3 for 1: Day Trips from Monaco

Without traveling far, you can visit three countries in one day. From the tiny principality of Monaco, explore the legendary French Riviera, and cross the border to Italy’s picturesque Ventimiglia.

18039 Ventimiglia, Province of Imperia, Italy
My first night in Italy—on a shoestring-budget-trip while living in Europe as a grad student—I found myself in Ventimiglia, just over the border from France. My tattered guidebook said that Ventimiglia ‘wasn’t really worth a long stay,’ but I was enchanted. Look! the children really are playing soccer in the small plaza in front of the Romanesque church! Look! there really are red Vespas parked under laundry hanging across the narrow hilly lanes! Listen! there really is a couple arguing overhead, and there’s a kid practicing piano up over there! And then... the sun setting behind the Ligurian mountains, the sound of the tide washing pebbles on the Mediterranean shore... Despite the mosquitoes in my cheap room, I woke up the next morning giddy, and full of myself. “I’m IN ITALY!” I then had the best cafe latte of my life before catching the train for Florence.
Escalier de la Coquille
It is so easy to stroll into France, many visitor cross the border without ever realizing they’ve been abroad. Instead of a coastal hike, the French Riviera offers a paved path that takes travelers from the Principality to Mala Beach on the Cap d’Ail. Catch the Sentier Littoral (coastal trail) at Marquet Beach and head west through a landscaped paradise dotted with mysterious mansions and eccentric estates. It is an easy walk for young children, with plenty of picnic stops and, during the summer, even restaurants on the beach. Hike, or catch the bus back from the downtown of lilliputian Cap d’Ail. Photo : Sylvia Sabes
10 Rue de la Paix, 06360 Èze, France
A maze of narrow medieval streets wind up and down this village perched along the Grande Corniche. The ruins of a château are now an exotic garden, and the 18th-century neoclassical Notre Dame of the Assumption church is a national monument. Spectacular views inspire artists and artisans, and their galleries fill the village. Exceptional restaurants like the Château Eza are happy to welcome guests for a drink or a Michelin-starred meal as they relax and savor the scenery.
2 Pl. Rossetti, 06300 Nice, France
On our recent trip to France we had the best ice cream we’ve had. Ever. Anywhere. We chanced on Fenocchio while we were driving along the French Riviera. On probing a couple of locals, we found out that it is something of an institution in Nice. We couldn’t shy away from trying it out could we? We found the gelateria easily in Nice’s Old Town. Beware - there are lots of ice cream parlours with similar names in the area. But there is a queue only outside one shop - Fenoccio’s gelateria. We bought a couple of scoops of ice-cream and went back for seconds. Our gluttony did not stop there. For the next four days, we went to Fenoccio’s gelateria every day till it was time to catch the flight back home. That’s how good it is. Fenocchio’s ice creams are creamy and intensely flavoured. They have a number of crazy flavours including cactus and dozens of traditional flavours including chocolate, hazelnut, and strawberry. Our favourite was the orange blossom ice cream, a flavour indigenous to the South of France. Make sure you pop in for a scoop (or ten) if you happen to be in the area.
Quai des États-Unis, 06300 Nice, France
Believe it or not, this was a day in Nice in early January—the middle of winter! Not sure if we were just lucky that day, but it was dazzling and picture perfect. Walking (or rollerblading) along the promenade was a perfect way to spend a lazy morning after a night at Wayne’s Bar.
Route de la Turbie, France
To say that the drive from Nice to Monaco is scenic, is an understatement. After driving around a bend on the mountain, everyone on our tour bus suddenly rushed to one side and pressed up against the windows trying to get a snap of this GORGEOUS view. Pity about the fence at the bottom! ...Guess I’ll have to go back to get a better photo... I couldn’t remember the exact spot this photo was taken, but it was on this drive that we passed the site of Grace Kelly’s fatal car crash, so I have listed it as on that road.
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Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
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