Monaco beyond the Grand Prix

Fairmont Hairpin

Fairmont Hairpin

Monaco is surely one of the most unique destinations in the world. Only about a mile wide and a mile long, the second-smallest nation in the world is known for its commitment to luxury. This weekend, the Monaco Grand Prix, one of the most prestigious racing events in the world, takes over the principality once a year and is raced through its streets. But if you’re going for the Grand Prix, be aware that there’s much more in store for the traveler visiting Monaco.

The closest airport is in Nice, and the distance to Monaco is only 30 minutes by taxi. However, the more glamorous option is to take a seven-minute helicopter ride instead, offered by Heli Air Monaco. Flights leave from Nice every 15 minutes.

Where to stay? Le Meridien Beach Plaza is Monaco’s only hotel with its own private beach. Suntan on the chaise lounges at the beach or the nearby pool, or grab a bite to eat at the hotel’s L’intempo Restaurant. The hotel’s “Unlock Art” program provides free or reduced rate access to many local galleries for guests. We also stayed at the Fairmont Monte Carlo, known for its fantastic views of both the Mediterranean and the Grand Prix’s famous hairpin turn, making it an ideal place to stay during the race. On the top floor, the hotel offers local fish and vegetables among others at the Horizon Deck Restaurant. An outdoor pool and lounge area are part of the top floor as well.

Right next to Le Meridien, the Maya Bay Thai and Japanese Restaurants offer dishes that combine the French Riviera’s fresh seafood with Asian recipes. With menus that stretch to over 70 pages with pictures of each dish, you’re sure to find something spectacular.

A great way to get an overview of Monaco is Le Grand Tour, which takes passengers on a hop-on hop-off tour of twelve of the country’s most notable sites by open-top bus. Stop by the Prince’s Palace to watch the changing of the guard, the Prince’s Collection of Vintage Automobiles, the Naval Museum, the Museum of Napoleonic Memorabilia, and much more. Visitors can also take a walking tour of notable spots from the life of Grace Kelly. Gambling is also an option, but this isn’t Vegas; unlike in Sin City, casinos in Monaco blend in with the landscape. Don’t forget the shopping; the country packs 1,200 shops into its boundaries, many of them the height of luxury.

The Grand Prix is great, but there’s so much more to Monaco, as a side trip on your European vacation or as a destination in its own right.

To hear more about what to do in Monte Carlo and “Visit Monaco for Grand Prix” and beyond, listen to this new Travel Brigade podcast with Kathleen Curry and Geoff Griffin by clicking on the box below:

Listen to internet radio with Travel Brigade on BlogTalkRadio

Copyright-Kathleen Curry and Geoff Griffin ©


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