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It’s the kind of place where the person sitting next to you at the roulette table might be a millionaire – or about to become one. Get to know Monaco, the flashiest of holiday destinations.
This tiny, wealthy city state sits in a covetable sunspot on the Mediterranean coast. Nice Airport is a pebble’s throw (or a helicopter ride) away to the west, and Italy lies to the east. It’s a place where the marina is always packed tight with luxury yachts, their guests enticed up to the prestigious Casino de Monte Carlo or perched in the grandstands of the Monaco Grand Prix. It’s where even the humblest kerbside cafes sell pale Provencal rosé and the people-watching along the quays will give you serious outfit envy. With just under a third of its population estimated to be millionaires, Monaco – and its famous inner Monte Carlo district – has long been a playground for the fabulously rich and famous. Join them for your most glamorous getaway yet. Discover our great Monte Carlo, Monaco holidays.
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What to do on your Monaco holiday
Walk the course of the Monaco Grand Prix
Yacht-spot in Port Hercule
The famous Formula 1 race takes over many of Monaco’s streets for a week in late May. The crowds descend, the stands come up, and people clamour to book rooms at the Fairmont Monte Carlo, which looks over the course’s dramatic hairpin bend and has a rooftop pool. Outside of Grand Prix season you can cruise along the course for yourself by car or on foot. All sorts of fancy cars get parked up in Monaco’s streets, waiting to be admired – keep your eyes peeled for Porsches.
Take a chance at the casino
Monaco is very walkable, and if you’re on foot you shouldn’t miss a stroll around Port Hercule. Monaco’s deep-water marina allows some of the largest yachts on the coast to drop in. Walk up the northern side of the harbour to the yacht club, admiring the flashy sterns of the boats moored along it, and then continue up the hill to the casino.
Catch a match, or see some sport
The Beaux-Arts façade of the magnificent Casino de Monte-Carlo hints at the treasures within. A merry-go-round of flashy cars pull up outside, and inside opulent interiors glint with gilt and marble columns. There’s an entry fee and a dress code: long trousers and no sports shoes for men – and a jacket after 8pm – but don’t let that put you off popping in. On the same square, Hotel de Paris and Café Paris sit facing each other. The former is a recently-renovated five-star hotel, the latter is a great place to lie back, relax and people-watch.
Visit the royal attractions
Monaco’s football team compete in the top tier of the French league – AS Monaco are a force to be reckoned with, and their football stadium holds free guided tours. With a capacity of 18,500, Louis II Stadium is so large that it can fit over two thirds of Monaco’s population. But Monaco isn’t just for football fans. The Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters tennis tournament takes place on the clay courts at the Monte Carlo Country Club in April, and the Yacht Club holds flashy sailing regattas.
Tour the museums
Walk up the hill from Monaco harbour to see The Prince’s Palace, the longstanding residence of the Grimaldis – the Monegasque Royal Family. It’s a sight to behold from the outside, but from April to October you can actually go in to see a few of the royal apartments. Admire the flamboyant Renaissance décor and look out especially for a portrait of the beloved Princess Grace and Prince Ranier. The courtyard outside holds open-air classical concerts, and every day at precisely 11:55am crowds gather to watch the changing of the guard. You could complete your royal visit with a trip to the Classic Car Collection of HSH The Prince of Monaco, located on the Terraces de Fontvieille.
The New National Museum of Monaco has exhibitions shedding light on the history of this unusual territory, its heritage and its cultural prowess in the region. The Naval Museum, just outside of Monaco-Ville, displays more than 250 marine, naval and ocean-inspired exhibits. Keen philatelists and coin enthusiasts will find the Museum of Stamps and Coins a rare treat. Inside the modern building, visitors can see rare stamps and coins of Monaco’s rich history. The Museum of Prehistoric Anthropology, located in the Exotic Gardens, is home to a rare and important collection of fossils and excavated artefacts from the principality and the surrounding region.