Nestled on the Cóte d’ Azur is the tiny independent principality of Monaco. Monaco is completely surrounded by France and continues to have close ties with it. The principality had gained worldwide popularity when famous American actress Grace Kelly married Prince Rainer III who ascended the throne back in 1949.
Although Monaco is a very small country with a population of about 31,700 people, it is one of the richest principalities in the world. Monaco has a thriving trade and is still considered as an important port. Majority of the income generated by the country, however, is from tourism, banking and gambling. This has been in part of the efforts of Lord Honore II who, in 1604, catapulted Monaco’s economy to impressive heights.
The country of Monaco is a prime tourist destination in Europe. Each year, thousands of tourists visit the principality of Monaco to enjoy its pristine beaches, glamorous casinos and bustling night life. The five different areas around Monaco offer travelers visiting the principality everything that would make their trip one that they would never forget.
If you are planning to visit the principality of Monaco for the very first time, the best place to begin your journey is in the area of Monte Carlo. Recognized as the most famous of the five areas segmenting the principality of Monaco, it is home to some of the most popular casinos in the principality. It is also home of the Larvotto Beach and the Monte Carlo Sporting Club where tourists and locals can engage in a variety of water sports and activities.
From here, visit the old town of Monaco Ville on the Rock. This quaint little town is home to the royal palace of Monaco, where some areas are open to the public. Tourists traveling to the Palace du Palais can witness the changing of the guards, a tradition that has not yet changed over the centuries. Travelers visiting this area of the principality of Monaco are captivated by the beautiful gardens, ramparts and the Cathedral as well as the Oceanographic Museum. One of the top tourist attractions in this area is the Princess Grace Rose Garden. Here, tourists and locals are taken into a place where over 4,000 varieties of rose giving a great aroma that lingers in the air.
Another top tourist attraction in Monaco is the Fort Antoine Theater. Built during the 15th century, this open air theater has a seating capacity of 350 people. It is located on the northeaster side of the Ville on the Rock. Performances are usually staged here all throughout the summer months.
One thing you should not miss while you are visiting Monaco is the Observatory Caves. Located 200 feet below the Exotic gardens, the Observatory Caves is considered as one of the most stunning natural wonders in the world. Travelers visiting the cave are treated to great stalactite and stalagmite formations which date back to the pre-historic times. Most of these formations have been beautifully illuminated to provide the tourists visiting the caves a more breathtaking view of the formations.