Luxury is the name of the game in this glamourous country. The Mediterranean Sea is sprinkled with yachts and the streets are lined with high-performance cars. There’s no better place than Monaco to bring out your inner epicurean!
Located on the French Rivera, or Cote de Azur, Monaco is bordered by France on three sides and the Mediterranean Sea on the fourth. It was part of France until 1215 and has been ruled by the Grimaldi family, since 1297. Only 18 kilometres East of Nice, it is a popular luxury vacation destination.
When the sun sets, it’s playtime!
Here are my favourite things to do while visiting “The Billionaire’s Playground”:
- Old Town – Situated on top of the hill, this picturesque sector is where you will find popular attractions such as the Monaco Cathedral and the Prince’s Palace where the reigning prince of Monaco, Albert II, lives. This palace was also once the residence of actress Grace Kelly, who married Prince Rainer III and became the princess of Monaco in 1956.
- Monte Carlo Casino and Opera House – This casino was the brilliant idea of Princess Caroline in the 1850’s as a way to save Monaco from bankruptcy. Because gambling was illegal in France and Italy, Monte Carlo became a popular destination for the residents of surrounding areas and tourists alike. Today, it is one of the most famous and lavish casinos in the world as well as the setting for the James Bond novel, “Casino Royale”. Although the book was set in Monaco, the movie used a venue in Montenegro.
Old Town has the sturdy looks of a formidable fortress
Are these aliens or local residents?
- Oceanographic Museum – Founded by Prince Albert I, who was nicknamed “Prince of the Seas”, this marine science museum offers natural history exhibits as well as aquariums where you can observe over 6,000 different aquatic creatures.
- Jardins – There are many beautiful gardens in Monaco that provide a peaceful space to walk and enjoy the scenery and fresh Mediterranean air. Some of my favourites are Jardin Exotique, Les Jardins Saint – Martin and Princess Grace Rose Garden which is surrounded by the sculpture-lined Fontvielle Park.
- Larvotto Beach – This is the only public beach in Monaco and is securely surrounded by nets to keep jellyfish and swimmers out of each other’s way. You can enjoy relaxing in the sun or, if you’re feeling more adventurous, water sports like sea kayaking and jet skiing are available.
Although there is no Monaco Airport, there are plenty of ways to reach the country. The closest airport is Cote d’Azur Airport in Nice, France. From Nice, you can take a bus, train, or private car. Ride shares (like Uber) are also available and even offer helicopter rides. I would recommend, the 7 minute helicopter ride to the Monaco Heliport in the district of Fontvielle, it is incredibly scenic! To make your way around the Principality, city bus or taxis are great options.
Here’s a Pro-Tip: Every year on the last week of May, Monaco hosts the Monaco Grand Prix, a Formula One motor race, at the Circuit du Monaco. When the race is not on, you can drive the track, which is situated on the streets of Monaco, and experience the thrill!
Arriving in Monaco in style!
From the exquisite architecture to the courteous staff, Monaco is home to some of the most luxurious resorts in Europe. With its grand décor fantastic views and large rooms, Hotel Paris Monte-Carlo near the Monte-Carlo Casino is one of the most opulent. If you prefer a seaside stay, Monte-Carlo Beach Hotel and Le Méridien Beach Plaza are the best places for gorgeous Mediterranean views. Riviera Marriott Hotel La Porte de Monaco is another seaside stay with direct beach access as well as a refreshing costal walk to the city centre. My favourite boutique hotel is the charming Columbus Hotel Monte-Carlo located just next to the Princess Grace Rose Gardens.
The reasons to visit Monaco are crystal clear!
There are many different bars throughout Monaco. From sportier beer focused bars like Brasserie De Monaco to sophisticated exclusivity of the Living Room Club, you are bound to find exactly the atmosphere you are looking for. The Buddha Bar is a favourite of mine with its chill-out music, great cocktails and excellent Asian-fusion menu. You can also try great vintage wine at Le Bar American while Jimmy’s is the place to go for a night of clubbing. Jazz lovers will enjoy La Note Bleue which offers live music weekly and beautiful oceanic views always.
Here’s a Pro-Tip: Monaco does not offer passport stamps when you cross over the border from France, however for a unique souvenir, you can visit the Tourist Office where they will happily stamp your passport!
Sometimes great things come in small packages!
For a country that is smaller than New York City’s Central Park, Monaco has so much to offer. You’re sure to enjoy this luxurious principality!