Principality of Monaco
Located only a few kilometers from Nice and the Italian border, Monaco is the second smallest country in the world after the Vatican. Its two ports often hold the largest and most luxurious yachts in the world. Nor is it hard to find exclusive cars in front of the famous Monte-Carlo Casino. Though the Casino from the 19th century is considered to be the symbol of the country, it is ironically off-limits to citizens of Monaco. It is therefore mostly attended by wealthy foreigners. The wealthy have long been drawn to Monaco thanks to its lack of income tax. In fact, approximately thirty percent of the population is made up of millionaires.
Springtime draws race and sports fans to Monaco. The ATP Masters 1000 tennis tournament is held in April at the Monte-Carlo Country Club, and only a few weeks after, the Grand Prix of Monaco, when the main streets transform into a professional racing circuit. Monaco's historical old town, also known as "the Rock", holds many of Monaco's main attractions, including the Prince's Palace, the Saint Nicholas Cathedral (which contains the tombs of prior princes), the Oceanographic Museum, the St. Martin gardens, and the Museum of Vieux Monaco. Visitors meandering through the old town can also stop by numerous restaurants, cafes and shops.
In the past century, cultural and garden areas have thrived and are Monaco's best-kept secrets. The city-state has eight museums and numerous exotic gardens of various themes. The most famous museums are the Oceanographic Museum, the Exhibition of HSH - the Prince of Monaco’s Vintage Car Collection, and the Naval Museum. Less known but equally interesting are the New National Museum of Monaco, the Museum of Prehistoric Anthropology, and the Museum of Stamps and Coins. Besides the popular Casino and St. Martin gardens, other extravagant gardens include the Exotic Garden, the Japanese Garden, and the Fontvieille Park and Princess Grace Rose Garden (in honor of Grace Kelly) with its 300 different types of roses. In its mere two square kilometers, Monaco has as much to offer as any worldly big city.
Map of routes and landmarks in Monaco:
1. Monte-Carlo Casino and the Prince's Palace:
Time: ~ 2 hours walking
This route starts at the Monte-Carlo Casino and drops down to the famous curve racers take in the Formula 1, then continues along the track through the tunnel towards Port Hercules. You will follow the length of the port where you can view the yachts. Then you'll climb the hill, go round the bend, and head in the direction of the old town. Here you can see the grand Oceanographic Museum, the St. Martin Gardens and the Saint Nicholas Cathedral. From the cathedral, wander through the colorful historical streets, stopping to visit restaurants and shops. Then head towards the Prince's Palace, where there are lookouts with great views of Monaco.
2. Exotic Garden and Princess Grace Rose Garden:
Time: ~ 1 hour walking
Beginning at the Exotic Garden, go down the Boulevard du Jardin Exotique, passing the Museum of Prehistoric Anthropology and the New National Museum. Keep going towards Prince Pierre Avenue and follow it until Rue de la Colle, which will take you to Rainiero III square next to the UNESCO garden. Continue on towards Port Fontvieille, passing the Monaco Top Cars Collection and the Naval Museum. After that you'll arrive at Place du Campanin, where the Saint Nicholas Cathedral is located. From there follow the path through the park, which will take you to the Princess Grace Rose Garden.
3. Larvotto Beach and the Japanese Garden:
Time: ~ 1 hour walking
This route starts on Princesse Grace Avenue, which crosses over from France into Monaco and follows the coastline. When you cross the border (which you likely won't even notice), you'll pass along the hotels to the left. You'll arrive at Larvotto Beach, where there is an open area with bars and restaurants. You will then follow the Promenade du Larvotto, passing the Grimaldi Forum towards the Japanese Garden, where the route ends.
Monte-Carlo Casino square
Formula 1 exhibition
1. Monte Carlo Casino
2. Port Hercules
3. Prince's Palace
4. Formula 1 Grand Prix
5. Masters 1000 of Monte Carlo
6. Oceanographic Museum
What's most popular in Monaco
The Grimaldi coat of arms and the Monaco flag
Nearby towns and cities
Cannes (55 km / 34 mi)
Nice (21 km / 13 mi)
Villefranche-sur-mer (17 km / 11 mi)
Eze (9 km / 6 mi)
Menton (10 km / 6 mi)
Ventimiglia, Italy (32 km / 20 mi)
San Remo, Italy (41 km / 25 mi)
It's easy to reach Monaco by car, as there's no marked border on the connecting highways with France.
International railways Nice-Paris (TGV), Paris-Ventimiglia (Train Bleu) and Marseille-Milan all have stops at the Monaco Monte-Carlo station.
Helicopter services are available from the Nice Airport 22 km from Monaco.
A bus line (bus number 100) connecting Nice and Monaco leaves from the Nice port. It costs 1.50€ and takes about 30 minutes.
Tourism and Culture:
Saint Nicholas Cathedral
Famous curve of the Formula 1