monaco is one of the most fascinating countries in the world. This rich playground has a lot of history, beautiful architecture and plenty of places to eat and drink. Tourism in Monaco is still as influential as ever and that’s understandable.
It is the ideal place to spend a few summer days and the proximity to Nice makes it almost a twinned tourist centre. The country is surely not the most affordable, but for those who want to spend the money, it is by far the dream destination.
Principality of Monaco: The history of the Monegasque country
Monaco was once called Monoïkos, which means “detached house” in ancient Greek. The name most likely evoked the fact that its inhabitants had settled in a “single dwelling” or that they “lived apart” from others. At the time, the country was part of the Roman Empire.
It is one of three principalities (the other two being Andorra and Liechtenstein), a monarchy where the sovereign holds the title of prince or princess rather than king or queen. Monaco is therefore a constitutional monarchy and is currently ruled by Prince Albert II of the Grimaldi family, which has ruled Monaco since 1297. Although Monaco has been an independent state since 1861, its defense forces are provided by France and a visit to the country is often considered one of the things to do in the south of France, even though Monaco is not part of France.
In the 19th century, Monaco began to build its infrastructure. The casino as well as a railway system connecting the country to France were built at this time. Soon after, Monaco became a major tourist destination for casino goers and a leisure center for the wealthy. Today, Monaco serves as a banking center and is a tax haven for businesses and individuals alike.
Tourism in Monaco
When is the best time to go there?
The climate is hot and sunny in summer, but quite cold in winter. The best time to visit is between May and October. Monaco is easily accessible by taxi or train from Nice airport. The journey takes about 30 minutes and trains run frequently. Once visitors reach Monaco, it is very easy to get around on foot.
Monaco is part of the Schengen region and most people with EU or US passports will not need a visa to enter. There is no passport control at the border with France. The euro is the main currency.
Treat yourself to Monaco!
Do not hesitate to taste Barbagiuan (a delicious pastry made with rice, cheese, leek and pumpkin or spinach), fougasse (another type of pastry made with orange blossom water flavored and decorated with anise and walnuts), socca (a delicious pancake prepared with chickpea flour) and stocafi (cooked with dried cod and tomato sauce).
Among the appetizers usually served in the country are fruit skewers grilled (made with vegetable oil, lime juice, brown sugar, mint, apples, peaches, bananas, kiwis, strawberries and pineapple), the baba ganoush (prepared with olive oil, garlic, onion, lemon juice, eggplant, tahini, salt, black pepper, tomato, cold water and parsley), baked cheese wedges, peanut chutney fat-free cream cheese, chutney, crunchy peanut butter, onion, ginger, teriyaki sauce and dry mustard), strawberries with creamy lime dip (cooked with powdered sugar, lime zest, sour cream fat free, strawberries and lime juice).
Common desserts served in the country are chocolate mousse, freshly baked assorted cookies, fudge and nut brownies, vanilla ice cream, fruit tart a la mode, cheesecake a la turtle (classic cheesecake and its chocolate, peanut and caramel filling). Traditional drinks are influenced by the country’s proximity to France. The most popular drinks are coffee, hot chocolate, milk and fine wines.
What to do in Monaco
– Visit the Royal Palace
A visit to the Prince’s Palace in Monaco at the top of the hill is recommended. The Palace Quarter is a beautiful historic part of the city and offers a great view of the entire harbor below the top of the hill.
– Stroll along the coast and have lunch at the Monaco Yacht Club
Walk along the beach towards the Monte-Carlo Country Club. Next to the country club you will find the Monaco Yacht Club, where visitors can have lunch. If you keep your eyes open, you might see royals or a celebrity.
– Enjoy one of the beach bars on the harbor
Several beach bars are open at the port in summer. The harbor gets very lively at night when the music starts pumping in the early evening. Lots of beautiful people gather in these beach bars and the parties are wonderful.
– Play at the casino in Monaco
Essential for enthusiasts, the four casinos in Monte-Carlo are sublime in their presence. The most famous is the CRoyal Casino of Monte Carlo, located in the center of the city. The casino opened its doors in the middle of the 19th century to save the Grimaldi family from bankruptcy. Today, Monaco is one of the top casino destinations in Europe and players from all over the world come here to gamble.
– Monaco F1 Grand Prix
The best time to go to Monaco is during the F1 Grand Prix at the end of May. Many celebrities and wealthy people arrive in Monaco for this special weekend. Some of the biggest yachts berth in Monaco’s harbor and others host fabulous evening boat parties. The nightlife rocks around the Grand Prix weekend.
– Enjoy the events at the Grimaldi Forum Monaco
This cultural center of more than 70,000 m2 hosts the best events in the region. Shows, operas, festivals, concerts or exhibitions, there will always be something on display for tourists and locals. With its theatre, three auditoriums, 22 conference rooms and 3 catering areas, you can also organize your professional events on site.