From its meandering old streets to the glitz and glamour of its super yachts and passengers, Monaco is a delight for all the senses. Spending 48 hours in this intriguing principality isn’t hard, but here is a two-day guide of some of the highlights tourists should plan on checking out during their visit.
Start a trip to Monaco by having breakfast at the iconic Café de Paris, which lies opposite the infamous Monte-Carlo Casino. Sit and eat delicious French and European cuisine while watching the high-flying world go by from a French-café chair.
Next, walk to Le Rocher, Monaco’s old town perched on a rocky headland that juts out into the Mediterranean Sea. Here, visitors will wander old, winding streets and also find many of Monaco’s top sights, including the Prince’s Palace, the Oceanographic Museum, and Saint Nicolas Cathedral.
Every day at 11:55 am, the traditional ritual of the Changing of the Guard takes place in front of the Prince’s Palace. Before finding somewhere in the old town to eat, wander through Saint-Martin Gardens and discover the stunning view over the Mediterranean.
After lunch, descend from Le Rocher and stop off at Fort Antoine, an old fort turned open-air theatre that provides the perfect quick-photo moment. Continue back down to sea level until reaching Hercules Port. Monaco’s only deep-water port doesn’t disappoint; the yachts that moor up are quite incredible.
Take a walk around the port—pleasant, even in the heat with it being on flat ground, a bonus given Monaco’s hilly terrain—and pick out a dream vessel. There are also cafès and bars lining the port, so treat yourself to a port-side ice cream.
At the corner furthest away from Le Rocher sits Sainte Dévote. This quaint church looks quite out of place among the hustle and bustle of Monaco, and it makes for an alluring contrast to the big boats from moments ago. For the Grand Prix fans, the first corner of the circuit was named after this chapel.
Make your first dinner in Monaco a picnic. That might sound crazy in the land of fine dining and plush restaurants, but one of Monaco’s highlights—other than its glitz and glamour—is its delightful positioning on the French Rivera. Head west from the principality towards Cap D’ail. There is a walkway by the sea that leads from Monaco along this coastline. The views back in Monaco are gorgeous, especially at sunset. Perch up on one of the benches with your picnic, for a calm end to your first day in Monaco.
Start your second day like a Monégasque (Monaco local) and have breakfast at the Marché de la Condamine. There are many eateries set around this beautiful, covered market, so finding a table will be easy.
Then, beat the crowds and spend a morning on Larvotto. Here, visitors can either set up camp in the public section of the beach or head towards the private section where there are bars and loungers. Taking a morning dip—especially in the summer—means the water will still be warm, but those who do will have more space to lay their towel.
Afterwards, make sure to walk behind the casino to see Victor Vasarely’s colourful mosaic, Hexa Grace— it will be hard to miss. This is the roof of Monaco’s Centre of Congress and, once again, the view is pretty special.
From the Casino Square, make the five-minute walk to Le Metropole Shopping Centre for a spot of retail therapy. No matter your budget, make sure to go anyway as it isn’t just any shopping centre and its interior is quite a sight of its own right. There’s also numerous eateries which may be quite appealing for those who are hungry or who have gotten too much sun.
For some (very) fine dining, book a table at Le Vistamar where the terrace is as spectacular as the food. Afterwards, there aren’t many better venues than Saphir 24. The bar, located at the Fairmont Monte Carlo, offers incredible views. Head over there for one last drink and make sure to time it with sunset for a nice way to wrap up a 48-hour trip.