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Bucket list experience:

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

Ever since 1297, when it was captured by Francesco Grimaldi the Spiteful (who snuck in disguised as a monk, stabbed the guards, then let in his men), this palace set on a cliff has been the headquarters of Monaco’s royal family. Around the 17th century, opulent state apartments were added, which are now open for public visits for part of the year.

The main palace remains the private residence of the ruling Prince, and is closed to the public. Family photos add interest – look out for the portrait of Princess Grace (a.k.a movie star Grace Kelly), Prince Rainier and their children – and there are fabulous views over a marina scattered with mega-yachts.

While you're there

It’s a five-minute walk to Monaco’s 19th–century cathedral, site of the simple tombs of Grace and Rainier and a fine 16th-century altarpiece by local artist Louis Brea.

Recommended itineraries by our writers that include this experience

Price from: £7
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 13+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

If you’re driving, the nearest car park is the Parking des Pecheurs. Otherwise, take bus 1 or 2 (both transverse much of Monaco and stop by the train station) to the final stop, Monaco Ville. Or, brave the steep walk up from the marina and be rewarded by sparkling views. A decent audio guide, included in the price, will guide you through the various rooms and halls.

When to do it

The state apartments tend to be open April to October – check the website for exact dates and hours. Arrive by 11.50am to watch the changing of the palace guard.

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

Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort

Monaco, Cote d'Azur[2.5 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 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[4.7 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[8.1 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


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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Cote d'Azur, France

The buzzing, art-filled, foodie capital of the French Riviera, with a charming, Italian-influenced historic centre. The ideal base for a first-time visit to the Cote d’Azur, and home to the world-renowned Nice Carnival.

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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 Oceanographic Museum

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

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

Monaco Grand Prix

Monaco, Cote d'Azur, France[0.7 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[1 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[8.3 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

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

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

Exotic Garden of Monaco

Monaco, Cote d'Azur, France[0.5 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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Exterior of the green roofed, Belle Epoque cafe de paris with terrace in front

Cafe de Paris Monte-Carlo

Monaco, Cote d'Azur, France[1 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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Ancient stone monument of the Trophy of Augustus in Le Turbie, French Riviera, France

Trophy of Augustus

La Turbie, Cote d'Azur, France[2.1 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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Gorgeous and secluded white-sand beach nestled in between jagged cliffs

Mala Beach

Monaco , Cote d'Azur, France[2.6 miles]

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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