The Côte d’Azur or French Riviera, with its mild sunny climate, is holidaymakers’ most appreciated regions in France. From the coast to the hinterland, it has plenty of treasures to offer including one of its most beautiful jewels, Monaco. This principality, with its own head of state, is one of the most expensive in the world, not always easy for modest budgets to have fun! But if you set aside luxury hotels, gourmet restaurants and sumptuous feasts, the city is also really charming and waiting to be discovered and may not be more expensive than the various seaside resorts of the French Riviera.
Overall view of Monaco with its harbour, buildings and mountains of the Côte d’Azur
Its totally unique current architecture, mainly large buildings, developed itself around too rare old buildings. In the new as in tradition, a stroll in the tiny streets enables you to enjoy carved facades as well as the modernity of new glass and steel constructions. The old town is the most typical part.
In the foreground, Monaco Yacht club is in the shape of a yacht (but it is a building).
Oceanographic museum standing in the water
Culture did not suffer in Monaco with its two small square meters. Museums offer lots of collection all year long, establishments like Grimaldi Forum or the Opera host lots of concerts and shows and festival are a yearly occurrence. (Printemps des arts and Sporting summer festival to name but a few). Collections of the Louis Notari and Princesse Caroline libraries are superb and rare. The oceanographic museum is a must-see when visiting the city.
On the left there is the prince’s palace of Monaco on the rock of the old city
The garden and the fountain are in front of the casino of Monaco and Garnier Opera
Boasting 300 days of sunshine a year in average, Monaco is a paradise for travellers who feel safe, since the state is one of the safest in the world! On land or in water, the city favours ecology. Its parks, gardens and sea bottoms enjoy an exceptional biodiversity in the spirit of serenity and nature. Young and old alike can learn to dive in the sea reserve located near the beaches of Monaco, the Larvotto.
Here is Monaco’s public beach and buildings
A secluded creek is located next to the rock of Monaco, with a background view of Roquebrune
The Monaco Solarium is facing a giant swimming pool
Prince’s palace of Monaco on the rock
Monaco Grand Prix is a must-see. From 50 to 4500€, there is a price for every budget! Created in 1929 by Prince Pierre of Monaco, it is a legendary circuit that became one of the biggest sporting events in the world. You can also just go for a swim in Larvotto beach, a very beautiful public beach from where you can enjoy the show through the din of machinery! You can then enjoy the Condamine and Cercle d’Or areas where big designers have set up shop, then go to the Casino and its gardens before finishing with a visit of Princess Grace theatre. In the evening, the well-lit Rock is superb! Start the visit with the exploration of the old town, the cathedral, and the palace square and enjoy the view of the Mediterranean. Monte-Carlo is a must-see area! Famous in the whole world, it includes the casino, Salle Garnier and its gardens. Then take a break in the famous café de Paris for a stroll down memory lane and observe from the terrace the parade of luxury cars!
Monaco and its beach on the left, Monte Carlo Country Club in the centre (in red) and the coast of Roquebrune Cap Martin
If you have time, take advantage of your stay in Monaco to explore the wonders around: Cannes and Nice for a day or Menton and the hinterland with the village of Saint Agnes which is one of the most beautiful villages in France, perched 800 m above sea level!
Bird’s eye view of the Côte d’Azur from the village of Saint Agnes
The beaches of Cap d’Ail like Mala beach nestled in the rocks or the wild beach of Pissarelles (reserved for naturists in summer) are impossible to miss!
Mala beach in Cap d’Ail: a wild beach on the doorsteps of Monaco
Cap Mala seen from Pissarelles beach
And why not drive to nearby Italy and the seaside resort of San Remo on the Italian Riviera? Swimming enthusiasts can also check our guide of sandy beaches around Nice.