Located along the southeast corner of France, the Principality of Monaco is steeped in sophistication and intrigue. This tiny country might be the second smallest in the world after Vatican City, but it’s still renowned as a billionaires’ playground and home to A-list celebrities. Monte Carlo’s picturesque harbour of mega yachts and world-famous casino have made it a hotspot for visitors seeking a slice of Mediterranean charm. For anyone hoping to visit on a day trip from neighbouring city of Nice, here’s what you can get up to during a day in Monaco.
While the country has become synonymous with the Monte Carlo Grand Prix, that doesn’t mean you need to explore at the speed of a Formula 1 racing car. Many of the popular sights are spread across different levels, so you can take your time, gradually working your way up from the seafront before finishing in Monaco’s Old Town. For a little bit of sand and sun, start with Larvotto Beach to the north, a favourite retreat of the rich and famous. Once you feel suitably bronzed, you can stroll along the Promenade du Larvotto to the gorgeous Jardin Japonais de Monaco, a clifftop botanical garden with astounding views out to sea.
Old Town Explorations
To reach the attractions at the Old Town, catch a public elevator from the harbour to Monaco-Ville’s fantastic Oceanographic Museum, 85 metres above the sea. Built atop a dramatic vertical cliff, this hub of sea life shelters over 6,000 specimens within its aquarium, and is a favourite stop all the family. A few minutes away, the white bricked neoclassical masterpiece of Saint Nicholas Cathedral is an unmissable sight, and you’ll have time to explore the Prince’s Palace too before heading back into the city. Catch the changing of the guards outside these royal apartments or explore the sumptuously decorated private rooms within.
Gambling at Dusk
Frequented by none other than novelist Ian Fleming’s master spy James Bond, the historic Monte Carlo Casino is one of the most prestigious Belle Époque constructions in Europe, created by the architect of the Paris Opera House. Enjoy a lavish meal with a breathtaking view of the super yachts and cruise ships moored at nearby Port Hercule, then don a jacket and try your luck at the tables as the sun sets.
If you’ve been inspired by this day trip, check out our adventure page for additional travel ideas.