Monaco travel guide
Can it become more classic than this. The Casino of Monte Carlo is world famous, if not for anything else than appearing in a couple of James Bond movies. The elegant building oozes of history and is a splendid architectural piece, with a rich decorated interior kept in mostly golden and marble. However, the gaming floor is surprising small and old fashion and seems to attract mostly curious tourists, but the high rollers are probably hiding in the VIP area. There is an entrance fee and a strict dress code in the evening - locals are not allowed inside the casino.
The Formula One Monaco Grand Prix is not held at a dedicated racetrack, but in the real streets of Monaco. You can actually walk the circuit in off-racing season (the circuit is also used for other races than F1). The most famous bend on the circuit is the Fairmont Hairpin (named after the luxury hotel next to it), which is a 180 degree turn right before the tunnel. It a popular spot for motor sport fans to have their picture taken in off-racing season – just take care, for you can still get hit by cars.
The place to be seen in Monaco is in front of Monte Carlo Casino. Sports cars from all over Europe (Russian license plates are not uncommon) glide past the casino entrance in front of a gawking crowd of daytrippers and cruise ship tourists. The most exhibitionistic luxury car owners have their car valet parked right in front of the casino in a row with other Bugattis, Rolls Royces, Maserati, Ferraris, Lamborghini – anything less will get parked in the underground garage.
In a Mediterranean country where most of the coastline is taken up by marinas for luxury yachts, even the smallest beach is highly appreciated. Not only is Larvotto Beach very popular in summer, it's the only beach in Monaco, as Monte Carlo Beach actually lies inside France. Larvotto Beach is long and narrow with pebblestone instead of sand, but the water is as aqua marine as elsewhere on the Riviera. However, the most spectacular about Larvotto Beach is be the backdrop of Monte Carlo's stacked luxury apartments.
If you have a big luxury yacht, there are no better place to show off than the marina in Monaco. Here superyachts lie side by side, making the marina one of the world's most expensive playgrounds. There are fine views over the harbour from the promenade leading up to the casino, where you can have a look at which yatch has the biggest jacuzzi. There is also another marina, Fontvieille Port, on the other side of the castle, which is tiny less posh and where locals have their boats.
It might seem strange that a nation no bigger than a town, has a capital. But Monaco, which is the world's second-smallest nation (after the Vatican), has officially the quarter of Monte Carlo as capital. It's just a neighbourhood, no wider than a few blocks, and contains some of Monaco's landmarks like the casino and Hotel Paris, but else there are nothing that sets it apart from the rest of Monaco. A few streets up and you will be in France.