Monaco, between Nice and the Italian border, is the independent principality immortalized by a casino, a Hollywood beauty, a road race and its tax-haven status. Monaco offers a remarkable blend of nature, culture, gardens, sport, entertainment shopping, excitement and relaxation.
Day 1: Outdoor Activities
Enjoy the gorgeous gardens mixing native flowers and plants in harmony with imported and rare species, from wild Mediterranean flora in St Martin’s Gardens; succulents and cacti in the Exotic gardens; the spectacular curtain of Bougainvilleas and sacred olive trees in Princess Antoinette Park; and the serenity of the heart-shaped Princess Grace Rose Garden. Visit a pantheon of exotic birds and animals in the Zoological Gardens, discover the pedestrian Sculpture Path of contemporary and monumental art works at Fontvieille, ride the merry-go-round or experience the dazzling panorama of the Cote d’Azur on a helicopter ride.
Relax and swim in the sparkling Mediterranean Sea at Larvotto or Monte Carlo Beach. Thrill seekers indulge in windsurfing, water and jet skiing, banana boats and parascending. Go sailing with Monaco Yacht Club, diving with Club d'Exploration Sous-Marine de Monaco (Underwater Exploration Club), play tennis and golf, hike on the Via Alpina, and of course the Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix and Monte Carlo Historic Rally need no introduction.
Day 2: Culture, Shopping and Nightlife
Wonder at the underground stalagmites and stalactites in the Observatory Prehistoric Cave, see ancient tombs in the Museum of Prehistoric Anthropology on the Boulevard du Jardin Exotique and underwater treasures in the Oceanographic Museum. Explore the cultural treasures of the Princely Palace and State Apartments, Monaco Cathedral, Chapel of Mercy and Palace of Justice.
Go luxury shopping for haute couture and perfume on the elegant Carre d’Or boutiques, jewellery on Place du Casino and antiques on Avenue Monte-Carlo, Avenue des Beaux Arts or Allees Lumieres. Find high fashion and interior design on the Boulevard des Moulins, Boulevard d’Italie or along the Avenue Princess Grace, and specialist shops on Rue Grimaldi, Rue Millo and Rue Terrazzani - or immerse yourself in traditional Monaco and visit the local market at la Condamine.
The cultural calendar is rich and diverse: in Spring the Arts Festival, Rose Ball, International Flower Arranging Contest, Contemporary Art Prize and Sculpture Festival take place. Summer brings concerts by Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Television Festival and Red Cross Ball, and in Autumn young magicians compete for the Gold and Silver Magic Wands, while the National Day is celebrated on 19th November with a fun fair, magnificent fireworks display, concerts, parades on the Place du Palais and festivities throughout the town. Winter brings the International Circus Festival and the Feast of Sainte-Devote, Patron Saint of the Principality, takes place on January 27th. Throughout the year, Monte Carlo Casino and Opera House provide glamorous entertainment, the Ballet Company, Philharmonic Orchestra and Princess Grace Theatre present high quality performances, or simply enjoy the atmosphere of stylish bars, clubs and nightclubs.
Day 3: Cote d’Azur Day Trips
Take an enchanting journey to the Cote d’Azur, and the French or Italian Riviera along the Route des Cretes to the spectacular medieval hilltop village of Eze. Most of the Riviera's jewels are along the stunning coastal road known as the Corniche, where there's a jaw-dropping vista around every perilous corner. Nice is the bustling city with the heart of a Provencal village, while St Tropez. dazzles with the rich young things of European royalty and their multi-million dollar yachts. One of the Cote d'Azur's gems is the quiet fishing village and market town of Antibes, and Cannes is fabulously glamorous even when it isn't teeming with movie stars.