Monaco is known around the world for its glamour and opulence. While it is located within the French Riviera, Monaco is actually its own independent sovereign state. With a total area of about 2 square kilometres (0.8 square miles), Monaco is the world’s second-smallest country. Although Monaco is small, it has a varied landscape and has plenty to offer. On one side, Monaco is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea. It also consists of several tall hills, which offer stunning views of Monaco, the sea, and the surrounding French countryside. Since Monaco is so compact, it’s a great place to explore on foot. There are several neighbourhoods to visit, with the most famous being Monte Carlo. Monte Carlo is known for its ornate casino, high-end shopping, and designer sports cars. Monaco shares some aspects of its culture with neighbours France and Italy, but at the same time, the country has a unique culture of its own. Monaco has a sophisticated and truly Mediterranean vibe to it, making it the perfect place to embark a cruise through Europe.
Cruises out of Monaco are available on several cruise lines: Oceania Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Seabourn, and Azamara Club Cruises. Cruises are available to a variety of Mediterranean destinations and can last anywhere between 7 and 17 days. Some of the popular ports of call for cruises from Monaco Port include Florence, Rome, Barcelona, Marseille, Malta, Split, Venice, Lisbon, and Corfu.
Cruises out of Monaco dock at the cruise terminal next to Port Hercules. The port is located in the heart of Monaco with easy access to both Monte Carlo and the Quartier du Port. Due to Monaco’s small size, Port Hercules is within walking distance from every corner of Monaco. Alternatively, the Bateau Bus is available to the cruise terminal, which costs an affordable €1 ($1.60 AUD). If you are driving to your cruise, a parking garage is located a short distance from the cruise terminal next to the Oceanographic Museum.
If you would like to spend the night before your cruise in Monaco, several hotels are within easy reach of Port Hercules. For a budget-friendly option, you could spend the night at Hotel Ambassador Monaco. Other hotels located near Port Hercules are Hotel Port Palace and Hotel Hermitage Monte Carlo.
Ever since the year 1297, Monaco has been ruled over by the royal Grimaldi family. This palace is their official residence and home to Monaco’s current monarch, Prince Albert II. During the 1950s, the palace gained the glamorous reputation that it has today due to celebrity resident Grace Kelly. In order to reach the palace, visitors climb a steep hill that offers stunning views over Monaco and the surrounding hills. Tours of the palace are available in which guests can see the state apartments, the Throne Room, the Mazarin Salon, and several impressive courtyards. Each day, guests can also enjoy the Changing of the Guard ceremony that takes place outside the palace at 11:55am.
This large and elaborately designed casino is arguably the most famous landmark in Monaco. The casino was built in the 1860s and looks as if it could be another palace. It has played an important role in adding to the glitz and glamour of Monaco. Even if you have no interest in gambling, go into the casino to observe its impressive design. There are marble pillars, mosaics, frescoes on the ceilings, and of course lots of gold. You may also recognise the casino from several films, including multiple James Bond movies.
Monaco is home to one of the most iconic Formula One Grand Prix tracks. If you are visiting Monaco at the end of May, you’ll get the unforgettable opportunity to witness the Grand Prix in action. Throughout the rest of the year, walking along the Grand Prix track is a great way to see the city. In total, the Grand Prix track is 3.3 kilometres (2 miles) and passes several of Monaco’s major attractions.
This port has played a major role in Monaco’s history, dating back to the 6th century BC. Ancient Greeks settled the area along with several other neighbouring cities, including Marseille. Ever since then, Port Hercules has been a vital trading port for Monaco and is the centrepiece of the city. Today, the harbour exhibits yachts that represent the wealth and prestige of Monaco.