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Monaco is famous for its Formula One racing, casinos, and luxury yachts. It’s known to some as the “Billionaires Playground” as it’s home to some seriously wealthy people.
But that doesn’t mean it’s too expensive for the average traveler to visit. In fact, there is a bounty of things to do in Monaco for any visitor.
For example, Monaco is also home to the most renowned casino in the world, which is constantly surrounded by fast luxury cars such as Ferrari, Bentley, or Lamborghini.
It’s also located right on the beach, perfect for those looking for a place to sunbathe and relax.
But if you’re not sure what attractions in Monaco you would like to visit, read on to see our favorite places!
Where is Monaco?
In case you don’t know it’s nestled in the southeast of France, only 10 km from the Italian border and 20km from the popular coastal city of Nice.
Visitors can get a shuttle bus to Monaco from Nice airport which takes around 8 hours, though visiting Monaco from Nice (or vice versa) can easily be done as a day trip.
The Principality of Monaco, as it’s officially known, is an independent country located on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.
Even though it’s small in size, there are many fun attractions in Monaco, and the good news is you don’t have to own a great deal of money to experience them.
This micro city-state in the French Riviera is the epitome of luxury and glamour. It’s a place loved by the rich, famous, and powerful.
9 Fantastic Things To Do In Monaco
Now you know where Monico is, it’s time to take a look at the top attractions to add to your itinerary!
1. Take in the Sunshine at Larvotto Beach
Larvotto Beach in Monaco
Monaco is located by the Mediterranean sea which makes it a perfect spot for sunbathing, relaxing, and swimming in the warm water.
Even during the winter months, when the rest of Europe is freezing cold, you will still most likely be able to enjoy a warm climate and plenty of sun.
If you happen to visit the Principality during Spring or Summer don’t forget to head to 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.
2. Visit the Oceanographic Museum
Oceanographic Museum Image credit: DepositPhotos.com
When you visit Monaco, a trip to the Oceanographic Museum is a must, especially if you’re looking for things to do in Monaco with kids.
It was built over a century ago and is one of the oldest aquariums in the world. Its architecture and its picturesque location are absolutely breathtaking.
Situated on a cliffside rock, just above the sea, this museum features thousands of specimens and many amazing exhibitions dedicated to marine life.
It also houses three aquariums – a Mediterranean Aquarium, a Tropical Aquarium, and the Shark Lagoon.
The aquariums collectively house 6,000 sea creatures in over 100 different pools.
The ticket prices depend on the time of the year and on your age. For adults, the price range is between 11 and 16 Euros while for kids and teenagers between 5 and 12 Euros.
Make sure to plan your visit well, since the Museum is located in Monaco-Ville where cars aren’t allowed. Therefore you’ll need to take a short walk to reach the entrance.
3. Spree During Luxury Shopping Session
Monaco is sure a great place for shopping (or window shopping if you prefer) and is full of prestigious boutiques and high-end stores.
The Metropole Shopping Centre has a huge selection of jewelry and fashion stores but features health and beauty shops as well.
Also, Fontvieille Shopping Centre is a great spot for shopping with its large parking lot, its 36 furniture, fashion, and high-tech shops, and various restaurants.
Simply by taking a walk around Monaco, you will often come across luxury boutiques such as Prada, Dior, Gucci, or Chanel just to name a few.
These boutiques are mainly located right next to the Casino and around the Hotel de Paris.
You will also find some elegant clothing down Avenue Princess Grace, named after Grace Kelly.
For more affordable shopping that doesn’t require taking out a loan, and to try delicious local produce, visit La Condamine Market. It’s a small market of around 20 or so vendors, but it’s a great place to find fresh flowers and produce.
4. Visit the Monte Carlo Casino
The famous Monte Carlo Casino
When I think of Monaco one of the first things that come to my mind is certainly the renowned Casino.
Apart from being a gambling center, the Casino is also one of the most important and interesting tourist attractions.
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.
Even spending just a few minutes there will make you dive into the posh world of celebrities – with the most luxurious and expensive cars that you can imagine passing right in front of your eyes.
It’s also said to have been the setting for the James Bond movie, Casino Royale.
It is also possible to visit the Casino inside, where you can take a tour around and the ticket price is approx. 10 Euros. Keep in mind that taking photos inside is forbidden.
5. Visit the Opéra de Monte-Carlo
Monte Carlo Opera House Image credit: DepositPhotos.com
Opened in 1879 this opera house, which is actually a part of the Casino, offers a world-class repertoire.
Visiting this Opera is an unforgettable cultural experience that you will certainly want to repeat.
The most famous artists in the world have exhibited in the majestic Salle Garnier, from Enrico Caruso to Placido Domingo and, of course, Luciano Pavarotti.
Also, it’s impossible not to notice the luxury decorations and unique architecture that makes the entire location even more special and magical.
The inside is full of ornate details and frescoes and sculptures. It’s one of the most beautiful settings in the city.
6. Experience the Monaco Grand Prix
The Grand Prix, – a star Monaco attraction
One of the most popular things to do in Monaco is to watch the Grand Prix.
You don’t have to be a huge fan or an expert of Formula One to enjoy the vibrant atmosphere and all the excitement of this event.
The Monaco Formula One GP is held once a year, usually in the month of May, and the best Formula One racing drivers in the world take part in the competition.
During the weeks right before the event, you can enjoy driving your car around the city and passing through the exact same track that the GP follows.
All the road signs are also modified before the race so you can even see the starting grid on Boulevard Albert I.
Who knows, if you’re lucky enough you might get an autograph or even a picture with Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton, or Nico Rosberg.
7. Witness The Changing of the Guard at the Prince’s Palace of Monaco
The Prince’s Palace, or Palais du Prince in French, is the home to the Prince of Monaco. It dates back to the 12th century and is one of the most important places to visit in Monaco.
As the official residence of the royal family, you can expect to see a lot of stunning architecture, as well as the history of the former princes of the country.
Today, the palace is home to Prince Albert II, the son of Prince Rainier III.
Visitors can see some of the state apartments of the palace from April to October, and costs around 8 euros for a tour.
You can also visit the iconic Blue Room, which is famous for its blue and gold decorations, as well as the Throne Room and Palatine Chapel.
While there, make sure to witness the ceremony of changing the guard, it takes place every day at 11:55 AM and attracts thousands of enchanted spectators.
I personally love this iconic tradition and always try to get there a bit earlier in order to get the best spot and take the most of it.
8. Relax at one of Monaco’s amazing Parks and Gardens
Monaco’s serene beauty
One of the best things to do in Monaco is to soak in the beauty and serenity of its amazing parks and gardens.
You wouldn’t want to miss The Jardin Exotique de Monaco which is especially famous for its succulent plants and cave. If you want to see the stalactites and stalagmites under the city, you’ll need to book a private tour.
The Japanese Garden is wonderful as well, very peaceful and filled with little bridges and water ponds.
It’s the perfect location to relax in the middle of the city.
Other great parks and gardens in Monaco include The Princess Antoinette Park, The Fontvieille Park, and the Princess Grace Rose Garden, and the Casino Gardens and Terraces.
As you can see there is no shortage of gardens in Monaco and the micro city-state offers a wide range of green spaces where you can take a break, read a book and get some sun.
9. Enjoying a Cocktail on the Monaco Promenade
drinks with views
Conclude your day in Monaco on the picturesque Promenade where you can enjoy a cocktail and finger food and at the same time admire the amazing view in front of you.
There are many fantastic bars and brasseries that transform into nightclubs later on where you can dance and listen to live music.
Parking in the evening is very easy and not expensive – you can often park for free on the side of the road or for a few Euros you can use the underground parking.
10. Watch a Game at Louis II Stadium
The Louis II Stadium is the official sports stadium of Monaco and has been operating as an arena since 1939.
It is here that you can watch games by two Monaco football teams, as well as see international matches if you’re lucky enough to plan your visit at the right time.
Make sure to check out the what’s on calendar before you visit to see if anything is happening here.
11. Check out Saint Nicholas Cathedral
Saint Nicholas Cathedral, or as it’s sometimes known, the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, or Monaco Cathedral, belongs to the Roman Catholic church.
It’s nestled in the old town Monaco-Ville and is the resting place for many of the royal Grimaldis family, such as Grace Kelly and Rainier III.
It was consecrated in 1911 after it took 25 years to build. The building you see today was built on a chapel, that dates back to the 13th century. It still houses the original 16th-century altarpiece of Saint Nicolas.
The cathedral is known for its stunning white facade and intricate design. It’s well worth checking out while visiting Monaco.
12. See the Model Ships at Monaco Naval Museum
The Naval Museum is most famous for its vast collection of model ships, paintings, and maritime artifacts. Many of the models were built by Professor Claude Pallanca, who from an early age built model ships.
When he was in military service, he was assigned to the Jeanne d’Arc as a dental surgeon. Here his love of the sea grew and his passion for building model ships grew too.
In 1993, the museum opened, displaying just 250 model ships, paintings, and maritime objects.
Today, its collection has expanded to 1,200 models, plus more navy-related objects. Of the collection, 550 items were given by Professor Claude Pallanca.
13. Explore Le Rocher (Monaco Ville) at Night
The old town of Monaco, also known as Le Rocher or Monaco Ville, is the only area in Monaco that has retained its history.
As you wander down the small, narrow streets lined with medieval buildings, you’ll find vibrant bars and cosy restaurants to duck into. It’s the best place to visit in Monaco at night, because of its lively atmosphere.
The old town is where you’ll find many of the top attractions in Monaco, so no doubt you’ll find yourself here, even if you’re not looking for it.
Before You Go
So there you have it, those are 13 top things to do in Monaco. As you can see, you don’t need to come loaded with cash to enjoy all these attractions, and there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
Before you go, it’s important to know a few things about Monaco before you visit. First, remember to carry your ID with you at all times, as this is a legal requirement.
You should also know that even though it’s a beachside town, there’s a dress code, and you cannot wander around in your bikinis.
And pack some comfy shoes. Monaco is small and very walkable, so be prepared to do a lot of walking. And most of all, enjoy your trip!
Where to stay in Monaco
We have hand-selected a few top rated hotels in Monaco for you to save you time researching.
We look for high guest ratings, great reviews, good location, exudes local personality, and clean rooms and facilities travelers enjoy.
Le Meridien Beach Plaza: a 15-minute walk of Monte Carlo Formula 1 Track, Le Meridien Beach Plaza offers a private beach where you can enjoy beach umbrellas, beach massages, and sun loungers Book your stay here.Fairmont Monte Carlo: Ocean views, private beach and steps away from Monte Carlo’s top attractions. People love the rooftop terrace and upscale hotel amenities. Book your stay here.Hotel Metropole, Monte Carlo Great for families with a a free kids’ club and puts you just steps from Monte Carlo Formula 1 Track. Book your stay here.
If you’re looking for other accommodation in Paris you can use the map below to compare hotels and short-term rental options.
Do you have any tips on what to do in Monaco? What do you think are the best things to do in Monaco? If you have already visited Monaco let us know, and if you have any questions ask away in the comments.