A Day in Monte Carlo: Best Things to Do and Visit


Few destinations on Earth exude a sense of glamour and exclusivity quite like Monte Carlo. Pinned between the Mediterranean Sea and the French Alps, this special enclave of the Principality of Monaco has been the home of the jet set for decades, and is universally-acknowledged as Europe’s premier resort – setting the benchmark for fine dining, natural beauty and iconic entertainment.

For those who have long dreamt of experiencing Monte Carlo’s coastal splendour and unique joie de vivre, you’re one step closer thanks to our exclusive city stay offering. Available on selected Rhône river cruises, our Monte Carlo city break gives you the opportunity to enjoy a luxury stay in the heart of Monaco, for a Mediterranean experience you’ll never forget.

Discover the wonders of Monte Carlo in our in-depth visitor guide.

What to See and Do in Monte Carlo

History, entertainment and culture collide in Monte Carlo, making for a truly unique city break beside the Mediterranean. Explore a handful of the best things to see and do in Monte Carlo below.

See

Prince's Palace

Prince's Palace

As the name suggests, Prince’s Palace is the private residence of the Sovereign Prince of Monaco, and one of the principal heritage buildings of the state. Its origins stretch back to 1215, to the foundations of an ancient Genoese fortress built to defend the Mediterranean Coast, though it was later given a facelift in the 17th century in a decadent style similar to the Louis XIV era – transforming it into one of the most luxurious residences of the age. Today, the State Apartments, Palace Chapel, Hercule Gallery, Mirror Gallery and the Throne Room are open for visitors to explore, providing a fascinating insight into the heritage of Monaco’s Sovereignty.

Fort Antoine

One of the great fortresses of the Mediterranean Coast, Fort Antoine is an imposing former fortress perched high on the Rock of Monaco, built in the 18th century to protect the seaboard from would-be raiders and pirates. With its watchtower, heavy stone walls and multitude of historic cannons, the fortress is every inch the military monument, but is today primarily used as an open-air theatre. Regular concerts and performances of opera and theatre are hosted at Fort Antoine, and we can think of no better place to enjoy some cultural entertainment than high above the blue waters of the Mediterranean.

Monaco Cathedral

Monte Carlo Cathedral
Built using precious white stone from the French Alps, the exquisite Monaco Cathedral is a wonderful vestige that tells of the region’s rich religious heritage. The cathedral was built in 1875 in the Byzantine style and is the official final resting place of the former princes of Monaco. Inside the cathedral, there are several historic artefacts which are worth taking a closer look at, including an Episcopal throne constructed from Carrara white marble and an early-16th-century altarpiece by Niçois painter, Louis Bréa. If you’re in Monte Carlo on a Sunday, standing outside the cathedral during morning mass is a charming experience, with the sound of the church’s grand organ drifting from within.

Monte Carlo Casino

While it may be famous throughout the world for its spectacular games’ rooms and opulent concerts, Monte Carlo Casino is more than just a lavish entertainment venue. Built in 1893, the building was designed by none other than Charles Garnier, the famous French architect behind the mesmeric Paris Opera House. Monte Carlo Casino is no less impressive than its Parisian counterpart, with its palatial, dome-topped façade, ornate sculptures and exquisite marble atrium. Even if you’ve no interest in frittering some spending money on red or black, the casino is a must-see in Monte Carlo, and its landscaped grounds are a wonderful place to explore.

Do

Discover Classic Cars 

Given Monte Carlo’s connection to the motoring world, it seems only right that it would be home to one of Europe’s most extensive classic car collections. Housed in a purpose-built space on the Terrasses de Fontvielle, the collection is the life’s work of Prince Rainier III, who began collecting vintage cars in the late 1950s. Now belonging to HSH the Prince of Monaco, the exhibition covers an area of 5,000m2 and includes everything from rare classics to modern exotics, making it paradise - found for the motoring enthusiast. Among the exhibits is a collection of F1 cars which have competed in the Monaco Grand Prix – a fitting tribute to the city’s motoring heritage.

Explore the Exotic Garden

Pont de Fontvielle Monte Carlo
Monte Carlo is home to many beautiful parks and gardens which make the most of the city’s Mediterranean locale, but few are as spectacular as the Exotic Garden. Located high on the cliffs overlooking Monaco, these wonderful, primordial gardens celebrate the wild beauty of nature, with rare flora growing on a sloping site that stretches over 15,000m2. It’s thought the gardens are home to one thousand cacti and succulents, as well as flowering plants found only here. One of the best things about the Exotic Garden is the incredible view it offers over the city and sea far below – just don’t forget your camera.

Discover the Nouveau Musée National de Monaco

Housed in one of the finest Belle Époque villas in Europe, the Nouveau Musée National de Monaco (NMNM) is the principal museum of Monaco, and the perfect place to find out more about the history and culture of this unique country. Across its two locations, Villa Paloma and Villa Sauber, the museum showcases a fascinating array of artefacts, as well as examples of modern art inspired by Monte Carlo and its spectacular location between the Mediterranean and the Alps. The centre is particularly well-known for its modern art, with collections from a range of prominent contemporary artists and designers.

Rest and Rejuvenate at Thermes Marins Monte Carlo

If you came to Monte Carlo to relax and drink in the elegant surroundings, there’s no better place than the Thermes Marins health and wellness spa. This luxury spa benefits from a sea-facing location, with the harbour just steps from its elegant terrace. Whether you want to spread out on a sun lounger, soak in the open-air jacuzzi or take part in a rejuvenating alfresco yoga session, this is the perfect place to relax and unwind at the end of your holiday.

Experience the Very Best of Monte Carlo with Scenic

At Scenic, we’re always looking to take our guests to the very finest destinations across Europe, seeking out opportunities to extend our luxury river cruises with exciting add-ons and city stays.

Monte Carlo is one such destination, with luxury stays available on our Enchanting Rhône with Monte Carlo river cruise itinerary. By choosing to start or end your French river cruise with a city break in Monaco, you can experience the joie de vivre of one of Europe’s most sought-after destinations, and all in the same luxury you can expect from Scenic.

As part of this extended itinerary, you’ll enjoy a luxury hotel stay in the heart of Monte Carlo, with an optional guided tour of the city and the Prince’s Palace included. There’s also time for independent discovery, with a free day to enjoy at your leisure.

For more information on our luxury river cruises and city stay options, take a look at our latest European river cruise brochure or call our team today on 0161 236 2444.