12 Hours in Monte Carlo
Synonymous with luxury, elegance and millionaires, Monaco’s Monte Carlo provides visitors with a fascinating glimpse into the lifestyles of the rich and famous. From the mega-yachts lining the harbour to the opulent façade of the Prince’s Palace, Monte Carlo is a drop-dead-gorgeous destination that will easily win you over in 12 hours.
8am – Explore the Oceanographic Museum
After disembarking from Hercules Port, make your way up the sloping streets to the Oceanographic Museum. Open every day, except for the weekend of the Formula 1 Grand Prix and Christmas Day, the Oceanographic Museum will fascinate and inform. Founded by Prince Albert I at the start of the 20th century, the museum now boasts over 6,000 specimens in specially reconstructed natural habitats. Highlights include the Shark Lagoon, the Tactile Pool and the Mediterranean section.
9:30am – Go caving
First opened in 1933, the Exotic Garden is still home to an astonishingly large collection of succulents. Here, guests can enjoy the fresh air and coastal views as they stroll around the beautifully-lined paths. Visitors can also access the Observatory Cave, an underground limestone cavity filled with stalactites and stalagmites. Accompanied by a specialist, you’ll learn about the cave’s history and descend approximately 300 steps as part of your unique adventure. The cost of entry for the Cave is included in the admission ticket for the Exotic Garden, which is under €10.
11:30am – Have a regal experience
Now make your way back to central Monte Carlo and to the Prince’s Palace in Monaco City. At 11:55am each day, the ritual of the Changing of the Guard takes place to the delight of nearby spectators.
If you’re visiting between April and October, the Palace’s State Apartments are open to the public (closed on the weekend of the Formula 1 Grand Prix). Tour carefully restored courtyards, galleries and staircases, and witness an endless parade of beautiful artworks, furniture, furnishings and décor.
1pm – Wander the streets in search of lunch
Embark on a pleasant ramble through the impeccable streets of Monte Carlo and keep an eye out for quaint bakeries and cafés where you can enjoy a moderately priced meal.
3pm – Visit the iconic casino
A trip to Monte Carlo would be sadly incomplete without a stop at the world-famous casino. Featured in numerous Bond movies and Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘To Catch a Thief’ (1954), Monte Carlo Casino has become legendary. Even if you’re not one to have a flutter, it’s easy to get a small thrill from experiencing the grandeur and prestige of the casino in person. Just remember to dress appropriately (no shorts, sneakers or thongs) and be prepared to pay a small entry fee.
4:30pm – Relax on Larvotto Beach
Keen to have some downtime? From the Monte Carlo Casino, head north along the coast to Larvotto Beach. Although small, this popular stretch of beach is the ideal place to grab a cool drink, have a refreshing dip in the startling blue water, and simply lie back on a towel or lounge chair and watch the festivities of other beach-goers.
6pm – Stroll along Monte Carlo Harbour
Take in more seaside views and fresh, salty air by exploring Monte Carlo Harbour. Year round, a plethora of luxurious yachts and vessels are docked here, providing strollers with plenty to see and marvel at.
Before you say farewell to Monte Carlo, indulge with dinner at one of the harbour’s restaurants and drinks at one of the local bars.
8pm – Return to your cruise ship
Want to book a French Riviera cruise and tick Monte Carlo off your bucket list? Simply contact us on 1300 954 661 now and one of our experienced cruise consultants will be able to help you arrange your next cruise adventure!
Images courtesy of Getty.