Top 7 things to do in Monaco in January (even if you can’t travel to the Riviera)

Gaëtan Luci / Prince's Palace of Monaco

Even in a normal year, January can get rather dreary. To keep the winter blues at bay, we’ve selected the very best that the Principality has to offer over the next four weeks. Some of these activities can even be done from the comfort of your own home.

1. Skate on Port Hercule

Every winter, the Rainier III swimming pool is transformed into a picturesque open-air skating rink right in front of Monaco’s famous harbour filled with luxury yachts. There is a smaller rink just for children. Despite coronavirus, the 1,000 m2 skating rink is expected to stay open until early March. By that time, there will be hopefully fewer travel restrictions to come and slide gracefully and without moderation in the heart of the Principality. More details: Mayor of Monaco.

Monaco skating rink
© Government of Monaco / Michael Alesi

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2. Enjoy a lavish festive meal prepared by top chefs

Do you want to keep the festive spirit going even after the New Year? Look no further! The hotels and restaurants of the Société des Bains de Mer, including the three-Michelin star Le Louis XV, will remain decked for the holidays until 10 January – just enough to let you enjoy the Christmas spirit a little while longer. After that, you will still be able to enjoy the local restaurants as long as you stay are staying in a hotel in Monaco. If you are visiting just for a day, why not try the newest deli at the Condamine Market opened by Mauro Colagreco, owner of the Mirazur – world’s best restaurant in neighbouring Menton. If you can’t travel to the Côte d’Azur, why not follow Michelin-starred chef Marcel Ravin on Instagram and try some of his recipes yourself!

>> READ ALSO: After France’s complaint, Monaco restricts access to its restaurants

3. Marvel at classic cars during the Rallye Monte-Carlo Historique 

Along with the F1 Grand Prix and the Monte-Carlo Rally, the Rallye Monte-Carlo Historique is an unmissable event for the Principality’s racing enthusiasts. Taking place from 30 January to 3 February, this 24th edition is not your average car race: only cars that have raced in the Monte-Carlo rally between 1911 and 1980 can participate.

Covid-19 has forced organisers to downscale the race, which would normally see crews start in various European locations, including Athens, Barcelona and Glasgow. For the 2021 edition, all cars will leave from Monte-Carlo and race across the South and South-East of France. The event will end with a Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony in the Salle des Étoiles of the Sporting Club Monte-Carlo. More details: Automobile Club de Monaco.

© Automobile Club de Monaco

>> READ ALSO: Monaco’s Automobile Club goes virtual

4. Watch a contemporary circus cabaret  

Think acrobatics, dancing, comedy, theatre, singing and live music. From 8 January to 10 January, the Grimaldi Forum will welcome Bohemia, a contemporary circus cabaret show. In a wooden spiegeltent adorned with mirrors, the show will recreate the atmosphere and delights of cabaret, down to the very layout of the venue: instead of individual seats, spectators will reserve whole tables, to enjoy the show with friends and family. Performers include a former member of the Cirque du Soleil and a winner of a Bronze Clown at the Monte-Carlo Circus Festival (unfortunately cancelled this year, but we have the best highlights from last year for you in our video). More details: Grimaldi Forum.

© Grimaldi Forum

5. Discover the beauty of ceramics

“Ceramics is not futile,” Paul Gauguin once said. The French artist, who started experimenting with the form in the late 1880s, would eventually elevate the practice to the rank of an art. The ceramics exhibition at the historic Villa Sauber is an ode to the craft. The exhibition takes visitors through the more recent history of ceramics, from the 19th century to the present day.

Instables artifices, Stories of ceramics is envisioned as a crossover between an atelier and a cabinet of curiosities. Highlighting the craft’s inventiveness, diversity of technique and its production process, the exhibition features 120 ceramics, including pieces by local Monaco artisans and Pablo Picasso. More details: Nouveau Musée National Monaco.

© Nouveau Musée National Monaco

>> WATCH ALSO: Going back in time at Monaco’s Museum of Prehistoric Anthropology

6. Watch a ballet from the comfort of your sofa

On 5 January, the Ballets de Monte-Carlo launched BMC Stream, the company’s new on-demand video platform, which lets you stream ballets with a unique interactive multi-camera viewing. Viewers can choose the viewing angle and have behind-the-scenes access to performances. For instance, it is possible to follow dancers backstage or watch rehearsals. If you’re looking for inspiration, Dov’è la luna/Core Meu duo is our personal favourite. More details: BMC Stream.

Monte-Carlo Ballet
Core Meu © Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo

>> WATCH ALSO: Behind the scenes at one of the world’s most exclusive dance academies

7. Discover Monaco & beyond from home

Whether you are self-isolating or unable to come to Monaco due to international travel restrictions, there are two more ways to (re)discover the Principality on distance. Firstly, in a series of videos during 10 weeks, Visit Monaco lets you discover the close links that unite Monaco to 10 countries through shared commitments and common cultures. The first video takes you on a journey from the Bolshoi Ballets and the Monte-Carlo Ballets. Secondly, you can defy the grounded flights with Monaco 360 – a virtual travel experienced launched during the first lockdown. You can zoom in from your mobile and even go inside some iconic buildings.