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Discover and book everything Monaco, with local insiders in the know

Welcome to Monaco

Monaco; the small principality that exudes luxury, exclusivity and where a movie star married her very own Prince charming. Monaco's history is intertwined with famous names, glamorous living and sometimes the scandal that comes when royals mingle with politicians, artists, icons of the fashion world, sports and movie stars.

A melting pot of cultures and nationalities and taking up an area just over 2km squared, Monaco is nestled between the French and Italian Rivieras. It offers up an array of luxury hotels, international sporting events, the F1 Monaco Grand Prix, multi-million euro yachts and of course the chance to visit the infamous Monte-Carlo casino. This legendary building is not only the most famous casino in the world, but also an architectural gem and wonderful example of the Belle Epoque style.

With a population of around 36,300, Monaco is the most densely populated country in the world. And although not quite a city, the Quartier of Monte-Carlo is a bustling hive of activity, shopping, fast cars and leisurely lunches! The three main areas within Monaco are La Condamine, Monte-Carlo and Monaco Ville.


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History & Culture in Monaco Liven Up - Guides & Tours,

Monaco has a history dating back to the 6th century BC when the Greek god Hercules is said to have passed through the area. As a result, a temple was constructed in his honour and named the temple of Hercules Monoikos. Thus it is now known as Monaco. Or at least that is one story!

First ruled by a member of the House of Grimaldi in 1297; that has continued, with brief interruptions, to this day as it is now ruled and governed under a form of constitutional monarchy with Prince Albert II as head of state. Prince Albert was born Albert Alexandre Louis Pierre Grimaldi, to parents Prince Rainier III and Princess Grace of Monaco in March 1958.

Gambling in Monaco dates back to the 1850's when the House of Grimaldi were in desperate need to generate cash. The first casino began operation in 1856. With good train connections from France, a growing tourist trade and the casino, Monaco finally recovered from its economic slump and began making vast sums of money. In only 12 years the casino was generating so much cash that the principality decided to end tax collection from residents. This in turn attracted more affluent people from all over Europe, to come and settle in the area.

With the recent film release about the life of Grace Kelly, who became Princess Grace of Monaco, there has been an increase in interest around the Royal family and the addition of the Royal twins in December 2014 has further added to this.

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History of Monaco

Sights & Attractions in Monaco Musee Oceanographique, Monaco Ville

There are no shortage of museums to be enjoyed in Monaco, for both adults and children. A real treat is the collection of vintage cars owned by the royals of Monaco, even if you're a 'petrol head' this one is sure to impress. 

Despite the relatively small land mass of this principality, you will also find a surprising amount of green space and beautiful park land to wonder round. The perfect escape away from the hustle and bustle of the town and harbour.

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Attractions in Monaco

Beaches in Monaco Plage des Fourmis, Beaulieu Sur Mer

Monte Carlo is the home of the Monaco beaches - you'll find the only public beach, Larvotto Beach nearby, which is reachable by bus numbers 4 and 6. It's gravel and man-made, but it is clean and has lots of restaurants backing the beach for a pleasant lunch. If you have money to burn and want a special day out, head to Monte Carlo Beach, which is a private sandy beach that is part of the Monte Carlo Beach Hotel. It has an Olympic sized swimming pool too. Further down the coast is the lovely beach at Cap d'Ail, or head around to spectacular Villefranche near Nice.

The Ministry of Health in France provides up-to-date information regarding the cleanliness of beaches. The interactive map (which is available in English) allows you to zoom in on the beaches of interest and to review recent test results. The beaches and rivers are ranked from excellent (blue) to prohibited (pink), meaning that entering the water is strictly prohibited. The monthly testing and monitoring makes it possible to assess the effects of wastewater sanitation and dirty rainwater runoff into swimming sites. 

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Beaches in Monaco

Things to Do in Monaco VanDutch Boat Trip, Cannes exterior

So cars, shopping, gambling, yachts and general luxury. If you have the money to spend then you will find some the most exclusive jewels, clothes, yachts and works of art...and if you don't have the cash to flash then you will certainly enjoy people watching and soaking up the surroundings in this unique and fascinating place!

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Sports & Activities in Monaco

Dining in Monaco La Chèvre d'Or interior

Not lacking in top quality restaurants and well known chefs, your only problem in Monaco will be deciding where to go...

Restaurants in Monaco can get painfully pricey- although suprisingly La Condamine offers some of the most reasonably-priced options in town. Monaco Brasserie does a good club sandwich and burger, and has a restaurant next doo with a more extensive menu. For an international menu including Tex-Mex, and chicken wings, then sports bar Stars and Bars is for you-there's also a sushi restaurant upstairs. Read our full Monaco restaurant guide here.

Monte Carlo is the spiritual home of the super-chefs. Your wallet will probably not thank you for eating in this fancy district, but your taste buds (and memories) certainly will. This place is simply littered with Michelin stars.

Many restaurants up on 'The Rock' could be accused of being tourist-traps, but there are a few exceptions serving up tasty traditional Monagasque and Provencal fare. Family run restaurant ‘Cavagnetu’ (meaning picnic basket) is a very good choice indeed- try the barbajuan, socca or pissaladerie here. It has a lovely terrace and a cosy, vaulted interior- full of locals and tourists alike.

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Where to Eat in Monaco

Nightlife in Monaco Buddha Bar, Monte-Carlo

Nightlife in Monaco is incredibly varied, from the superyacht parties in the harbour to the beach club DJs and nightclubs where the rich and famous go to mix and be spotted. Going out in Monaco is certainly not for the faint hearted though - prepare to spend some serious cash, and that's just on your outfit, hair and make-up before you leave the house! 

Gambling is another favourite past time in Monaco and the Monte-Carlo Casino is possibly the best known gambling spot, second only perhaps to the bright lights of Las Vegas...Today there are several more high class casinos in operation and they are worth a visit for the stunning architecture and décor alone! The Casino de Monte-Carlo is still housed in its original building and has now been joined by the equally stunning Casino Cafe de Paris, with a more modern looking building and interior.

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Nightlife in Monaco

Luxury Hotels in Monaco Hermitage Hotel, Monaco double bedroom

5 star luxury is readily available in Monaco but for the real star treatment head to the Hotel de Paris or the Chateau Eza. Amongst the long list of luxury hotels you will find several Michelin star restaurants and chefs in these establishments and the service is second to none.

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How to get to Monaco Chabe Locatax Airport Transfers,

The train station at Monaco lies on the very scenic Nice-Ventimiglia trainline- you can then connect to local bus line 1 or 2 to get to Monaco Ville. These local buses connect all of Monaco, or you can get a hop on hop off day pass on a tourist bus for €10. If driving, there is a parking lot 'Chemin des Pêcheurs' in Monaco Ville. To get to Monaco you can also take a bus from Nice-the 110 express runs from Nice airport (€20) and the 100 runs from Nice town (€1.50). You could, of course, always fly or sail into Monaco, in which case there is Port Hercules or the Monaco heliport at your disposal. (You may scoff, but the helicopter isn't outrageously expensive at 165 euro when you consider that a taxi will generally set you back up to €90. And let's face it, Monaco's the kind of place where one should arrive in style.)

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How to Get to Monaco