Enjoy Monaco in luxury style or on a budget! UPDATE FOR 2021: Check on the Monaco website for the latest up to date information. At the moment more or less everything is open on my list below including shops. Restaurants and bars are only open to those STAYING, working or living in Monaco. Tourists sites are open.
15 Best Things to do in Monaco:
- Visit Port Hercules – Stroll around and stop for a coffee or bite to eat
- Check out the newly designed Casino Square. It is absolutely gorgeous and the gardens would win a Gold Medal at Chelsea Flower Show, they are spectacular.
- Tickets for Monaco Ballet or Opera. If you are in Monaco during the Summer season, check out the performances at Le Sporting Club.
- Monaco Grand Prix Practice days 20 – 22 May 2021, Qualifying Day 22 May 2021, Grand Prix Race Day 23 May 2021
- Buy tickets to a football match AS Monaco Football Stadium
- Visit the Oceanographic Museum and see the latest exhibits.
- Explore the Old Town and Visit The Prince’s Palace
- Les Jardins Saint Martin, perfect for a relaxing stroll
- Hire a bike – they are all around town and rent for an hour or two or longer.
- Cathedrale Notre Dame Immaculate
- Visit Monte Carlo Casino and Casino gardens
- Afternoon Shopping in the Metropole Centre and Designer stores
- Relax on Larvotto beach for the afternoon or check out the watersports at Monte Carlo Beach club
- Monaco Yacht Show – September 22 to 25 September 2021
- Dine at one of the many restaurants. I will be trying the brand new Restaurant Omer in Hotel de Paris.
PHOTO: New look Monte Carlo Casino Square
The iconic Casino Square in Monte Carlo has a brand new look. You can no longer drive around the square, it is pedestrianised and will be used for future events held in the Principality. A fresh new look for this season.
PHOTO: New look for Casino Square, Monaco
I have a villa nearby and so know the area quite well. The restaurant suggestions are updated for this season. I will add to it again soon!
My 6 favourite Restaurants in Monaco:
- L’hirondelle at Therms Marins – gorgeous views, tiny portions though
- Nobu Monte Carlo – Classic Nobu
- Avenu 31 -Semi splurge, good value Italian
- Buddha Bar Monte Carlo – Just like Buddha Bar everywhere in the world!
- Le Vistamar – Old world glamour and great service
- Maya Bay – Ever popular, Thai and Japanese food, and rightly so!
- I will look forward to trying new Restaurant Omer, located in the Hotel de Paris. They have a lunchtime menu for 55 euros including starter, main course, dessert, bottle of water and coffee included! or 2 courses for 42 euros.
- Les Perles de Monte Carlo
- Quai des Artistes classic french bistro
- La Saliere – If you are in Fontvieille Port, nice Italian restaurant
- La Note Bleu – Amended – Went last night and it was terrible!!!
- Mozza – Down to earth, casual Italian resto
- Caffe Milano – Excellent value for money, not something you can say often in restaurants in the Principality!
- Port Hercules – Potter around and try one of the ever changing restaurants. They do not last long – if they are not very good!
PHOTO: Monte Carlo Casino reflected through Anish Kapoor’s Sky Mirror
Look out for the famous sculptures on display around town in Monaco. My favourite is the famous Sky Mirror created by Anish Kapoor. This still remains in the new look Casino Square. I took the above photo of the polished steel iconic sculpture.
Monaco on a budget:
It is possible to have a day out, spending practically nothing, there are a lot of FREE things to do from strolling around the Principality, having a coffee watching all the fantastic supercars whizzing by or go to the beach. A lot of the cultural events are subsidised and so visit the ballet, Orchestra, exhibitions for a very small fee.
Where to go in Monte Carlo? You will be spoiled for choice with all the cultural activities from ballet to art exhibitions.
Monte Carlo – Where to go in Monaco
I absolutely adore Monaco and love popping into the small state whenever I am staying in my South of France home. There is another side, far removed from the brash stereotype of gambling, flash casinos, rich people showing off and generally having a good time! Although, if that is your thing – enjoy it to the max!
Photo : Monte Carlo Casino
This is such a safe place, you can wander around alone without worrying about your safety, there is a policeman around every corner. It is impossible to get lost too! The Principality is the size of Hyde Park in London, TINY!
You will definitely have a jolly good time if you follow my tips outlined below! I’m going to give you a list of the good and bad restaurants to frequent, then I will give you a wonderful walk so you can explore of foot. Monaco is the size of Hyde Park in London and so the best way to explore is on foot. Also, a list of my favourite things to do – many of which are FREE!
Visit Port Hercules
PHOTO: Port Hercules seen from The Palace
Stroll around the Port, have a coffee or bite to eat at:
- Quai des Artistes for classic french bistro style
- Stars and Bars, for a classic American Diner
- Brasserie de Monaco for inexpensive meals and drinks
- Caffe Milano, my favourite and an inexpensive Italian restaurant
Take a little detour into Rue Princesse Caroline for more little cafes and boutiques to browse.
Tip: If you are feeling lazy, take the Bateau Bus (you can see it in the photo) from one side of the port to the other.
PHOTO: The Port Monaco
My photo above shows the glamorous Monaco Yacht Club, for members only and lovely views over the port.
WHAT TO WEAR IN MONACO? I wrote a blog on the subject! Take a look here:
PHOTO: View from Monaco Yacht Club
Let’s do the touristy bit, and head on up to the Old Town. Stop of at the Oceanographic Museum. I love the top floor with the display of old photographs. http://www.oceano.mc
PHOTO: Oceanographic Museum – Sometimes they have Orchestral Concerts here during the Spring Arts Festival, a very special place.
Go and visit the Palace. I love to visit in July when it is such a treat to attend a Monaco Philharmonic Orchestra Concert in the courtyard of the Palace. The outdoor cinema is also a favourite in the summertime. This is the perfect spot to take great pics of the harbour. If you want the perfect selfie, this is my top tip!
PHOTO: PRINCE’S PALACE
Prince’s Palace http://www.palais.mc
Take a tour around inside, a fascinating glimpse into another world. The views from here are just amazing. If you are getting a little bit tired, hire one of these bikes, photo below. Its downhill all the way off Le Roque, where the Palace is located!
PHOTO: Hire a bike to get around town
If you detour to Les Jardins Saint Martin et Sainte Barbe which are situated by the Oceanographic Museum, enjoy spectacular views over Fontvieille and out to see towards Eze and Saint Jean Cap Ferrat. Cathedrale Notre Dame Immaculate is situated opposite the gardens and just up the hill from the Museum.
PHOTO: View over Fontvieille
The Fontvieille area of Monaco is home to the Football Stadium, Fontvieille Port, seen on my photo above, some excellent restaurants and a large supermarket.
It is probably lunch time by now, so choose one of the little restaurants or head down to one of my favourite places for a lunchtime treat, The Hotel Hermitage. There is a very nice 2 course menu which I recommend. http://www.hotelhermitagemontecarlo.com
PHOTO: The Terrace Hotel Hermitage with a view of the Old Town, Palace and Port
Some of my favourite restaurants:
- L’hirondelle at Thermes des Marins
- Nobu Monte Carlo
- Avenue 31
- Buddha Bar Monte Carlo
- Le Vistamar
- Maya Bay
- Beef Bar – I don’t eat meat but my meat eater friends love it.
- Les Perles de Monte Carlo
- Quai des Artistes
- Caffe Milano
- Avenue 31 – in both categories!
I want to try: Yoshi – Japanese Restaurant and Cipriani
I always love a picnic lunch! Stock up on all your picnic supplies at the Supermarket in Fontvieille and have a glamorous picnic on the beach!
PHOTO: Freddie and Zarya in MC
Monaco is very dog friendly and my dogs are welcomed nearly everywhere. Take your pooch along with you!
After lunch take a little stroll around the Casino Gardens. I’m a keen gardener and so love to see the variety of trees and plants from around the world.
PHOTO: Casino Gardens – magical
If you want to do a little shopping, you’re in the right place everything from Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Valentino to unusual little individual shops abound. The Metropole Shopping Centre is to the left of of the gardens, there is a very nice cafe on the bottom floor and my favourite shoe shop, I wonder if you can guess which one . http://www.chanel.com
http://metropoleshoppingcenter.com Stroll along avenue des moulins for little boutiques, chocolate shops and my favourite bikini store Pain de Sucre is there too.
Continue our walk down to Avenue Princess Grace and stroll along the seafront. My dogs particularly like taking a walk here and stopping off for a little aperitif along the way. Actually, if it is summertime and you want a less formal lunch than the Hotel Hermitage then one of the seafront restaurants is a good choice. http://www.lanotebleue.mc
Hopefully, you are not too tired after all this exercise and are ready to enjoy an evening out in Monte Carlo. My recommendations for this will follow in Part 2. Enjoy!
Cafe de Paris and the Casino
Don’t forget to visit the world famous Casino! Casino square is also home to Hotel de Paris and Cafe de Paris. My dogs favourite place for an evening aperitif! They like to check out the Monaco pooches strolling by! I know, slightly eccentric to let the dog choose, but it is a good choice!
This is where you will find a lot of the top designer stores too and Casino gardens are just up the hill.
Hope this helps! In the evening visit The ballet, Opera, Philharmonic orchestra. If you are in town during July and August then splurge on tickets to the Sporting Club!
How to get there:
- Drive! Hire a car and drive around the Cote d’azur. Nothing beats driving along the Corniche from Nice to arrive in Monaco for lunch. Driving is easy, do not be worried. I drive all the way from England!
- Train. There is the most glorious railway journey all along the Cote d’azur. Trains run every half hour and you can buy a ticket from the Platform machines for a few euros. The trains stop at all the little stations between Nice and Monaco, so you can hop on and off exploring as you go. The trains carry on along the Italian riviera (Read my Liguria blog posts)
- Bus. If you are staying in Monaco there is an airport bus directly to Monaco. Buy tickets at the airport ticket booth right outside the airport terminals. There are also local buses running up and down the riviera. These run frequently throughout the day.
- Taxi. Uber is banned in Monaco! The Taxis are very pricey but you can always find one quite easily near Casino Square.
- Helicopter. Arrive in style by helicopter from nice airport. There are also 30 minutia hello rides over Monaco.
Well, those are some ideas for experiencing Monaco on a budget. How about some splurge ideas? For me, the ultimate is a day or a week a sea on a beautiful Yacht. Monaco Yacht show is the perfect place to find your yacht! Read my blog on the subject here:
And here are some ideas to arrive in Monaco in style:
If you don’t want to stay aboard a beautiful Yacht there are many fabulous hotels to choose. My favourites would be:
- Hotel de Paris – Beautifully refurbished and a Monaco classic. Superb staff and friendly service too.
- Hotel Hermitage – Another Monaco classic, great service always and iconic top hotel
OR rent a really fabulous villa. Check out my favourites Airbnb or booking.com (link on the right side of this page).