Find out more about the Monaco Grand Prix in Monte Carlo, including race information and a destination guide for a visit to the principality
As circuits go, Monaco is probably the most incredible on the F1 calendar at present based on the fact that if you were trying to organise the race for the first time today it would never be allowed. Blasting through the tight streets of the principality, the circuit winds its way from the first corner at Ste Devote, up the hill to Massenet and then round Casino Square. The circuit drops down to the tight hairpin in front of the Fairmont Hotel before turning right at Portier - right on the cliff edge - to accelerate through that tunnel and down to the tricky braking point for the Nouvelle Chicane. A tight left-hander at Tabac follows before the quick change of direction around the Swimming Pool and then a slow right-hander around Rascasse before the final Anthony Noghes corner and back out to the pit straight. Each corner is a huge test, with hardly any run-off and barriers waiting to punish the slightest mistake. Spectacular.
The jewel in F1’s crown, the Monaco Grand Prix remains a spectacular event which celebrates all of what the sport used to be. Glitz and glamour abound, the track winding past high end shops while supercars line the streets and huge yachts fill the harbour.
If you want to see those expensive shops and even more expensive cars, head to Casino Square where money really is on show. Built on such a steep rock face, there are plenty of stairwells and elevators needed to move around, but the Prince’s Palace is a good place to visit with views over the circuit and principality.
When the track action stops, the final sector becomes one massive dance floor from the swimming pool to the iconic Rascasse. Music blares from the numerous bars that line this part of the track - below the pit lane - and revellers descend on the circuit every night to party into the early hours.
From a sporting perspective, the Monte Carlo Masters tennis tournament takes place in the month before the grand prix arrives in town, while there is often a charity football match on race week featuring a number of F1 drivers past and present - playing for the Nazionale Piloti - against a side led by Prince Albert himself at the Stade Louis II which dominates the view to the west of the Prince’s Palace on the Fontvieille side.
Of course, this little tax haven may have limited attractions but you’re also well-placed to explore the rest of the French Riviera, with Nice the nearest big city with more going on in a more reasonable price bracket. Cannes and St Tropez are also both accessible along the coast - along with a number of other picturesque towns - while the train is an easy way to head into Italy in the other direction.
HOW TO GET THERE
The nearest main airport is 30km away at Nice, where you can get a direct bus to Monaco - stopping at a number of locations in the principality - or you can transfer into the city to catch a train to Monaco. Marseille Provence airport offers a cheaper alternative in terms of flight cost but will add a fair few hours onto your journey by train as it is anther 200km west of Nice.
The railway offers the ideal way of moving around the region, with frequent services along the coast and Monaco station providing access to the numerous different levels of Monte Carlo. As the central access point for most fans during the race week, the station also carries directions to the different parts of the circuit, which is helpful due to closed roads and tunnels around the track.