Monaco travel guide

22 Monaco sights worth seeing

dostoprimechatelnosti-monako

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 a chance 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 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

Monte Carlo Casino

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

Oceanographic Museum

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.

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In addition to the living inhabitants of the sea depths, 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

Jardin Exotique

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

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

Larvotto beach

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. Larvotto beach is very popular with water sports enthusiasts, especially water skiing and kayaking.

Address: Larvotto Beach, Monaco.

Saint Martin’s Gardens

Statue of Prince Albert I.

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.

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Address: Jardins de Saint-Martin, Monaco.

Nautical Museum of Monaco

Monaco Maritime Museum

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 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 grab a bite to eat while taking in the marvelous views of the harbor.

Address: Port de Fontvieille, Monaco.

The new National Museum of Monaco

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

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

Casino Square

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.

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Address: Casino Square, Place du Casino, Monaco.

Collection of vintage cars

Antique Car Collection

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.

Japanese garden

Japanese Garden

Japanese Garden.

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

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

Fort Antoine

Fort Antoine.

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.

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 the 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

Old Town

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.

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Parc de Fontvieille

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), Parc de Fontvieille is one of the best green spaces 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

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

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 the stars of the stage perform in this luxurious setting.

Monaco

Monaco, or the Principality of Monaco, is a mini state located in the south of Europe on the coast of the Ligurian Sea, bordering France, 20 km northeast of Nice. Monaco is one of the smallest states in the world, it covers an area of only 2.02 square kilometers. The number of residents of Monaco – 38 897 people (data 2016).

The capital of the country is the city of Monaco, whose borders coincide with the borders of the state. The native inhabitants are Monegasque (16% of the population). The official language is French; the spoken language is the Monegasque dialect, which is a mixture of separate dialects of French and Italian.

The territory of modern Monaco was inhabited by the Thracians in the 10th century B.C., later it was inhabited by the Greeks and the Monoik (one of the Ligurian tribes). The beginning of the history of modern Monaco can be considered the year 1215, when the Genoese colony was founded in this area and a fortress was built. In 1297, the fortress of Monaco was cunningly occupied by the troops of Francesco Grimaldi, who took it from the supporters of another Genoese clan. Francesco himself, who later became the ancestor of the ruling dynasty of Monaco, disguised himself as a monk to open its gates to his troops. As a reminder of this, for 700 years now, Monaco’s coat of arms has depicted two monks with swords.

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From 1524 to 1641, the Principality of Monaco was under the rule of Spain, which supported it in the wars against the French King François I, in the defense of Malta against the Turks and in the Battles of Lepanto in 1570. In 1641 Monaco came under the protectorate of France, retaining its internal self-government, and in 1713 the sovereign status of the Principality of Monaco was confirmed.

The French Revolution deprived the Grimaldi family not only of power and property, but also of freedom. In 1793, Monaco was annexed to France by decision of the Convent. After the fall of Napoleon in 1814, the independence of Monaco and all the rights of the Grimaldis were restored, but the Principality was under the protectorate of the Kingdom of Sardinia, where it was until 1860.

In 1861, Prince Charles III signed an agreement with France whereby Monaco lost most of its territory in exchange for recognition of its independence and 4 million francs. Having lost almost all its natural resources, Monaco decided to develop tourism and gambling. Thus, in 1863 the Société des Bains de Mer was founded, which included hotels, a theater and a casino built in 1865. Monaco’s luxury district was named after the prince – Monte Carlo. The rapid development of tourism contributed to the economic development of the small country.

According to the Treaty of Versailles, which ended World War I, Monaco’s foreign policy must conform to that of France. During World War II in 1943, Monaco was occupied first by Italian troops and then by German troops. In 1911, during the reign of Prince Albert I, the first constitution limiting princely power was created, and today Monaco is a constitutional monarchy.

In 1963, a convention was signed between Monaco and France to harmonize the principles of Monegasque and French taxation, which exempts Monegasques, French residents in Monaco for at least five years, companies with more than 25% of Monegasque capital from taxation in Monaco.

Capital city: Monaco Area: 2.02 km 2 Population: 38,897 (2016) Language: French Official website: https://www.visitmonaco.com/en

Flight time: flights to Monte Carlo airport from Moscow – from 6 hours 35 min. (1-4 transfers) from Saint-Petersburg – from 7 hours 15 min. (2-3 transfers) from Kazan – from 11 hours 35 min. (2-4 transfers) from Ekaterinburg – from 11 hours 20 min. (2-4 transfers) from Novosibirsk – from 25 hours 25 min. (3-5 transfers)

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