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Things to do: museums, sightseeing, historic sites
Rich Man's Paradise City
As part of the French Riviera, Monaco offers the sparkling aquamarine waters of the Mediterranean Sea on its doorstep. The country has long been known for its panache--fast cars, big casinos, and expensive boutiques surround you here. While there are less luxurious activities for travelers, this is not the country for tourists on a budget. Many cruise ships make this a port of call in this region, so expect to see these vessels and large yachts as part of the landscape here. Take a peek at our Monaco trip planner: Monaco and its charms laid bare and easily scheduled.Read the Monaco Holiday Planning Guide »
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©Casino of Monte-Carlo
©Oceanographic Museum of Monaco
©Prince's Palace (Palais du Prince)
©Monte Carlo Harbor
©Exotic Garden (Jardin Exotique)
©Place du Palais
©Saint Nicholas Cathedral
©Port de Fontvieille
©Monte Carlo Country Club
©Chapelle Sainte Devote
©Stade Nautique Rainier III
©Stade Louis II
©The Palace Guards
©Casino Cafe de Paris
©Le Nouveau Musee National
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Top tours for Monaco
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Best things to do in Monaco
Casino of Monte-Carlo
Visit for: 3h
Oceanographic Museum of Monaco
Visit for: 3h
Prince's Palace (Palais du Prince)
Visit for: 2h
Visit for: 1h 30min
Saint Nicholas Cathedral
Visit for: 30min
The Private Collection of Antique Cars of H.S.H. Prince Rainier III
Visit for: 30min
Stamps and Money Museum
Visit for: 1h 30min
Le Nouveau Musee National
Visit for: 1h 30min
Musee Naval de Monaco
Visit for: 1h 30min
Kid Friendly Attractions©
Visit for: 6h
Jardin des animalier
Visit for: 2h 30min
Monte Carlo Harbor
Visit for: 1h 30min
Place du Palais
Visit for: 1h
Port de Fontvieille
Visit for: 1h
Recently planned trips to Monaco
12 days in Europe BY A USER FROM INDONESIA June, relaxing, romantic, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: June, relaxing, romantic, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 1 day in Monte-Carlo BY A USER FROM CANADA June, popular PREFERENCES: June ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 27 days in Europe BY A USER FROM NETHERLANDS March, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, fast-paced, hidden gems PREFERENCES: March, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Fast-paced 51 days in Europe BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES May, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: May, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 12 days in Europe BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM July, popular PREFERENCES: July ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 24 days in Africa & Europe BY A USER FROM MOROCCO July, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, popular PREFERENCES: July, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 2 days in Monaco BY A USER FROM FINLAND March, culture, beaches, historic sites, museums, fast-paced, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: March, culture, beaches, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Fast-paced 5 days in Europe BY A USER FROM SLOVAKIA March, relaxing, museums, popular PREFERENCES: March, relaxing, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 10 days in Europe BY A USER FROM GREECE June, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, museums, popular PREFERENCES: June, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 21 days in Europe BY A USER FROM GREENLAND August, culture, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: August, culture, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 12 days in Europe BY A USER FROM GREENLAND July, popular PREFERENCES: July ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 11 days in France, London & Monaco-Ville BY A USER FROM GUATEMALA March, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: March, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium
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Monaco Holiday Planning GuideAs part of the French Riviera, Monaco offers the aquamarine waters of the Mediterranean Sea on its doorstep. The country has long been known for its panache--fast cars, big casinos, and expensive boutiques will surround you on your Monaco holiday. While you can find some more economical activities for travelers, this is not the country for tourists on a budget. Many cruise ships make this a port of call, so expect to see these vessels and large yachts as part of the landscape here.
Places to Visit in Monaco
Cities in MonacoMonte-Carlo: The luxurious city at the base of the Alps boasts a renowned casino in a historical palace, and features high-class entertainment including operas and ballets performed in stunning theaters, and medieval villages.
Monaco-Ville: As one of the nation's oldest towns, the site offers delightful little streets decorated with cathedrals and museums all sitting against towering cliffs.
La Condamine: Known for its large harbor and the luxury yachts within, the second-oldest district in Monaco stands out as a great place for excellent seafood meals.
Fontvieille: The newest of four traditional quarters in Monaco, this more modern district was built in the 1970s and offers shopping centers, a large harbor, and a sports complex.
Things to Do in Monaco
Popular Monaco Tourist AttractionsOceanographic Museum of Monaco: Located on a towering sea cliff, the marine museum educates visitors on surrounding aquatic life and its environment, including displays like a shark lagoon, turtle island, and tactile pool where you can touch various animals.
Casino Square: A luxurious and exciting stop on any Monaco itinerary, this square is surrounded by lavishly landscaped areas that open to first-class hotels and a casino; you may recognize it as a backdrop for James Bond films.
Monte Carlo Harbor: A mecca for luxury yacht owners, this harbor exudes wealth as fancy boats float alongside restaurants and cafes that offer perfect places for dinner and drinks among celebrities.
Prince's Palace (Palais du Prince): Inhabited for more than 700 years by the ruling Grimaldi family, the palace allows visitors during a limited time period to explore the lavish rooms with 16th-century frescoes and the throne topped by the crown.
Saint Nicholas Cathedral: Once the wedding location of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier III, this beautiful cathedral with marble floors and elaborate frescoes dates back to the 13th century.
Japanese Gardens: Escape usual bustle of Monaco tourist attractions by spending some time in this quiet garden with waterfalls, carp-filled lakes, secluded pathways, and a teahouse.
Exotic Garden (Jardin Exotique): Sitting atop a steep hill and featuring exhibits of native plants, including succulents and cacti, this garden offers educational tours about the region's fauna as well as an underground cave to explore.
Vieux Monaco: Otherwise known as the city's Old Town, this 6th-century area houses numerous famous attractions like theatres and chapels amongst medieval streets and buildings.
Larvotto Beach: As Monaco's only beach, the stretch of man-made pebbled shoreline features shallow water and lots of convenient bars and restaurants.
Place du Palais: Among many other Monaco things to do, stop to learn about Monaco's military history and the history of the royal family in the palace surrounded by mansions and officers' barracks.
Planning a Monaco Vacation with Kids
Places to Visit in Monaco with KidsDespite being the world's second smallest country, Monaco packs a punch when it comes to things to see and do. The main city of Monte-Carlo holds most Monaco tourist attractions, so base yourself here for convenience. If you want to get off the beaten path, head to one of the nation's oldest towns at Monaco-Ville and explore the delightful streets and shops. For families who love the water, check out La Condamine, where you can view a plethora of luxury yachts and find some excellent seafood.
Things to Do in Monaco with KidsSince many travelers begin in Monte-Carlo, make Oceanographic Museum of Monaco a priority. The museum hosts rare and regional marine species, including seahorses, stingrays, turtles, and even an intimidating shark lagoon where kids and adults alike can view the predators of the sea up close. Monaco's only beach, Larvotto Beach, is man-made and works well for youngsters who can swim safely while adults can relax on the pebbled shoreline. You'll find playgrounds and water sports here, and restaurants line the shoreline so it is easy to grab a bite.
If you'd rather skip the beach, head to Exotic Garden (Jardin Exotique). Although your kids may not be botanists, they are likely to enjoy the underground cave on site. Or visit the Zoological Museum that hosts about 50 different species like exotic birds, primates, hippopotamus, and black panthers. In the city center, the 6th-century Old Town of Vieux Monaco provides lots of little alleyways to explore and old buildings to admire.
Tips for a Family Vacation in MonacoConsider renting a bike during your Monaco vacation and explore the country on your own. But be sure to pace yourself, as the area is extremely hilly and kids might have trouble pedaling for more than an hour or two. Or, opt for motor bikes. If the small country starts to feel too limiting, head for the city's train station, which is centrally located and allows easy day trips to France or Italy.
Dining and Shopping on Holiday in Monaco
Cuisine of MonacoWhile you'll notice some French and Italian influences throughout Monaco cuisine, most dishes tend to resemble Mediterranean flavors. Seafood is prevalent and delicious, so be sure to ask your server for the catch of the day. Breakfast portions are usually small, so grab a snack or two to carry with you if you need more to eat as you go Monaco sightseeing.
Shopping in MonacoMonaco is a world-class location for luxury shopping, and shops offer everything from haute couture to stunning jewelry. Famous stores are found in the heart of the city, but if you are looking for something more unique, explore the hand-crafted products of the Old Town shopkeepers at Vieux Monaco. Clothing, bags and leather pieces make perfect souvenirs.
Know Before You Go on a Trip to Monaco
History of MonacoHistory of the area of Monaco stretches back centuries to 6th century BC, when Phocaeans founded the colony of Monoikos, named after the Roman god Hercules. At the time, legend told that Hercules built the ancient path that passed through the region from Spain to Italy. Some writings since then have described a temple dedicated to Hercules, but no such structure has been found. This area also served as a stopping point for Julius Caesar on his way to campaign in Greece.
Romans controlled the area until the fall of the Western Roman Empire, and afterwards it passed from ruler to ruler through raids and invasions. In 1191, Holy Roman Emperor Henry VI granted the area to the city of Genoa, the native home of the Ligurians, and Monaco's modern history began.
Originally created as a colony of Genoa in 1215, Monaco passed under the rule of the House of Grimaldi in 1297. The nation has remained under the family's rule since then, except for a brief period when the French ruled from 1789 to 1814. The Grimaldi family is famous around the world and visitors can even visit their lavish home at Prince's Palace (Palais du Prince). Although Monaco is now constitutional government, the Prince of Monaco was the supreme ruler until 1911.
France become involved with the country once again in 1918 when Monaco bartered limited protection along with French policy and cooperating economic interests. In 1993, Monaco gained full voting rights after joining the United Nations.