It’s hard to beat the Mediterranean for interesting and beautiful travel destinations. We’ve covered several stunning locations in Greece before, and other countries like Italy, Spain, France, and Croatia are also known for their incredible islands, beaches, and seaside cities. Another other place to keep on your list for a Mediterranean getaway is Monaco.
Technically an independent city-state, but often viewed as a sort of unofficial province of France, Monaco is on the coast of the sea near the French-Italian border. It’s a tiny territory known mostly for the city of Monte Carlo, but for such a little place it has a great deal to offer any curious traveler.
Here’s our look at some of Monaco’s can’t-miss attractions:
PALAIS DU PRINCE
This is one European area where you can actually explore a royal residence rather than just look at it from the outside. Or at least you can tour the glittering state apartments when the prince himself is out of town (though some parts of the palace are off-limits). Even walking by the palace is something to behold.
It was initially built in the 13th century, and though it’s undergone several renovations since, it retains a stunning air of history. It was built with panoramic views of the sea so as to be more defensible in ancient times, and the Grimaldi family that still occupies the residence is thought to be the oldest royal family on Earth.
If there’s one prevailing postcard image of Monaco, it’s the harbor in Monte Carlo. It’s called both the Monaco Harbor and the Monte Carlo Harbor, and it’s known for hosting an array of rich and spectacular yachts right in the middle of the city.
There’s something magnificent about looking down on it from the hills and cliffs around Monte Carlo, though you can also enjoy it up close and personal. There are plenty of opportunities to rent time on boats and explore the surrounding sea.
MONTE CARLO CASINO
You don’t have to be a big fan of casinos to enjoy this fact, and for that matter there actually seem to be fewer and fewer people who care about brick-and-mortar casinos. The industry has evolved online, and now that some of the key sites have a mobile presence, it’s more convenient than ever for people to play games without visiting venues.
But that’s just the thing at the Monte Carlo Casino. It’s all about the venue, rather than the games themselves. You can play poker or slot reels anywhere these days, but this rich and glamorous building is without a doubt one of the top attractions in Monaco. It truly packs some elegant, old world glory, and if you happen to be trying to play some games, you’ll feel that much classier doing it.
There are actually plenty of gardens around Monaco that are worth visiting if you’re aiming to soak up some natural beauty. The Jardin Exotique is probably the most famous, and the Princess Grace Rose Garden might be the most ornate.
But our pick is the Jardin Japonais. It’s a zen garden that feels oddly serene for being in the middle of such a vibrant area, and yet the views from the garden don’t allow you to forget where you are. This makes for an interesting and enjoyable blend of cultures and visuals.
LA NOTE BLEUE MONACO
The main beach at Monaco is Larvotto Beach, and La Note Bleue is actually a sub-section of it. But this is perhaps the most unique little beach stretch in town. It’s small and intimate, it’s connected to a restaurant, and it often hosts live musical performances (and primarily jazz).
For a typical beach day you might be better off on the main drag at Larvotto, but if you’re looking for a late afternoon or evening out, La Note Bleue is special.
We hope that this article has inspired you to visit Monaco. If you have any questions about the destination or have your own travel tips to share please leave these in the comments below.
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