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Best things to do & places to stay:

Last updated: 04 November, 2022
Expert travel writer: Dana Facaros

This tiny principality, complete with a royal family, is the second smallest (and most densely populated) country in the world. Crammed into this 2sq km tax haven are skyscrapers, mega yachts, Porches, celebrities, a royal palace, a famous Oceanographic Museum, a plethora of top-end clothing boutiques and three marinas filled with giant yachts, making it the ideal choice for an afternoon of wandering (and gawking).

End the day in style by trying your luck (and losing your holiday money) in one of Monaco’s famous casinos.

Orientation

Although it all merges together into a giant conurbation, Monaco is divided into distinct quarters.

Monte Carlo is on its headland with the Casino, the surrounding Cercle d’Or, with the most fancy-pants jewellers, antiques dealers and haute couture shops.

The Royal Palace, Cathedral and Oceanography Museum are on the rock of the old town, or Monaco-Ville.

In between these is the port quarter, La Condamine, filled with the skyscraper apartment blocks; brash Fontvieille to the southwest is similar.

The bucket list experiences our writer says you must do in this destination

Monaco Grand Prix

Monaco, Cote d'Azur, France

The world’s most prestigious automobile races, with a track winding through the winding streets of this billionaires’ playground. Monaco is the height of Formula One glamour.

Best for ages: 13+ | £50 | 4 days

Drive the Grande Corniche

Eze, Cote d'Azur, France

Take one of Europe’s most scenic, exhilarating drives, with eagle-eye views of the sparkling French coastline.

Best for ages: 18+ | Free | 2-4 hours

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Monaco Oceanographic Museum

Monaco, Cote d'Azur, France

Founded in 1906 by Prince Albert I, Monaco’s Musee Oceanographique is one of the oldest scientific marine institutes anywhere. Spectacular aquariums and treasures from ocean voyages, located in a remarkable wedding-cake building cascading over cliffs.

Best for ages: 4+ | £12

Other worthwhile experiences in this destination if you have the time or the interest

Exterior of the green roofed, Belle Epoque cafe de paris with terrace in front
Experience

Cafe de Paris Monte-Carlo

Monaco, Cote d'Azur, France

The famous Belle Epoque café, with its lovely outdoor terrace, is the place for a rendez-vous (and people watching) in Monaco. In a prime central location, go for lunch, dinner or a well-deserved cocktail. After some ‘Dutch courage’, try your luck at one of Monaco’s famous casinos nearby.

Best for ages: 13+ | Free

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Path through a garden with giant plants and cacti on each side
Experience

Exotic Garden of Monaco

Monaco, Cote d'Azur, France

If it all gets too much, head to the stunning 75-year-old Jardin Exotique, with its surreal collection of cacti, a stalactite Observatory Cave inhabited 250,000 years ago, and an anthropology museum. Open Tuesday to Saturday. Guided tours on Saturdya by appointment.

Best for ages: 8+ | £6

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Gorgeous and secluded white-sand beach nestled in between jagged cliffs
Experience

Mala Beach

Monaco , Cote d'Azur, France

A stunning white sand and pebble beach under pale golden cliffs just west of Monaco. Accessed by steep steps, this shallow cove is both glamorous and exclusive. Mala has two public areas and two chic beach clubs: Eden Plage and the Reserve de Mala – both romantic at sunset, serving cocktails by candlelight and playing music after dark.

Best for ages: Any | Free

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Our selection of the best Viator tours of this destination, plus helpful tickets and transfers

 Eze, Monaco & Monte Carlo from Nice from Nice

Eze, Monaco & Monte Carlo from Nice from Nice

Nice

  Experience the charm of the Côte d'Azur. Visit Eze, a medieval village and perfume Fragonard, the marvelous principality of Monaco, and t...

€40 | Rating 4.15 / 5 [217 ratings]

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Best of the French Riviera with Cannes , Monaco & more Private guided Tour

Best of the French Riviera with Cannes , Monaco & more Private guided Tour

Nice

Discover the best places in the French Riviera with a qualified guide/driver during a shared full day tour. Your guide will introduce you to...

€720 | Rating 4.71 / 5 [14 ratings]

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Tour supplied by:

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Best of the French Riviera with Cannes, Monaco & More shared guided tour

Best of the French Riviera with Cannes, Monaco & More shared guided tour

Nice

Discover the best places in the French Riviera with a qualified guide/driver during a shared full day tour. Your guide will introduce you to...

€110 | Rating 4.43 / 5 [30 ratings]

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Tour supplied by:

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Monaco and Eze Small-Group Day Trip with Perfumery Visit from Nice

Monaco and Eze Small-Group Day Trip with Perfumery Visit from Nice

Nice

Spend a day on the beautiful French Riviera with a small-group day trip from Nice to Eze and Monaco. Experience panoramic views from the cli...

€97 | Rating 4.58 / 5 [725 ratings]

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Our writer’s picks of the best places to stay in this destination

Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort

Monaco, Cote d'Azur

A luxury seaside resort in a dreamy coastal Monaco setting that has the works: heavenly lagoon pool and spa, Michelin-starred restaurant and world-class service. 

Official star rating:

When to go

The most beautiful times to visit are April to June and mid-September to October, when the weather is warm and breezy but not uncomfortably hot.

July and August are crowded, hot and expensive, but the most popular time to go for the casinos, beaches and nightclubs. November is the dullest month, when many things close down; December and January have many bright, shirtsleeve days.

May sees Monaco host of the Riviera’s main events – the Monaco Grand Prix – with an accompanying surge in hotel and flight prices.

Getting there and away

If money is no object, Monacair helicopters link Nice Airport to Monaco in seven minutes connecting with every arriving flight. Alternatively the Nice Airport Express Bus No 110 leaves Terminal 2 roughly once an hour, stopping in Monte Carlo. There  are also plenty of taxis, which like the bus take around 50 minutes depending on traffic.

Getting around

As the world’s second smallest country, getting around on foot would be easy if it weren’t so steep, but there are eight street lifts and five bus lines, as well as a solar-powered Bateau Bus across the harbour. If you’ve got a car, there are convenient car parks by the Casino, and the Chemin des Pecheurs near the Oceanographic Museum.

Our writer’s recommended itineraries for this destination

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