Casinos, cars, and credit cards without limits are what you’ll find in Monaco, but you’ll also find spectacular ocean views, amazing food, and a unique cultural mix of French and Italian. Feel like you’re in paradise as you explore this tiny principality near the French Riviera. At just 499 acres, this tax haven in paradise is a great destination for a sophisticated getaway or as a stopover as you make your way along the coast.
We only had a few hours in Monaco as we drove into Italy so we had to maximize our time there. If you want to visit the second smallest country and have time for a full-day excursion, here are some of the best activities in Monaco.
Top 9 things to do in Monaco
Take in the views
We honestly spent a good bit of time just enjoying the amazing views as we explored the area. It was nice just looking at the many colorful apartments, buildings, and restaurants sprawling into the hills, the yacht-lined harbor, and the sea glistening off in the distance. We popped into a shop and got some macarons to snack on while relaxing for 15 minutes and just enjoying the moment and the views in Monaco.
Pretend to be a high-roller at the Monte Carlo Casino
Though you might not be sitting down at any of the tables or able to gamble for more than a minute, you can stop outside the casino and enjoy its beautiful facade. Opened in the 1850s, the casino was built to save the Grimaldi family from bankruptcy and due to bad roads and lack of hotels in the area, it actually took a few years for the casino to become popular or make a profit.
Note that the casino does have a dress code and an entry fee of 10 euro.
Soak up the sun at Larvotto Beach
Be forewarned that like other beaches along the French Riviera, the beach is not your typical, tropical sand but instead smooth rocks or pebbles. Bring some comfortable footwear and plan to spend your a bit of your time taking a relaxing and refreshing dip in the sea.
Indulge with a private yacht charter
Want to take your water fun to the next level? Drop some cash in Monaco and book a private yacht charter and enjoy the views of Monaco from the sea. Find one that’s BYOB or one that includes complimentary beverages in the price and feel like a million bucks as you sail just off of Monaco.
Feel like royalty at the Prince’s Palace of Monaco
Walk around the public courtyard of the Prince’s Palace and admire the home of royalty, which was built in the 13th century. You can tour the state apartments and see some of the art collections and lavish furniture of the Grimaldi family. Be sure to stick around the changing of the guard ceremony, which happens daily at 11:55 a.m.
Swing by the Fairmont Hairpin Curve
Love the Grand Prix or want to see some of the race’s route? Pump the brakes and make a visit to one of the more popular spots at the Fairmont Hairpin Curve.
Visit the Oceanographic Museum
Love marine life and oceanography? Then you’ll want to visit the Oceanographic Museum that’s been in Monaco since 1910. In 2019, a new turtle tank is expected to open and join the other 90-some tanks at the aquarium. This is the perfect family-friendly activity or a great activity if you need to escape the humidity for a bit and see more than 400 species of tropical fish.
Step inside the Monaco Cathedral and see the great works of art and religious artifacts, as well as the burial sites for many of the royal family, including Grace Kelly.
Walk through the garden and see the rare, exotic plants and cacti. Not only are the plants stunning, but the views of the palace are quite lovely! Book a guided tour to get access to the caves.