There is more to Monaco than you might think! Here are a few suggestions on things to try and places to see whilst you are visiting this beautiful country.
Although strictly speaking there are no castles in Monaco there is a rather large and exquisite palace! In addition to the Royal residence there is an ancient fort that was built back in the 18th century and has now been turned into an outdoor theatre.
Road cycling is one of France's favourite past times and the same can certainly be said for the Cote d'Azur area and Monaco. With the wealth in this small principality cyclists tend to have the very best gear and the latest gadgets and luckily they also have some of the most stunning coastal routes and scenery on offer too.
The famous Monaco Grand Prix, which attracts the rich and famous every year, is one of the things for which Monaco is best known. Rated by a Barclays survey in 2009 as the most beautiful racing circuit in the world, the race winds its way around the streets of the Principality, mainly within the district of Monte-Carlo. The first race was held in 1929, with the course designed by Anthony Noghès. It has plenty of tight corners, favouring driving skill over speed, and is currently 3.34km in length. A fantastic few hours can be spent walking the circuit. When the race is not on, it is still possible to walk around the famous circuit, which holds many years of history.
Food & drink
If you want to rub shoulders with the rich and famous then dining in Monaco is one way to do it. From Michelin starred chefs to the very best of local and international cuisine you will not be disappointed. The beach clubs come with breathtaking views of the Mediterranean and the rooftop terraces take you high above the city to enjoy the sights.
Nature & Wildlife
Despite it's size and lack of space, this tiny principality has a surprising number of gardens and green spaces which showcase, not only the flora of the region but also in the case of the Princess Grace Rose Garden, a fantastic collection of ornamental roses.
Sea & beach
With a large percentage of the land mass of this tiny country being either rock or reclaimed from the sea, it will come as no surprise that beaches are not lining the coast of Monaco. The main beach area is actually to be found to the eastern end of the country in a residential area called Larvotto. Alternatively you could travel further east along the coast to the beaches of Menton.
Cartier, Dior, Chanel... To name but a few! Monaco is certainly a shopping destination but just remember to check that price tag before you purchase or you might blowing an entire year's salary on one item.
There are some thoroughly charming towns and villages on the outskirts of Monaco and along the French coast. Menton in particular, further to the east close to the Italian border, makes for a great day out. The medieval village of Gorbio is the perfect place to soak up the history of the region and immerse yourself in the cobbles, narrow streets and bars of the 'real' countryside.