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Bucket list experience:

Last updated: 10 November, 2022
Expert travel writer: Dana Facaros

Founded in 1906 by Prince Albert I, Monaco’s Musee Oceanographique is one of the oldest scientific marine institutes anywhere.

Located in a remarkable wedding-cake building, cascading over the cliffs towards the sea, it contains fascinating artefacts and stuffed creatures collected by Albert himself during his 24 ocean expeditions.

The basement’s aquarium tanks are one highlight, with examples of over 400 species from the Mediterranean and tropical ecosystems, including a shark tank and live coral reef – all labelled in English.

After taking in the exhibits, take the lift up to the café floor, even if you’re not stopping, for the views over the tiny, high-rise principality and the sea.

Recommended itineraries by our writers that include this experience

Price from: £12
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 4+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

If you’re taking a Monaco bus, No. 1 and No. 2 both pass by. Or take the commuter boat across the port from Monte Carlo; a lift descends from near the Casino.

If you’re driving, there’s an underground car park accessed from the cliff – then take the lift up to the aquarium. There’s a rooftop cafe with great views, serving reasonably priced food and drinks.

When to do it

Although always interesting, the museum and its aquariums are the classic rainy day family activity on the Cote d’Azur. Try to avoid weekends, when it can get very crowded.

Our writer’s picks of the best places to stay near this experience, closest first

Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort

Monaco, Cote d'Azur[2 miles]

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:

Cap Estel

Eze, Cote d'Azur, France[4.3 miles]

This superb villa turned boutique hotel, between Monaco and Cap Ferrat, has been voted the best seaside hotel in France. Stay here for old-fashioned glamour, truly magical views, a private beach and gorgeous infinity pool.

Official star rating:

Chateau Eza

Eze, Cote d'Azur, France[4.8 miles]

Charming, authentic and classy boutique hotel set in a 17th-century castle, within the 9th-century walls of a village perche. Ideal for honeymooners, with romantic rooms and heart-stopping views over the coastline.

Official star rating:

Hotel Royal Riviera

Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, Cote d'Azur, France[8.4 miles]

The grande dame of the Cote d’Azur, this classic, updated luxury hotel has a sublime seaside location. It comes with pool, lush gardens, and one of the very few private beaches on the exclusive Cap Ferrat.

Official star rating:

Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

French Riviera

Cote d'Azur, France

Money, glamour and bombshell looks: this beach-trimmed stretch of French coast offers decadent hotels, lounging in beach clubs, fine restaurants and world-class art.

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Cote d'Azur, France

The Riviera’s Never Never Land for the rich, offering bling, glamour, sights, high-roller casinos and entertainment galore.

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Our writer’s recommendations of other bucket list experiences our writer says you must do in this destination, closest first

Monaco Grand Prix

Monaco, Cote d'Azur, France[0 miles]

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

Monte Carlo Casino

Monaco, Cote d'Azur, France[0.6 miles]

The world’s most famous and prestigious casino – in one of the world’s casino capitals – oozes glamour, history, and class.

Best for ages: 18+ | Free

Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild

Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, Cote d'Azur, France[8.7 miles]

A remarkable fantasy villa, complete with exquisite exotic gardens, built in 1912 by the flamboyant art collector Baroness Beatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild to house her fabulous collection of 18th-century art and furniture.

Best for ages: 18+ | £13

Drive the Grande Corniche

Eze, Cote d'Azur, France[10.1 miles]

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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Other worthwhile experiences near this experience if you have time or interest..

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

Cafe de Paris Monte-Carlo

Monaco, Cote d'Azur, France[0.6 miles]

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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Prince’s Palace of Monaco

Monaco , Cote d'Azur, France[0.6 miles]

Set scenically on a cliff, the palace home of the Monaco monarchy has opulent state apartments, family portraits and unrivalled views over the yacht-packed marina.

Best for ages: 13+ | £7

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

Exotic Garden of Monaco

Monaco, Cote d'Azur, France[0.9 miles]

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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Ancient stone monument of the Trophy of Augustus in Le Turbie, French Riviera, France

Trophy of Augustus

La Turbie, Cote d'Azur, France[1.7 miles]

High above Monaco, Emperor Augustus erected a 147ft monument in the 1st century BC to celebrate his victories over the Ligurian tribes. In spite of damage over the centuries, it is still a remarkable sight, with breathtaking views.

Best for ages: 18+ | Free

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