Last update: October, 2019.

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10 places to visit in Monaco and Monte Carlo

Tourist Itinerary in Monaco: where to go and what to see in 1, 2, 3 or 4 days.

View of Monte Carlo from Monaco

Monaco, a tiny city, is the capital of the Principality of Monaco. There is also another famous city, Monte Carlo. The city might be small, but there is much to see. Firstly, it is famous throughout the world for the Formula 1 Grand Prix that takes place on a track that runs right through the heart of the city of Monte Carlo. This city is famous for its large casino, the setting for some Hollywood films, and also for its beaches and fashion shows, yachts and luxury cars parked everywhere. But Monaco is also known for its size and its wealth.

Monte Carlo is indeed the princely district of Monaco. It owes its name to Prince Charles III who saved the principality from bankruptcy. During the difficult political and economic situation of 1865, he built the Casino that still today stands on the square and embellishes it.

The city of Monte Carlo with its skyscrapers, grand hotels and luxury restaurants overlooks the Ligurian Sea. There are also numerous monuments here. 10-places.com suggests 10 places to visit in Monaco and Monte Carlo during a holiday; at the bottom of the page you will find a map of the most popular tourist route.

Looking for accommodation in Monaco? Use the convenient search system of booking.com. To save money, compare the prices of more than 50 sites on hotelscombined.com: you will find the lowest price for the room you select.

The Palace of the Princes of Monaco

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The Palazzo dei Principi is located right in the center of Monaco and was built in 1191. There is a wonderful panorama from this location, of the sea and the marina with all the yachts.

Prince's Palace of Monaco
Prince's Palace of Monaco

The Palazzo dei Principi is the official residence of the Prince of Monaco. It stands on the ruins of a Genoese fortress and has been the property of the Grimaldi family since 1297. Legend has it that the leader of the Guelphs, Francesco Grimaldi, burst into the Palace disguised as a monk with his cousin Ranieri I and took possession of it.

A visit to the palace to view the interiors is possible only in summer. There are many rooms in the Palace which are worthy of note:

  • The Yellow Room also called Salon Louis XV;
  • The Sala Mazzarino polychrome painted wood paneling;
  • The Blue Room, decorated with a fine wall covering of blue brocade;
  • The Throne Room.

Frescoes, portraits and furniture of the 1700s are displayed inside the Palace. The ceremony of the changing of the guard takes place every morning at 11.55 in the courtyard.

How to get there: on foot - see the map at the bottom of the page.

Opening times: from 10 am to 6 pm, from April to mid-October. Closed in winter.

How much does it cost? €8 / $9.20.

Old Monaco

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A great way to appreciate the very colorful pedestrian areas of the city is to stroll through Old Monaco. The old town is on the top of the same hill where the Palace of the Princes is located.

The old town of Monaco
The old town of Monaco

It is a very well-cared for district, with a rich history and fascinating monuments, appreciated by tourists because of its narrow alleyways, shops and bakeries with attractive colorful shopfronts and the many historical places and monuments to visit.

10-places.com recommends that you visit all the main monuments of Old Monaco:

  • The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, also called San Nicola
  • The Chapel of Mercy
  • The Condamine district with its colorful fruit and vegetable market

Not far from La Condamine is Port Hercule square with its numerous bars, restaurants and shops. Nearby is the Moneghetti district with its historic villas, large green spaces and playgrounds for children. It is an ideal opportunity to get to know the traditions of Monaco and listen to the Monegasque dialect, similar to the dialect spoken in Liguria which is only a few kilometers / miles away.

The Oceanographic Museum of Monaco

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The Oceanographic Museum of Monaco has been a joy for both adults and children since 1910, in addition to being proof that this little piece of Europe is not just populated by luxury cars and tax evaders.

Oceanographic Museum in Monaco
Oceanographic Museum in Monaco

This museum offers guests 6500 square meters of space where they can observe more than 6000 types of marine life, such as sharks, turtles, Mediterranean fish and Tropical fish, a coral reef that has been growing successfully in these waters since 1989.

As well as the aquarium you can also admire the collection of objects and instruments that document the birth of oceanography.

Where is it? St-Martin Avenue, not far from the Palace of the Princes.

Opening times: in winter from 10 am to 6 pm, July and August until 8 pm, other months until 7 pm.

How much does it cost? €14 / $16, a discount of 3 Euro in winter, in summer the opposite, i.e. the price increases by 2 Euro.

The Monte Carlo Casino

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The Casino of Monte Carlo is the elitist symbol of the Principality. It is located on the square of the same name which is decorated by a magnificent fountain and characterized by a fleet of luxury vehicles.

Casino of Monte Carlo, Monaco
Casino of Monte Carlo

The Casino is a part of the architectural complex that also includes the Grand Théâtre, right beside it. Here you can also find the “Galerie des Allées Lumières”, a shopping center which offers fashionable and stylish clothing.

The Casino was designed by the same architect who designed the Paris Opera House. Gold and marble are used for the interior fittings, and there are also numerous sculptures and frescoes. The Casino has been the setting for numerous films, among which we can mention “Never Say Never”, “Golden Eye” and “Ocean's Twelve”.

Where is it? Piazza del Casino (indicated on the map at the bottom of the page).

Opening times: every day from 2 pm to 4 am.

How much does it cost? €10 / $12 entry fee, and you can also just sit and have a drink here and admire the interior. But entry is permitted only to those who are appropriately dressed: shorts and sportswear are not accepted.

Minimum age: 18 years.

The Grand Théâtre of Monte Carlo

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The Grand Théâtre of Monte Carlo, better known as the Operà of Monte Carlo, is a grand theater just as its name says, and is part of the Casino. It was inaugurated in 1879. Charles Garnier, the architect known to most of us for the Operà of Paris, collaborated on the design of the building. The Grand Théâtre of Monte Carlo is a smaller example of the famous Parisian theater.

Opéra de Monte-Carlo, Monaco
Opéra de Monte-Carlo

The interiors of the building are reminiscent of the magnificence of the Belle Epoque: gilt decorations and a beautiful window with a view to the Mediterranean Sea. It is interesting to note that the columns that support the entire structure were designed by the creator of the Eiffel Tower, Gustave Eiffel.

The Grand Théâtre of Monte Carlo is one of the most luxurious of places. Important world premieres, such as “The Damnation of Faust” by Hector Berlioz in 1893 and “Don Quixote” by Jules Massenet in 1910 were held here. Today it is the theater for ballets and concerts of the philharmonic orchestra. This theater has always hosted the protagonists of the global theater scene: Caruso, Saint-Saëns, Puccini, Schipa.

The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception

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The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception is situated in the center of Monaco and is the most famous place of worship in the city. The Cathedral is built in white marble in the neo-romantic style and stands on the ruins of a church built in 1252 in honor of Saint Nicholas of Myra. It was consecrated in 1911.

Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Monaco
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Monaco

Inside the Cathedral you can admire these monuments:

  • The altarpiece of San Nicola, made in 1500
  • The triptych of Saint Devote
  • The tombs of the Princes of Monaco, among them Rainier III and Grace Kelly, his wife

A public concert of the small singers of Monaco is held every Sunday at 10 am.

Opening times: every day from 8.30 am to 6 pm. In summer until 7.00 pm.

How much does it cost? Free admission.

The Exotic Garden of Monaco

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The Exotic Garden was inaugurated in 1933. There are many varieties of plants here which, thanks to their different provenances, flourish throughout the year. You can admire several types of agave and cactus from Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, as well as from South America, Mexico, the United States.

Exotic Garden of Monaco
Exotic Garden of Monaco

The Exotic Garden is located 5 minutes walk from the center of Monaco. With the assistance of expert cavers, you can visit a limestone cave, 100 meters / 328 ft. above sea level, with stalactites and stalagmites. Research has brought to light the bones of animals which testify to the presence of people in these places since prehistory. Round off your visit at the Museum of Prehistoric Anthropology that houses the relics found in the cave.

Opening times: from 9 am to 6 pm. Closed on 19 November and 25 December. Open all other days.

How much does it cost? Adults €7.20 / $8.30; student discount 50%. The ticket includes the visit to the garden, cave and the Museum of Prehistoric Anthropology.

The New National Museum of Monaco

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Visitors to the New National Museum will discover the foundations of contemporary art. A series of exhibitions, permanent collections and events present the cultural heritage of the Principality of Monaco.

New National Museum of Monaco
New National Museum of Monaco

The Museum has two main sites: Villa Sauber and Villa Paloma. These are two historical villas purchased by the government and transformed into museums. Villa Sauber covers an area of 875 square meters (9400 sq. ft).

The most important “jewel in the crown” of the New National Museum is the collection of automatons, wind-up toys and dolls from the XVIII-XIX century. The fantastic toys made of wood and porcelain will make your visit to the museum a real adventure. Once a day the employees of the museum wind up the mechanisms of the automatons and toys and bring them to life, so to speak: they play musical instruments, sigh, read books, drink tea.

Each year the museum hosts at least two exhibitions of contemporary artists and designers. Works of Rene Magritte, Claude Monet and William Turner were on show at the last exhibition.

Opening times: from 10 am to 6 pm.

How much does it cost? €6 / $6.90.

What to eat in Monaco?

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The Principality of Monaco is influenced by the two most famous cuisines in the world, French and Italian. But Monte Carlo is a unique place: here, dishes are prepared using only the finest ingredients. Here too you will find very good restaurants where the service is excellent, and prices are astronomical.

Local food: barbagiuan in Monte Carlo, Monaco
Local food: barbagiuan in Monte Carlo

Monaco’s cuisine includes the best of traditional French and Italian dishes: fish and shellfish, spaghetti with pesto, crêpes Suzette, cheeses, Nicoise salad (with anchovies), oysters and desserts.

Among the most famous dishes of Monte Carlo the following are the most popular:

  • Barbagiuan: homemade ravioli filled with pumpkin, ricotta, basil
  • Stockfish: dried cod with a tomato sauce, seasoned with garlic, olives, fresh herbs
  • Pissaladière: local pizza (onion, tomato, anchovies, herbs such as sage, rosemary and thyme)

In Monte Carlo you usually finish the meal with fougasse (sweet buns flavored with orange and anise, covered with almonds, caster sugar and pine nuts). Anise liqueur is very famous in Monte Carlo.

Where to sleep in Monte Carlo?

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Monte Carlo is the flagship of the Principality of Monaco. The city overlooking the Ligurian Sea and at only a few hours from Genoa, is the home of one of the most important royal families of Europe. It is the homeland of historical and architectural masterpieces. But first of all, tourists are concerned about where to stay in Monte Carlo.

There is not much choice of hotels and other accommodation for tourists to the city. In Monte Carlo itself there are only 30 hotels, but they are sufficient to fully satisfy the needs of travelers. Staying here is expensive: prices for a room in a three-star hotel in the city center start at 150 Euro. We advise you to consider the hotels in Nice which is located nearby, where prices are much lower and there are trains every half hour that connect the two cities in only 20 minutes.

Looking for accommodation in Monaco? Use the convenient search system of booking.com. To save money, compare the prices of more than 50 sites on hotelscombined.com: you will find the lowest price for the room you select.

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