Travel a few miles from the Italian border, and you will find some of the most marvellous places to visit in Monaco. This country is a combination of unique features, a headland followed by a set of densely clustered hills. Unusual land, it may seem, Monaco ranks among the top tourist spots in Europe.
Tourists love to visit Monaco and appreciate its beautiful beaches and boating facilities. But that's not all. Monaco earned enormous fame thanks to its luxurious resorts and popular gambling spots. Many also come to support the Monaco Grand Prix, one of the major Formula One races.
The country enjoys a moderate climate all year round amid the French Riviera. Its annual temperatures fluctuate around 61 °F (16 °C), accompanied by a few months of rainfall.
With such a refined location and weather, it will be a waste not to spend some days in this beautiful country. Scroll down for more details of Monaco's must-see destinations, such as the beautiful Larvotto beach and the Exotic Garden of Monaco.
Monaco Fun & Interesting Facts - Wild Stories Revealed
Before jumping to the list of Monaco tourist attractions, why not take a moment to learn about the country itself. This will provide an insightful view of the land and its people, adding some spice to your trip.
Monaco is considered the second smallest country in Europe, yet at the same time, it's one of the densest countries in the world. Within the area of 2.1 kilometres (1.3 miles), there are around 40,000 residents, which results in an approximate rate of 19,000 inhabitants/km2. Thus, you may feel overwhelmed coming here for the first time.
Millionaires or tourists, who will you find on Monaco’s streets? Photo by Janayara Machado on Unsplash
There's a reason why people call Monaco "the millionaires' playground". High chance that you may encounter a millionaire when walking down the street. The data from Business Insider shows more than 32% of the population in Monaco are millionaires.
Great money comes with great responsibilities. This explains the nation’s extremely high level of security, including a 24/7 surveillance system and frequent sight of bodyguards. Monaco is also one of the countries with the highest life expectancy in 2022.
Located in the Larvotto ward of Monaco is the Avenue Princesse Grace, one of the most expensive addresses in the country. In fact, the finest property in the beach area may reach as high as €60,000 per square metre.
The wealth and fame are sure alluring, but Monaco can offer a lot more to its dear visitors. Read further to learn more about this lively, charming country.
Prince’s Palace of Monaco
The Prince's Palace of Monaco is the official home of Monaco's royal family, the Grimaldi. The ruling princes of Monaco have been living here since the end of the 13th century. The tradition lives on as well for Prince Albert II, the son and successor of Prince Rainier.
This fascinating structure was initially built as a fortress in the 13th century and has worn down with time. Thanks to Prince Rainier's dedication, the palace has been restored to its former beauty and has become one of the best Monaco tourist attractions.
Initially a Genoese fortress, the structure offers a scenic, panoramic view to serve military purposes in the Middle Age. It was renovated and transformed into an extravagant Renaissance palace. Its magnificent beauty is comparable to Belfast city hall, one of the most remarkable destinations in Ireland.
Visitors should take advantage of the great collection of 16th- and 17th-century frescoes in the Hercule Gallery. Another highlight is classical music concerts performed by the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra in the central courtyard in July and August.
Monaco’s flag flying on top of the palace on a windy day. Photo by Kirsten Frosh on Unsplash
The Prince's Palace of Monaco is open to the public on certain occasions. Visitors can come any day from April to mid-October. Visiting time ranges from 10 am to 5:30 pm and sometimes extends to 6:30 in July and August. Remember that tours will be closed during the F1 Grand Prix weekend.
Monaco-Ville, known as Le Rocher, is among the top Monaco places to visit. Situated on rocky land amid the Mediterranean Sea, the ancient town attracts tourists with historical delights and striking architectural structures.
The beauty of Monaco Ville in a tranquil setting. Photo by Steve Lussier on Unsplash
You can reach Monaco-Ville by using the famous La Rampe Major, an uphill footpath. In the 13th century, it was the means to communicate between the Prince's Palace and the plateau.
Nowadays, the red paved way brings you to the Place du Palais, the heart of the town; and to the Rock of Monaco, one of the most prominent mountains in the entire country.
The charming point of Monaco-Ville is its great walking streets and passageways, the nostalgic symbol of mediaeval time. Other attractions include the shopping centre and the city's famous sights, such as the Oceanographic Museum and the Prince's Palace.
Oceanographic Museum of Monaco
Emerging from the cliff, the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco is a Monaco must-see attraction, famous for its spectacular seaside view. This fascinating structure is also one of the oldest aquariums in the world, commissioned by Prince Albert I. It officially opened to the public in 1910.
The Oceanographic Museum attracts millions of visitors yearly for its popular displays of marine science and oceanography. Ocean lovers will have a field day observing the valuable collections of Jacques-Yves Cousteau’s discoveries and items from Prince Albert I’s exploration trips.
The site is perfect for both solo travellers and those in groups. You’re welcome to visit three unique sections: the Tropical Aquarium, Mediterranean Aquarium, and Shark Lagoon.
Prepare to be amazed by the number of marine life in beautiful shapes and colours, some of which are the rarest ocean species. There are nearly 100 aquarium pools to discover!
Musee Oceanographique Monaco is where you can learn about marine life.
After a long, exhausting trip, time to fill your belly in the famous La Terrasse. On the rooftop terrace, the restaurant offers an absolutely gorgeous ocean view and delicious lunch. You can see the overall picture of the Italian Riviera on clear days.
Monte Carlo Casino
Established in the 19th century, Monte Carlo Casino aimed to save the Grimaldi family from going bankrupt. During this time, Monaco has little to develop, and the casino is one rare way to support tourism.
The plan surprisingly worked out as gamblers poured over to Monaco to experience the games of chance. They’re eager to test their luck in French Roulette, Baccarat and slot machines.
The building’s appearance in Hollywood movies like Golden Eye (1995), Never say never again (1983) and Ocean's Twelve (2004) even draw more locals and tourists to this luxurious site.
You may have recognised Monte Carlo Casino as a setting in James Bond movies. Photo by ecstk22 - stock.adobe.com
Monte Carlo casino is worth being one of Monaco’s places to visit at least once. The exceptional interior decoration and architectural style create an immersive casino experience.
Under the warm light of crystal chandeliers, players hunt down their luck on sophisticated-design tables while playing mind games with their rivals. It’s all about thrills, entertainment and surprises!
Tourists who love to visit Monte Carlo must bring passports or other identifying documents, as Monaco residents are now allowed entry. You must follow specific dress codes and pay an entrance fee. The site opens to visitors from 10 am to 1 pm, while the games room opens from 2 pm.
The Monte-Carlo Opera House
There’s no doubt that Opéra de Stephen Monte-Carlo is among the famous Monaco tourist spots. Enter the extravagant public square of Place du Casino and seek behind the lines of palm trees; you’ll see the astonishing opera house of Monaco.
Initially built in 1878, the building was designed by Charles Garnier, the same architect of Palais Garnier in Paris. Excellent work has been done. Visitors can tell it from outside when they view the spectacular fountain, the splendid terrace and the panoramic coastline view.
Once you enter the opera house, it’s a luxurious, fancy, aesthetic art world. Its auditorium is well decorated in red and gold, lined with dazzling frescoes and striking sculptures.
Many theatrical performances have been shown on this marvellous stage for centuries. Many world-class opera singers also performed here, adding to its enormous fame and wealth.
The best time to visit the Monte-Carlo Opera House is in September. A Gala Opening event is scheduled in the month, and the opera season is from October to April. Tourists can expect exclusive classic operas, musical recitals, concerts and ballet performances at the place.
Fort Antoine Ian Theatre
Watching performances at Fort Antoine Ian Theatre in the summer months is just a different experience. Photo by Hans on pixabay.com
Fort Antoine is definitely one of the most wondrous places to go in Monaco. Originally an 18th-century military fortress, it has been renovated into an outdoor theatre where concerts and plays happen to entertain Monaco‘s residents.
The site is located on the edge of Monaco Ville (Le Rocher) and provides a beautiful seaside view. On clear days, the deep blue sea appears, stretching to the horizon, sometimes with a line of white seagulls.
Climb to the highest point of the theatre, and you’ll see the coastline of the French Riviera. The vivid line runs from Cannes all the way to Menton and Italy. A big world shrinks into a small view. How romantic it is!
If you visit the site, pick a date between late June and early August. It’s the time of performance season when a series of events follow one after another. With 350 seats outside, the theatre becomes a perfect open stage on breezy summer nights.
Princess Grace Japanese Garden
Princess Grace Japanese Garden or Jardin Japonais-Princesse Grace is perfect for Monaco sightseeing. On the back of a steep hillside, the garden draws wanderers into its enchanting green land. Who can resist the charming cherry blossoms and colourful koi fish?
The site resembles a traditional Japanese garden, using water, stones and bamboo hedges to create harmony and serenity. In addition, plenty of exotic flowers and plants are grown around the lake, adding to the elegant setting.
The classic Japanese red bridge above the fish pond in the garden. Photo by Richard on Unsplash
Visitors should take the chance to walk around during night time. The warm lights create a romantic ambience wherever you go. Imagine strolling along the koi fish pond with your partner and watching water lilies bloom together. Such a beautiful memory to remember.
The garden opening time is from 9 am to 5:45 pm or 6:45 pm depending on the season. The site will be jam-packed with people during the late afternoon. Thus if you want a private tour, come in the morning or early afternoon for fewer crowds.
Exotic Garden of Monaco
It will be a shame to visit Monaco without taking a tour of the Exotic Garden of Monaco known as Jardin Exotique de Monaco. Situated on a sheer cliff, the garden offers breathtaking views of the Mediterranean sea and a wide variety of vegetation.
Visitors may notice the peculiar design of the garden at first sight. Each plant is carefully positioned so it can grow along the steep hillside. The plants standing firmly at such striking heights are a unique feature exclusive to this site.
Breathtaking view of the city from the exotic garden. Photo by Julien Lanoy on Unsplash
The exotic plants imported from Mexico, South America and Africa can flourish here thanks to the balmy weather and consistent sunshine. Monaco's warm and dry climate is also perfect for various succulents, especially the cactus.
Tourists may stop by the Observatory Cave inside the garden. The cave is filled with stalactites and stalagmites of different shapes and colours. When light appears in the cave, they reflect and paint an eerie glow onto the walls, creating a magnificent scene.
The garden is open to the public almost daily except on National Day (November 19th) and Christmas. Opening hours may change slightly according to the seasons. Visitors should carefully check the blooming time of each plant type to get the best experience.
Princess Grace Rose Garden
Tourists can also read about various types of roses via the QR code provided in each section. Both standard and exotic species of rose can be found here. The garden is well-maintained, and the flowers are grown using eco-friendly practices, creating a healthy environment for any visitor.
New National Museum of Monaco
The New National Museum of Monaco (NMNM) is an excellent choice regarding Monaco places to visit. This wonderful museum houses an impressive number of artworks. Its constant effort to adapt to current times is the key to attracting more and more visitors.
Tourists can appreciate the artworks within two locations: the Villa Paloma, a few steps away from the Jardin Exotique and the Villa Sauber.
The museum exhibits a comprehensive collection of artworks from the 19th and 20th centuries, including paintings, drawings, etchings, sculptures, etc. The artworks represent the central themes at different times, from the human body to the scenery or even the relation to nature.
The museum also shows excellent dedication to conservation works. Notable among them are the antique dolls from the 19th century and theatrical costumes from the Monte Carlo opera house. Its objective to preserve Monaco’s artistic heritage barely changes as time passes.
Monaco Top Cars Collection
The car collection of Prince Rainier III is one of the most exciting things to see in Monaco. It's not only the royal owner, but the cars also draw much attention. Who can resist the stunning outlook, shining hoods, and powerful sports car engine?
The humble entrance of Monaco Top Cars Collection museum, where various vintage vehicles are housed. Photo by Buch-t from Wikimedia Commons
It's said that Prince Rainier III had a particular enthusiasm for collecting old cars. He'd been gathering cars since the end of the 1950s. The palace soon became too small for such a grand collection. Thus the prince decided to create exhibits of his precious collection in 1993.
Initially placed on the Terrasses de Fontvieille, the collection has now been moved into the modern section next to the Rainier III water sports stadium.
This 3,500 m2 (about 37,000 ft2) area displays a large selection of cars, including but not limited to the prestigious Rolls-Royce, Lincoln, Ferrari, and Lamborghini. And we mustn’t forget the Lexus that joined the royal wedding of Prince Albert II, plus the ones used in the Monaco Grand Prix.
Visitors are welcomed in the area most of the year, from 10 am to 6 pm or 7 pm during July and August. Note that visitors are not allowed on December 25th.
Old Monaco Museum
Undoubtedly, the Museum of Old Monaco is one of the best places to visit in Monaco. The structure offers enormous cultural and historical values that attract history lovers from all over the world.
Old Monaco Museum on a quiet morning without many guests. Photo by Diane Picchiottino on Unsplash
The building was inaugurated in 1974 by Prince Rainier III and Princess Grace to preserve the remains of Monégasque identity. The National Committee of Monégasque Traditions believed that the locals would be reminded of their civil and religious traditions via the structure.
Inside the museum are plenty of ceramics, paintings, furniture, and costumes recreating the daily life of the Monégasque. It’s perfect for a leisure walk as you appreciate the beautiful architecture. Regardless of the limited space, it’s been utilised to give tourists the best experience.
Visitors can enter the place free of charge from 11 am to 4 pm on Wednesdays and Fridays. This is only applicable to visitors from early June to the end of September.
Among the most popular places to go in Monaco, Larvotto Beach is one of the best. All you need is a short walk from Monte-Carlo to enjoy this beautiful paradise. The admission is free, so it’s an ideal place to swim under the sunshine without breaking the bank.
Like other French Riviera beaches, the shoreline is filled with more pebbles than sand. Thus, travellers should bring a pair of sturdy shoes and some euros to rent a chair.
Sunbathing is fine here, so remember to bring appropriate beach outfits and towers. Yet you will need to arrive early if you want a nice spot in the sand.
The beach is friendly and suitable for people of all ages, thanks to the shallow and calm water. It’s a famous site with the best facilities, so there is no need to worry about dirty tap water or broken umbrellas.
Saint Nicholas Cathedral
Tourists shouldn’t miss out on Saint Nicholas Cathedral as it ranks among the top Monaco tourist spots. This striking architectural structure is where past sovereigns Prince Rainier and Princess Grace rest in peace. It’s also designated to be the burial place of the later Princess of Monaco.
The cathedral may be a pretty modern structure, but the artworks inside are valuable historical delights. Notable among them are the altarpiece by Louis Bréa from the 15th century and the Episcopal throne.
Sacred religious rituals and holy music concerts are often held here. The Christain ceremony, Mass, happens every Sunday at 10 am between September and June. Thanks to the joining of heavenly choirs and the Grand Organ, it’s an unmissable event.
Visitors are free to visit the cathedral from 9 am to 6 pm every day, on the condition that they dress appropriately. Revealing outfits, miniskirts or shorts, in general, are not allowed inside the site.
Located on a steep cliff, Monaco Harbour is worth a place among the Monaco must-see destinations. Surrounded by the enchanting landscape, the site offers fantastic sightseeing spots and various outdoor activities.
It will be a waste not to mention Port Hercule, which is located in the large harbour of La Condamine. This deep-water port has been in use since the 1930s.
Its area of almost 40 acres (160,000 m2) allows up to 700 vessels. It’s now home to many luxurious yachts, including those owned by the princes.
As the famous capital of yachting, Monaco has a world-renowned yacht club founded by Prince Rainier in 1953. Up to now, Yacht Club de Monaco has recruited more than 2,500 members from 80 different countries.
Yachts from different countries rest inside the Port Hercule. Photo by Kit Suman on Unsplash
Tourists in Monaco Harbour may enjoy a leisure stroll to soak up the picturesque scenery of the harbour. Dropping by an outdoor cafe to grab delicious snacks is also a great idea. You may hire a boat and tour the place to fully appreciate the landscape.
Not only a great place to discover, but Monaco is also a great gateway to various countries in Europe. For instance, many people love to go to the best destinations in France and other beautiful places in Italy after this nation.
Thank you for reading our article. We hope you can pick out some destinations suitable for your Monaco trip. As always, stay safe and have fun, travellers!