Here are ten activities to keep you busy during your visit to the Principality this summer.
1. Visit the Princely Palace
The Palais de Monaco is open again this summer, after a two-year closure. It’s a perfect occasion to admire the newly discovered and renovated Renaissance frescoes, and who knows, perhaps even meet Princess Charlene. The changing of the guard on the Place du Palais is also an event not to be missed, it takes place every day at 11:55 am sharp.
2. Stroll through the narrow streets of the Le Rocher district
The streets of Monaco-Ville are without doubt the most emblematic of the Principality. The old town is full of lovely shops and typical little restaurants where you can taste local specialities such as Barbajuan. Plus, two evening events are planned all over Le Rocher in August.
Don’t miss the cathedral where Princess Grace and Prince Rainier III are laid to rest. Just in front of the Cathedral, you should also visit the Saint-Martin gardens. Very popular for cooling off in summer, they have a breathtaking view of the Mediterranean.
3. ‘Chill’ at the Oceanographic Museum’s ‘Polar Mission’ exhibition
Prince Albert I had the Oceanographic Museum built at the end of the 19th century, to record ocean-related discoveries and educate Monegasques. Its exterior architecture alone is worth a visit. This summer, the temporary exhibition “Mission Polaire” takes visitors on an immersive journey to the poles.
To the left of the Museum is Monaco’s prison, and you can walk across its roof while enjoying a lovely view of the Mediterranean. Below, Monaco’s cinema has set up an open-air cinema for the summer.
4. Discover the Prince’s rare and luxury car collection
The Prince’s Private Car Collection has a new home since this summer, on the Port Hercule. Begun by Prince Rainier III in the 1950s, the collection has since grown to contain around a hundred cars today.
5. The Casino – a Monte-Carlo must-see
The Casino has changed a lot over the years. A must during a trip to Monaco, the Casino is not just a gambling venue. It is also quite something to behold. This summer, the “Bleu Sel” exhibition will complement the Casino’s already fabulous atrium, with free visits to this and the Renaissance Room. For 17€, you can take an audioguide tour and choose a drink, a bite to eat or a gaming chip.
The editorial team has put together a handy guide so you can learn more about the dress code, what it costs to play or the history of the venue.
6. Take it easy on Larvotto beach
Larvotto beach is perfect for relaxing in the sun or in the shade of a tree. Last summer, the entire resort underwent a transformation, designed by the famous architect Renzo Piano. While on the beach, feel free to admire the humorous sculptures of Le Cat by Belgian artist Philip Geluck.
The non-smoking beach also has a wide selection of very pleasant restaurants, bars and shops, to make the most of your beach holiday.
7. Visit current exhibitions
There are cultural exhibitions all over Monaco. Whichever district of the Principality you are in, there is bound to be an informative and perfectly presented exhibition to make sure you never get bored.
The exhibitionist Christian Louboutin
This summer, the hit exhibition is none other than “L’Exhibition[niste]”. Situated in the Grimaldi Forum and lavishly staged, the exhibition presents an entire spectrum of Christian Louboutin’s work. Admission to this memorable exhibition only costs €11.
The elegant Villa Paloma
The name Christian Bérard may not mean anything to you, but the early 20th century artist had many lives and produced many works. “Christian Bérard, Excentrique Bébé” showcases an outstanding artist for €6 at Villa Paloma. There is even free admission on Sundays.
The provocative Villa Sauber
The exhibition that is running at Villa Sauber is quite unusual. “Newton, Riviera” is a sensual and provocative photo exhibition. Entirely devoted to the German photographer Helmut Newton, photographs of famous models rub shoulders with anonymous people and Princesses Stephanie and Caroline, all in the same place. Again, admission is only €6 and is free on Sundays.
Albert I, the Scholar Prince
This year, the Principality is commemorating the death of Prince Albert I, one hundred years ago. Monaco is full of exhibitions on this great Prince who strove not only for his country but also for science and peace, throughout the world. If you would like to know more about him, there is an exhibition on the gates of the Jardins Saint-Martin, another in the train station and a third on the Quai Antoine Ier.
8. Dance the night away
Monaco is full of lively nightspots. For example, COYA and Jimmy’z vie with each other for ideas and parties of all kinds to bring the hot summer nights to life. Brace yourselves, there’s a heavy schedule.
The brand new Twiga will take you from dinner through to dawn. Another iconic venue in Monaco, is La Rascasse. Proudly overlooking the Port Hercule, the bar offers different ambiances on different evenings. There is Salsa early on Wednesday evenings, an acoustic duo on Fridays and Saturdays and, of course, DJs all night long.
9. Treat your tastebuds
You’re in the Principality, so you should make the most of its many restaurants.
To enjoy the best in fine dining while surrounded by the magnificent scenery of Monte-Carlo Beach, head for Elsa, the hotel’s restaurant. Chef Mélanie Serre provides 100% organic and seasonal cuisine in a five-course menu for €138.
Star chef Yannick Alléno’s Pavyllon restaurant is in Monaco, at the Hotel Hermitage to be precise. It has an original concept, as the guests are invited to enjoy their gourmet meal at a counter. Uou can discover and enjoy the Michelin-starred chef’s sophisticated cuisine for €68 at lunchtime, or a minimum of €145 for dinner, .
Eating on a budget
At the La Condamine Market, it’s easy to find something to eat at reasonable prices. Check out la Maison des Pâtes where you can enjoy a tasty pasta dish for around €10. If you need reassured about the quality, you should know the establishment is the official supplier to the Prince. Just saying!
More classic but just as tasty, is Monaco’s Steak’n’Shake. Located not far from the Sainte-Dévote church and the train station, the American chain created a speciality for Monaco, the Rocher Monte-Carlo milkshake, which is to die for.
New this summer
For lunch, Chez Pierre is definitely the place to go. In a unique, friendly atmosphere, the restaurant has a set menu (main course + dessert + coffee) for €29. It is close to the Metropole Shopping Center, so you can walk off your lunch by taking a stroll around this superb mall.
Italy, while dipping your toes in the water. This is what you get at Giacomo. For an average price of 30€, including main course and dessert, Italian dishes are the main feature, with tasty and quality products.
10. Quench your thirst
With all these activities you are bound to work up a thirst, and it is nice to enjoy the different views the Principality has to offer with a relaxing drink.
At the end of your tour on the Rock, you can stop at the Malizia Mar at the Monaco Solarium. The bar and pop-up restaurant provide one of the best views of the Mediterranean and Monaco.
Halfway between Le Rocher and the Casino, feel free to stop at the Equivoque bar. Open from 4 pm, the terrace of the bar has a direct view of Port Hercule. Stopping for a drink at this bar is a real experience. You don’t choose your cocktail from a menu, but by smell – take a sniff and take your pick!