Best Things To Do in Monaco
In addition to beach-bumming and Champagne-sipping, you can visit the fish at the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco, the cacti at the Exotic Gardens and the changing guards at the Prince's Palace. You could also experience some spa treatments at Les Thermes Marins Monte-Carlo or try your luck at the slots of Monte-Carlo Casino. When you're not touring the city's top attractions, simply admire the stunning scenery while sampling some delicious Monégasque fare.
Updated May 5, 2016
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One of Monaco's most popular beaches, Larvotto is a free-to-the-public shore located just a short walk from Monte-Carlo. But like many French Riviera beaches, this one has pebbles rather than sand, so bring some sturdy shoes and be prepared to shell out some euros for a chair rental.
Travelers recommend this shoreline for visitors of all ages since the water is shallow and calm, and the beach and its facilities are clean. However, families should keep in mind that some beachgoers sun topless here. You should also note that this beach is very popular, so if you want a spot in the sand, you should plan to get there early.
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Perhaps the attraction that best exemplifies Monaco's capital city is its casino. The building's beaux-arts design was overseen by Charles Garnier, architect of the Paris opera. And likewise, this grand casino also contains the city's opera and ballet. If this complex looks familiar, it's because you may have seen it before in the James Bond films, "Never Say Never Again" and "Goldeneye." It was also the inspiration for the casino in Ian Fleming’s first Bond book, "Casino Royale."
Recent visitors said the casino is a must-see when you're in Monaco, citing its grand decor, variety of gaming options and plentiful people-watching as prime reasons you'll enjoy your visit. Some travelers did note the casino was on the small side, compared to the sprawling casinos of Las Vegas.
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This lavish Monaco-Ville palace is home to the prince, of course (it’s in the name after all). The royal residence has sheltered the Grimaldi family (of the 13th century) and Prince Rainier III and his lovely wife, Princess Grace (of the 20th century). Today, Rainier’s son and heir, Prince Albert II, calls the Palais du Prince home. The palace also features a changing of the guard daily at 11:55 a.m. Many recommend at least stopping by to see the exterior of the palace on your Monaco vacation, even if you're not up for a tour of the state rooms. Travelers also say the views from the nearby terraces are impressive. Some said the changing of the guard is nothing special.
The state apartments are typically open from March through October; you can tour the rooms for 8 euros (about $9) for adults and 4 euros (around $5) for children.
- #4View all Photos#4 in MonacoZoos and AquariumsTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDZoos and AquariumsTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDRead More
Founded in 1910 by Prince Albert I (also a sea captain), this museum and aquarium are must-sees in Monaco. The prince went on dozens of expeditions, and the exhibits are the fruits of his explorations: For example, the skeleton of a whale featured in the museum’s zoology room. And the aquarium – widely considered one of the best in Europe – contains more than 90 tanks, one of which is a shark lagoon.
Most travelers highly enjoyed their visit here. Many said it's a great place to bring kids, as the exhibits are engaging and there are plenty of exotic animals and fish to see.
- #5View all Photos#5 in MonacoParks and Gardens, FreeTYPELess than 1 hourTIME TO SPENDParks and Gardens, FreeTYPELess than 1 hourTIME TO SPENDRead More
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.
Free of admission, you can visit this garden every day from sunrise to sunset.
- #6View all PhotosfreeMonaco Cathedral#6 in MonacoChurches/Religious Sites, FreeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDChurches/Religious Sites, FreeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDRead More
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.
The cathedral is open daily for tours from 8:30 a.m. to 6 or 7 p.m. – except during Mass services – free of charge. For more information, visit the Monaco tourism board website.
- #7View all Photos#7 in MonacoMuseumsTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDMuseumsTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDRead More
None other than Prince Rainier III funded and gifted this museum with his personal collection of cars; if you go gaga for autos you'll absolutely love the array on display here. There are nearly 100 vehicles, which range from carriages (as in horse-drawn ones) to the Rolls Royce that Grace Kelly rode in on her wedding. Visitors were impressed with the selection of vehicles on display – from racing cars to antiques – and said even those who aren't big car geeks will appreciate the collection.
Admission is 6.50 euros (or about $8), and you can visit the Museum of Antique Automobiles every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- #8View all Photos#8 in MonacoParks and GardensTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDParks and GardensTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDRead More
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.
Open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 or 7 p.m., depending on the season, tickets cost 7.20 euros (or about $8.50). For more information, visit the website.
- #9View all Photos#9 in MonacoSpasTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDSpasTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDRead More
Translated as "The Sea Baths of Monte-Carlo," this spa is one of Monaco's most beloved. Salons, gyms, treatment rooms and restaurants are spread across four lavish floors, and though the spa is very discreet about its clientele, it often serves the jet-set crowd (think: Formula One and quasi-royalty). Spa treatments range from underwater massages and seaweed body wraps to anti-aging treatments and daylong pampering sessions. Visitors suggest a dip in the indoor heated pool or a soak in the outdoor Jacuzzi that overlooks the harbor. Recent travelers were pleased with their treatments, though they did note the high cost.
You'll find the spa located beside the famous Hôtel de Paris. Prices vary by treatment and/or package, but you can expect to drop a decent chunk of change on services here. For more information, visit the spa's website.
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