Visit Monte Carlo – See the Sights
The Monte Carlo Casino and Hotel de Paris is on the north side of the Port Hercule harbor when you visit Monte Carlo. Most of the other sights are located on the hill top overlooking Port Hercule from the south side of the harbor, including:
- the Prince’s Palace – Watch the changing of the guard and see the Grimaldi Statue in the square.
- Cathedral the Monaco – the Roman Catholic Church where the Grimaldi’s are buried. This church is also known as the Cathédrale Notre-Dame-Immaculée, the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception and Saint Nicholas Cathedral.
- The Oceanographic Museum (Musee Oceanagraphique) – Jacques Cousteau was a director. The Monaco Oceanographic Museum has an aquarium, but the main focus is the museum. Wander the gardens beside the museum too.
Visit Monte Carlo – Other Sights
- Jardin Exotique de Monaco (Exotic Gardens) – The walk to the Exotic Gardens is very steep, so take a bus from the train station or the Oceanographic Museum.
- the Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix happens each year in May. The rest of the city closes down for this event, so don’t plan a city tour during the Monaco Grand Prix. Check out our Monte Carlo Day Trip blog to find out how difficult it is to see the sights during the Grand Prix.
- Combine a visit to Monte Carlo with other nearby towns in France. Try a French Riviera Day Trip from Nice.
Visit Monte Carlo – Hotels
Get to Monte Carlo
There is no international airport in Monaco, so visitors get to Monte Carlo from Nice, France. The wealthy arrive by private yacht. Hotels are very expensive in Monte Carlo, so most tourists catch the frequent rail service from Nice for day trips to Monte Carlo. The train takes about 20 minutes and arrives at Gare de Monaco-Monte-Carlo.
Get Around Monte Carlo
From the Monte Carlo train station, you can get to most major attraction on a 20 minute walk. A great option from the train station is the Monaco Hop-on Hop-off Tour which has stops at the Casino, Port Hercule, the Prince’s Palace, the Cathedral of Monaco and the aquarium.
Another option is the city’s Le Petit Train de Monaco which is actually an open air bus disguised as a train. The Le Petit Train covers the same stops as the hop-on-hop-off and more. The ticket booth for the “train” is across from the Monaco Oceanographic Museum & aquarium.
Monte Carlo Cruise Ships
Cruise ships dock at Port Hercule. Passengers can walk up the hill to the Prince’s Palace, the Cathedral of Monaco and the Monaco Oceanographic Museum in about 20 minutes.
Monte Carlo Weather
Summer extends from June to September in Monte Carlo. Monte Carlo weather has average highs in July and August of about 80 F (27 C). Summer lows are about 70 F (20 C). Winter extends from December to February with average highs of 55 F (14 C) and lows of 43 F (6 C). Rainfall is heaviest from October through December.
July and August are the driest months and combined with the warm weather, make these the two months the best time to visit Monte Carlo.
Visit Monte Carlo – Background
The city of Monte Carlo occupies about a quarter of the land area of the Principality of Monaco. The Principality of Monaco is a small monarchy with a population of about 15,000 permanent residents. Monaco is completely surrounded by France and the Mediterranean Sea. Monte Carlo is home to about 4,000 permanent residents. Today the city is a haven for the wealthy due to its lack of income taxes. The Grimaldi family has controlled Monaco for centuries. The most famous recent Grimaldi was Prince Rainier III who married the American actress Grace Kelly in a fairy tale wedding. Prince Rainier passed away in 2005 and Prince Albert II took the throne. French is the preferred language in Monte Carlo and tourists will find a noticeable reluctance to speak any other languages.