Hugged by France on either sides, Monaco is the second smallest country in the world and has the highest per capita income. A tax-free country, high-end retail stores, luxury cars, palatial mansions, expensive yachts, private helicopters, fancy port are things that define Monaco and make it a land of the rich and famous. A short 30 minute train ride from Nice, France takes you to Monaco. If you prefer a scenic route at your leisure pace, you could drive as well, but good luck driving or finding parking in the busy streets of Monaco.
1. Watch the Monaco Grand Prix
Considered one of the most prestigious automobile races in the world, the Monaco Grand Prix is a must-see in Monaco. The balconies around Monaco become great viewpoints to see the super-fast cars zipping through the streets of Monaco by the glitzy port. The balcony by the Prince’s Palace, the Monte Carlo Casino are great vantage points to see the race cars. Be prepared for the whirring sound of cars propagating through the air and deafening your ears.
2. Visit the Monte Carlo Casino
As seen in the movie Golden Eye, the Monte Carlo Casino looks more glamorous in person than in the movie. From almost any balcony in Monaco overlooking the country, you can’t miss a faded green roof popping up amidst the crowded buildings. This green roof tops the legendary Monte Carlo Casino, commanding a view of the Mediterranean Sea. The casino is not only known for its imposing interior décor and its striking exterior façade, but also for catering to its prestigious customers. A typical scene outside the Monte Carlo Casino, is a square full of camera-toting tourists wolfing the luxurious Lamborghinis and Ferraris parked outside.
To gamble inside Europe’s most famous casino with the affluent, be sure to dress up and show your ID card to enter.
3. Stroll by the Palace Square and see the Prince’s Palace
Once a medieval castle and Louis XIV’s opulent residence, and then a hospital for the Italian army post French Revolution, today the Palace is Prince Albert’s private residence. The State Apartments are open to the public during certain times of the year. The guards protect the Prince 24/7 and still stage the Changing of the Guard ceremony daily.
Stroll by the Palace Square to get an overarching view of the Palace. Walk over to the ramparts to see a panoramic view of Monaco and its jazzy sea port.
4. Walk inside the Cathedral of Monaco
The Cathedral of Monaco is the location of the fairy-tale wedding of Monaco’s much beloved Princess Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier. It is also the very same place where they rest in peace. To this day, the residents of Monaco pay respect by placing fresh flowers over their tombs.
The church is immaculately adorned and maintained. Look out for the wedding pictures of Princess Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier at several places inside the church.
5. Head over to the Cousteau Aquarium
Marine enthusiasts – Head over to the Cousteau Aquarium. This impressive aquarium, towering above the sea cliffs and outlining the Mediterranean Sea was built by Prince Albert I to show his fondness for the sea. Don’t miss out of the incredible views of the ocean from an overlook in the gardens near the aquarium.