22 Monaco sights worth seeing
Apart from the Vatican, Monaco is the smallest country in the world, but that does not prevent it from being one of the most prestigious tourist destinations. Monaco is famous for gambling, car racing, and fairytale romances (when a beautiful woman (like American actress Grace Kelly) marries a handsome prince (in this case, Prince Rainier)).
Monaco is glitzy and glamorous and offers travelers the opportunity to join the world of the rich and famous (or at least just to gawk at their cool yachts in the harbor). If you can’t afford this lifestyle, don’t despair. You can take in the sights of Monaco on day trips from more budget-friendly places like Nice and Menton in France or San Remo in Italy.
Monaco’s Princely Palace
Monaco’s Princely Palace.
Monaco is a dwarf principality ruled by the Grimaldi family since the 13th century. Quite expectedly, it has its own Princely Palace.
It was built in the XIII century by the Genoese and originally served as a fortification structure. You can visit the Princely Palace when the head of state is not at home.
The easiest way to find out is to see if the princely standard is raised over the fortress tower (if the flag is up, it means the prince is in residence, and therefore your excursion is postponed).
Once inside the palace, you can tour the Blue Room, famous for its blue and gold decorations, and the gallery, designed in the Italian style. The Palatine Chapel and the Throne Room are also available.
The address is Le Palais des Princes de Monaco, Monaco.
Casino of Monte Carlo
Casino of Monte Carlo.
Since 1893, i.e. when it was completed, the Casino de Monte Carlo is probably the most famous gambling establishment in the world. One of the many reasons for this popularity is that it was built in a colorful boise-ar style.
The marble atrium, whose 28 onyx columns greet you at the entrance to the gaming rooms, is simply magnificent. The game rooms are not alike, as they are decorated according to different themes, but all of them, without exception, are magnificent.
Look up, and you’ll see stunning chandeliers – true works of art. Fans of James Bond will adore these interiors, as the Casino de Monte Carlo was the setting for many of the 007 films, including Casino Royale.
Address: Monte-Carlo Casino, Place du Casino, Monaco.
Oceanographic Museum | Photo: IAEA Imagebank / Flickr.
The Oceanographic Museum of Monaco stands at the very edge of a high rocky cliff. It took a full eleven years to build the foundation alone, which would have prevented the building from collapsing.
The museum, which is dedicated to oceanography and also serves as an oceanarium, was opened back in 1910. Today you can see about 6,000 sea creatures in a hundred different tanks that mimic their natural habitat.
The three largest aquariums located on the territory of the Oceanographic Museum are the Tropical, the Mediterranean and the Shark Lagoon. Younger visitors are sure to love the special sensory tank that allows them to get close to starfish, sea urchins, small sharks and other relatively safe sea creatures.
In addition to the living inhabitants of the sea, the museum has a lot of artifacts directly related to the sea. There is a large collection of scientific equipment, dating back to the time of Prince Albert I and later Jacques-Yves Cousteau’s oceanographic explorations.
Address: Musée océanographique, Avenue Saint-Martin, Monaco.
Jardin Exotique. | Photo: Jürgen Mangelsdorf / Flickr.
“The Jardin Exotique, which opened its doors to visitors in 1933, is located in Fontvieille, Monaco’s youngest district. The garden sits on top of a cliff with a delightful view of the ocean.
Jardin Exotique has nearly 7000 different species, including some truly exotic species from Latin America and Africa that are particularly well-suited to these latitudes thanks to the warm Mediterranean climate.
You can also explore the so-called Observatory Cave, a real realm of stalagmites and stalactites. The lush vegetation of the garden combined with stunning views make the Exotique Garden very popular with travelers.
Address: Jardin Exotique de Monaco, Boulevard du Jardin Exotique, Monaco.
Saint Nicholas Cathedral
St. Nicholas Cathedral.
The Cathedral of Monaco, built in the Roman-Byzantine style, stands out because of its white facade because it was built of white stones. Some of the Princes of Monaco, including Prince Rainier III, are buried in this church.
The cathedral appeared in 1875, but some of the artifacts used in its interior are much older. An example is the altar, painted as early as 1500. Be sure to check out the other interior elements as well, including the white marble-carved Main Throne.
Address: Monaco Cathedral, Rue Colonel Bellando de Castro, Monaco.
Larvotto Beach. | Photo: Kurt Bauschardt / Flickr.
Not far from the avenue known to all tourists Princess Grace you can find the Larvotto beach, the only public beach in the Principality. On the sea side it is fenced with nets, so you can swim without fear of jellyfish.
If you don’t like to splash around in the water, you can just relax on the golden sand and get a tan. For water sports, Larvotto beach is very popular, especially for water skiing and kayaking.
Address: Larvotto Beach, Monaco.
Saint Martin’s Gardens
Statue of Prince Albert I.
St. Martin’s Gardens, stretching along the coast of Le Rocher, looks out over the sparkling Mediterranean Sea at the foot of the cliffs. The vegetation in this garden is not only local but also quite exotic, helped in no small measure by the warm climate of the Mediterranean. You will enjoy a walk around Le Jardin Saint Martin where you will see the famous statue of Prince Albert I and many beautiful fountains and admire the lush vegetation and the stunning sea scenery.
Address: Jardins de Saint-Martin, Monaco.
Nautical Museum of Monaco
The Maritime Museum of Monaco | Photo: wikimedia.
The Monaco Maritime Museum, which opened its doors in the 1990s, will take you back in time to a time when Roman galleons, elegant Spanish galleons and fearsome Viking drakkars plied the seas. Models of more than 250 ships make up the bulk of the exposition. Even the world-famous Titanic and the Nimitz, the largest warship in the service of the U.S. Navy, are among them. Many of these pieces came to the museum from the private collection of Prince Rainier III.
Address: Monaco Naval Museum, Terrasses de Fontvieille, niveau 2, Avenue Albert II, 98000 Monaco, Monaco.
Port de Fontvieille
Port Fontvieille. | Photo: Niels Mickers / Flickr.
At the foot of the rocky cliffs sits the Port de la Condamine, Monaco’s main harbor. Here the yachts of the prince and many other wealthy people of the country are moored. It’s unlikely you’ll get the chance to board one of these luxury yachts, but you can at least catch a glimpse of them. There are plenty of restaurants and cafes along the waterfront so you can eat while taking in the marvelous views of the harbor.
Address: Port de Fontvieille, Monaco.
The new National Museum of Monaco
The new National Museum of Monaco.
The National Museum of Monaco occupies two buildings at once, Villa Paloma and Villa Sauber. Inside you will find exhibitions of contemporary art – splendid paintings and no less splendid photographs. The Monegasque National Museum also serves as a conservation center, restoring traditional works of art, especially period costumes and dolls.
Address: Nouveau Musée National de Monaco, Villa Paloma, 56 Boulevard du Jardin Exotique, 98000 Monaco, Monaco.
Princess Grace Rose Garden
Rosarium of Princess Grace.
The Princess Grace Rose Garden is popular not only with lovers of these beautiful flowers, but also with fans of American film actress Grace Kelly, who was married to the head of Monaco, Prince Rainier.
It was Rainier III who created this garden in 1984 in memory of his wife who died in a car accident. On the territory of the park you will find a graceful lake surrounded by palm trees and olive trees. But the main part of the vegetation of this garden is roses of course: more than 8000 rose bushes are planted here.
Address: Roseraie Princesse Grace, Monaco.
Casino Square. | Photo: Jonathan Khee / Flickr.
Casino Square, where it’s easy to guess that the famous Casino of Monte Carlo stands, is one of the most iconic places in Monaco. One of the most iconic places in Monaco is Casino Square. As it is easy to guess, the main building of this square is the famous Casino Monte Carlo.
If you don’t have the money that you could easily squander on gambling all night long, you can at least settle for a visit to this iconic square. Alongside the Casino you’ll find the Hotel Paris and the Opera House, two buildings that are just as magnificent from an architectural point of view. All buildings are brightly lit at night.
Address: Casino Square, Place du Casino, Monaco.
Collection of vintage cars
A collection of vintage cars.
No true car enthusiast would voluntarily cross this item off their pre-compiled “What to see in Monaco” list. The remarkable “Collection de Voitures Anciennes” exhibition at Fontvieille showcases vintage cars from the private collection of the Prince of Monaco. In one place you can see more than a hundred prestigious vintage cars of European and American manufacture. There are even six vintage carriages on display.
Address: Collection de Voitures Anciennes de S.A.S., Monaco.
You might not associate Monaco with a traditional Japanese garden, but that’s what you’ll find in the eastern part of the Principality. There, on a cliff, you will find a quiet and peaceful Zen garden with many beautiful plants and compositions made of stones. There is also a waterfall, a stream and even a golden strip of beach in this wonderful place.
Address: Jardin Japonais de Monaco, Avenue de Prenses Grasse, Monaco.
The Chapel of the Visitation Museum
Chapel of the Visitation Museum | Photo: wikimedia.
The Chapel of the Visitation is a Baroque structure built in the 17th century and now converted into a museum of religious art. Among other things, you can see paintings by a number of famous Italian painters.
Address: Chapelle de la Visitation, Place de la Visitation, Monaco.
Fort Antoine is an old military fortification which has now been transformed into a stunning open-air theater which operates in the warmer months. Its main theater area can accommodate up to 350 spectators.
Productions are in French, but this should not upset you, because the theater is an international phenomenon, sweeping away all the language barriers. Many people come here not for the performances but just to spend time in one of the most picturesque places of Monaco.
Address: Fort Antoine Theatre, Avenue de la Quarantaine, Monaco.
The Moneghetti district.
The Monoghetti District | Photo: Paco / Flickr.
The Moneghetti neighborhood, located in the western part of the Principality, is famous for its palace-like villas and well-kept gardens. The windswept, windswept road that winds up against sheer cliffs is already an adventure in itself – not for the faint-hearted. It is, however, well worth a visit just to see how some of Monaco’s wealthiest residents live.
Address: Moneghetti, 98000 Monaco.
Old Town. | Photo: Andrew Clarke / Flickr.
The Old Town, concentrated mostly in the Le Rocher district, is a maze of charming medieval streets. You’ll enjoy a casual stroll through this lovely neighborhood teeming with sights. Just wander leisurely through the neighborhood and explore the little stores and cafes that pop up along the way.
The address is Rocher de Monaco, Monaco.
Parc de Fontvieille
Park Fontvieille | Photo: Fontvieille Park / Flickr.
Part of Fontvieille Park is occupied by the Princess Grace Memorial Rosary. However, this park is beautiful on its own and deserves a visit without regard to your interest in the rose garden.
On reclaimed land (as, indeed, is the case with the entire district of the same name), Fontvieille Park is one of the best green areas in the whole of Monaco.
Here you will find beautiful palm trees and olive groves, as well as many lakes and ponds that attract the local fauna. Ducks and swans are splashing around the lakes all year round, and the parkway will amaze you with amazing sculptures here and there along its length.
Address: Park monaco, Avenue de Fontvieille, 98000 Monaco, Monaco.
Monaco Grand Prix Race
The Monaco Grand Prix race. | Photo: Infiniti / Flickr.
Travelers with a passion for fast cars will never want to miss the Monaco Grand Prix, one of the most prestigious car races in the world. The race is held here every year in May, each time on the same route.
With the streets of Monaco being narrow and sometimes overlapping at sharp angles, it’s considered one of the most difficult, and the drivers are forced to go slower than Formula 1 rules dictate. It has been a traditional part of the Formula One Championship since 1955, but Monaco has had its first race since 1929, before Formula One emerged.
Address: Monaco Grand Prix, Monaco, France.
Opera Monte Carlo
Opera Monte Carlo. | Photo: wikimedia.
The Opera de Monte Carlo, also known as the Salle Garnier, is located on the famous Casino Square. Built in 1878, the building is famous for its gorgeous exterior and equally attractive interior – with eye-catching red and gold decorations in the main theater hall, with richly carved sculptures. If you love opera, ballet, or classical music, don’t miss the opportunity to see stars of the stage perform in this luxurious setting.
20 top attractions in Monaco
The smallest country on earth seems like it was made for tourists. Mountains, azure sea, rich thousand-year history, parks, gardens, famous entertainment facilities are so attractive that to be in Monaco becomes a dream of every traveler. The princedom has long been fond of the rich and famous. Nowhere else in the world can you see so many expensive cars and yachts as in Monaco.
This country is a real little living fairy tale with a king and queen, the beloved by all people Princess Grace, who was in a car accident and died. Her husband, Prince Rainier, lived alone until his death and was buried next to Grace. Streets were named after the princess, a rose garden was planted, and commemorative coins were issued. During her lifetime, she loved to organize holidays and festivals.
What to see in Monaco?
The most interesting and beautiful places, photos and brief description.
Monaco Ville is an amazing city. It is home to about a thousand people, and the whole it is only 700m long and 300 wide. The old narrow streets and sidewalks are squeezed together on a high, 60m cliff. On the flat top the city was founded back in 1215. Today it is the historical center and capital of the Principality of Monaco. It is the residence of the princely family, the Palace Square, the Cathedral, the Oceanographic Museum, which was in charge of Cousteau and many others.
Museum of Old Monaco
A unique collection of Monegasque household items and art can be visited completely free of charge on Wednesdays and Fridays. The more than thousand-year history of the Rock is presented through displays of costumes, books, ancient coins, photographs, musical instruments, collections of ceramics, etc. The Museum of Old Monaco has become a national repository of the history, traditions and language of the ancient principality.
Monaco Botanical Gardens
The Monaco Botanical Garden is famous for its rich collection of succulents from all over the world. In addition, the creators have managed to ensure that a huge number of exotic plants take root here, thanks to which the garden is fragrant and bursting with color all year round. The total number of representatives of fauna reaches 6000. In the garden there is a natural grotto with stalactites and stalagmites.
A beautiful beach in the center of the city surprises with clear water and snow-white artificial sand. Larvotto is a vacation spot for romantic couples and rich tourists. The glamorous crowd loves to bask in the sun and sparkle with diamonds. There are free well equipped recreation areas, excellent food and many hotels.
Antique Car Museum
The idea of creating the museum belonged to Prince Renault III. For 30 years he gathered an impressive retro collection. The oldest exhibit is the De Dion Bouton from 1903. For connoisseurs, it is especially valuable to see the first makes of such automobile giants as Lincoln, Citroen, Peugeot, Packard, etc. There are vintage military vehicles, wheeled carriages of the princely family and the London cab in which Princess Grace rode.
The metaphorical garden covers 7,000 square meters. It is strikingly filled with the philosophy of unity and harmony between man and nature. All of its elements are deeply symbolic and dispose to a deep reflection of oneself and the world around. The garden of stones, bridges and ponds with fish, islands, a tea house create a unique atmosphere. Many elements were brought to Monaco from Japan.
Saint Nicholas Cathedral
The cathedral was built in 1875. It is the main cathedral of Monaco and is known as the tomb of the princes. It still holds solemn services on church holidays, as well as on November 19, the national day of the Prince. The majestic white stone building is open to lovers of religious and organ music. Its walls are decorated with paintings by Louis Brea.
Princess Grace Rose Garden
Beloved by Monacoans, Princess Grace has forever remained a beautiful rose in their hearts. Her passion and love of flowers was well known and a delightful rose garden was opened in her memory in 1984. On a small plot of land, about 14,000 plants were assembled of which only 150 species of roses. The rose garden was designed as one enormous rose with 9 unopened petals.
Casino of Monte Carlo
The casino itself is not only interesting as a gambling house – it is an architectural masterpiece, the interior design of which is distinctive, luxurious and tasteful. In addition the Opera House is located in the same building. Ordinary tourists have free entrance to the foyer of the casino and the checkroom of the theater. Interestingly, the citizens of Monaco are forbidden by law to gamble. Tourists wishing to play or explore all the halls will have to pay an entrance fee of 10 euros. The marble floors, columns, elaborate statues, paintings, bronze lamps – there is certainly something to see.
Grimaldi family took fancy to the Genoese fortress in 1191, gradually transforming it into a luxurious palace. For over 7 centuries the castle has been the residence of the Princes of Monaco. During the absence of the monarch, as signaled by the flag at half-mast, the palace is open to tourists. The salons and halls of the palace are filled with extraordinary treasures.
Opera House of Monte Carlo
The strange combination of roulette and opera in the same building sounds piquant, but still does not disturb the refined public. In the Monte Carlo Opera House Verdi, Wagner and Rossini performed, Caruso and Chaliapin sang here. The interior of the theater is in red and gold, and the bas-reliefs and sculptures emphasize its opulence and status.
Port Hercule can accommodate up to 700 ships at a time. It was Prince Ambert the first who wisely decided to build the port there, as it is a short walk away from the most important sights and attractions of the Principality. The port is under constant reconstruction. The authorities strive to make the port modern and comfortable for their distinguished guests.
Casino Square and Park
The square in front of the Casino is special. There is a dress code – it is forbidden to wear jeans and sneakers. There is even a sign warning of this. In front of the Casino is a beautiful French park of palm trees, flowers, ponds with reeds and lilies, which gently turns into mountains. At night, lanterns light up around the square in front of the casino, creating an ineffable atmosphere.
Oceanographic Museum of Monaco
The Oceanographic Museum seems to have grown out of a rock. From here you have spectacular views of the sea, the city and the parks. For a long time Jacques-Yves Cousteau, an honorary citizen of Monaco, was in charge of the museum. The museum is home to a library, laboratories, a narrow science center and a marine farm. Here you can see rare inhabitants of the sea depths, skeletons of huge whales.
Get in on a free concert or open-air production at the Fort Antoine Theater. The stepped amphitheater seats 350 spectators and is open almost all summer. The ancient building used to have quite a military purpose – to defend Monaco-Ville. There are cannons and cannonballs stacked in the courtyard of the fort, and parapets, curbs and a watchtower have been preserved on the walls.
Church of St. Devotee
Traditionally, all brides of Monaco princes bring their wedding bouquet to the Church of Saint Devotee as a sign of reverence for the young girl who did not want to renounce Jesus Christ even in the face of torture and death. The tortured St. Devotee was carried by the sea off the shores of the principality. Since then, the inhabitants have held a memorial procession and prayer services.
Chapel of The Divine Mercy
Since 1629, the Chapel was the gathering place for the Brotherhood of Black Sinners, who preached repentance for sins and the mercy of God. They were known for their good works and were respected by the people. Many who believed and felt the touch of Grace left jewelry or other gifts to the church. A statue of Christ, carved in wood by Napoleon’s court sculptor, is still preserved in the chapel.
Country Club of Monte Carlo
Five crowned heads attended the opening of the Club in 1928, which was a significant event in Europe. The Country Club is a huge sports complex. Various competitions are held on its basis. The most popular among the sophisticated public are tennis tournaments. One of the most famous is the Rolex Masters Tournament in April. In addition, the Country Club has an excellent swimming pool, where you can come with children, a squash course and golf.
Café de Paris
Sitting in a cafe overlooking the Monte Carlo Casino is a special chic. It’s convenient to watch the crowds coming into the casino, the expensive cars, and just a place to eat at any time. The other cafes in town are closed from lunch until 7pm. In addition there is free wi-fi and a cozy interior. The prices are not the most expensive but not the lowest either. You can order Monegasque dishes, like pancakes and lemon tartlets.
La Mayen Corniche
Mayen Corniche is the name of the highway that connects Nice and Monaco. The road goes along the sea, serpentine up into the mountains. When traveling by car, it is worth stopping in the small town of Eze. Here you can eat in a local restaurant, stroll through the narrow ancient streets and breathe plenty of clean mountain air. The views of the mountains and the sea from the top are mesmerizing.
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