After you’ve visited Barcelona why not a quick jaunt over to Monte Carlo, the administrative area of the principality of Monaco and the coast of the French Riviera? With a rented car (we rented from EuropaCar) you will have the freedom and ability to explore more of Europe on your own schedule. The scenic drive from Barcelona to Monte Carlo will take you about five to six hours along good highways. If you prefer to drive a little slower than the rest of the traffic, be sure to stay in the right lane.
As soon as we got to Monte Carlo, we forgot about Barcelona. Monte Carlo is spectacular, part of one of the smallest countries in the world, with a population of 37,000 and only 2.2 ha wide. Bordered by France, the French Riviera and Italy. Interestingly enough, there was only a tiny, little street as a border dividing Monte Carlo from France. We stayed on the French side, but could hop over to Monte Carlo in a matter of minutes by walking down the winding narrow streets and a few sets of stairs on the side of the mountain.
We drove to Monte Carlo and stayed there for only three days. In Monte Carlo, we rented an apartment we found on HomeAway.com. It’s probably the most economical way of staying in this playground of the rich and famous. Renting a house or apartment will cost much less than the daily rate of a good hotel. The apartment we found was $500 euros for the three days. We had a spectacular view from our balcony – looking down over Monte Carlo and the sea with its luxury yachts, all white and shiny new, dotting the blue waters of the Mediterranean. For the full length of our stay, the sky was a brilliant blue sky overhead – not a cloud in sight.
Things to do and see in Monte Carlo? Plenty of walking is in order. We walked down to the harbor, checked out the famous casino of Monte Carlo and took a look at the Prince’s Palace of Monaco. Built in 1191, the Palace is the official residence of the Prince of Monaco.
Dining in Monte Carlo? Again, our favorite way of discovering great little eateries is on our walks. For the most part, we had breakfast in our rented apartment and ate out for lunch and dinner. Our grandest meal in Monte Carlo was a splendid evening at the Restaurant De Paris right next to the Monte Carlo Casino. I had a white fish dish with drinks, grand total for the two of us – 140 euros – not cheap, but the place to go for celebrations and special occasions an Monte Carlo is a special occasion.
Other things to do when in Monte Carlo include a visit to the nearby Medieval village of Èze, a top tourist sight because of the incredible views over the Mediterranean Sea. Èze is a village to explore on foot, camera in hand. At the top of the rugged cliff setting you’ll find the ruins of a castle, surrounded by homes dating back to Medieval times. The spectacular views, sunsets, castle and village present great photo opportunities. Spend some time also visiting the many little art galleries and shops, browsing and shopping to your heart’s content.
Recommended: Monte Carlo can be visited in just a day or overnight trip, but next time, I’ll stay in Nice or in the village of Èze, itself. But there’s a whole world out there to discover and before returning to Monte Carlo or Barcelona again, I’ll explore more of Europe because European travel is on my travel agenda. So many places yet to see.