Monte Carlo

‘Monaco is like riding your bike around your living room.’ – This is how the legendary 3-time world champion Nelson Piquet described the spectacular street circuit, notorious for being one of the narrowest and most difficult on the Formula 1 calendar. He also once claimed that one win at Monaco was worth two wins anywhere else, yet the title ultimately eluded him.

First held in 1929, the Monaco Grand Prix is home to one of the slowest circuits in F1, but also one of the most dangerous, thanks to its combination of extremely tight corners and constant elevation changes, along with a tunnel thrown in for good measure.

“It’s the best thing ever, but it’s crazy to think we race around the streets so close to the walls like we do. I just love the whole atmosphere, there’s a lot of intensity and the risk and reward is the best of the year.”

Daniel Ricciardo – F1 Driver

What it lacks in speed and overtaking opportunities, it makes up for with all-around prestige – the Monaco GP makes up the unofficial ‘Triple Crown’ of automobile racing (alongside the Indy 500 and LeMans 24H), and is one of the world’s most glamorous sporting events.

Celebrities flock year after year, so don’t be surprised to see your favourite actor or musician rubbing shoulders with some F1 legends.

There are numerous grandstands available at Monaco, with each providing a unique vantage point and set in the magnificent backdrop of the Côte d’Azur.

Amenities are plentiful too – the main fan zone next to the Place d’Armes is packed with interactive displays, while the main entertainment zone full of bars and restaurants lights up the harbour after dark.

Make sure to swing by on Friday and Saturday evening. Note that practice starts a day earlier at Monaco on Thursday, with Friday being a rest day. This doesn’t mean there isn’t any track action though – the Formula 2 races are definitely worth a watch.

You can bring your own food and drink to the circuit however glass is not permitted. Most of the grandstands are close to some of the smaller food and beverage stalls, and are reasonably priced too. Toilet facilities are all over, but you will most likely have to queue for these, especially during peak track times.

Surrounded by the vast Mediterranean waters and the superyachts of the rich and famous, there are certainly worse places to watch Formula 1 than in Monaco. The glitz and glamour of the French Riviera goes unmatched, and this Grand Prix is one for the bucket list.

Viewing Locations 

Grandstand / Tribune K

Providing a variety of views from the tight Tabac corner all the way through to the first swimming pool (Piscine) chicane, the K Grandstand is the largest and also one of the most popular grandstands at Monaco.  It offers unrestricted views of the dazzling harbour, with a big screen available to ensure you can follow all the action. The big screen is better in some sections of the grandstands as opposed to others though. 

This very long grandstand is divided into several smaller sections, running from K1 through to K6. K1 sits very near to the Tabac corner, making it excellent for seeing the drivers at slow speeds. It is the closest area to the big screen, but the furthest away from the chicane.

K3 is located in the very middle of the grandstand, giving you a decent view of both the exit to the Tabac 155 kmh left-hander and the entrance to the pool section. It has the best overall view of the entire harbour, with its positioning allowing for a nice balance between the sight of the track and the state-of-the-art video wall. Make sure you remember your binoculars though.

K6 is closest to the corner on the entry to the Swimming Pool section, so it offers the best view of this. As the cars screech through this bend they bounce off the curb, making it the best spot for photographers to lie in wait and capture some breathtaking aerial shots. Be aware though that K6 is furthest away from Tabac, and this corner will be pretty much out of view as it’s blocked by catch fencing and the massive super-yachts.

The K Grandstand is definitely one of the better ones for seeing some prolonged action, rather than a split-second blurry encounter that may be the case at some of the other spectator points. The narrow part of the course it overlooks makes it particularly exciting and demands extreme precision from the drivers. The slightest error could be catastrophic to the driver’s chances of winning.

There are food and beverage stalls within reach of the grandstand, along with toilets dotted around. One negative of viewing from here is the lack of wheel-to-wheel action – there are rarely overtaking attempts  due to just how narrow the track is. It’s also expensive, so not for those on a budget.

Although far from a guarantee, for the luckiest fans at the top back rows of the K Grandstand, there is the possibility of a view through the trees behind to the pole position, the main straight, and the pit lane entry and exit.  This is widely regarded as perhaps the best view at the entire circuit. 

Grandstand / Tribune  L

 Grandstand L is another of the more popular grandstands, and for good reason. A seat in this grandstand overlooks what is regarded by many as the most exciting section of the track, the Swimming Pool section. This area has some of the best viewing angles at the circuit, and an electric atmosphere to accompany it, thanks to the hoards of seasoned Formula 1 fans in attendance.

The L Grandstand peers over the fast and fierce chicane that comes just before a rapid injection of speed as the cars accelerate towards ‘La Rascasse’. It’s right next to the swimming pool, and there is no catch fencing obstructing the views in this grandstand meaning the lower and upper rows are both good options. The higher rows have more comfortable seats, and the view of the pits is slightly better, while the lower rows are closer to the track giving you that more immersive feel.

There are a variety of food and beverage options nearby, along with toilets too. The F1 Fanzone isn’t too far away either, making it the perfect grandstand if you want to be right in the heart of all the action.

A large video wall perched opposite you means you won’t miss any of the goings-on as the race unfolds. If your main priority is seeing into the pits, Grandstand T is a safer option due to the footbridge that obstructs some of the views in L. It is down to luck of the draw whether or not you will have a clear line of sight to the pits.

For those hunting a mid-budget seating option without compromising on atmosphere and views, the L Grandstand is a fantastic value choice. It’s great for first-time visitors to Monaco thanks to its excellent location.

Photographers regularly pick this spot too as the vehicles gain impressive airtime when they bounce over the curb on the exit of the chicane, allowing for some beautiful shots. All fans in this stand will have a view of the chicane, making it a firm fan favourite.  

Grandstand / Tribune B

If you’re chasing the quintessential Monaco experience, then Grandstand B is the place to be. With the iconic Cafe de Paris located to your left and the world-famous Monaco Casino within a stone’s throw, this is likely what you imagined when the dream of attending the Monaco Grand Prix first entered your mind.

Understandably, this is a very popular area for spectators and one of the most sought-after parts of the circuit.

The B Grandstand gives a brilliant view of the cars as they fly past the front of the Casino, before a rapid change of direction as they navigate the ensuing right-hander at speeds of over 125 kmh. While not a prime overtaking spot due to the fact there is only one competitive line through this segment, it still makes for some thrilling viewing as it thoroughly tests the handling capabilities of the drivers.

The grandstand is medium-sized, with a lively atmosphere, and a large big screen is available to track the other parts of the race.  The seats are slightly more comfortable than in many of the other spectator points, and the catch fencing also runs particularly low so the view of the track isn’t obscured, a fact the photographers amongst you will relish.

The main drawback of purchasing tickets for Grandstand B is that it is slightly further away from the main fan zone and the larger merchandise, food, and beverage areas due to its location on the opposite side of town.

These are approximately a 15-20 minute walk away so you could feel a little isolated at times, but they are still not totally out of reach. Additionally, there are smaller stalls and toilets situated nearby.

If you’re chasing premium comfort and you want to witness Monaco life in full swing, Grandstand B is a sturdy choice. Just be prepared for a bit more walking in between sessions when you’re seeking out the top entertainment zones.

Grandstand / Tribune T

This partially covered grandstand is situated on the short straight between the last Swimming Pool chicane and the La Rascasse corner. It is close to a number of the other grandstands, and this is the area of the Monaco GP circuit where the majority of spectators choose to sit.

Huge yachts belonging to the rich and famous are visible here, aboard where some of the wealthiest F1 fans like to watch the race. The Mediterranean Sea wraps around the track in the harbour area.

With over 1500 seats, this grandstand is one of the larger seating options at Monaco. The cover means it provides shelter in the case of any rain, but only for the top 5 rows. The uppermost rows also have comfier seats and an enhanced overall view, where you can clearly see the approach as the drivers negotiate past the Swimming Pool portion of the track.

To top it all off, the main advantage of getting tickets for here is the superb view of the pitlane. The lower rows on the other hand are still a terrific option, placing you closer to the track for that intimate and immersive feel as the engines roar past. 

There are three main sections to Grandstand T – T1, T2, and T3. T1 is stationed closest to the swimming pool. T2 is in the middle of the grandstand, and while not a terrible option, it is probably the worst of the three sections in this grandstand. It’s too far away from either of the corners so the view of both isn’t anything special.

Avoid this part if you can, but if not, make sure to remember your binoculars. T3 is favoured by many – it’s the closest to La Rascasse, enabling you to see the drivers at slow speeds as they demonstrate their technical prowess through the bend. You will also have the clearest view of the pits.

This part of the circuit is right in the thick of all the action, teeming with like-minded fans, and with a big screen to follow along with the race. Toilets and food and beverage zones are nearby, and the F1 Fanzone is not far from you either.

Grandstand T is the perfect place to enjoy the bustling atmosphere of Monaco, before, during, and after the race, and the world-renowned ‘La Rascasse Bar’ is a must-visit. Sitting opposite the pits and overlooking the penultimate corner of the track, you are in the prime position for witnessing the inner workings of some of the biggest teams in the sport. 

The grandstand is actually the closest you can get to the pit lane out of all the grandstands in the F1 calendar, barring the luxurious Paddock Club spots which are well out of budget for the majority of fans.

With such heavy weighting placed on the pit stops at Monaco (due to the lack of overtaking opportunities), this is quite often where the battle for the podium positions takes place.

Grandstand / Tribune N, O, P

Grandstands N, O, and P are situated in roughly the same area, also overlooking the Swimming Pool section renowned for its superb atmosphere and exceptional viewing angles. There are 2 chicanes here – the faster one located at the entrance, and a slower one at the exit.

Frequently the scene of accidents, the tricky second chicane demands respect. Max Verstappen infamously crashed his motor at this very corner consecutively in both 2017 and 2018. The grandstands here provide a view of both turns.

Surrounded by the picturesque Mediterranean waters, the grandstands are positioned on the pier of the harbour. They are surrounded by several toilet areas, food and drink zones, and the F1 Fanzone. There is no roof though, so be ready to tackle the elements in case of any adverse weather conditions.

The O Grandstand has an electric ambience but has the worst view out of the 3, despite being more expensive than N and P. The view still isn’t bad though, and if a spot overlooking the chicanes is your priority, the upper rows of this grandstand are a decent option. It has a big screen too so you won’t miss a thing. It’s a great mid-budget choice.

The N and P Grandstands are located either side of the O Grandstand. These are lower priced, so for those on a tight budget, these are some of the best value tickets at Monaco.

N has a view of the faster chicane on the entrance to the Swimming Pool section, while P overlooks the second, more technically challenging chicane. This makes P the better option as the second one is much more enthralling to watch. Both of the stands struggle with the catch fencing partially blocking your view though, which can be frustrating at times.

Both have a video wall you can watch to follow all the goings-on. These are however some of the furthest grandstands from the track, so don’t forget your binoculars.

This can mean you feel a bit isolated at times, and the stands could lack the real immersive feel you chase when you come to watch F1 in person. Yet, as the cars are screeching past and you’re chatting away to a stranger with a beer in your hand, this small inconvenience will no doubt be forgotten – especially when you secured a bargain.

Grandstand / Tribune X1 & X2

If the pre-race build-up is always a highlight for you, then the X1 or X2 Grandstands might be the place for to be. Both are located on the start/finish straight, right in the heart of the GP where all the hustle and bustle before the race occurs. The VIP terraces are also situated here, so if you enjoy a bit of celebrity spotting, this is your best bet. 

X1 and X2 provide a good view of the Anthony Noghes corner, right at the very end of the circuit, and you will undoubtedly be on the edge of your seats as the race comes to a close. X2 offers slightly better views in this regard as it is closer to the start/finish line.

The grandstands sit right next to the grid, so you can see up close as the teams prepare the vehicles and the drivers for what’s to come. The seats are low-budget, so great if you don’t want to splash out too much.

Despite being great for the race build-up and start, the remainder of the race can be quite boring spectating from here – you are overlooking a straight and the drivers pass at speed. This means you won’t get to see the drivers demonstrate their handling skills, and will likely only catch a blurry glimpse of the cars as they fly by. Even worse, there is no big screen here, so you can’t follow the rest of the race easily either. There are toilets and food/drink zones nearby though. 

Ultimately, the X1 and X2 Grandstands are a cheap option, and great if your priority is the pre-race antics as opposed to the actual race, but they don’t really offer anything more, and you will have a much more exhilarating experience elsewhere.

Grandstand / Tribune V

V overlooks the last 2 corners of the circuit, and is directly opposite the iconic ‘La Rascasse Bar’. There is also a good view of the pit lane entry, although you can’t actually see the team garages or any of the actual pit stops for that matter. It’s a small grandstand and sits on the outside of the circuit at the Anthony Noghes corner.

The grandstand has toilets nearby and there are plenty of food and drink options. It is close to the General Admission section at the circuit. V offers a unique vantage point of the last 2 corners, so is a great choice for one of the track days.

Be aware though, this grandstand is regarded as one of the most exciting parts of the track at Monaco, so tends to sell out well in advance despite the high prices.

There is a big screen to keep up with the race throughout, and another added bonus – the top 3 qualifiers tend to be interviewed in front of this grandstand after the session.

Grandstand V is expensive. Another thing to be aware of is that some fans who have sat here before have complained of a leafy tree branch that partially obscures the view of La Rascasse corner. Despite this, if wheel-to-wheel action is a must-see for you, then this grandstand is probably your best chance at seeing some.

Grandstand / Tribune C

Overlooking the tight right-hander known as Mirabeau Bas, and also Portier corner opposite the entrance to the tunnel, this grandstand is located at an interesting section of the race.

From here, you can see the drivers manoeuver the tight bends before fading off into the darkness of the tunnel, which is regarded as one of the overtaking spots at Monaco, though typically assuming that the car has a significant performance advantage over the one in front.

 The drivers mount the public pavement at Mirabeau Bas, striving to reduce their lap times by any means necessary.

There are toilets located close to the grandstand, and also a water fountain for refilling any water bottles throughout the day. It’s low budget and a big screen is available too, but it is a very small grandstand and in an isolated area. 

If you enjoy a quieter, less crowded grandstand that’s a little further from the heart of the action, then this is the best choice. The sea view to the left is a nice touch too. The atmosphere here isn’t great though, and if you want an energetic and electrifying day at the circuit surrounded by like-minded people, don’t choose this grandstand.

Most of the food and drink stalls, along with the main F1 Fanzone, are a long walk away. C is the most isolated grandstand at Monaco.  

Grandstand / Tribune A1

 For some guaranteed viewing of the first lap chaos, the A1 grandstand is a good choice. This testing uphill right-hander really challenges the drivers, and a seat overlooking this means you are in the prime position for possibly the most incident-prone area at Monaco.

 A low fence here means there is great visibility, and the lucky people who grab some tickets for the upper rows are treated with an additional view of Tabac corner and the Harbour in the distance. This mid-budget grandstand is close to all the main amenities and there are toilets nearby.

The main drawback is that there is no big screen here, so you may feel out of the loop at times, confined to your single corner vantage point. Still, it overlooks one of the most exciting parts of the race, so should definitely be considered.

Rocher General Admission 

The general admission area at Monaco is vast, and has some spots so good that you won’t quite believe you paid so little for. For the fortunate ones, a view that surpasses what even the most expensive grandstands have to offer is up for grabs.

On the other hand, some of the vantage points are so terribly bad that fans from previous years have demanded refunds, claiming it wasn’t even worth making the trip to Monaco. 

The area extends all along the waterfront right up until the exit of the Anthony Noghes corner, and beyond, to the lower end of the grid and also the pit entrance. A big screen is visible too, meaning you dont have to worry about missing the other parts of the race.

Amenities are on hand, with the odd food/drink stall dotted around, but expect long waiting times. There are toilets too but these will be heavily congested.

The best thing about the general admission zone is the great price, so this is a brilliant choice for anyone on a low budget.

 One of the issues with choosing general admission at Monaco is that, if you would like one of the best viewing spots, you have to get up extremely early.

Everyone will be fighting for these spots, so be prepared to feel a bit cranky later in the afternoon if you don’t function well after an early rise. It is also extremely crowded, so you could be in for a long and stressful day out.

Comfort isn’t a priority here either so don’t be surprised to be stood up all day or sitting on a rock. If you do draw the short straw and end up with a bad spot, you may strongly regret choosing general admission in the first place. 

 The early bird beats the worm, and the views will be worth it if you make the effort to get up early, providing some of the best angles at Monaco.

This, along with the phenomenal atmosphere from the die-hard fans who return year on year, ensures your day will be memorable at the very least.