The second smallest independent state and the most densely populated sovereign state in the world, with a population of just over 38,000, you’d be forgiven for underestimating Monaco. Located on the French Riviera and with France bordering the state on three sides, Monaco has a total area of only 2.2 square kilometres, making it roughly the same size as New York’s Central Park.
No wonder, then, that so much of the best action in this world-famous place spills out into the ocean. If you’re planning to experience Monaco from the vantage point of the open seas, then you’ve come to the right place; here are 4 ideas for a yachting holiday in Monaco.
CHOOSE YOUR WEAPON
Since it’s a city-state so defined by its water, there are a wide variety of yacht chartering options available to you in Monaco. Though certainly not exhaustive, let’s break down your choices a little:
The first decision you’re going to have to make is whether you’re going to be sailing the seas in an uncrewed charter (known as ‘bareboat’ in some circles), or on a crewed vessel.
Generally speaking, riding without a crew gets you more affordable, and might we say affable, sailboats, and the freedom granted is unmatchable aboard, when compared to a manned vessel. That said, you’re going to need a solid foundational knowledge of sailing to go bareboat around Monaco’s waters. The vessels on offer with this option are generally low powered affairs (and never over 40 foot in length) and are usually available-for-hire on a day by day basis, returnable by early evening. For small excursions to quiet beaches, this is a fun, freedom-friendly choice. It’s also more affordable; expect to pay around £200 a day for a sailboat and £500 for a catamaran.
The other option is riding a crewed vessel, and if you’ve got your heart set on enjoying your holiday aboard a superyacht, then inevitably, it will be crewed. These are massive ships, make no mistake, and should you choose to charter one, you and several guests could sleep on board, negating some of the cost of hotels on dry land. Be aware that it’s going to cost you; prices start at around £30’000 per week and can reach the millions should you be eyeing up something truly spectacular.
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THE MONACO YACHT SHOW
Due to that pesky global pandemic we’re currently enduring, Monaco’s premier sailing event was cancelled this year. But fear not, next year’s event (rescheduled for September 2021) looks set to be bigger than ever, with The Monaco Yacht Show hoping to celebrate its 30th anniversary.
If you haven’t encountered the MYT before, it’s a four-day extravaganza occurring in Port Hercules, Monaco’s premier deep water port. The event itself is the biggest ‘live’ (as in, they’re in the water) display of superyachts on the planet, and it’s a real spectacle. Last year’s event had 125 on display, and new yacht models are unveiled every year. Wouldn’t you just love to be part of it?
To do just that, visitors can purchase a Daily Pass for around the £300 mark to be part of the action, granting ticket holders access to shows, exhibitions, auctions and more. Sadly, it doesn’t allow you access to the actual yachts; you’ll have to admire the fleet from the quay. To step foot on a yacht, you either have to be a prospective charterer or outright buyer; best start practicing your lines!
CHARTER A PRIVATE YACHT FOR THE MONACO GRAND PRIX
Hey, whilst we’re in the realms of fantasy land, one of the greatest experiences you can have on the waters surrounding Monaco is to watch the iconic, annual Monaco Grand Prix event, all from the vantage point of a superyacht!
Do be aware that to do so, you’ll first need a Monaco Grand Prix hospitality package. What’s more, you’ll need to arrange yacht charter around a year in advance, particularly if you’re looking to secure a berth in Port Hercules, the premier place to park up and watch the action, and limited to just 700 spaces.
Ideally, you’ll want to charter your yacht and secure your berth for the duration of the festivities, which take place over five days, Wednesday to Sunday (that’s practice, qualifying, and the main event on the Sunday). Whilst arranging the disparate elements yourself may be fractionally cheaper, to save stress it’s recommended you pay for the whole package, tickets, hospitality, yacht, berth and all. Just be warned, it’s going to cost you; $22’000 a person, in fact.
MORE MODEST BOAT TRIPS
If chartering a private yacht is, understandably, out of your price range and also, your idea of hell, then you’ll be pleased to hear that there are more affordable, eminently more low-key boat trips available which tour around Monaco’s famous marina, as well as some going further afield.
Perhaps the most fun you can have on wet land in Monaco is also the most simple; chartering a smaller boat to explore Monaco’s secluded coves, beaches and islands, as well as its equally iconic neighbours. From a cruise around the French Riveria to watch the sunset in all its glory, to a full day trip to check out St. Tropez and Cannes, or even a short fishing excursion, there are plenty of options available to suit any budget.