Monaco for every kind of traveller

There’s nowhere else on earth quite like Monaco, famed for its high-rolling Casino and legendary Grand Prix. But the heady glamour is just part of the story. In truth, the world’s second smallest country has something for everyone, from street-food snacks to Michelin-starred dining, secret coves to action-packed museums…

Ready to discover your Monaco?

Le Louis XV

For clued-up foodies

First, tap into the street-food scene at La Condamine market, with socca (chickpea flour crêpes) or flaky barbagiuans filled with ricotta and Swiss chard. Come lunchtime, join the locals at Les Perles de Monte-Carlo, squeezing on to a waterfront bench to feast on exemplary seafood, including nutty namesake oysters. If fine dining is more your scene, Alain Ducasse’s Le Louis XV (above) delivers three-star perfection in the grandly gilded surroundings of Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo, or – inside the Hôtel Métropole Monte-Carlo – try Les Ambassadeurs by Christophe Cussac for a convivial culinary experience.

Thermes Marins de Monte-Carlo

For old romantics

Where do we start? Perhaps at the Roseraie Princesse Grace – Prince Rainier III’s tribute to the wife he loved and lost. Stroll its olive-shaded paths, framed by thousands of roses, behind gates bearing the princess’s gilded monogram. Alternatively, follow the coastal path down to Cap d’Ail and the turquoise, cliff-edged cove at La Mala. Along the way, stop off for a rosé-fuelled lunch on the pine-edged terrace at La Pinède by chef Philippe Joannes, whose menu runs from baked octopus to thyme-spiked seabass. Back in Monaco, head for the waterfront Thermes Marins de Monte-Carlo, with its sea-view Jacuzzi (above) and heated saltwater pool. 

Oceanographic Museum

For big kids

Beyond the Casino’s grown-up glitz, Monaco is fantastic for families. First, get the lie of the land aboard the Petit Train de Monaco, whose half-hour route is a whistlestop tour of the principality’s history. It sets off from another must-see sight: the Oceanographic Museum (above), with its tropical shoals and glow-in-the-dark corals. In summer, take a dip at Larvotto beach, whose fine pebbles are easy underfoot, or speed down the flume and mini-slide at the port’s open-air pool. Afterwards, stroll to Smakelikj! at Le Meridien Beach Plaza to enjoy a unique Brussels waffle with chocolate and whipped cream.

The Palais Princier

For cinephiles

Monaco will always be associated with Grace Kelly, who retired from acting at the height of her fame to marry Prince Rainier III. Her new home? The Palais Princier (above), perched at the top of Le Rocher. To see the daily changing of the guards, come just before noon, then explore the frescoed, seasonally opening State Apartments. Other unmissable sights include the cathedral where the princess married and is buried, the chapel where she left her bouquet, and the exquisitely gilded Théâtre Princesse Grace, which she helped to restore.  

For Petrol Heads

For racing fanatics

The Principality is, of course, synonymous with the Monaco Grand Prix and all-electric Monaco E-Prix, when the world’s fastest cars and coolest-headed drivers battle for supremacy. Even if you’re not here on race day, you can walk the world-famous circuit and the Fairmont Monte Carlo hairpin or check out the SAS le Prince de Monaco Car Collection. It takes in around 100 iconic cars, from cherry-red Ferraris to gleaming vintage models – including the stately Chrysler sent to welcome Grace Kelly when she first arrived in Monaco.

For Culture Lovers

For art and culture lovers

Small though Monaco may be, its cultural scene is world class, starting with major summer exhibition Turner, the Sublime Legacy at the Grimaldi Forum Monaco, presenting a collection of the artist’s major works in a brand new scenography. Catch a performance at the Opéra de Monte Carlo (above) in the gold and scarlet Salle Garnier, then head to the Café de Paris Monte-Carlo for a post-performance nightcap on the terrace, or a late-night plate of truffled tagliolini. Keen to discover a lesser-known cultural gem? Book an appointment-only tour of the Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation, which spans photographs, paintings and objects from the British artist’s paint-splattered studios.

Photographs: Fairmont Monte Carlo, Mickael Alesi and B Vergely

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