The principality is a country without an airport. Overseas visitors must fly to Nice, France, then transfer to Monaco by bus, car, taxi, or helicopter. From points within Europe, the French rail system stops at the Monaco Monte Carlo station several times every hour.
Monaco is less than 1 square mile, with only 2.5 kilometers (about a mile and a half) of coastline, so you can walk everywhere, even to France. Facing the Mediterranean, the principality lies exactly where the Alps fall into the sea, making for steep hikes from the shore to the hills above. As an alternative, there are over public 30 elevators, often hidden in parking lots, to ease the pain of the climb. Compagnie des Autobus de Monaco has a 5€ day pass that allows visitors unlimited use of its five bus lines and its solar electric boat service across the Port Hercule.
Most visits to Monaco include a tour of the Prince’s Palace and the neighboring Monaco Cathedral. The Oceanographic Museum is a must-see, and a night at the Garnier-designed Opera House is always a treat. A highlight of Monaco is the spectacular gardens, including the Exotic, Japanese, and Princess Grace rose gardens. Contemporary art lovers will enjoy the two sites of the Nouveau Musée National de Monaco.
The year begins with an International Circus Festival. Then the Princess Grace Foundation throws the Rose Ball, perhaps the world’s most prestigious fundraising event open to the public. Every May, the city shuts down for the Formula One Grand Prix. In July, the Monte-Carlo International Fireworks Festival explodes, with the Monaco Yacht Show sailing into town in September. November 19 sees celebrations for the National Holiday, which ends with a mass and a palatial wave from the royal family the next day. Year’s end is celebrated with concerts, galas, and parades, with Casino Square filling with revelers to ring in the New Year.
Sylvia is a French-American journalist and award winning photographer who left her home in San Francisco to follow her heart to Paris. She contributes regularly to The Girls Guide to Paris and HIP Paris and is Resident Editor for LUXE city guides. As curator for Only in Paris, Sylvia spends every free moment uncovering what keeps her city unique. While she loves adventuring her way across the globe, Sylvia's particular passion is for Africa.