Exploring Europe – 6 of the Best Things to Do in Monaco

The Best Things to Do in Monaco

Monaco is the second-smallest country in the world after Vatican City. Located on the on the French Riviera on the Mediterranean coast, east of Nice, France and west of the Italian region of Liguria. It is known to be a haven for the wealthy. But beyond the glitz and glamour of casinos and Formula One, Monaco holds a treasure trove of tourist destinations ideal for both indoor and outdoor activities.

From recreational to adventurous activities, Monaco has something for everyone. That said, below are six of the best activities you can engage in.

Exploring Europe – 6 of the Best Things to Do in Monaco

The Best Things to Do in Monaco - Musée Océanographique de MonacoMusée Océanographique de Monaco photo by Chiara Guercio

The Best Things to Do in Monaco #1

Wonder through Musée Océanographique de Monaco

Nestled on the stunning cliffs of the French Riviera, the Musée Océanographique de Monaco beckons travellers with its captivating blend of marine science, history, and architectural splendor.

This iconic institution unveils the secrets of the ocean in a setting that is as breathtaking as the exhibits within. A testament to Prince Albert I’s passion for marine exploration, the museum showcases an impressive array of marine life, from vibrant coral reefs to majestic sea creatures.

The meticulously curated displays not only educate visitors on the wonders of the deep but also inspire a sense of awe and responsibility for our planet’s oceans. Beyond its educational mission, the Musée Océanographique de Monaco’s grand architecture, with its imposing facades and panoramic views of the azure waters, provides an enchanting backdrop for an unforgettable cultural experience.

The Best Things to Do in Monaco - Saint Nicholas CathedralSaint Nicholas Cathedral photo by Livio Fretz

The Best Things to Do in Monaco #2

Visit Saint Nicholas Cathedral

Nestled atop the captivating cliffs of Monaco, the Saint Nicolas Cathedral stands as a testament to both architectural splendor and spiritual significance. A visit to this awe-inspiring cathedral is a journey through time and culture, immersing you in the rich history of the Principality.

The cathedral’s elegant façade, adorned with intricate detailing and exquisite sculptures, is a sight to behold. Stepping inside, you’re sure to be captivated by the serene ambiance and the grandeur of the interior, complete with dazzling stained glass windows and a remarkable Baroque altar.

Did you know? The wedding of Rainier III, Prince of Monaco, and Grace Kelly took place on 19 April 1956 at Saint Nicholas Cathedral. And the final resting place of both the prince and princess is also Saint Nicholas Cathedral. And so it’s easy to understand that the cathedral holds a poignant allure for those intrigued by the principality’s royal legacy.

Whether you are a history enthusiast, an architecture aficionado, or simply seeking a moment of tranquility in the heart of Monaco, Saint Nicolas Cathedral promises an enriching and spiritually resonant experience, making it an essential stop for any discerning traveller.

The Cathedral is usually open from 8:15 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and is free to enter.

The Best Things to Do in Monaco - Monte Carlo CasinoMonte Carlo Casino photo by Stefano Tanasi

The Best Things to Do in Monaco #3

Step Inside the Iconic Monte Carlo Casino

Very few people have stepped foot in an actual casino. You see, due to the proliferation of smartphones and advancement in technology most people prefer visiting online casinos over brick-and-mortar establishments.

However when in Monaco, there is no doubt that a must-experience is the famous Monte Carlo Casino.

The Monte Carlo Casino in Monaco is a living embodiment of opulence and glamour, beckoning visitors into a world where elegance and entertainment seamlessly collide.

This iconic establishment exudes an air of sophistication that has captivated the imaginations of travellers for generations. Beyond the ornate Belle Époque architecture and the enchanting gardens that surround it, the casino’s interior is a treasure trove of exquisite design and timeless allure.

Did you know? In 1875, the renowned architect Charles Garnier designed the spectacular transformation and expansion of Monte Carlo Casino building to include the Opéra de Monte-Carlo.

Did you know? Monégasque law forbids Monégasques (residents of Monaco) from gambling or even visiting a casino.

A visit to this legendary casino is not just about games of chance; it’s a cultural pilgrimage into the heart of Monaco’s glamorous legacy. Even better, you’ll get to explore where two of James Bond movies, Never Say Never Again and GoldenEye, were filmed.

Must-Visit Cities for Families in California - The Life of StuffPlage à Monaco photo by Remy Hellequin

The Best Things to Do in Monaco #4

Lounge on Larvotto Beach

Larvotto is Monaco’s main beach and the only beach open to the public. Located on the avenue Princess Grâce, the beach includes two coves that stretches over 400 metres below a beautiful promenade.

Renovated in 2021 to add more luxury to its amenities, Larvotto Beach is the perfect spot if you want to comfortably soak up the sun all day long. Besides toilets, lockers and freshwater showers you’ll have the opportunity to experience several water and beach sports such as water skiing and wakeboarding in its crystal clear waters. And if land sports are your thing, you’ll also find activities like rollerblading and beach volleyball.

Did you know? The sea around Larvotto Beach is surrounded by jellyfish nets to protect beachgoers.

Did you know? Larvotto Beach is a man-made beach made from imported fine gravel – a smooth fine pebble beach rather than a soft sand beach.

Another great attraction to Larvotto beach is its hosting of several restaurants for tourists and can accommodate travellers of all ages. The mobility level here is also outstanding since it’s wheelchair accessible.

Further Reading: Travel USA – 3 Must-Visit Cities for Families in California

The Best Things to Do in Monaco - Monaco-VilleMonaco-Ville photo by Philip Myrtorp

The Best Things to Do in Monaco #5

Explore Monaco-Ville

Monaco-Ville, perched dramatically atop the rocky promontory overlooking the azure Mediterranean, is a charming district that encapsulates the essence of Monaco’s rich history and medieval charm.

Also known as ‘The Rock‘, this historic quarter is a labyrinth of narrow, winding streets that reveal centuries of cultural heritage. Dominated by the impressive Prince’s Palace (the official residence of the Sovereign Prince of Monaco), where the Grimaldi family has resided for over 700 years, Monaco-Ville invites visitors to step back in time.

Reasons why Monaco-Ville is a must-visit:

  1. The picturesque Saint-Martin Gardens offer a tranquil escape, boasting manicured terraces and panoramic views of the glittering harbor below.
  2. Stroll through the enchanting streets, lined with pastel-hued buildings, and discover gems like the aforementioned Oceanographic Museum and the Cathedral of Monaco, where the grandeur of the past meets the modernity of the present.
  3. Charming cafes and boutiques tucked away in the cobblestone streets add to the allure, making Monaco-Ville a must-visit for those seeking a blend of history, culture, and breathtaking vistas in the heart of the Principality.

Further Reading: Family Activities to Try Out Around the Mediterranean this Summer

The Best Things to Do in Monaco - The Japanese GardenThe Japanese Gardens photo by RichardN

The Best Things to Do in Monaco #6

Monaco Gardens

Monaco also boasts several green spaces where you can unwind after a busy day of hustle and bustle. They offer a verdant tapestry interwoven with the charm and allure of the Principality. These spaces include Fontvieille Park, Saint Martin Gardens, Japanese Gardens, Princess Grace Rose Gardens, and Jardin Exotique de Monaco.

Fontvieille Park, nestled in the heart of Monaco’s modern district, is a green oasis that beautifully contrasts with the Principality’s urban landscape. This meticulously landscaped park, set against the backdrop of the Mediterranean Sea, offers a refreshing escape for both locals and visitors. The park boasts a picturesque man-made lake surrounded by weeping willows, sculptures, lush lawns, vibrant flower beds, and meandering pathways, that all provide a serene environment for leisurely strolls.

The Jardin Exotique, a botanical marvel carved into the rocky cliffs, presents a captivating collection of succulents and cacti from around the world. Wander along meandering paths, and be enchanted by the breathtaking panoramas of Monaco and the Mediterranean Sea that unfold beneath the shade of exotic plant life.

In contrast, the Saint-Martin Gardens, nestled in the heart of Monaco-Ville, exude a tranquil charm with their terraced landscapes and vibrant blooms. This oasis offers a serene respite, inviting visitors to leisurely explore manicured lawns, rose gardens, and picturesque viewpoints that showcase the timeless beauty of Monaco.

The Japanese Gardens offer a serene and contemplative escape, providing a cultural haven in the heart of this cosmopolitan enclave. Tucked away in the Fontvieille district, these gardens are a harmonious blend of traditional Japanese landscaping and Monaco’s modern charm.

Did you know? Renowned Japanese landscape architect Yasuo Beppu created The Japanese Gardens in 1994 at the request of Prince Rainier III.

The Japanese Gardens in Monaco transports its visitors into a tranquil realm of Zen aesthetics with its meandering pathways as they wind through meticulously manicured landscapes adorned with native Japanese flora, decorative stones, and a peaceful pond featuring graceful koi fish. The authentic teahouse, surrounded by lush greenery, adds an extra layer of cultural authenticity to the experience.

Monaco’s gardens encapsulate the essence of Monaco’s commitment to preserving nature’s beauty while providing resplendent havens for locals and visitors alike. Whether seeking a peaceful retreat or a botanical adventure, Monaco’s gardens offer a harmonious blend of horticultural splendor and breathtaking scenery, making them an integral part of any Monaco sojourn.

Further Reading: The Blooming Best: 5 Gorgeous Gardens to Walk in Dublin City

The Best Things to Do in Monaco - Formula OneFormula One photo by Filipp Romanovski

There you have it! Six of the best things to do in Monaco, outside of Formula One and wining and dining the days and nights away!

Did you know? ‘Six different restaurants in the Principality share no fewer than nine Michelin stars between them’ france.fr

Just know that when you visit Monaco, there’s more to this tiny nation than meets the eye. The country boasts a wide range of tourist spots accommodating travellers of all ages and interests.

Monaco feature photo by Maxim Stuij

PIN:  The Best Things to Do in Monaco

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