Though its territory measures only 8 square kilometers, the tiny principality of Monaco is home to over 30,000 inhabitants, each of whom enjoys the city’s ideal location between the waters of the Mediterranean and the inland mountain cliffs. With its luxurious grand hotels, its modern-day skyscrapers, its world famous casino, its sumptuous gardens, its prestigious museums and its international cultural festivals, it is no wonder that Monaco has long been the sought after destination of many a traveler.
Moreover, Monaco boasts one of the most dynamic economies on the "Cote d’Azur." Numerous corporations have based their international headquarters here. Nevertheless, tourism is by far the single-most important industry in Monaco. With this in mind, many cultural and athletic events take place here – some of the most famous being the Formula 1 grand-prix race in Monte Carlo, the annual world champion’s Open Tennis Tournament, the Philharmonic Orchestra concert series, and performances by the Monte Carlo Ballet. Monaco also entertains thousands of spectators each year through its international film, television and circus festivals.
Do not miss >>>
The list of sites not to miss in Monaco is long. The Exotic Garden and the grotto of the Observatory cover a "reserve" where favorable climatic conditions have enabled over 8,000 species of plants to thrive for all to admire. Another highlight would include the Oceanographic Museum whose turn-of-the-century walls house one of the world’s most complex and impressive aquariums. Just to the west of Monaco is the Fontvieille district which features, among other newly inaugurated urban projects and services, a panoramic park, a heliport and an Olympic sports complex. But the true jewel of this new urban site is the Princess Grace Rose Garden which abounds in 4,000 rose bushes of over 150 varieties produced by the best European and American floriculturists.
Strolling through the streets of "the Rock" the visitor should not be surprised to see old houses decorated with marble bas-reliefs, to come across picturesque squares with wells or fountains, or to pass under medieval arches. The architectural history of Monaco is rich and abundant. Many delightful walks will enable the visitor to discover the Prince’s palace, the Cathedral of Monaco whose façade overlooks the Saint Martin gardens, the Chapel of Misery, the Town Hall and the Court House.
The palace courtyard, designed in true Italian Renaissance style, offers visitors the daily splendor of the changing of the guard as well as many evening concerts. In the summer, the courtyard opens its gates to the fireworks festival (July/August) and the fall season is marked by the Monegasque national festivities (November).
Towns around >>>
Cap d'Ail (2 km), Roquebrune Cap Martin (2 km), Beausoleil