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Take a spin to this Mediterranean principality

The world’s second smallest country more than makes up for its diminutive size with wealth, glitz and glam in abundance. Despite all the ostentatious wealth on show there are still plenty of simpler pleasures to enjoy, such as a charming old town, historical buildings and several pleasant green spaces.

Around a third of its inhabitants are millionaires, so you’ll likely rub shoulders with wealthy types mooring their yachts, taking their chances in the famous Monte Carlo Casino or posing on Monte Carlo Beach Club’s artificial beach. The annual Monaco Grand Prix also draws a well-heeled crowd each May when the city comes to a standstill. You can walk the circuit any time of year though. Look out for swish Porsches and other motors parked along the route. For a dose of high culture call in at the Opera House built by Charles Garnier in 1875, the mastermind behind the Paris Opera House, or check out the 13th Century Prince’s Palace of Monaco to see how the local nobility live. Or tour museums dedicated to naval history, stamps and coins, and Prehistoric Anthropology.

Browse the outdoor market stalls at La Condamine Market – the perfect place to try local specialities such as barbagiuans, Swiss chard and ricotta fritters, or book a table at the ritzy Mada One restaurant to taste chef Marcel Ravin’s signature dish, the Monegu, a ‘travel cake’ inspired by brioche and panettone in the colours of the Monaco flag. Escape the microstate’s relentless urbanity with a stroll in the Princess Grace Rose Garden of Fontvieille Park which is dotted with 4,000 rose bushes and numerous sculptures. Book your flights to Nice to discover all this and more. If you're feeling really fancy pick up a private helicopter transfer from Nice airport and arrive in style.

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Best hotels in Monaco for all types of traveller

It’s hard to imagine a more perfect location than that of the Fairmont Monte Carlo. Wedged between the Med and the casino, overlooking the famous hairpin bend of the Monte Carlo Grand Prix route. As if this wasn’t enough there’s a rooftop pool, a Nikki Beach Club and a Nobu restaurant to enjoy. Hotel de Paris Monte-Carlo is another centrally-located lavish luxury pile. Taking pride of place on Casino Square, this hotel offers two Michelin-starred restaurants and a rooftop spa. Also mere steps from the casino lies the Hotel Metropole Monte Carlo, a plush resort complete with a pool area designed by Karl Lagerfeld and a Belle Epoque makeover led by Jacques Garcia. For a view of the French Riviera and the Port Hercule, book into the Hotel Hermitage Monte-Carlo. This extravagant property boasts a glass domed roof designed by Gustave Eiffel, a winter garden and an award-winning spa.

 

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Fly-Drives

Hiring a car on holiday allows for the ultimate freedom to explore.

Toyota C-HR or similar
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Fiat 500e Electric or similar
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Volvo XC60 or similar
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Monaco holiday FAQs

Make the most of your Monaco holiday

This is a place where the marina is always packed tight with luxury yachts, enticed by the prestigious Casino de Monte Carlo and the grandstands of the Monaco Grand Prix. It’s a place where even the humblest kerbside cafes sell pale Provencal rosé and the people-watching along the quays will give you serious outfit envy.

What are the best things to do in Monaco?

1. Visit Monte Carlo Casino. Even if you’re not here to gamble, the building is well worth a peek to take in one of Europe’s grandest examples of Belle Epoque architecture. Gambling opens at 14:00 and a strict smart dress code operates. There are three lavish salons open to the public while the exclusive Salon Privés are reserved for more regular visitors.

2. Wander around Le Rocher. What’s left of Monaco’s Old Town is well worth exploring. Get lost in its maze of narrow, windy Medieval lanes and take the staircase up Rampe Major from Place D’armes by the port. As you do, look out for the statue of the late Prince Rainier by Dutch artist Kees Verkade.

3. Check out the Collection de Voitures Anciennes. Over 40 years Prince Rainier amassed a significant collection of 100 classic cars. Vintage vehicles, on display since 1993, include Ferraris, Maseratis, Lamborghinis, Rolls-Royces and several F1 and rally cars, along with the Lexus which carried Prince Albert II to his wedding in 2011.

4. Call in at the Cathedral. This Roman-Byzantine Cathedral was built in 1875 from white stone brought in from La Turbie, France. Today it houses the graves of the principality’s monarchy including those of Prince Rainier and Princess Grace. Look out for the Episcopal throne fashioned from white Carrara marble.

5. Hit the beach. Larvotto Beach is a fine shingle beach with sand trucked in, but it's perhaps the world’s most glamorous beach. Expect to pay a premium for a sunbed and umbrella here. The beach is lined with upscale bars, restaurants and bistros to enjoy. It’s family-friendly but do look out for jellyfish. There’s a good provision of water sports here, from parasailing to jet skis.

Which holiday type in Monaco is right for me?

If you’re looking for a resort hotel set in a beautiful garden peninsula then look no further than the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort. Kick back in its swimming pool-lagoon with solarium, Jacuzzi, gardens and water features, enjoy its authentic 1930s ambience and submit to a relaxing spa treatment. For beach holidays the exclusive Le Meridien Beach Plaza enjoys a private beach, cooking masterclasses and soothing sauna baths – this place does not stint on luxuries. Meanwhile Monte Carlo Beach, a member of the esteemed Relais & Chateaux collection, is another beach front property. Offering a private landing dock and rooms complete with loggias to enjoy sweeping sea views.

For something more budget-friendly, the Novotel Monte Carlo has you covered. This modern hotel, a short walk from the train station, offers a fitness centre, an outdoor pool and a video games area. Another pocket pleasing option is the Columbus Monte Carlo. This hotel, in the Fontvieille area, was once owned by racing driver David Coulthard and features chic designer rooms and a complimentary shuttle service. Finally a further frugal choice is the Port Palace. This boutique hotel overlooks both the Grad Prix circuit and the yacht-lined harbour so you can still soak up this exuberant lifestyle on a budget.

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