Top 5 Best Places to Visit in Monaco in 2021

Greetings, friends! Our last travel adventure story on the blog was all about the most beautiful places to visit in Utah. What a glorious time we had in our rented RV! We were also fortunate enough to have the opportunity to embark upon another exciting journey, this time in Europe. In this journal entry, let us explore the exquisite beauty of Monaco and the Top 5 Best Places to Visit in Monaco in 2021. You won’t want to miss it!

Port Hercules Monte Carlo Monaco - Top 5 Best Places to Visit in Monaco in 2021
Port Hercules Monte Carlo Monaco 

A Little About Monaco

But first, let us look at where and what Monaco is. It truly helps to more fully appreciate all that stunning beauty and radiant scenery!

Bay of Monte Carlo Monaco - Top 5 Best Places to Visit in Monaco in 2021
Bay of Monte Carlo Monaco

Monaco is actually a shortened version of its true name: Principality of Monaco. It is its own city and state, sandwiched between sophisticated France and the balmy Mediterranean Sea. In fact, its location is right in the luxury resort area known as the French Riviera. This principality is sectioned into four parts, including the equally well-known area of Monte Carlo. Monaco itself is actually quite small but is known the world over for its world-class gambling opportunities, racing and oh-so-much more.

Visiting Monaco

Now, on to the details of why Monaco is just so beautiful and a must-see travel destination! We embarked on our travels to Monaco early in November. In fact, our day trip to Monaco just happened to land on Election Day back in the States. However, our minds were on nothing else but thoroughly enjoying our experience in Europe. Having cast our absentee ballots before we left the U.S., we were free to explore to our hearts’ content. The weather played a big role in choosing our date for the day trip to Monaco. Because rain was in the forecast for the day in Nice, France (which is just a few short miles away), we thought it might be a good idea to take the short dash over to Monaco for the day.

Map of Top 5 Best Places to Visit in Monaco

We took the train from Nice France to Monaco for a quick day trip. Our goal was to take in as much as we possibly could.  To that end we wanted to hit the places that were relatively close together.  From the train we were able to walk to the Monte Carlo Casino for some quick fun. Then we took a city bus to The Prince’s Palace of Monaco. Everything else was a very easy walking distance and saved time.  

Here is a quick map of Monaco to give you an overview of the place. 



Map of Top 5 Best Places to Visit in Monaco
Map of Top 5 Best Places to Visit in Monaco

Click here for the Google Map of Top 5 Best Places to Visit in Monaco

1) Monte Carlo

We chose to visit Monte Carlo while we explored Monaco for many reasons. With its worldwide fame, how could we miss this gem of an area? Located within the Maritime Alps and right on the stunning French Riviera, Monte Carlo is one area of Monaco that you absolutely must visit.

Town Around Princes Palace of Monaco - Top 5 Best Places to Visit in Monaco in 2021
Town Around Prince’s Palace of Monaco

Fortunately, Monte Carlo is only a short train ride from Nice, France. If you stay in Nice, you can expect to spend about half an hour on the train between Nice and Monte Carlo. The ticket price is quite reasonable and will run you no more than 20 dollars per ticket, per person in your party. Believe me, it is completely worth it! Even if you are not into gambling, Monte Carlo is home to some unique sightseeing, courtesy of its extreme amounts of wealth. Just imagine strolling down street after street and seeing luxury sports cars and limousines one after another. And this is not to even mention the charming homes and storefronts! If nothing else, you simply must visit Monte Carlo to photograph all this amazing wealth that seems to be quite common in this little region of Monaco.

2) The Prince’s Palace of Monaco

In keeping with the theme of extreme wealth, you may not be surprised to learn that there is a spectacular destination called The Prince’s Palace right within Monaco. This is not some old, unused palace. Oh no, this stunning feat of architecture is the official residence of the Sovereign Prince of Monaco. It really is a royal palace and is still in use today as a private home for royalty.

Prince's Palace of Monaco - Top 5 Best Places to Visit in Monaco in 2021
Prince’s Palace of Monaco

We made this our very first stop on our Monaco excursion, and what an excellent choice that was. This palace was built in 1191 as a Genoese fortress and it boasts quite the dramatic history. After its construction, the fortress was bombarded and besieged by many. Yet, it has held its ground and withstood the test of time. Interestingly enough, in 1297, Francois Grimaldi snuck into the building in disguise as a monk when it was still functioning as a fortress. He then took control of it all for himself and his family. Since then, the fortress has been the stronghold and the home of the Grimaldi family. However, it wasn’t until much later, sometime in the 1500s during the reign of Honore I, that the fortress was transformed into a palace. Tourists are allowed to view the palace year-round, to this day. What a treasure!

3) The Gardens of Monte Carlo

After touring the Prince’s Palace, Anne and I went on to explore the gardens of Monte Carlo. More specifically, we toured through the Princess Grace Rose Garden and the Exotic Garden. These are two of the most noted gardens within Monte Carlo. Even in November these gardens were beautifully kept and were extremely pleasing to the eye. Princess Grace's rose garden, Monaco

Princess Grace Rose Garden – Photo credit: Oliver Berry 

The Princess Grace Rose Garden is actually found within Fontvieille Park, though it is its own separate garden. In it, you will see the hallmarks of traditional English garden designs but with a Mediterranean twist: olive trees. The garden opened in 1984 and has since expanded to make room for its more than 300 varieties of roses. In contrast, the Exotic Garden contains hundreds and hundreds of cacti and succulents. It even features a cave that functions as an observatory! Do be sure to visit both of these outdoor wonders on your own travels to Monaco.

4) The Cathedral of Our Lady Immaculate

The next portion of our day included a trip over to the Cathedral of Our Lady Immaculate in Monaco-Ville, Monaco. The cathedral was built between 1875 and 1903, and it rests on the site of the first parish of Monaco, built in 1252.

Cathedral of Our Lady Immaculate - Top 5 Best Places to Visit in Monaco in 2021
Cathedral of Our Lady Immaculate – Top 5 Best Places to Visit in Monaco in 2021

The Cathedral of Our Lady Immaculate is the cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Monaco. Fascinatingly enough, it is the location where many of the Grimaldi family were buried, including Grace Kelly (yes, that Grace Kelly) and more recently, her husband, Rainier III.

Prince Rainier III & Princess Grace of Monaco 

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Grace Kelly, she was a famous actress here in the United States. Even more, she was a member of the royal family of Monaco by marriage, so she truly was a princess!

Interior Cathedral of Our Lady Immaculate - Top 5 Best Places to Visit in Monaco in 2021
Interior Cathedral of Our Lady Immaculate

5) The Oceanographic Museum of Monaco

Our final stop of the day in Monaco was the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco. This museum is also colloquially known as the Jacques Cousteau Museum. It’s easy to see why!

Oceanographic Museum of Monaco Jacques Cousteau Museum - Top 5 Best Places to Visit in Monaco in 2021
Oceanographic Museum of Monaco Jacques Cousteau Museum

The entire place blew us away with its vast, magnificent collections and exhibitions of various species of jellyfish, crabs, lobsters, rays, sharks and more. It contains over 6,000 displays and has been in existence for over a century, having been created by Prince Albert II. Not surprisingly, this incredible museum commands respect across the entire globe.

The Oceanographic Museum of Monaco - Top 5 Best Places to Visit in Monaco in 2021
The Oceanographic Museum of Monaco 

Those of you who know me well, however, know that I am more interested in the architecture of things. While I appreciated the interesting collections, I couldn’t resist taking my time exploring the structure itself. This building was so fun to shoot! The building rises up right from the cliffside rock, and like many museums has a certain way about it that drives us photographers crazy.

The Oceanographic Museum of Monaco - Top 5 Best Places to Visit in Monaco in 2021
The Oceanographic Museum of Monaco

Conclusion Visiting Monaco

As you can see from these five must-see destinations within Monaco, you will not be sorry if you visit here. I know that travel is a bit uncertain right now, but there is nothing wrong with having a little inspiration to guide you as you dream about future travels and exciting excursions. I myself have set my own travel goals for 2021. It helps me to ensure I am prioritizing my travel plans in this chaotic time we’ve all been experiencing. There is just so much to see and do all over the world, and Monaco is one of those places that must not be missed.  Until next time, get out and capture the adventure!   Co Author: Brittany VanDerBill –  

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Written by Wayne Moran - Visit Website