before catching our flight home.
Here’s my overall rating for a Thursday at the Monaco Grand Prix:
- Price 8/10: affordable ticket prices on Thursday
- Getting to the circuit 9/10: great public transport
- Grand stand 7/10: great view, but you are limited to your grandstand
The whole trip cost under €200, not including spending money on the ground:
- Flight (Eindhoven – Nice): €80 return
- Hotel €20 per person for one night (3 sharing one room)
- Train €10
- Grandstand (A1) €70
The Monaco Grand Prix is a great event and a must race to attend for every F1 fan. It’s possible to visit with a small budget, but only if you avoid race-day. Arrange the trip yourself; use a low cost airline and book a budget hotel to keep the costs down.