• 16 February 2017

Located in south-west Europe, Monaco is the world’s second smallest country. This autonomous city-state on the Mediterranean coastline of France is perhaps best known for its glittering casinos, yacht-lined harbour and hosting the prestigious annual Grand Prix motor race. The country’s economy has been burgeoning since the late-1800s, when the first casino opened its doors in Monte Carlo and was swiftly followed by a convenient railway connection to Paris. Ever since then, Monaco’s gorgeous climate, exceptional scenery and colourful populace have cemented its status as a sought-after tourist destination.

It’s on the French Riviera

You simply cannot imagine the mind-blowing beauty of the Mediterranean coastline until you’ve seen it in person – photographs can’t do it justice. Furthermore, the climate is mild to a fault. It rarely gets sweltering or freezing – winters are kind with an average temperature of 8°C/46°F in January, and in summer the mercury rarely rises above 26°C/79°F, even in die midst of July. And then there’s that delightful sea breeze that keeps things fresh and smelling of endless days at the beach…

Top Tip! Walking is the best way to get around Monaco; however, there are some areas that make for rather strenuous hikes – look out for the public escalators that help to negotiate the city’s steep inclines.

View of Fontvieille – Principality of Monaco

The shopping is out of this world

If you have a penchant for shopping luxury brands like Prada, Hermes, Louis Vuitton and Yves Saint Laurent, you’re in for a treat. Monaco has the greatest number of billionaires per capita anywhere in the world, and they are catered for extensively. However, if you don’t want to hurt your wallet, you can simply eschew the famed Golden Circle in favour of the historic Condamine Market, where you can wander around and bargain for souvenirs from this beautiful destination.

You’ll get to see some of the world’s finest automobiles in F1 heaven

Prince Rainier’s private collection of antique cars is a must-see for any automobile enthusiast. But to be honest, you can just take a walk through the city’s streets to get an eyeful of sleek, high-priced horsepower – those millionaires we mentioned before have a penchant for stunning cars and you’ll come across at least one on every city block.

Expensive cars near famous Casino building in Monte Carlo in Monaco.

Historical sites & museums abound!

Even at a decidedly petite 2.02 square kilometres, Monaco boasts no less that nine sough-after monuments and museums that are dedicated to everything from oceanography to religion, and even the age-old art of gambling! Get out your guidebook and pencil in a visit to the Prince’s Palace, Monte-Carlo Casino, Chapel of Mercy, the monumental Oceanographic Museum, Forte Antoine, the stately Monaco Cathedral and more.

Lastly, you’ll be able to visit three countries in one day!

Monaco’s singular location makes it easy to include a visit here on even the most jam-packed itineraries. In fact, if you were really pressed for time, you could visit Italy, France and Monaco all in the course of one well-planned day. The countries are so close together that you could enjoy breakfast in France, lunch in Monaco and dinner in Italy without breaking a sweat!

Related: If you plan to tick off all three European states in one trip, it’s best to do so in conjunction with a seasoned travel provider that knows the region inside out. Leave it to the professionals to crunch the numbers, plan the routes and get you to the sights and attractions in comfort and on time. Expat Explore travel to Monaco on these tours.

We definitely have a soft spot for the tiny independent city-state of Monaco and think that every keen traveller should include this beautiful city on their European travel bucket list!  

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