Monaco Travel Guide

by Natalie Becci
Photos by Eric Martin - Text by Ally Redmond

Spanning only three and a half miles from end-to-end, Monaco is the second-smallest country in the world, behind the Vatican. But what it lacks in size, it makes up for in, well… everything else.

It might be hard to separate Monaco from visions of hedonists and high rollers, but this sunny city-state on the glistening Mediterranean coast has more to offer than superyachts and good poker.


Divided into five quarters, Monaco is unique in that it is essentially both a self-governed and tax-free principality and enjoys a sweet spot on the Riviera — kissing the border of Italy and surrounded by the French Maritime Alps. On its south side is Le Rocher (“The Rock”): a jagged outcrop upon which sits Monaco-Ville, its Old Town, featuring the medieval royal palace overlooking the sea. Head inland, and it’s all glitz and glamour impossibly luxurious hotels, designer fashion boutiques, Michelin-starred restaurants and flashy sports cars galore.

Monaco’s status as a destination for the jet-setting elite has been cemented since the early 20th century, thanks in part to the late American movie star, Grace Kelly, who married into the royal family in the 1950s and became Princess of the Principality.

If a luxurious vacation is what you’re after, Monaco offers the experience of a lifetime, and nothing says opulence like Monte-Carlo. A veritable playground for the rich and beautiful, it is known for its dazzling events, such as the yearly Monaco Grand Prix; its legendary Belle Époque casino; and, of course, the famous yacht-filled harbor — Port Hercules.

And rest assured, Monaco is much more than an epicenter of thrills and decadence. It also boasts a rich ancient history, beautiful beaches dotted with resorts and plenty of things to do and see… all set against the spectacular backdrop of the shimmering Mediterranean Sea.

Things To Do

Casino de Monte Carlo

Place du Casino, 98000 

Feeling lucky? Whether you’re a seasoned gambler or a visitor looking for a bit of fun, paying a visit to the iconic Monte-Carlo Casino deserves a spot on every Monaco hit list. Whatever your game of choice… Blackjack, Roulette or Texas Hold’em — or if you simply want to sip a James Bond martini in one of the many restaurants, bars or lounges — there is something at this Art Nouveau entertainment establishment to please everyone.

le palais princier

Le Palais Princier, 98015

 The Prince of Monaco’s private residence.

Built in 1215, the Palais Princier has been in the hands of the Grimaldi family for 700 years. A blend of architectural styles, the ancient edifice has seen myriad changes over many centuries. Today, its mix of medieval fortifications, classical façades and Renaissance-style features makes it an incredible representation of Monaco’s history. The Grands Appartements —— which house the ceremonial rooms, each outfitted in original frescoes, ornate furnishings and intricate tapestries —— are open to the public.

Musée Océanographique

Avenue Saint-Martin, 98000 

Carved into a rock overlooking the ocean, this grandiose three-floor museum —— which showcases both permanent and temporary exhibits —— is a cabinet of curiosities dedicated to the deep blue sea. Wonderful for families, there is also a restaurant on the roof terrace with a playground and a new “turtle island” habitat.

Princess Grace Rose Garden

Avenue des Papalins, 98000 

Inside Fontvieille Park, the Roseraie Princesse Grace has been delighting visitors since the 1980s, when Prince Rainier III created it in memory of his late wife – the beloved Grace Kelly, whose bronze statue presides over the 55,0000-square-foot garden. Home to a whopping 6,000 rose bushes (of 315 varieties), the space is divided into seven themes, each as beautiful as the next. One of the most colorful and tranquil places to visit in Monaco.

Photo Credit: @elena.stogova

Monaco Ville

Wind through the narrow, medieval streets of the Old Town, fondly nicknamed Le Rocher,” which houses the principality’s most stately buildings (Le Palais Princier, the Town Hall and Parliament, to name a few), along with a smattering of shops, perfectly preserved Renaissance homes and the gorgeous Monaco Cathedral, built in Romanesque-Byzantine-style with white stone. Head out for a morning jaunt, and end up at the Place du Palais at 11:55 a.m. to see the daily changing of the Monégasque Guard.

Monaco Grand Prix

The big-ticket event of the year. The Monaco Grand Prix is a world-renowned Formula 1 motor race held annually in late May or early June. It is the most well-known and challenging (78 laps with elevation changes, tight corners and an infamous tunnel) of all the circuits in the Formula 1 World Championship and is attended by the high adrenaline sport’s most wealthy and famous fans. Start your engines!

Metropole Shopping Monte-Carlo

17 Avenue des Spélugues, 98000 

A gallery of 80 shops and six restaurants, where everything from fashion, accessories and antiques to beauty treatments and gourmet food can be found. This famed shopping center — with its Italian marble walkways and majestic Faustig chandeliers — is a must-visit for fashionistas and open Monday through Saturday. Pro-tip: if you’re a non-EU resident, you can take advantage of its immediate tax refund service on the first floor.

Monaco yacht club

Quai Louis II (Port Hercules)

Arguably the biggest player on the international yachting scene. Founded in 1953 by Prince Rainier, the Monaco Yacht Club boasts over 2,500 members from 80 countries — and, naturally, some of the world’s most prestigious private boats. Setting the standard of naval etiquette, its mission is to perpetuate and pass on a heritage that is deeply ingrained in Monégasque culture. Head to the harbor to check out the yachts — a truly jaw-dropping site — then swing by the club for an apéritif.

Marché de la Condamine

11 Rue Terrazzani, 98000 

Located on the Place d’Armes, a stone’s throw from the port, this indoor/outdoor market and gourmet food hall brings together an array of local vendors — butchers, fish and cheesemongers, bakers, florists, fruit and vegetable producers — offering up regional specialties, like socca, barbagiuans and pissaladière. The market, with its warm and sunny Southern spirit, has been around since 1880 but received an overhaul in 2012, landing on the radar of foodies far and wide.

Where To Stay

Hotel de Paris

Place du Casino, 98000

Live like the royals at the Monégasque icon that is Hôtel de Paris. Nestled in the heart of the action on the Place du Casino, this Belle Époque palace — adorned with sparkling chandeliers and furnishings from Le Palais Princier — offers an unparalleled experience, complete with a three-Michelin-starred restaurant, a piano bar and 5-star services that cater to your every need. A stay here also offers access to Les Thermes Marins — a stunning space dedicated to beauty and wellness that spans over 70,000 square feet.

fairmont monte carlo

12 Avenue des Spélugues, 98000

Flanked by the casino on one side and the Mediterranean on the other, the Fairmont Monte-Carlo is one of the largest luxury resorts in Europe, offering 596 rooms, suites and residences with private terraces; myriad esteemed eateries and lounges – the trendy NOBU and NIKKI Beach among them — a fitness studio, a spa and a heated swimming pool. The clincher? An exclusive private beach in Larvotto Bay for Fairmont guests only.

l'hotel l'hermitage

Square Beaumarchais, 98000 

If elegance is high on your list of priorities, look no further than the Hermitage, a historic palace turned posh five-star hotel. With its serene atmosphere, it is a sanctuary of relaxation where time seems to stand still. Enjoy a meal at its Michelin-starred restaurant, Yannick Alléno, or unwind at the Les Thermes Marins. Not staying? Pop in to indulge in an afternoon tea in a timeless Belle Époque setting.

Cap Estel

1312 Avenue Raymond Poincaré, 06360 Èze-Bord-de-Mer

This lovely waterfront hotel, previously a private mansion, is a vision of old school glamour and possesses a striking position on the Mediterranean. It features 14 decadent suites and 4 rooms, two restaurants, a spa, its very own portion of coastline and two swimming pools — one of which is set into the rocks, appearing to float above the waves — all surrounded by its own park, gardens and terraces.

chateau eza

Rue de la Pise, 06360 Èze

Although technically located in the neighboring medieval village of Èze, this intimate 5-star boutique hotel features 14 rooms and suites, each uniquely designed in traditional château style. Perched on the side of an ancient rock face, its terrace naturally presents magical views — the ideal spot for an apéritif!

Maybourne Riviera

1551 Route de la Turbie, 06190 Roquebrune-Cap-Martin

Another exquisite stay just outside of Monaco, on the rocky peninsula of Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, can be found at the brand-new Maybourne Riviera. 

Perfectly positioned between beautiful Menton and Monte-Carlo, this modern, Mediterranean hotel offers sweeping panoramas of the Riviera’s olive groves, citrus trees and warm terracotta rooftops.

Where To Eat

Le Louis XV

Place du Casino, 98000 

World-famous chef Alain Ducasse lent his star power to the Hôtel de Paris with Le Louis XV, offering guests an elevated culinary experience inspired by the French Riviera. One of the most prestigious restaurants in Monaco, it features a unique and contemporary menu — heralded by its intensely flavorful broths and sauces — that never fails to delight. Boasting three Michelin stars, this is fine dining at its finest.


Avenue Princesse Grace, 98000 Roquebrune-Cap-Martin

Local, seasonal, entirely organic, with an exclusive menu of wild-caught fish… Elsa is the first restaurant of its kind to receive a Michelin star. And it isn’t just the food that is extraordinary; the setting is as refined as its menu. Elsa’s dining room, designed in azure hues to evoke the colors of the coast, is elegant and relaxing, but the sun-soaked terrace is where you want to be for a meal with a truly breathtaking panorama of the sea.

le café de paris

Place du Casino, 98000

Across from Hôtel de Paris, on the other side of the Casino, you’ll find Le Café de Paris, a bustling brasserie that’s been at the heart of Monégasque life for over 150 years. Headed by celebrated Chef Frank Lefon, here, local dishes — seafood, meats, soups, pastas and desserts — all share the spotlight. With convivial, delicious and unpretentious food and a trendy terrace, it is the perfect place to relax and refuel.

le grill

Place du Casino, 98000 

The legendary 8th-floor restaurant of the Hôtel de Paris. Although Le Grill’s esteemed reputation comes from its decadent grilled meats, the menu — imagined by Chef Frank Cerutti, who worked for three decades with Alain Ducasse — is far from limited. The best part? The roof opens entirely, so whether you’re dining under the warmth of the sun or the star-speckled night sky, you are guaranteed an awe-inspiring backdrop.

the blue bay

40 Avenue Princesse Grace, 98000 

The Michelin-starred restaurant of the Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort. Chef Marcel Ravin is passionate about his creative cuisine, fusing West Indies and Mediterranean flavors (think green papaya spaghetti carbonara and egg with cassava, truffle and passion fruit). As much a treat for the eyes as it is for the taste buds, Ravin also partnered with a ceramicist from his native island to create bespoke tableware inspired by the depths of the Caribbean Sea. An exhilarating culinary adventure!


11 Rue du Portier, 98000 

A delightful Italian trattoria with a terrace and trendy setting. Warm, retro décor – floor mosaics, red leather benches, mirrors and marble tables — welcomes guests inside to dig into traditional Italian favorites (and a lunch menu that changes daily), speakeasy cocktails and the vast mozzarella bar, with varieties imported from Italy three times a week! Mozza even has its own little grocery store with products like olive oil, artisanal pasta and Panettone from their Italian supplies.

Related Articles

This Site Uses Cookies

Don’t be alarmed, we do not use or store your information. We are a French site and this is simply a regulation for the European Union to let you know that this website uses cookies to improve your user experience. By using our website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Cookie Policy. Read More