The principality of Monaco stretches for two square kilometers but what it may lack in size it certainly makes up for in style. There are lots of free attractions and sights to enjoy. Here are our top 10 things to do in this intriguing city-state.
- Visit the Monte Carlo Casino
A trip to Monaco has to involve a visit to the legendary casino. But don’t worry, you can keep your purse strings firmly shut; simply stroll the square and indulge in a good spot of people watching. Located in the heart of Monaco, called Monte Carlo, the Casino is on the southern end of the Place du Casino between the Hotel de Paris and the Cafe de Paris. This is where you’ll see the best collection of cars, maybe a famous face and you can generally take in the beautiful surroundings.
- Watch a show at the Opera de Monte Carlo
Also known as Salle Garnier, the Opera de Monte Carlo is located on the iconic Place de Casino which is the most famous spot in all of Monaco. The opera house was built in 1878 and its main performance space is covered in pretty red and gold decorations. You will also find ornate carvings here in the form of frescoes and sculptures and if you like opera, ballet, or musical concerts then don’t miss the chance to catch a show in this opulent setting.
- Oceanographic Museum of Monaco
The Musée Oceanographique is 90 meters above sea level and it took 11 years to construct the foundations that stop the museum toppling to the ground. It was officially opened in 1910 which makes it one of the oldest aquariums in the world and is dedicated to marine artifacts and oceanography. There are also three aquariums here including a Mediterranean Aquarium, a Tropical Aquarium, and a Shark Lagoon. There are over 6,000 marine life creatures here and 100 different pools that are designed to mimic their natural environment include reconstructed coral reefs.
- Bask in the Sunshine at Larvotto Beach
If you happen to visit the Principality during Spring or Summer don’t forget to head to the Larvotto Beach – a public sandy beach, put your feet up and plan your next travel adventure there. Besides the well-maintained beach, the area boasts many seaside restaurants and brasseries where you can enjoy delicious French food and refreshing drinks.
- Wander around the Princess Grace Rose Garden
Thousands of roses blossom and diffuse their sweet scents in Fontvieille’s Princess Grace Rose Garden. Located in the southeastern corner of Monaco, this garden is a great place to find respite from bustling Monte-Carlo. Here, you’ll also find palm and olive trees; and while in the area, you should take time to explore Fontvieille Park itself, especially the contemporary sculptures strewn throughout. Travelers say the park is a peaceful oasis situated amid the glitz and glamour of Monaco. Many add that while the garden is small, it’s well-maintained and filled with a variety of colorful flowers.
- Palais du Prince
The Prince’s Palace, which dates back to the 12th century is one of the most important places to visit in Monaco. While there, make sure to witness the ceremony of changing of the guard, it takes place every day at 11:55 AM and attracts thousands of enchanted spectators.
- Visit the Monaco Cathedral
This Monaco-Ville cathedral is probably most popular because it contains the grave of Grace Kelly, the actress-turned-princess of Monaco. Its history also dates a bit further back: The site once held a 13th-century church, but the current cathedral hails from the late 19th century. Inside, you can admire its regal features, which include a white marble altar and an exquisite grand organ. Recent travelers said they were impressed by the beauty of this religious site and highly recommend touring inside.
- Tour Monaco Harbour
Located at the base of Monaco’s famous blustery cliffs is the main harbor of Monaco. Yachts bob on the water and the harbor, which is also known as Port de la Condamine, dates from 1901. The Prince’s main yacht is located here as well as those of many moneyed Monaco residents, so this is a top spot to check out these amazing vessels, even if you don’t get to go aboard. There is also a range of eateries and cafes here which mean that you can have a snack while enjoying the vistas over the water.
- Exotic Garden
Plant lovers and horticulturists unite: The Exotic Garden, which lies along La Condamine’s cliffs, is “fantastic,” according to recent visitors. This garden has been open for more than 75 years and has cultivated an extensive collection of rare plants and cacti. You’ll see more than 1,000 plant species – and even a deep underground cave – but in order to tour its stalagmites and stalactites, you’ll need to follow a guide.
- Visit Casino Square
Casino Square is one of the most iconic spots in Monaco and any James Bond fans will want to make the trip here. The square is the home of the Casino of Monte Carlo which was made famous in the book Casino Royale, but if you don’t have the cash to gamble the night away then a visit to the square is probably the next best thing. The buildings here are all illuminated at night and include the world-famous casino as well as the Hotel de Paris and the opera house.