12 Historical Landmarks to See in Monaco

Monaco Opera House | © Roland Turner / Flickr
Monaco Opera House | © Roland Turner / Flickr
Photo of Holly Howard
26 April 2017

Monaco plays host to a beautiful collection of landmarks for visitors to the principality to admire and learn the history behind its current-day glitz and glamour. Culture Trip has collated our top 12 for you, so read on.

Prince’s Palace

Situated in Monaco’s elevated old town known as ‘The Rock‘, the Prince’s Palace is where the royal family resides. The family has been reigning the principality for more than 700 years and the current palace was adapted from the original fortress that stood atop this advantageous headland since the 1200s.

Prince’s Palace, Monaco, France

Prince's Palace of Monaco | © Niels Mickers / Flickr

Prince’s Palace of Monaco | © Niels Mickers / Flickr

Monaco Courthouse

A landmark sometimes missed amid its more domineering fellows, Monaco’s Palais de Justice is well worth finding in the old town. Created in 1924, its dual external staircases are extremely attractive and the building itself was built out of sea tuff, a grey stone which was also used for Monaco’s ramparts.

Palais de Justice, 5 Rue Colonel Bellando de Castro, Monaco, France

Monte-Carlo Casino

The Monte-Carlo Casino hasn’t always been such an imposing landmark in Monaco. Before the late 1870s, it was built in more of a seaside style, with the facade being that of a coastal establishment rather than the epitome of luxury. In 1878-79, the casino building was transformed and expanded – and again in the 1880s – to be similar to what we see today.

Monte-Carlo Casino, Place du Casino, Monaco, France

Monte-Carlo Casino | © Ming-yen Hsu / Flickr

Monte-Carlo Casino | © Ming-yen Hsu / Flickr

Saint Nicholas Cathedral

Monaco Cathedral is the resting place of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier, as well as numerous members of the Grimaldi family. The cathedral was built over several decades (1875-1903) and consecrated in 1911. Its was built on the site of the first parish church in Monaco, built in 1252. The cathedral is equally as impressive a landmark within as it is externally.

Saint Nicholas Cathedral, 4 Rue Colonel Bellando de Castro, Monaco, France

Hotel de Paris

Map View
View from Hotel de Paris
View from Hotel de Paris | © Haydn Blackey / Flickr
Hotel de Paris is one of the most iconic buildings in Monaco. It was opened in 1863 as part of the development of Monaco by the Société des Bains de Mer.There have been numerous films featured here, so get a little of the glitz and glamour for yourself, too, by adding it to your historical landmarks must-see list.

Chapel of Mercy

The Chapel of Mercy is a Roman Catholic church situated in Monaco’s old town. For 400 years – and until the 1870s, but it has since been resumed – this chapel was the starting point for the traditional ‘Procession of the Dead Christ’ on Easter Friday.

Chapel of Mercy, Place de la Visitation, Monaco, France

Metropole Hotel

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Metropole Hotel
Metropole Hotel | © taver / Flickr
This elegant, luxury Monaco hotel was built in 1889 in the Belle Époque style. It has been reinvigorated over the years in terms of interior decor and those lucky enough to stay will enjoy all the thoughtful touches. Externally, make sure to walk round its periphery until you come to the elaborate conifer and stone archway.

Hercules Port

Hercules harbour is the only natural deep-water port in Monaco. The port has been an important part of Monaco’s history, providing the principality with an important mark on maritime trading routes and a strategic naval base. The modern port was completed in 1926, and in the 1970s underwent further improvements.

Hercules Port, Monaco, France

Oceanographic Museum

The museum of marine sciences is a very impressive building, especially when viewed from a profile setting. It sits right on the edge of the Monaco cliffs, with spectacular views out onto the Mediterranean Sea. This historical landmark is an example of Baroque Revival architecture and took 11 years to build. It was designed and built 100 years ago as a palace dedicated entirely to science.

Oceanographic Museum, Avenue Saint-Martin, Monaco, France

Oceanographic Museum | © yril Bèle / Flickr

Oceanographic Museum | © Cyril Bèle / Flickr

Juan Manuel Fangio Memorial

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Juan Manuel Fangio was an Argentine five times world champion racing car driver, who competed numerous times in the Monaco Grand Prix. The Monaco Grand Prix has run from 1929 and attracts keen Formula 1 enthusiasts all year round, so this tasteful memorial has become a real landmark in Monaco and is definitely worth seeing.

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