The Principality of Monaco, the tiny sovereign state located on the French Riviera, is one of the most opulent and sought-after tourist destinations in the world. Home to the Monaco Grand Prix and Monte Carlo’s famous Place du Casino, tourists typically outnumber locals 10 to 1 in any given year.
As the second smallest country in the world, with a total landmass less than that of New York’s Central Park, it is perhaps not surprising to learn that Monaco does not have its own airport. Would-be travelers need not despair though – Monaco is still readily accessible by land, sea, and air.
Regardless of your mode of travel, Monaco’s famed beaches, restaurants, and other attractions are just as easy to reach as any other destination in Europe. Follow this guide to learn why Monaco doesn’t have its own airport, and how you can get there anyway.
Why doesn’t Monaco have an Airport?
As well as being one of the smallest countries in the world, Monaco is also one of the most densely populated. Monaco’s entire population – just a touch under 40,000 people – are packed into an urban area smaller than one square mile.
So why doesn’t such a popular destination have it’s own airport? Simply put: there isn’t enough room for one.
Interestingly, Monaco is not the only country in the world not to boast its own airport. Vatican City, Andorra, Liechtenstein, and San Marino also make the list of countries without airports.
What is the closest International Airport to Monaco?
Luckily for those who wish to tour Monaco’s many sights, Nice-Côte d’Azur International Airport is only a 25-minute drive from the Principality. With connections to more than 86 destinations across the world, Nice Airport is the main avenue of access to Monaco for international travelers.
And if you really wish to bask in the full luxury of the Monegasque experience, you can always take a seven-minute helicopter ride from Nice Airport to Monaco Heliport. Monacair offers a regular service between Nice and Monaco, with departures every 15 minutes, and a free shuttle bus service between the Heliport and any destination of your choosing in Monaco.
Getting to Monaco by Car
Given its proximity to both France and Italy, Monaco is easily accessible by road. A word of warning for drivers, however: only vehicles registered in Monaco or the Alpes Maritimes region will be permitted to drive into Monaco-Ville itself. All other cars must remain in the Parking des Pêcheurs car park, a few minutes’ walk from Monaco-Ville.
Entirely bordered by France, Monaco is well connected to the French national motorway system. Travelers driving to Monaco from Nice can enjoy the highly scenic Basse Corniche road, which hugs the coastline and provides spectacular views of the Mediterranean.
The Moyenne Corniche road and Grand Corniche road also offer breathtaking scenery and will take drivers through the beautiful towns and communes of the Alpes Maritimes region.
Getting to Monaco by Rail
Connected to major train stations in France and Italy, Monaco Monte-Carlo station is the main, and only, rail hub for the Principality of Monaco. Connected to cities including Nice, Paris, Milan, and Ventimiglia, travelers can easily embark on their Monegasque vacation using that classic mode of European travel: the train.
Getting to Monaco by Boat
Given its prime location on the French Riviera, Monaco is a popular cruise destination, acting as either the start or end point for many Mediterranean cruises. Cruise ships dock at Monaco’s Port Hercules, which is located close to Monaco-Ville and approximately a mile from Monte Carlo’s sights and sounds.
But what would Monaco be without a fleet of yachts dotting its azure waters? As Monaco’s main harbor, Port Hercules accommodates yachts of all shapes and sizes. Yacht owners can also find berths at Port Fontvieille and Port Cap d’Ail – just ensure you take note of the size restrictions at each port.
Monaco: Worth The Journey
Even without its own airport, Monaco is one of the easiest-to-reach destinations in the world. As well as providing some of the most frequented routes in Europe, Monaco’s roads and ports also provide some of the most scenic.
As one of the most famous and luxurious destinations in Europe, tourism is Monaco’s largest industry. Whether visiting by road, rail, sea, or air, Monaco has a rich history and a wealth of things to see and do and will reward every traveler that makes the journey.