Monte Carlo is widely viewed as being a somewhat extravagant destination, and that characterization isn’t without its merits. It’s known to be a celebrity hot spot and can make for one of the pricier Mediterranean getaways. That said, you can actually manage the trip at a reasonable rate with some advance planning, and if you do so you’ll be treating yourself to one of the more impressive destinations in Europe.
You may find, if you get to Monte Carlo, that your time is best spent simply taking in the sights and wandering through the city. Specific activities and attractions are always nice to have in mind though, so here we’re diving into some of the top priorities in the area.
1. See The Changing Of The Guard
The Prince’s Palace in Monte Carlo is an incredible attraction in and of itself. Overlooking some of the most beautiful parts of the city, it’s built on the grounds of a 13th century fortress, and showcases architecture and influence from multiple historical periods. In addition to touring the grounds and the palace, however, you can enjoy it by taking in the changing of the guard, just before noon each day. It’s essentially a slightly more intimate and equally impressive version of the far more famous changing of the guard ceremony in London.
2. Visit The Princess Grace Rose Garden
The Princess Grace Rose Garden is actually just outside of Monte Carlo proper, but is a great place to find respite from the crowds during your stay. There are olive trees, palm trees, thousands of roses, and paths through it all. That’s really about all there is to describing the place, but suffice it to say it’s probably the most peaceful and tranquil attraction in all of Monaco, outside of some spas perhaps.
3. Relax At Thermes Marins Monte Carlo
Speaking of spas, the Thermes Marins Monte Carlo is one attraction worth splurging on. Though this legendary spa has something of a reputation for wealth and luxury (it’s known to be frequented by the Formula 1 drivers and teams that flock to Monte Carlo for a Grand Prix once a year), it’s still something you’re perfectly free to enjoy with a little bit of careful budgeting. It’s actually meant for a multi-day stay, but you can look into individual treatments (ranging from underwater massages to soaks in a terrace Jacuzzi) with varying prices. Again, it’s not exactly a cheap activity, but it can really help you get into the spirit of the town.
4. Visit the Casino
Depending on where you come from, you might not see much value in big, fancy casinos. Americans in particular tend to associate these venues with a very specific type of vacation. As one guide to online gaming writes, brick-and-mortar casinos ruled the world of gambling for centuries before giving way to the online sites that now dominate the culture. That’s true in much of the world, and even much of Europe, but if anything it just makes Casino de Monte Carlo more special. It’s an old-fashioned delight, elegantly decorated, packed with high rollers, and supplying the highest level of professionalism. You don’t have to be an experienced casino gamer to appreciate it.
5. Take A Boat Out
If Monte Carlo is known for one signature feature, it’s the harbor at its center. This harbor is known mostly for the gorgeous, extravagant yachts that come, go, and dock for a few days at a time. And there are actually numerous opportunities in town to take part in the yachting by commissioning a boat (and some of them for surprisingly affordable rates). But you can also explore the idea of renting a motorboat or sailboat, or possibly even a kayak, in order to enjoy the surrounding Mediterranean waters on your own.
6. Hang By The Bay
Lastly, you will want to budget some time to simply hang out by the water, because this is really the best way to get the most out of the city. That might mean spreading out a towel on the famous Larvotto Beach, finding a table at an open-air beachside café, or simply walking along the roads just in from the harbor. Whatever the case, make sure you spend some time by the sea. It’s the best part of the whole trip.