For those who love a luxurious holiday by the sea, Monaco is among the best destinations that you can pick. It is the second smallest country in the world, where everything is within walking distance, but its glamour is unmatched. Monaco boasts of immense wealth and a host of luxury travel options.
Every summer, the country hosts the Monaco Grand Prix, among the toughest and certainly the glitziest Formula 1 race. It takes place on the twisty streets of the little country, up and down the hills, past the shops, casinos and through a tunnel along the sea. Besides this, Monaco also hosts the Monte-Carlo Historic Grand Prix, which is a retrospective of the golden age of car racing; it takes place every other year on the famous track of Monaco. It uses roads of the principality that haven’t changed
since the first race there on April 14, 1929. Collectors from around the world and lovers of classic cars fly in for the event.
A flight with Heli-Air Monaco offers spectacular panoramic views of the city. If you’d like to witness the sights closely, hop aboard a train instead. The Azur Express Tourist Train is a great pick to take you around the Old Town. Get intimate views of luxury hotels, historical structures as well as avant garde edifices that share space in the city. The legendary Golden Circle here is the spot to shop. Metropole center is also worth visiting, to see the luxurious shopping center, even if you have no intention of buying anything.
Where to stay
There are a number of great hotel options to pick from during your stay. While Hotel De Paris blends tradition with modernity, Hotel Hermitage is a historic monument and one of the jewels of Monaco. Hotel Metropole is yet another masterpiece situated in the heart of the famous Golden Circle, offering a welcoming ambience with high quality service. Hotel Fairmont’s 602 spacious rooms, each with a private terrace, brilliantly express the Riviera style, which is an experience to savour for a lifetime.
Dining and entertainment
Monaco is a bona fide destination for the discerning palate. The world’s most talented, famous chefs have elected to demonstrate their genius in the principality. Monaco has no fewer than 7 Michelin star-rated restaurants, including Alain Ducasse’s prestigious Louis XV (3 stars), Joël Robuchon Monte-Carlo (2 stars), Yoshi (1 star) and the Vistamar in Hermitage (1 star).
The Maya Bay Japanese or Thai restaurants offer a choice of cuisine, where the chef can express his creativity. The brand new Chinese restaurant, Song Qi, was born from the gastronomic union of Chef Alan Yau (Wagamama, Yakasan in London), Samuel Treves and Riccardo Giraudi (Giraudi’s Group, Beefbar, Mozza, Bouchon). Recognised worldwide for his amazing cuisine, mixing traditional Japanese dishes and South American spices and aromas, Chef Nobu brings a brand new and elegant atmosphere in Monaco. The restaurant is a vantage point to glimpse three countries – Monaco, France and Italy – while dining on superb cuisine.
Among the nightclubs, Buddha Bar is a top haunt in the tiny principality. This exotically decorated lounge and restaurant is the essence of hip, with Asian fusion food and ambient and electronic music. Hosting the Riviera’s most glamorous night outs, Jimmy’z is a famed nightclub, where one can spot stars from all over the world. Known for its unique design and location by the sea, the club creates a special atmosphere for its patrons. Sass Café is another hotspot that is frequented by celebrities.
The Casino de Monte Carlo, which overlooks the Mediterranean Sea, is the keystone of Monaco’s legend – the symbol of its glitz and glamour. Also keep an eye out for fascinating operas and ballets at the Opera House, located in one of the most opulent wings of the palatial Monte-Carlo Casino. The Opera House has also been a stage for the Monte Carlo Jazz Festival, for many years. Casino La Rascasse is another exciting spot, with 85 slot machines and many interactive games.
Architecture and history
Monaco is a masterpiece when it comes to architectural structures and monuments. The floating palaces at Port Hercule in La Condamine are sure to leave tourists mesmerised. Enjoy breathtaking views of the Rock of Monaco and the Prince’s Palace, which is home to the current monarch. Touring the palace is often considered synonymous with journeying through the centuries, from the Renaissance to the Napoleonic Period. The ritual of changing of the guards at the square in front of the Palace, at 11.55 am daily, also attracts and delights spectators.
Also check out the Ocenographic Museum, which offers a unique learning experience. The Princess Grace Rose Garden was first opened in 1984 in the memory of Princess Grace, and it was reopened in June 2014, with 8000 rose bushes in 300 different varieties. Monaco is also famous for the Automobile Museum, which is a popular tourist attraction.
Sights and sounds
If pampering yourself is at the top of your agenda, the renovated Thermes Marins Monte-Carlo is a tranquil haven in the heart of the principality. The 7000 square meter space is rated as one of the best spa destinations in Europe. For the culturally inclined, the Grimaldi Forum Monaco exhibition centre is set to introduce a brand new 800 square meter space called Indigo, which will have a panoramic sea view terrace. It will open this September and will play host to all kinds of cultural and musical events.