Things to Do in Monaco
Immortalized on screen as the preferred nightspot of choice for James Bond, Monte Carlo Casino (Casino de Monte-Carlo) is famous for its glamorous clientele and decadent decor. Its Belle Epoque facade along the seafront in the tiny city-state of Monaco draws visitors from all over the world.
This cathedral is one of Monaco’s most important religious buildings, famous for its grand organ. It was built on a site that dates back to the 13th century and has played a significant role in Monaco’s royal history.
Dating back to 1215, the Prince's Palace (Palais Princier de Monaco) is the official residence of the Prince of Monaco and one of Monaco’s most impressive landmarks. As well as hosting state occasions and royal celebrations, the palace receives flocks of tourists who come to tour the lavish state rooms and watch the traditional Changing of the Guard ceremony.
Though Monaco is limited in real estate area, the small principality is home to quite a few green spaces, including the beautiful Japanese Garden (Le Jardin Japonais). It was created in 1994 following strict Zen design rules at the wishes of Princess Grace of Monaco. The almost 2-acre (0.8-hectare) garden hosts a waterfall, small mountain, pond, and tea house.
Rising majestically from the cliffs above the Mediterranean, Monaco’s Oceanographic Museum (Musee Oceanographique) is one of the most renowned marine science centers in the world. Discover a highly varied collection of marine life and objects, and come face-to-face with your favorite sea creatures in the aquarium.
The glamorous principality of Monaco is one of the highlights of the French Riviera and a hugely popular cruise destination, welcoming some of Europe’s biggest cruise lines. Arriving at Hercules Port (Port d'Hercule) is an experience in itself, as you dock beneath the dramatic Rock of Monaco, gazing out across the glittering Mediterranean.
One of Monaco’s highlights, Casino Square (Place du Casino) is home to the world-famous Monte Carlo Casino, as well as the glamorous Hôtel de Paris and other storied landmarks. A popular destination for both high rollers and curious visitors, the square has a reputation for opulence that’s known the world over.
Opened in 1879, the Monte Carlo Opera is a grand auditorium in the Monte Carlo Casino complex that hosts not only operas but ballets and performances by the Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra. It has premiered many works by composers including Massenet and Saint-Saëns.
Just a few miles from the French border, the Italian city of Ventimiglia is famed for its scenery and for its history. Ancient Roman ruins number among its top attractions, while Côte d’Azur day-trippers regularly cross the border to soak up its seaside charm, shop its weekly market, and relax on its two beaches.
The Exotic Garden of Monaco (Jardin Exotique de Monaco) is an open-air display of succulent plants from arid regions around the world—namely the Americas, Africa, and the Arabian Peninsula. At the base of the cliff is the Observatory Cave, a large cavern fit for visitors and local spelunkers to explore its prehistoric rock formations.
More Things to Do in Monaco
Home to over 250 model ships, as well as numerous naval objects and artworks, the Monaco Naval Museum was founded in 1993. Drawn from the collection of shipbuilding enthusiast Professor Claude Pallanca and supplemented with artifacts owned by Prince Rainier III, it remains one of the city’s most fascinating and unusual institutions.
Prince Rainier III of Monaco was passionate about cars and had a wide collection which is now open to the public. Not only does this carefully curated collection showcase some of the most desirable cars in the world, but it also offers a fascinating insight into the history of motoring.
Stretching from the Circus and Heliport to the Columbus Hotel, Monaco’s Fontvieille Park offers a welcome green space within the highly populated principality. Situated in a separate area within the park is the Princess Grace Memorial Rose Garden, an oasis of natural beauty and calm.
The small principality of Monaco, teetering on the side of a cliff that spills down to the Mediterranean, jams loads of history into its 500 acres (202 hectares). The Old Town of Monaco, aka Monaco-Ville and The Rock, is home to a number of historical buildings, monuments, and alleyways that transport visitors back to the Middle Ages.
Founded in 1939 and rebuilt in 1985, Monaco’s Louis II Stadium (Stade Louis II) isn’t your typical sports arena. Its dramatic, seaside location sets it apart, as does the fact that many of its facilities are located underground. Home to AS Monaco and the Monaco national soccer team, it has a capacity of just 18,500 seats.
Petite Monaco’s only public beach, pebbled Larvotto Beach offers one of the best places to swim, sunbathe, and soak up the city’s rarefied ambiance. Located on the eastern edge of Monaco’s coastline, the beach is renowned for its clean, crystalline water. Go for a dip, though wear your best bathing suit—Larvotto attracts glamorous types.