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Some say that one day is enough for a visit to Monaco. I don’t agree because Monaco has much more to offer than the casino and the palace. In this article, too, I can only mention a few of the sights and you can only experience the flair that the city exudes if you walk through the streets of the individual districts and let yourself be carried away by the vibe of this city with its many faces. But here are the sights that you should definitely see during a visit to Monaco.
The Monte Carlo Casino
Monte-Carlo is one of the nine districts of Monaco and not, as some think, synonymous with Monaco. It is home to the Casino, one of the most famous casinos in the world. The Belle Époque building was designed by the famous French architect Charles Garnier, who also designed the Paris Opera House. The building also houses the opera house. It is worth going there just to admire the beautiful structure of the building.
Monegasques (residents of Monaco) are not allowed to enter the gambling halls, but for everyone else the casino is open daily from 2 pm. For those who only want to visit the premises, the casino is open from 10 am to 1 pm. The entrance fee is 17 euros.
You have a wonderful view of the sea and the rock with the old town from the square behind the building. If you are in Monaco at night, you absolutely must take a walk on the square in front of the casino and admire the countless exotic cars in front of the illuminated casino.
Opposite the casino is a multi-storey car park where you can easily park even larger cars (7 euros for 2 hours).
Monaco-Ville with the Prince's Palace
The old town of Monaco, also called Le Rocher (Rock), lies high above the harbour and is the oldest part of the Principality. Here, in the narrow medieval streets, you can still sense something of the city’s origins; there are no glamorous hotels or luxury brand boutiques. Here you will find the Prince’s Palace, the Oceanographic Museum, several government buildings, the cathedral and many other historic buildings. Souvenirs are sold in the alleys and traditional Monegasque dishes are offered in the small restaurants.
Unfortunately, the old town is very crowded in summer. It is therefore worth waiting until the evening, when most tourists have left the streets of Monaco.
The Prince’s Palace of the Grimaldi family, built over 700 years ago, is the official residence of the Prince of Monaco. Every day, at 11.55 am, the changing of the guard takes place in front of the palace. There are also daily guided tours of the palace’s magnificent rooms from 10 am – 6 pm. Admission costs 10 euros, 5 euros for children and students.
The old town can be reached on foot from the harbour in 15 minutes. If you want to park your car nearby, use the “Chemin des Pecheurs” car park (7 euros for 2 hours) and take the lift and escalator up to the Oceanographic Museum, as the old town is car-free.
The Oceanographic Museum in Monaco
The neo-baroque building of the Oceanographic Museum was opened by Prince Albert I in 1910. Albert I was a seafarer himself and led 28 scientific expeditions. He devoted a large part of his life to the exploration of the seas and oceans and wanted to promote people’s awareness of the oceans. From 1957, the world-renowned marine biologist Jacques Costeau was director of the museum.
The building hangs spectacularly on the steep cliffs of Monaco-Ville and offers a wonderful backdrop for a photo from the sea. In the building, one hundred aquariums and everything related to the sea are exhibited on an area of about 6,000 square metres.
On the second floor is the café La Terrasse from where you have a wonderful view of the mountains, the sea and Monaco.
- January to March 10 am to 6 pm
- April to June 10am to 7pm
- July and August 9:30 am to 8 pm
- September 10am to 7pm
- October to December 10am to 6pm
- Adults 18 euros
- Students and children over 6 years 12 euros
The Cathedral Notre-Dame-Immaculée
The cathedral is also located on the rock in Monaco-Ville and was built in 1875 in the Roman-Byzantine style. A 600-year-old church had previously been demolished on the same site. There are two exceptional organs in the cathedral. Impressive church concerts are played on the large organ.
The tombs of the princely family are located in the cathedral. The tomb of Princess Gracia Patricia of Monaco in particular attracts countless visitors.
Sunday mass takes place at 10 am and is accompanied by the Monaco Boys’ Choir from June to September. Outside the services, there is free access to the church from 9 am to 6 pm. Attention. Clothing should be appropriate (shoulders covered, shorts and miniskirts are not allowed).
La Condamine Automobile Museum
Monaco has a lot to offer car lovers, including this museum. Here, on an area of 5,000 square metres, around 100 automobiles are exhibited that originate from the estate of Prince Rainier III. Among the exhibits are state cars and racing cars that were used in the Monte Rally and the Monaco Grand Prix.
The museum is located on the Terrasses de Fontvielle above the shopping centre. There is also a multi-storey car park under the shopping centre of the Fontvieille district.
Opening hours: June – September 10am – 7pm
October – May 10 am – 6 pm
Admission costs €5 for children over 6 and €10 for adults.
The Fontvieille district
Fontvielle is the youngest of Monaco’s 6 districts. Between 1966 and 1973, the area of the district was reclaimed from the sea. Many companies are based here and there is a large shopping centre. But Fontevieille has much more to offer. Apart from the beautifully situated harbour, there are several museums in the shopping centre complex. There are also parks and gardens in this part of the city, including the Rose Garden of Princess Gracia Patricia. It is located in the Landscape Park, a beautiful quiet park with exotic plants. There are also children’s playgrounds and the big circus tent, where the most important circus festival is held every year, is on the edge of the park. The Stade Louis II, the sports and football stadium in Fontvielle, is also located here. This part of Monaco, which is so very different, is definitely worth a visit. You can get to Fontvieile on foot by taking the lift from Place D’Armes (in the rock face of the Rocher) or the escalators a few steps away. You can park your car in one of the many car parks in Fontvielle.
Monaco has two ports, Port Hercule and Port de Fontvieille. The better known is Port Hercule, which lies in the bay next to the Rock of Monaco. There is hardly any other port where you will find as many luxury yachts as here. When you walk past the 700 moorings, you can’t help but be amazed. Large cruise ships also dock in the port.
The smaller port, Port de Fontvieille, is located in the Fontvieille district on the other side of the rock. Impressive yachts are moored here, but it is much quieter. From here you have a great view of the steep west face of the rock, which is colourfully illuminated in the evening. Here you will find some very good restaurants with wonderful views of the harbour. If you go to the very end of the harbour, you have a unique view of the Oceanographic Museum from the harbour wall.
The beach of Monaco
Monaco’s beach is located in the east of the city-state, in the Larvotto district. The newly designed beach promenade invites you to take a stroll and the beach itself is a wonderful place to relax. Small round pebbles form a soft surface so that you can enjoy sunbathing without having to rent a sun lounger. There are many restaurants and shops in the arcades below the seafront.
Best Instagram photo spots
– The Maybourne Riviera Hotel There are spectacular views of Monaco from here. Either stop by the road for a quick shot next to the hotel, or have a drink on the hotel terrace. Of course, you can take much better photos there and the staff are happy to take shots with you in the foreground. The hotel building, as it hangs spectacularly from the cliff, is definitely worth a photo too. It is located directly on the A8 (from Italy) exit 58 “La Turbie”.
– The Casino with Hotel de Paris and Café de Paris
On the newly designed square in front of the Casino there are many motifs for your pictures. The casino, surrounded by the magnificent buildings of the Hotel de Paris and the Café de Paris, is an absolute eye-catcher during the day and at night.
Since 1 May 2016, Monaco Telecom has also been operating a mobile network in its home principality.
Beware of the cost trap:
As Monaco is not part of the EU, not every provider has a roaming agreement with Monaco, so considerable costs can arise. Check the conditions in your tariff.
Try to dial into one of the French networks manually.
Make detours into side streets as well.
Theoretically, everything is within walking distance, but if you have a lot you want to see, use the bus connections within the Principality.
How to reach Monaco
Nice airport is only 30 km away. From here, a bus goes directly to Monaco. The Principality is easy to reach by train from Nice. Click here for more information.
- Èze (10km)
- Nice (30km)
- Menton (10km)
- Cap-Ferrat (14km)
- Mala Beach, Cap d’Ail (5km)
Best time to visit Monaco
Monaco is an ideal destination at any time of year. However, as far as possible, you should avoid the months of July and August, as the Côte d’ Azur is very crowded at this time.