Definitely one of the most unique places we’ve ever been to in our lives and most probably, nothing will or can ever compare to the luxurious hedonist’s experience we’ve had in Monte Carlo; not even Dubai or Singapore. Monaco is real glamour by the sea. Just the fact that 30 % of its population was a millionaire in 2014, makes your head spin. Along goes a highest life expectancy and 0 % employment rate, and not sure if any other place can brag about it.
Monte Carlo is super small, so it’s best to walk through the main centre and old city town. Reach the view points with car, or if in good shape, you can do some pretty amazing hikes, too! Oh yep, if you happen to own a yacht, than that’s an option, too. 🙂
We’ve stayed in two different hotels during our time in Monaco, both worth experiencing.
Hotel Hermitage Monte Carlo – impossibly opulent century-old grand hotel is in the top tier of Monte-Carlo lodging & the first impression was as if we’ve stepped into a castle. We really felt like prince and princess here. The suites are just indescribable, decorated in nautically inspired hues and earthy tones. The relaxing color palette complements the rooms’ spectacular view, our spacious balcony was overlooking the sea with Hercules port, Palais Princier de Monaco and F1 track, but mostly we liked the mystical mountain behind, being such nature lovers. The furnishings keep with the classic French décor of the rest of the luxury hotel: comfortable, understated and elegant. We were mostly impressed by the welcome gift of Gurlain’s perfume and Ladurée macaroons – so spoiled that any future hotel is going to have to try real hard to beat this one! Overall, it is a def 12 out of 10. The whole hotel is a piece of history. The artwork is original. The cuisine is world class.
The Fairmont Monte Carlo – is the next amazing hotel we’ve stayed at. Situated between Italy and France, allowing guests to take days trips to explore three countries at one. Sits above the sea and has stunning sea views throughout the property. Moreover, If you’re a Formula 1 fan, each year the Monaco Grand Prix runs through The Fairmont Hairpin, the most exciting curve during the race!! Guests can watch it from the balcony of the Fairmont Monte Carlo and it is just one of the most special experiences. Read below for more.
Le Vistamar at Hotel Hermitage MC – starting with a glass of champagne, and locally caught and fresh seafood (it is the signature eatery) for appetisers, we continued with outstanding meat dishes. We were ready to skip the dessert as we had eaten SO much, but immediately understood the Benoit Witz chef’s emphasise on the fine desserts, as the sweet soufflés are known far and wide for their excellence. A real culinary experience not to be missed.
Buddha Bar – with it’s cinema-style decor, majestic buddha statue in the middle of the restaurant and unforgetabble food pleasures it’s def one of the finer dinning places you should try out. What we loved most was a “sharing” concept, how privileged we felt by the candlelight (unobserved by others), and the champagne with fresh strawberries and raspberries, YUM! The amazing dishes of chef Wagner Spadacio made our eyes roll back in our heads, no wonder he is competing in the world sushi cup and we bet he is gonna win the title.
Le Grill at Hôtel de Paris – offers an elegant menu in a unique setting facing the Casino de Monte-Carlo and Mediterranean sea. On warm days, they open up the roof entirely, so you can enjoy lunch in the sun and dinner under a starry sky, just wow! We’ve tried the grilled meats and soufflé’s that built the restaurant’s reputation. Prepare to eat more here than anywhere else and it will be a joyful experience for all food here is shared with love and passion behind the creation of what is put before you. An important note: if you’re planning on dining here during the Grand Prix, you will have to have deep pockets, as the lunch here will cost about 1 grand EUR!
Horizon Restaurant at The Fairmont Monte Carlo – it is really rarely that you can see three countries at the same time, but you can in Horizon. It has a 360-degree views over France, Italy and Monaco, moreover there’s a view over the Principality’s legendary Opera House, Prince’s Palace, and Casino – against a backdrop of the Riviera and the azure splendour of the Mediterranean. The food is spectacular, too. We tried both, a-la-carte and the unlimited buffet with a large choice of seasonal vegetables, meat or fish, cheese, fruits and desserts. Hint? Make sure to stop at the Champagne bar first!
Formula One Grand Prix – is one of the most prestigious car races in the world. They take six to eight weeks to set up the Circuit de Monaco, and three weeks to take down. It is one of the most exciting automobile races in the world and is not to be missed. The race track, passing through the Casino Square and passing multiple hotels and the harbor, is a sight to behold. You will have the best seats watching from the hotel-terras, The Fairmont Monte Carlo has some of the mains, or from a yacht. A stay in one of the main suites during the F1 will cost you about 65.000 EUR!
Nikki beach Club – on top of The Fairmont Monte Carlo’s hotel, it has some of the hottest pool parties in the summer! It opens already 12 noon and has some of the best vibes all over Monaco.
Monte Carlo Casino – we had a chance to peep inside the Monte Carlo’s legendary marble-and-gold casino before it opens at 2 PM, and then once again at night when the most action is happening and the sky is truly the limit! What makes it so special, besides its magnificent size, glass chandeliers, and its late Baroque style Rococo ceilings, it is that the Casino was the first main and only building and people would drive all the way from other countries to gamble here, and then back home in the same day as there was no place to stay. You could say Monaco is what it is today because of the Casino, everything else came after.
Palais Princier de Monaco – Built as a fortress atop Le Rocher in the 13th century, this palace is the private residence of the Grimaldi family.
Hôtel de Paris – it was the first hotel ever in Monaco, built for gamblers to be able to overstay. Till today, it is fascinating and proudly presents one of the most extravagant restaurants Le Grill on top, if anything, make sure not to miss their famous soufflé which dates back to the 1898. Choose chocolate or red berries.
Thermes Marins Monte-Carlo – we had access to Thermes Marins Monte-Carlo as guests of the Hermitage Hotel, a spa that’s unique both in its size and range of treatments.
Marina view from Fontvieille – if you’re coming with car park it down by the Pecheurs and walk the distance up or take a lift. Around 700 vessels can be anchored in here and the views are spectacular, especially for sunsets.
View 1 – on our way coming in Monte Carlo from the east side we stopped on top of the rock where we could see the whole Monaco. Unfortunately, we don’t know the name of it, but if you’ll pay close attention to, we’re sure you can’t miss it – it is seen from the road. We loved it so much, because it kind of reminded us of Cape Town photos that we’ve seen, with these beautiful mountains, city and the sea below that could be seen all at once. Well, not a city, but a whole country, hehe!
View 2 – we loved this view, however we are again not very helpful with the exact road location where it is at. If you show the next picture to the Concierge, they should be able to mark the point for you on the map. Go walking as there’s no place to park your car there.
Secret view – best view of Monaco if you ask Uroš, but we were specifically asked not to share the spot’s location as it is quite unruined and unpopulated, and the local people want to keep it that way. If you want to dig in, we’re sure you’ll find it.
Get lost – Wander through town and enjoy the sight of high-rise hotels, super yachts, most expensive cars and apartment blocks that rise into hills. Just about anywhere is beautiful, super clean and safe.
Join the party – If you happen to be invited to one of the high-class parties, don’t miss out. We found ourselves on a Fashion Week party. Hint? Dress well.
Be amazed by Monaco’s beaches – you’d never guess but they have some of the most amazing in whole Europe.
ONE DAY TRIPS FROM MONTE CARLO
Menton – super cute and colourful with a church peaking out and great rocks for sunbathe-lovers, only 20 minutes drive to the east, you will see this beautiful town of Menton. Definitely recommend going! Free parking by the church on top and then walk the distance down.
Eze – it is a great little town only 20 minutes west away by car. Go on top of the Exotic Garden where you’ll have the most beautiful view over the Saint Jean Cap Ferrat. Entrance fee is 6 EUR per person.
Ps. If hungry, there’s a great restaurant down by the main road where you will park you car, called Le Pinocchio.
Nice – it isn’t too far on the west, read more about it here.
WHEN TO GO
For the Formula 1 Grand Prix, of course! It is the main event happening in the whole year and you will want to be there! Otherwise, anytime from April until October is good — with little rain and lots of sun!
HOW MANY DAYS NEEDED TO TAKE IT ALL IN
3 days is about enough, Monte Carlo is squeezed into just 200 hectares and might be the world’s second smallest country (only Vatican is smaller).
WHAT TO BRING
– money to spend!
– high class clothes and shoes
❥ Monaco is well known for three things: its chic casino, the stunning yacht-lined harbour, and esteemed Grand Prix motor race. Do you think you can fit in?