Monaco is a small but stunning country on the French Riviera, known for its glamorous lifestyle, beautiful scenery, and rich culture. If you are looking for a destination that offers a mix of luxury, history, and nature, Monaco is a perfect choice. Here are some of the top tourist attractions to visit in Monaco.
1. Monte-Carlo Casino
The Monte-Carlo Casino is one of the most famous and iconic landmarks in Monaco. It was built in 1863 by Charles Garnier, the architect of the Paris Opera House, and features a lavish Belle Epoque style. The casino is open to visitors who want to try their luck at the roulette, blackjack, poker, or slot machines, or just admire the elegant interiors and artworks. The casino also hosts prestigious events such as the Monaco Grand Prix and the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters.
2. Prince’s Palace of Monaco
The Prince’s Palace of Monaco is the official residence of the ruling Grimaldi family, who have been in power since 1297. The palace is located on a rocky promontory overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and offers stunning views of the harbor and the city. The palace is open to the public from April to October, and visitors can tour the state apartments, which are decorated with frescoes, tapestries, paintings, and furniture from different periods. The palace also features a museum that displays the personal belongings of Prince Rainier III and Princess Grace Kelly, as well as a collection of antique cars.
3. Oceanographic Museum
The Oceanographic Museum is a world-renowned institution dedicated to marine science and conservation. It was founded in 1910 by Prince Albert I, a pioneer of oceanography, and houses a vast collection of specimens, models, tools, and artworks related to the sea. The museum also boasts an impressive aquarium that showcases more than 6,000 marine creatures, including sharks, turtles, jellyfish, and coral reefs. The museum organizes various exhibitions, workshops, and activities for visitors of all ages.
One of the highlights of the museum is the historic building itself, which rises from the cliffside rock and offers spectacular views of the sea and the city. The building was designed by Paul Delefortrie and Albert-Félix-Théophile Thomas in a Baroque Revival style that blends harmoniously with the natural environment. The building took 11 years to construct and used 100,000 tons of stone from La Turbie. The façade of the museum features the names of 20 famous oceanographic research vessels selected by Prince Albert I.
Another attraction of the museum is the Salle de la Baleine (Whale Room), which displays skeletons of various marine mammals such as whales, dolphins, seals, and manatees. The room also has a collection of whale hunting tools and weapons from different cultures and periods. The room aims to raise awareness about the threats faced by these animals and the need to protect them.
4. Larvotto Beach
Larvotto Beach is the most popular and accessible beach in Monaco. It is a man-made beach that stretches along the coast for about one kilometer, and offers fine sand, clear water, and a pleasant atmosphere. The beach is free to enter and has several facilities such as showers, changing rooms, sunbeds, umbrellas, and lifeguards. The beach is also lined with cafes, restaurants, and shops that cater to different tastes and budgets.
5. Jardin Exotique
The Jardin Exotique is a botanical garden that specializes in succulent plants from around the world. It was created in 1933 on a steep hillside that overlooks the city and the sea. The garden features more than 1,000 species of cacti, aloes, agaves, yuccas, and other exotic plants that thrive in the mild climate of Monaco. The garden also has a cave that contains stalactites and stalagmites, as well as a museum that displays prehistoric remains and fossils found in the area.