10 Things to do in Monaco
Monaco is a tiny independent city-state on France’s Mediterranean coastline known for its upscale casinos, yacht-lined harbour and prestigious Grand Prix motor race, which runs through Monaco’s streets once a year. We've listed 10 things to do on your trip to Monaco:
1. Casino Monte-Carlo
Everything begins on the Place du Casino. Here, life sparkles, the excitement is almost palpable.Just a few steps away, the Casino Café de Paris is a paradise for slot machines and innovation and finally, the Monte-Carlo Bay Casino, nestled in the heart of a dream Resort. Are you feeling lucky?
2. Opéra de Monte-Carlo
The Opéra de Monte-Carlo is an opera house, which is part of the Monte Carlo Casino located in the Principality of Monaco. With the lack of cultural diversions available in Monaco in the 1870s, Prince Charles III, along with the Société des bains de mer, decided to include a concert hall as part of the casino. With an array of artists performing there over the next year you wont want to miss it.
3. The Japanese Garden
The Japanese Garden is a municipal park on the Avenue Princesse Grace, in the Larvotto ward of Monaco. It is next to the Grimaldi Forum convention centre. The garden features a stylised mountain, hill, waterfall, beach, brook, and a Zen garden for meditation. It's a beautiful place to witness in person and it's a day you wouldn't forget easily.
4. Palais du Prince
In a unique position high above the sea on the picturesque peninsula of Le Rocher, the Palais du Prince is home to the oldest monarchy in the world. The site affords panoramic views, which provided defensive purposes in the Middle Ages. The fortress was renovated throughout the centuries and transformed into a luxurious Louis-XIV-style palace. The State Apartments of the Palais du Prince is a private residence but is open to the public at certain times of the year. In July and August on some Sundays and Thursdays, the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra performs classical music concerts in the main courtyard.
5. Formula One Monaco Grand Prix
The famous Formula One Monaco Grand Prix race takes place in Monte-Carlo every year on the last weekend in May. This is the only car race in the world that is held on city streets. The course runs from the Boulevard Albert 1 up toward Place du Casino and around the harrowing turn in front of the Monte-Carlo Fairmont Hotel. The Monaco Grand Prix is one of the world's most popular sporting events. The narrow streets are not ideal for the race cars, but the race continues for the sake of tradition. Because of the crowds, it's difficult to get a good view, but the atmosphere is worth it.
6. Collection de Voitures Anciennes (Collection of Vintage Cars)
Keeping on the theme of all things race car. On the Terraces of Fontvieille in Monaco's most modern neighbourhood, this wonderful collection exhibits the Prince of Monaco's vintage cars. The collection brings together almost 100 antique cars of various vintages and models, all made by prestigious European and American car companies. There are also six historic coaches on display. It's a classic display of the true historical and modern art in racing.
7. Musée Oceanographique
The Musée Oceanographique lies in a spectacular location on Le Rocher, almost 90 meters above sea level. In this dramatic setting, the museum and aquariums stand on massive foundations that took 11 years to build. This is one of the world's oldest aquariums.The highlight of Musée Oceanographique is its aquariums containing rare species of fish and marine life in magnificent shapes and colours. There are three aquariums: the Tropical Aquarium, Mediterranean Aquarium, and Shark Lagoon. More than 6,000 specimens swim around in approximately 100 pools, reconstructed as their natural habitat-including coral reefs. There is also a Turtle Island and a Touch Tank where visitors can feel a sea urchin, stroke a starfish, or hold a baby shark.
8. Jardin Exotique
One of the most delightful things to do in Monaco is visit the gloriously scenic Jardin Exotique. The garden is in the Fontvieille area (the more modern section) of Monaco, outside the historic centre. Perched on a steep cliff overlooking the Mediterranean, the Exotic Garden is a luxuriant place with flourishing vegetation and mesmerising views of the sea. Because of the balmy weather and consistency of sunshine on this hillside, tropical plants are able to thrive. The Exotic Garden also has an Observatory Cave filled with stalactites and stalagmites. A real life paradise.
9. The Cathedral
This Roman-Byzantine-style cathedral was constructed out of striking white stones from nearby La Turbie. The cathedral is the burial place of the Princes of Monaco and houses tombs of past sovereigns Prince Rainier and Princess Grace.The cathedral also has an impressive grand organ that is used for religious services as well as concerts of holy music.
At the foot of the cliff, Monaco's harbour is a busy port scene packed with yachts. The square-shaped harbour was constructed between 1901 and 1926 to provide berthing for large numbers of yachts. Many luxury yachts are docked here, including the Prince's private vessel. The port is a pleasant area to stroll or stop for a snack. There are many restaurants and cafés with outdoor seating to enjoy the seaside setting. From the port, tourists can also take a boat cruise around Monaco to see the dreamy coastline.