Monte Carlo, Monaco

A day trip to Monaco is a good addition to a holiday on the French or Italian Riviera. Just a short journey along the Riviera will take you through three countries; Italy, France and Monaco, and a tour along this beautiful stretch of Mediterranean coast is a popular holiday choice. The Côte d’Azur is an enchanting mixture of natural beauty, artificial glamour, and blue blue sea. Monte Carlo is also a glamorous weekend destination, with easy access from the UK.

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Monaco Holiday Information

When to go

The climate is generally mild, with plenty of sunshine, but in the summer Monaco can be hot and crowded. The Monaco Grand Prix takes place in May, so depending on your tastes you should either make a note to avoid the crowds and the screeching rubber, or book ahead to enjoy the excitement.

Monaco Travel Information

The budget airline Easyjet flies from the UK to Nice, the nearest international airport. Since a weekend in Monte Carlo is all about enjoying the high life, why not take the helicopter connection service to Monaco? If the answer to that question is obvious, then the cheaper option is to travel by bus. These run hourly between the airport and Monte Carlo, and the journey takes 45 minutes. Trains also run from Nice. There is a huge and spanking-new railway station – so large you can get lost in it. Good connections run along the coast into Italy and France.

Monaco and Monte Carlo Tourist Attractions

Monte Carlo must be one of the most evocative place names in the world, summoning up a image that is all its own. Glamourous gowns and glittering jewels gathered around roulette tables, sunbathing starlets and royal romances.

Located on the beautiful Côte d’Azur, Monte Carlo is at the centre of the tiny principality of Monaco. Covering 2 square kilometres, the state nestles into France, and the official languages are French and Monégasque, although English and Italian are also spoken. The currency is the Euro.

Monaco is chiefly famous for its royalty (the glamorous Grimaldi family have ruled the country since the thirteenth century) and its casino, and as a visitor you will find these two definitive features hard to avoid. Far better to revel in the unique character of this ultimate in materialist worlds.

The main tourist attraction in Monaco is, naturally, the Casino. Some parts of this venerable institution are open to the casual visitor (over 21s only), but you should dress smartly and be prepared to pay if you want to penetrate to its more exclusive areas. Tacky it may seem, but you can’t visit Monte Carlo without having at least a look, if not a flutter.

Also well-worth a visit are the strange National Museum of Dolls and Automatons of Yesteryear and the souvenir shops where you can buy a Prince Rainier commemorative mug.

Although so tiny you can walk around the country in half a day, Monaco is divided into four areas, of which Monte Carlo is the most renowned. If you want to travel around, and don’t fancy walking, distances are short, and buses run up and down the length of the state.

The Palace (open May-October) is in Monaco-Ville, the old fortified capital , and for an entrance fee you can view the State Apartments, and the Throne Room. Further royal entertainment can be had at the History of the Princes of Monaco Wax Museum, where you can admire effigies of past Grimaldis.

Also in Monaco-Ville is the Oceanographic Museum, with its highly-recommended aquarium, and the free Museum of Old Monaco. Art treasures can be seen at the Musée de la Chapelle de la Visitation, where the collection includes works by Rubens and Vermeer.

The remaining two areas are Fontvieille, an industrialised quarter where land reclamation has extended the principality’s acreage, and La Condamine, the harbour area.

Monaco Tourist Information

Office du Tourisme , Direction du Tourisme et des Congres de la Principauté de Monaco, 2a Boulevard des Moulins, Monte Carlo.

Monaco Restaurants

The best areas for eating out in Monaco are Monaco-Ville and the harbour quarter, La Condamine. You can choose from cuisines reflecting both the French and Italian influences.

Monaco Nightlife

Monte Carlo nightlife is mostly glitzy and expensive. There are several old-style cabaret shows, notably the Cabaret in the Casino Gardens. For a more youthful atmosphere, try Stars’n’Bars, an American-style bar with a restaurant and disco, or the Monte Carlo Sporting Club where you’ll find a choice of entertainments, including Jimmy’z disco.

Monaco Accommodation

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Monaco Guidebooks

Inside Monaco
An indepth guide boasting a foreword by Crown Prince Albert. Useful for visitors, however long their stay. Includes chapters on living and working in Monaco, and attractions for children. Buy now from Amazon.co.uk

The Magic Principality: A Pocket Guide to Monaco-Monte Carlo
A pocket guide to a pocket state – practical tourist information and advice. Buy now from Amazon.co.uk