What to See on a Day Trip to Monaco
One of the most famous locations on the French Riviera is the glamorous principality of Monaco. Although it is a separate country to France, it’s close proximity to Nice makes it a great place to head for a day out. Not only is it packed with beautiful views, stunning architecture, and rich culture, Monaco is also only 2kmsq, making it the second smallest country in the world – and easily covered in the space of a day! So if you’re in the region and are interested in checking out this super elegant country, here are a few things worth seeing while you’re there.
A natural bay formerly used as a trading port, Port Hercules is one of the very few deep-water ports on the French Riviera. Flanked by two piers, Port Hercules may well be one of the most famous views in Monaco. Filled with the superyachts of the rich and famous as well as the odd luxury cruise liner, heading here should be at the top of everyone’s itinerary for a day out in Monaco. Take a water taxi from one side to the other and remember to take your camera to capture all of those stunning views!
Monaco might be famous for its movies and Hollywood glamour, but it is also home to several stunning beaches, the most popular one being Larvotto. Although it is man-made, Larvotto beach is an absolutely beautiful spot to soak up the sun while taking in the views of the sparkling clear waters. Located in a lovely city setting, the soft pebble beach is ideal for sunbathing, swimming, and exploring the local restaurants. Hire a private section of the beach with a lounger and parasol or enjoy an ice-cold drink as you top up your tan.
Monte Carlo Casino and Opera
Monaco is famous for its glamorous casino, so it is well worth making time to check it out while you’re there. Casino de Monte Carlo is the fourth oldest casino on the continent; it first opened its doors in 1856 and was so successful that it quickly added a concert hall not long afterward. It has been the primary source of income for the state and royal family ever since – so profitable, in fact, that the state was able to absolve its citizens of all taxes. Take in the beautiful architecture before perusing the historic Opera de Monte Carlo and the headquarters of Les Ballets de Monte Carlo.
Created at the behest of Prince Rainier III in 1994, the Japanese Garden is a stunning example of Zen design and Japanese traditions that immediately transport you to the land of the rising sun. Stroll through the sunlit gardens and explore the plethora of beautiful installations, such as a waterfall, bridges, a pond, islands, a tea house, and bamboo hedges. Enjoy the serene landscape and take a moment to watch the koi carp swimming serenely through the pond.
Take a chopper
If you’re feeling super decadent, you could take to the skies in a private helicopter to get a bird’s eye view of the stunning coastline. Take in the famous view of Port Hercules from a whole new angle, while picking out the casino, the Old Town, and the Palace as you whizz through the air. The helicopter will hover at points of interest, giving you plenty of time to snap those once-in-a-lifetime images that will leave your friends and family green with envy!
Originally founded by Prince Albert I of Monaco, the museum has become world-renowned for its ocean expertise and display of more than 6,000 specimens. The architecture of the building is worth visiting alone, but the sheer number of fascinating displays and models will keep you entertained for hours. Check out the tropical aquariums featuring sharks, piranhas, seahorses, and fish with enchanting shapes and colours before heading to the Mediterranean room to meet the clever octopus, hundreds of invertebrates, and jellyfish. There is also a whale room and the world’s largest cabinet of marine curiosities displayed in the museum.
Whether you want to try your hand at poker or take to the skies in a helicopter, Monaco is filled with amazing ways to spend your trip. Just remember to pack your camera so that you can snap those famous views!