How to Attend the Monaco Grand Prix on a Budget

Last updated on: May 5, 2020

(Last Updated On: May 5, 2020)

For one weekend in May each year, the world of motorsport collides with the rich and famous for the annual Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix. And attending it on a budget definitely takes some advance planning.

Many dream of attending what is viewed by many as the holy grail of motorsport events, but fear they won’t be able afford to blend in with the VIPs, yachts, and private helicopters. After all, a simple beer in Monte Carlo costs north of an eye-watering €9 ($10), and you can expect to pay €100 or $110 per person for your evening meal.

So can you really do the Monaco Grand Prix on the cheap? And what’s all the fuss about anyway?

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Why the Monaco Grand Prix is One of the Biggest Sporting Occasions of the Year

Quite simply, there isn’t another sporting event like it on the planet. 

The screaming roar of formula 1 (F1) cars are brought from their traditional racing tracks to the glamourous city streets of Monte Carlo for one weekend only.

Whilst there are other city-street courses on the F1 circuit, none are accompanied by the buzz of celebrity faces and all-night parties on yachts costing more than some countries’ entire GDP. No event (sporting or otherwise) says glitz and glamour more than the Monaco Grand Prix.

So how can you attend if you don’t have quite enough spare change to purchase a boat and pay the $4,130-per-night mooring fee?

Get Savvy with Tickets

One of the most expensive aspects of attending the most-anticipated grand prix of the year are the tickets themselves, which easily run into the thousands of euros. If you’re determined to sit in one of the grandstands, then grandstand “K” is your best bet in terms of value for money.

It has wide ranging views of two technical corners (so the cars so won’t be coming past you so fast that you can barely see them), and stunning views of the harbor whilst you’re waiting for them to come back round the circuit again.

Counterintuitively, you want to aim for the BACK rows, not the front, as your view will be partially-obstructed by safety fencing in the early rows. 

Tickets in this stand for race day are costly however, coming in at around €600 per ticket for race day, but you can cut that in half by going on the Saturday to watch qualifying, which is no less intense than the race itself. 

If that’s way over budget it’s time to get hardcore. There is a tiered bank made of sheer rock and grass known locally as Le Rocher that spectators can pay €70 to get in for qualifying and €100 for race day, with some spots offering better views that any grandstand.

However, you are going to have to fight for those views. Camping close by overnight is a must. And you can forget about getting a good spot if you arrive after 6am. Don’t forget those binoculars either!

Stay in Nice to Save on Accommodation Costs

If you’re on a budget, then staying in Monaco itself during race weekend is impossible.

Fortunately, neighboring Nice provides plentiful hotel rooms for less than €100 a night.

If you’re super hard up after splashing out on tickets, then there are plenty of campsites that offer spots to pitch a tent or park a motorhome from €22 a night. Some of these campgrounds even have Wi-Fi, table rentals, refrigerators, and electricity hook-ups, so it’s hardly slumming it!

Getting to Monaco from Nice and surrounding towns is a simple cab ride down the main road into Monaco, lasting no more than 20 minutes. Or if you’re still looking to scrimp, there are local trains and buses that will ferry you to Monte Carlo for a fraction of the price in under 45 minutes.

Example Costs for Monaco Grand Prix on A Budget

If you want to draw together a tight budget for a weekend for one of the highlights of the global sporting calendar, then here are a few examples:

Estimated weekend cost approx. per person €602.50 ($662 USD)

– Grandstand on Thursday (1st practice) = €82.50

– Le Rocher General Admission ticket (Sat + Sun) = €170

– Cheap Hotel in Nice (€50 per night x 4) = €200

– Spending money (€50 x 3) = €150

Or if you are on a really strict budget…

Estimated weekend cost approx. per person €314 ($345 USD)

– Le Rocher General Admission ticket (Sat + Sun) = €170

– Campsite in Nice (€22 per night x 2) = €44

– Spending money (€50 x 2) = €100

Who said you have to be a millionaire to enjoy the Monaco Grand Prix?!

Monaco Isn’t Just for the Rich and Famous

As has just been demonstrated, one of the most exclusive sporting events of the year doesn’t necessarily have to be the sole preserve of the the rich and famous.

By being savvy with your tickets and by planning well in advance you can secure this once-in-a-lifetime experience for less than $500 per person. 

So what are you waiting for? Start planning for next May by booking your tickets today!

Have you attended the Monaco Grand Prix on a budget? What tips do you recommend?

Author Profile

Joe Gratton
Joe is a full-time digital nomad who is based in Manchester, UK. He has lived or worked in countries such as the United States, Italy, Greece, France and many more destinations since quitting his job in 2017. You can keep up with his journey on the Advantaged Life blog.

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