One of the richest places in the world; a stunning French Riviera jewel sparkling in the Mediterranean sun; a yachting destination of international renowned with a gorgeous harbor and coastline with beachside restaurants and clubs; a cosmopolitan tax-free enclave with fine-dining extraordinaire; an incredible cultural scene brimming with dynamic art, music, and performance; a hub of world-class events and entertainment; and spectacular hotels and resorts, luxury rentals, and upscale real estate jewels.
Monaco is a dream destination with its own unique charms and individual character, attracting the rich and famous to its boutique beauty. The capital, Monte Carlo, is a glitzy affair and for all of Monaco’s relaxed seaside undertone, there is an undeniable glamor that gives everything and everybody a wonderfully rich tone.
The principality of Monaco may be small and bijoux, at just over 2 km2, but its charisma and sense of style and sophistication create an alluring Riviera lifestyle that is brimming with vitality; a larger-than-life personality that you cannot help but be drawn to.
Bordered on three sides by France, the glorious Alps are a dramatic backdrop while the Mediterranean Sea laps at the pretty coastline. The lovely Italian Riviera is to the east with the Côte d’Azur showcasing some stunning locations in the South of France taking in Cannes, St Tropez, and Nice.
Places to Visit & See
Monaco is a destination to not necessarily ‘see’ as much as ‘experience’. It certainly does not have the ancient sites of some more exotic locations but it certainly has some must-dos for any vacationer. Strolling through Monte Carlo, marveling at superyachts, cruising on the Med, and enjoying a harborside lunch or a gourmet dinner are part of what makes the Riviera experience so fabulous.
Away from the superyachts and modern luxury skyscrapers of Monte Carlo’s sophistication, the Rock or Monaco-Ville is a rocky outcrop with spectacular views across the waters. Here, the old town and royal palace give Monaco a wonderfully old-fashioned air and a chance to appreciate a sense of native Monegasque culture. With its medieval winding streets and jutting-out position, this part of the principality reveals the real roots Monaco’s heart.
The Oceanographic Museum of Monte Carlo, which is over 100 years old, is world-renowned and set in a dramatic location on the Rock with a stunning panorama from its rooftop terrace and a six-meter lagoon with sharks down below. Strolling from the museum to the palace takes you through the green St Martin Gardens with its pond and statues. Other green spaces are the Zoological Gardens and the Exotic Gardens as well as the Fontvieille Park with its well-known sculpture trail.
The Prince’s Palace of Monaco was th Century as a fortress and is the official residence of Prince Albert II, the son of Princess Grace of Monaco. The interior is fashioned in Louis XIV style with its own Versaillesque hall of mirrors. Meanwhile, the New National Museum of Monaco is home to a visual feast of contemporary art housed in two attractive villas in separate locations close to each other. Villa Paloma and Villa Sauber both feature two modern- art exhibitions each year.
Click here to see more list of Monaco attractions, things to do, what people say about them, entrance fees, etc.
Beach Clubs & Fine Dining Restaurants
With its laid-back glamor, this Riviera jewel of a destination has just the right amount of panache and beachside pizzazz for beach club relaxing. With cabanas, cocktails, and cool menus there are some real standout beach clubs.
Monaco Beach Club is classy and chic with its stripy tents and serves up organic, gourmet dishes by its private beach with lots of water sports available and a seawater pool. Nikki Beach is the epitome of a fun, hipster destination with a pool party ambiance and signature white daybeds on the rooftop of the Fairmont Montel Carlo hotel.
La Note Bleue creates a beachside jazz lounge ambiance right by Larvotto Beach with music to watch the sun go down in a classy, luxurious, and cool setting. La Rose des Vents is another Larvotto Beach star serving traditional Monegasque dishes with loungers on the sand. Meanwhile, Miami Plage is a long-established restaurant with its own private beachfront space too.
As would be expected in a wealthy haven, there are plenty of fine-dining eateries with stunning menus befitting any cosmopolitan city. What really makes Monte Carlo a culinary capital are what are considered some of the best restaurants in the world. Le Louis XV-Alain Ducasse boasts an incredible three Michelin stars with a menu that, “tells the story of the Riviera”, with a modern, youthful, and precise expression at the Hotel de Paris. Joel Robuchon at the Hotel Metropole has garnered two Michelin stars and its modern-lux appeal, open kitchen, and Mediterranean cuisine cooked to perfection woos; not surprising for a chef who has attracted more Michelin stars than anyone else, anywhere, ever.
Other Michelin star restaurant winners are the Japanese-Western creation that is Yoshi, also headed by Joel Robuchon at the Metropole Hotel, and Blue Bay at the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel, a Mediterranean and Caribbean menu with views across luxury yachts.
Yachting is a way of life in Monaco and the principality is a yachting destination of some international standing. Perfectly poised to sail to stunning locations along the French Riviera and also the beautiful islands of Sardinia and Capri, the kingdom boasts the impressive Port Hercule with its superyachts and the elegance of the Port of Fontvielle.
The Yacht Club de Monaco is a social hub with a sailing school, clubhouse, and sports facilities. Each year yachties from far and wide descend on Monaco to celebrate what is probably considered the yachting event of the calendar, the Monaco Yacht Show. For four days over 120 superyachts and also supercars too are showcased at the luxury event which has been a Monaco must-attend for nearly 30 years.
As well as being able to marvel at the privately owned boats, Monaco has a wealth of yacht charters and excursions to experience the freshness of sailing on the Med. Monaco Yacht Charters feature hundreds of extraordinary motor and sail yachts and Super Yachts Monaco sells and charters yachts too. Other luxury yacht companies include Fraser Yachts, Bespoke Yacht Charter, and the prestigious Burgess.
From overnight cabins to sailing down the coast for lunch or enjoying a dinner on cruise, chartering a yacht in Monaco is a perfect way to explore the Riviera. The warm waters of the Mediterranean Sea are perfect for water sports and combining boating with some diving, snorkeling or jet skiing is a wonderful way to while away a sunny day in Monaco.
Motor boats and impressive catamarans, dinghies and superyachts, the luxury life is a yachting life in this part of Europe. Yachts can be chartered with full crew or bareboard for those experienced in boating who want to set sail for adventure before returning to the luxury of Monaco glittering on the coast.
Monaco embraces luxury like an old friend, especially since royalty and film stars put the principality in the spotlight. The once rather unassuming Riviera hotspot of natural beauty fell under the admiring gaze of the world when elegant American actress Grace Kelly married the Prince of Monaco and became Princess Grace; creating a fairy-tale that everybody fell in love with.
With the Casino of Monte Carlo featuring in several James Bond movies, the capital also has a fashionable image too; of a place where debonair men and film-star beauties rub shoulders. For visitors, unlike residents, the famed casinos are not off limits and this adds another element to Monaco as a vacation destination.
Naturally, there are many upscale hotels and resorts and with luxury being ingrained in Monaco’s DNA, it is of little surprise that these stays are simply magnificent. The Monte-Carlo SBM Resort boasts a number of stays with four luxury hotels which include the iconic and exceptional Hotel de Paris and the romantically nostalgic Hotel Hermitage as well as the laid-back 1930s beach resort elegance of Monte Carlo Beach. Other standout stays include the award-winning Belle Époque style of The Metropole.
Luxury hotels and resorts range from grand gestures of upscale design and opulence to more relaxed, resort-style accommodation, albeit five star, to fit with the laid-back Riviera lifestyle. Comfort and fine-dining, spa facilities, and a sense of style Monaco’s luxury lodgings are designed to not only woo but become part of the vacation experience, not simply places to rest your head after a busy day or night exploring the delights of Monte Carlo.
Each year, in May, the streets of Monte Carlo become one of the most exciting racetracks in the world, and one of the most renowned, with the annual Grand Prix. Famed for its hairpin bends, the event has been running for over 75 years and while the track at just over three kilometers may be small the atmosphere is exhilarating.
Whilst residents are not able to play in Monaco’s casinos, visitors can and there are several to choose from with the most iconic being the Monte Carlo Casino with its spectacular décor. An entertainment complex with restaurants, a night club, bar and a grand theatre, cultural-tours reveal the secrets of this beautiful building. The Salle Garnier is home to the Monte Carlo Opera with its world premier productions.
The casino really is an entertainment hub and is located by the Place du Casino which is a wonderful open-air square which showcases big-show music events. This is a popular place for residents and visitors alike to meet and enjoy the buzzing atmosphere after dark.
Monaco is full of music, art, culture, and performance with the Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra regularly playing concerts. The Monte Carlo Jazz Festival is an annual event and there are many other festivals and performance spaces here too, such as the pretty La Salle des Etoiles with its roof that opens up so performers can play under the stars. Espace Léo Ferré is a musical and cultural venue with an interesting calendar of events, while the modern Grimaldi Forum auditoriums have welcomed some high-profile musical artists.
The dynamic and diverse music, arts, and cultural side to Monaco is often a surprise to visitors and a delight to residents. The range of performances and events is quite extraordinary and injects a sense of movement and energy into the Monaco social and entertainment scene.
With its fabulous lifestyle, stunning setting, and income tax benefits it is little wonder that this part of the world has become home to the wealthy and those in the public eye from actors to singers and sports stars. There is no question that Monaco real estate is expensive, yet the properties for sale here are truly special and many residents and second-home-owners favor one or two bedroom apartments rather than sprawling houses.
Whether for residential or investment, specialist apartment real estate companies in Monaco continue to renovate and sell the finest properties in the principality. Many state-of-the-art, beautifully designed, and exclusive apartments have been impressively upgraded to match the demands of residents and holiday home purchasers who want the best that they can get in terms of design, style, and finish.
With over 1.7 million resales in 2015, some 84% of these were for apartments with either one or two bedrooms. The property market is buoyant in Monaco because the lifestyle is priceless. Not only that but for investors the demand for the crème de la crème of during major events such as the Grand Prix and major yachting dates is at its highest and most lucrative for property owners.
Encouraged by a property market that is buoyant and on the upward swing, many would-be Monaco property owners are deciding to strike while the iron is hot. The small size of Monaco and its enduring appeal and location ensure that the hefty real-estate price tags are not vanity purchases. Instead they are an ideal way to buy into becoming part of the Monaco jet-set lifestyle with Riviera experiences worth their weight in gold.
If you don’t know which part of Monaco you want to buy a property, check out the video below to learn more about the 7 districts of Monaco principality.
Watch Video of 7 Districts of Monaco
Image gallery by Jewel Estates Monaco