12 Must-do Experiences in Monaco

From simple hikes to extravagant dinners, Monaco offers a little bit of something for everyone.

Marché de la Condamine, Place d'Armes, 98000 Monaco
Open daily, even on Sundays, the Condamine market is a combination covered and outdoor market where residents come to stock up their larders with regional specialties, local produce, and fish directly from the sea below. Grab a coffee at one of the old-fashioned cafés, or savour the regional “socca” chick pea pancake as you watch the Monegasque go about their daily business—visiting the newsstand, gossiping with neighbors, letting their kids loose in the play area. Photo : Sylvia Sabes
62 Boulevard du Jardin Exotique, 98000 Monaco
Designed in 1933, the Exotic Garden on Monaco paints a rich palette of succulents and cacti from across the globe, with a variety of flowering seasons to ensure bursting blossoms throughout the year. There are panoramic views that give unique perspectives on the “Rocher” and go as far as Italy. A visit includes an Anthropology museum and an Observatory cave full of dramatic stalactites and stalagmites that can be visited every hour, on the hour. Photo : Sylvia Sabes
Escalier de la Coquille
It is so easy to stroll into France, many visitor cross the border without ever realizing they’ve been abroad. Instead of a coastal hike, the French Riviera offers a paved path that takes travelers from the Principality to Mala Beach on the Cap d’Ail. Catch the Sentier Littoral (coastal trail) at Marquet Beach and head west through a landscaped paradise dotted with mysterious mansions and eccentric estates. It is an easy walk for young children, with plenty of picnic stops and, during the summer, even restaurants on the beach. Hike, or catch the bus back from the downtown of lilliputian Cap d’Ail. Photo : Sylvia Sabes
1, Restaurant, +, 93505130, Quai Louis II, 98000, Monaco
The Club Bouliste Monégasque hides in plain sight. Occupying a quiet corner on the “Rocher”, near the Oceanographic museum, locals flock to this private bocci ball club for a quiet lunch away from the swarms of tourists. While technically for members only, they have yet to refuse an enthusiastic guest. http://cbmonaco.online.fr/ La Société Nautique, home of the country’s rowing club, is another private sporting club with a restaurant. Nestled in an industrial garage space next to the über prestigious Monaco Yacht Club, the restaurant serves guests simple, yet delicious French food in a completely unique environment. Non-members are asked to pay a €1 supplement. http://www.avironmonaco.com/news Photo : Sylvia Sabes
98015 Monaco-Ville, Monaco
At five minutes before noon every day, the uniformed Carabiniers du Prince perform a ceremonial changing of the guard in front of Monaco’s palace. Though the royal family still lives in the palace, much of the year there are tours that visit a selection of state apartments, each room dripping with gilt, draped in silk, and decorated with the vast collection of artwork and furniture collected by the House of Grimaldi since it began in 1160. As devoted patrons of the arts, the royal family hosts classical music concerts on the palace grounds every summer. Tickets to see Prince Albert II’s jaw-droppingly impressive collection of antique cars are also available.
Avenue Saint-Martin, 98000 Monaco
With Monaco facing the Mediterranean, it is no wonder Prince Albert I was passionate about marine biology and conservation. Looking to promote marine sciences and educate others, the prince opened the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco in 1910. There are now more than 6,000 fish, as well as a shark lagoon and an important collection of live coral. Still dedicated to ocean conservation, the museum works closely with scientists and artists to inspire public interest.
68 Allées des Boulingrins, 98000 Monaco
Shopping is a hobby for some of the incredibly rich and maybe famous who sail into Monaco‘s harbor. The Pavillons Monte Carlo is an otherworldly shopping center where Madame can dress from head to toe starting with a tiara! More down to earth luxury budgets may be satisfied at Le Dressing consignment shop. Très design souvenirs can be found in the gift shops at the Nouveau Musée Nationale de Monaco contemporary art museums and the Monaco Yacht Club. Foodies will find their pleasure with the Pavé du Rocher, a sweet available at the official supplier to the Prince, bakery Mullot. Check your change as you go, you may be one of the lucky few to receive a rare Monaco-designed euro. The most modest budgets can have their passport stamped at the tourist office as a free keepsake of their visit. Photo (tiara) : Sylvia Sabes Photo (pavillons) : Palais Princier/ Monte Carlo Société des Bains de Mer
Larvotto Beach, Monaco-Ville, Monaco
Larvotto is a small stretch of pebbles along the shore, and the country’s only beach. Gathered at Monaco’s extreme eastern border, it is the ideal spot to appreciate the Mediterranean. Paddle boards and kayaks are available for rent, while SkiVol offers inner tubing, water skiing or parasailing. It is a great place to snorkel, but insiders continue walking the Sentier Littoral into Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France, following the pedestrian tunnel under the exclusive 1930’s Monte Carlo Beach Hotel to the tiny public beach and cement jetty, where there are no amenities, but plenty of peace and quiet. Photo : Sylvia Sabes
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