Synonymous with luxury, refinement and fortune, the prosperous principality of Monaco has become one of the most sought-after addresses in the world. Nestled in the tiny area between the Alps and the Mediterranean south of France, this playground of the rich and famous continues to intrigue visitors from around the world with its extravagant hotels, high-dollar casino, luxurious yachts and the annual Formula One Grand Prix. See below for just a selection of Monte Carlo’s attractions on offer which help to uncover the fascinating story of Monaco’s royalty, the Grimaldi family.
The residence of Monaco’s Royal Family was constructed in the 13th century, with parts dating back to the Renaissance. Sections of the Palace and State Apartments are open for tours, providing tourists with the opportunity to marvel at the Palace’s lavish interiors, ornate furniture and priceless works of art. Don’t miss the Changing of the Guards which occurs daily in front of the Prince’s Palace. Situated in Monaco’s Old Town, the Prince’s Palace offers visitors the chance to get a feel for old Monaco, before the modern skyscrapers and luxury yachts took over. Amble through the narrow cobblestone stones and picturesque buildings to uncover unique views of the city all around.
Monte Carlo Casino
Spend some time with Monaco’s high rollers at Monte Carlos’s renowned luxury casino. Despite being surrounded by high luxury vehicles, the interior of the Casino offers a glimpse into Old World charm with its Bohemian glass chandeliers, rococo ceilings and columned gold and marble entrance hall. Take a walk around the square for views of sites such as the Hotel de Paris – which features two of the best restaurants in the world run by Michelin-starred chef Alain Ducasse. The Casino is set amidst a formal garden, offering splendid views over Monaco and the Mediterranean Sea.
Monte Carlo Cathedral
Standing on the site of a 13th century church which was dedicated to St Nicholas, the Monte Carlo Cathedral was consecrated in 1875. Along with its grand Roman-Byzantine architecture, the Cathedral is renowned as the final resting place of many of the Grimaldi Princes along with the celebrated Princess Grace. Marvel at the Cathedral’s intricate architectural details including its 12th century style windows, the Great Altar and throne made of Carrara marble.
Monaco’s Grand Prix
The Grand Prix de Monaco is renowned as one of the most prestigious Formula One races in the world and considered the jewel of the Formula One crown. The famous Grand Prix circuit consists of the almost impossibly tight and narrow streets of Monte Carlo. Occurring annually in late May or early June, the event drives thousands of visitors and locals to the principality to take part in the lively events which celebrate the race. Two weeks prior to the event, historical cars from around the world gather along the Formula One race track, near the Monaco Yacht Club.
The scenic Port Hercules harbour is situated at the base of The Rock, and is included among the world’s most photographed ports. A trading port in use since ancient times by the Greeks and Romans, the modern port was built in 1926 with upgraded facilities in the 1970s. Amongst its many credits, the harbour was used as a location in the James Bond film Golden Eye. The port features the Yacht Club of Monte Carlo, designed to celebrate Monaco’s coastline and nautical heritage with a series of deck-styled viewing balconies to watch yacht races and the Formula One Grand Prix circuit. Lined with luxury cruise liners, the port is noted for shopping, sightseeing and dining opportunities.