Monte Carlo is one of the most alluring destinations in all of Europe. Essentially the epitome of a luxury Mediterranean paradise, it’s known as a celebrity hideout, as well as a popular stop for people traveling around Europe. And as you may know or might imagine, this sort of destination tends to become famous for a handful of specific things to do. If you have the time and money, all of them are worthwhile. But if you’re looking for the highlights and trying to stretch a budget (as most people who visit Monte Carlo are), you may need to pass through the trendy sights and attractions and choose a few highlights.
Hopefully, should you visit Monte Carlo, this will help!
Do: Visit Larvotto Beach
Larvotto can look rather exclusive, with its close proximity to fancy resorts and restaurants and, sometimes, rows of uniform umbrellas set up during the day. It’s actually a public beach though, and the most famous (and best) in Monte Carlo. Whether you simply walk along the pebbled shore, take a dip in the water, eat at a nearby open-air café, or rent a kayak, you’ll rediscover the true magic of the French Riviera. It’s a true must-see area in the city, and while it may also be worth your time to explore some of the other beaches in town or in close proximity to it, you probably won’t find a place you prefer.
Don’t: Tour The Cathedral
Saint Nicholas Cathedral, or the Cathedral of Monaco as it’s often called, is a beautiful building with some interesting history behind it. It’s the cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese, as well as the final resting place of the actress and princess consort of Monaco, Grace Kelly. Ultimately however it’s not particularly unique among European cathedrals. It’s a nice stop if you have time, but not a mandatory item to tick off your list.
Do: Explore The Exotic Garden
The Exotic Garden, or Jardin Exotique de Monaco, is an incredible semi-natural attraction. Comprised of thousands of succulent plants and flowers and spread out over 15,000 square meters – largely on the side of one of the cliffs overlooking Monte Carlo – it’s as peaceful and beautiful as you might imagine. And while the plants themselves are nice to look at, really the views over the city and the sea that make this such a special place to explore.
Don’t: Play At The Casino
Casino de Monte Carlo is famous around the world, and is a fairly incredible place simply as an attraction. You should certainly take a look at it, or perhaps even walk through. But unless you have cash to spare or really know what you’re doing, you may not want to play there. Limits are high, the level is expert, and ultimately you can always find the same games online in a cheaper and easier environment. Sites are always thinking up new ways to entice players to game online, and that can lead to things like free play or matching bonuses on deposits that almost inherently make it a better deal than you’ll ever find at a world-class casino like this one.
Do: Try Fine Dining
I’ll keep this point brief, because it basically speaks for itself. The air of luxury that exists throughout Monte Carlo can drive you away from the fancier hotels and restaurants, and thats probably for the best if you’re adhering to a budget. However, one or two nicer meals, even for a price, are worth it, because the food in town – particularly the fresh seafood – is to die for!
Don’t: Go Shopping
As is true of a lot of other luxurious cities around Europe, Monte Carlo is also known as something of a shopping hub. For some, this is a legitimate perk of the experience and a real reason for visiting. Unless that describes you however, and you’re a true shopping enthusiast, it’s best to spend your money elsewhere. Most of the local offerings are more than you need.
Do: Tour The Oceanographic Museum
It could stand to have a catchier name, but the Oceanographic Museum in Monte Carlo is actually fairly amazing. Located on the palace hill just beyond the Old Town, the museum is a sight in and of itself, and towers over the sea like some sort of man-made cliff. It houses a live aquarium, various artifacts and educational exhibitions about sea life and exploration, and a famous shark exhibit (depending on when you go, you can actually pet a living shark). There’s a lot to enjoy there, made all the more interesting by the fact that the building is more or less sprouting out of the most beautiful sea on Earth.
Don’t: Tour The Antique Automobile Museum
Monte Carlo has a close association with classic automobiles because it’s where the annual Monaco Grand Prix is held. If this aspect of the city’s fame appeals to you, however, just try visiting for the actual Grand Prix. This museum’s offerings are frankly a little bit dry unless you’re just deeply passionate about cars – in which case, by all means check it out.
Do: Wander Aimlessly
It’s always the best thing you can do in a new city, provided it’s safe. And in Monte Carlo, simply wandering around can expose you to all of the sights and feelings that make this such a special destination.
This is a contributed post