A small independent state nestled in the heart of the French Riviera, the Principality of Monaco radiates glitz and glamor and a wealth of royal history. From Le Rocher, home of the palace of the Grimaldi monarchy, to the idyllic Mediterranean coast, the second-smallest country in the world offers discoveries at every turn. Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer shares its top travel tips and recommended tourist attractions. This travel guide features the best of Monaco: top-rated accommodation, a shortlist of bars, cafes and restaurants, cultural attractions, family-friendly walks and the top places to enjoy major sporting events. Here is a summary of the best experiences Monaco has to offer, so you can enjoy the most exclusive destination in Europe!
Not sure where to stay in the Principality? The Resort Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer’s 4 and 5 star luxury hotels offer some of the most stylish accommodation on the Riviera. If you want to recharge your batteries, then stay at the Monte-Carlo Beach, a luxurious cocoon surrounded by palm trees on the Mediterranean coastline. Is a city-plus-beach break more your thing? The Hôtel Hermitage Monte-Carlo hosts you in an elegant Belle Époque setting, offering luxury, calm and exquisite pleasure. With its Michelin-starred restaurant and the Thermes Marins Monte-Carlo wellness area, it is the perfect place for a romantic weekend.
In the heart of Monaco, the legendary Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo will give you a taste of how Princess Charlene of Monaco lives with its exceptional suites and jewelers’ courtyard. Finally, the Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort will make you feel like you are on an island, with its idyllic decor, lagoon and lush garden. Boasting a casino, bar and several restaurants, it has something for everyone.
If you are looking for a taste of the best of Monaco, then look no further than the Principality’s culinary delights, an undeniable part of the lifestyle. Among the extensive range of eateries, certain restaurants take the top spot, such as Le Louis XV – Alain Ducasse at the Hôtel de Paris, with three stars in the Michelin Guide, as well as Le Vistamar and the Blue Bay, with one Michelin star apiece. Dining out in Monaco pairs perfectly with a trip to the casino. Try the Train Bleu or the Salon Rose, in the Casino de Monte-Carlo, or Le Café de Paris Monte-Carlo, the ideal location in Monte-Carlo for those looking to try their luck.
If you want to take your taste buds on a journey without leaving the Côte d’Azur, head for the exotic flavors of the Buddha-Bar Monte-Carlo or COYA Monte-Carlo. In summer, restaurants such as La Vigie Lounge & Restaurant and Las Brisas open their doors, unmissable spots if you are looking to enjoy a meal with a breath-taking panoramic view of the Mediterranean sea. Finally, an informal lunch at Le Limùn at the Hôtel Hermitage Monte-Carlo or at Mada One, in the luxurious One Monte-Carlo district, offers chic relaxation in spades.
Looking for the ideal place to grab a drink in Monaco? A whole host of options are on tap depending on your mood For friendly after-work drinks, try Le Café de Paris Monte-Carlo, opposite the bustling Place du Casino square, or the “Rendez-vous du Jeudi” at Mada One for its tasty snacks. If you are looking for a cozy yet elegant setting to enjoy a drink, head to the Bar Américain, a legendary spot in the prestigious Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo. Other exceptional bars await in Monaco, like the Blue Gin and its terrace with a unique view of the Mediterranean.
When you are caught up in the rush of the casino, take a break to rehydrate at the Sun Lounge, in the Sun Casino, or at the bar in the magnificent Salle Europe at the Casino de Monte-Carlo. Finally, here are the places to visit if you want to experience the best of Monaco’s party scene: the Pisco Bar & Lounge at the COYA Monte-Carlo for a Latino vibe, La Rascasse for its famous parties, Jimmy’z for a chic and glamorous evening or the irresistible atmosphere at the Buddha-Bar Monte-Carlo.
If you are visiting Monaco as a family, some places are a must, like the Musée Océanographique, with its giant aquariums and activities to raise awareness of the marine world. After a tour of the Monegasque royal family’s Palais Princier, young and old alike should not miss the Jardin Animalier at the foot of Le Rocher which is home to some 250 animals. Parents and their kids can also marvel at Prince Rainier III of Monaco’s impressive vintage car collection, located in the Terrasses de Fontvieille.
For family holidays in Monaco, opt for our hotels’ children’s clubs. In summer, the Kids Club at the Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort offers arts & crafts activities and sports for children aged 3-12 and the Marmorata Club at the Monte-Carlo Beach hosts music workshops, games and pool trips for children aged 3-8. As for the Hôtel Hermitage Monte-Carlo, it has designed a “Very Important Kids” program with a whole host of activities for youngsters. In Monaco, kids are treated like His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco himself, keeping the whole family happy!
Monaco is passionate about sport and makes it known through prestigious events organized each year. Motorsports are king with, of course, the Grand Prix de Formule 1 de Monaco, a legendary race which has been held since 1929 in May on the track in the heart of the city. Also hosted by the Automobile Club de Monaco, the Rallye Monte-Carlo takes place in January, followed by the Rallye Monte-Carlo Historique, a vintage car rally held every other year.
World tennis has a major event in April with the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters, when the best international players battle it out on the clay court of the Monte-Carlo Country Club. As for football, the Stade Louis II hosts the home matches of the best of Monaco – AS Monaco – all year round as part of the Ligue 1 championship. Each summer, it also holds the Meeting d’Athlétisme Herculis EBS, bringing together elite athletes from all over the world. Finally, the Jumping International de Monte-Carlo and the Meeting International de Natation de Monte-Carlo are also key dates for the diary.
Monaco is not just about sunbathing, superyachts and chic glamor, it is also a place of culture, as proven by performances by renowned performing companies: the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo, playing lyric and symphony compositions all year round, Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo and their rich choreographic repertoire, and the Opéra de Monte-Carlo and its powerful singers who perform under the Salle Garnier’s gilded ceiling.
Explore the museums to make further cultural discoveries: the marine world at the Musée Océanographique, ancient history at the Musée d’Anthropologie Préhistorique or the history of Monaco told through the collections of the Musée des Timbres et des Monnaies. Contemporary art is in the spotlight at the Nouveau Musée National de Monaco.
Finally, don’t forget the summer exhibitions at the Grimaldi Forum, in the Larvotto quarter, focusing on one artist or theme.
Each year, during the last weekend in May, the Principality buzzes with excitement due to the F1 Grand Prix. Thousands of Formula One enthusiasts flock to the city for several days of sport and celebration. If you want to make the most of it, then some spots are not to be missed. On the terrace of the Hôtel Hermitage Monte-Carlo, the view of the track and the superyachts of Port Hercule from the Paddock Lounge is one of the best of Monaco! There is even a F1 simulator, giving you the chance to take the wheel! Another prime viewpoint, La Rascasse bar, is located inside an iconic corner of the track.
Watching the race can also be an opportunity to indulge in fine dining. The Michelin-starred restaurants Le Louis XV – Alain Ducasse at the Hôtel de Paris, Le Vistamar and Le Grill offer a front-row seat to watch the race cars zoom by. What’s more, they have special offers during the event. Finally, the excitement continues right through until dawn with after-parties at Jimmy’z Monte-Carlo, where clubbers and VIPs party until the early hours, and La Rascasse which holds memorable parties right by the track.
Who better than the Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer’s Clefs d’Or concierges to give you the keys to the best of Monaco and its surroundings? Follow their recommendations for a gourmet adventure in the Principality, from the stalls of fresh produce at the Marché de la Condamine to the Michelin-starred restaurants, via their best-kept secrets. Active types can find our best facilities in dream settings: the Olympic pool at the Monte-Carlo Beach, the fitness room at the Thermes Marins Monte-Carlo, the Monte-Carlo Golf Club and the tennis courts overlooking the sea at the Monte-Carlo Country Club.
Our concierges also give you their recommendations for the best routes to walk along the coast around Monaco, from Cap Martin Roquebrune to the quays of luxury yachts docked at Port Hercule. Open their box of secrets and follow in the footsteps of Princess Grace to some iconic locations, enjoy unforgettable experiences at the casino or relax as a family. They help you discover the best of Monaco!