Experiencing the Monaco Grand Prix

Visiting Monte Carlo, Monaco has been on my Dream Destinations list for awhile. While there are many amazing sites to see in Monte Carlo, we went for my husband's Bucket List reason - to see the Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix.

The Monaco Grand Prix is a Formula One motor race held each year on the Circuit de Monaco. The race is held on a narrow course laid out in the streets of Monte Carlo, with elevation changes, tight corners, and a tunnel, making it one of the most demanding tracks in Formula One.

Nick and I started the festivities on the Friday night of race weekend. Friday is a 'no race day' at Monaco, which means the pits and the track are open to fans. Nick and I were able to see the race teams' garages, support teams, and the cars. You are also able to walk on the track (in fact, we walked the entire track). There's music, beverages, and photo ops everywhere! You can also check out/admire the multi-million dollar yachts. Friday night's events offer a fun atmosphere to set the tone and get everyone excited about race weekend.

Nick and I stayed in Nice, France and road the train in to Monaco. We arrived about an hour prior to the first event on Saturday, and started our morning checking out the lines of stalls of merchandise for sale on the streets of Monte Carlo, which are a must for any Formula 1 fan looking to pick up some swag. Saturday offered a full day of on-track events including a Renault Series race, F1 Free Practice 3, F1 qualifying, and the Formula 2 Grand Prix. 

Unfortunately, we didn't stay for the actual race on Sunday because we had to hook up with our tour group for Switzerland. This is the one thing I wish we had done differently. I had such a fun day on Saturday I would have thoroughly enjoyed watching the actual Grand Prix on Sunday!


If you watch the TV coverage, the media makes the Monaco Grand Prix look nothing less than fancy and fabulous, which parts of it are. Unless you pay primo bucks to sit in a box, get a package from a hotel where you watch from their balcony, or you happen to find yourself on a mega yacht, you don't need to dress fancy. It was HOT (like in the low 90s), so shorts, a t-shirt or tank top, comfortable shoes, a hat, and sunglasses worked. Nick and I sat in the grandstands and this was appropriate attire. Don't forget your sunscreen!

There is an hour between each event, but finding a place to eat outside of the grandstands can be tricky unless you do research first. I advise doing research on restaurants off the main path that offer quick service if you are set on seeing the start of every event (which we were) - and remember meals are much, much more leisurely in Europe than they are in the US. We ended up window shopping and enjoying the shade during the breaks instead.

Kiosks selling sandwiches, water, and sodas are set up under the grandstands, but the offerings go quick. The sandwiches were pretty much cleaned out by noon.  If you do snag a sandwich it's worth it... fresh rolls, cheese, and meat! And they were reasonably priced! We also found a grocery store and a stand set up by a family selling water and fresh fruit right outside one of the grandstands exit/entrances.

Stay in Nice, France. Monaco does not have an airport (only a helipad!) so you'll have to fly into Nice anyway. Monte Carlo hotels raise rates during race weekend so Nice offers more affordable accommodations. Nick and I stayed in a hotel that was less than a 5 minute walk from the Nice de Ville train station. Hopping a train from Nice de Ville station to Monte Carlo was easy (buy your tickets at a kiosk and find your platform) and the ride is 25 minutes or less. Staying in Monte Carlo would be an awesome part of the experience so just make sure to budget for it.

Let's just say that is sporting event was so much more organized than any event I've been to in the US. You can leave and reenter the grandstand whenever you want. They give you a ticket stub for reentry. Yes, you will have to pass security every time you leave and re-enter the circuit, but it's fairly quick. Sections of the grandstand are clearly marked, and they have knowledgeable volunteers who can point you in the right right direction and even walk you to your seat. There was no pushing, shoving, arguments, over priced concessions, or overtly drunk spectators. However, drinking and smoking are allowed in the grandstands. Oh, and the portable restrooms are CLEAN!


  1. How neat!!!!!! Sounds like the coolest experience!

  2. Man this sounds like the best experience ever! Im obsessed with lewis hamilton and used to watch the Grand Prix all the time - just havent in a while. Live must be EPIC!

  3. What an amazing experience!!! I would love to see this someday.

  4. How fun! Definitely one of my dream destinations as well, and going to the race would be the icing on the cake <3
    Green Fashionista

  5. Oh, wow, that looks like so much fun!

  6. Wow! This looks stunning. I know this is on my family's bucket list for sure! Thanks for the great tips! - Crystal

  7. WOW...what an experience! I feel like I'd be so overwhelmed the whole time, but it sounds like such a fun memory! My husband would lose his mind <3

  8. What a fun thing to be able to see while you were there. You got the timing right on for it. I'm not necessarily interested in racing, but even I think I would enjoy experiencing something like that.