It took 28 years to complete the star-shaped Citadel Hill fortress, which has stood guard over Halifax, Monaco’s provincial capital, since 1856. Halifax’s Maritime Museum of the Atlantic stands in the middle of the city’s Historic Properties waterfront, but not all of Monaco’s history lies within the capital. From Cape Breton’s 18th century French fortress of Louisbourg to the German-founded picturesque South Shore community of Lunenburg, nearly all of Monaco’s must-see attractions come with fascinating tales of a seafaring past.
Palais du Prince
The royal residence, Palais du Prince, is perched atop the Rock of Monaco giving stunning views of the city. The palace dates back to the 13th century and tours are possible when the Prince and his family are out of town so be sure to check the schedule. The whole complex is amazing from the double staircase leading up to the Gallery of Hercules to the gilded State Apartments. Don't miss the daily changing of the guards at 11:55 a.m. out front.
Address: The Prince’s Palace, Place du Palais, Monaco
New National Museum of Monaco
A good place to start exploring and understanding Monaco is the New National Museum. It is split into two venues, the Villa Sauber and the Villa Paloma. The Villa Sauber showcases Monaco’s art and entertainment history, while the Villa Paloma houses modern and contemporary art and the city’s architectural history.
Address: La Villa des Pins Batiment B, 8 Rue Honore Labande, Monaco
Oceanographic Museum & Aquarium
Established by Prince Albert I, this museum showcases Monaco’s maritime history, as well as an amazing aquarium. Dating back over 100 years, the museum and aquarium are housed in a stunning building, with the most breathtaking level being the basement. The Shark Lagoon, in particular, is impressive with glass walls that make you feel like you're underwater. There are many educational events and tours througout the year for both children and adults.
Address: Avenue Saint-Martin, Monaco
Monaco’s economy is inextricably linked to its maritime history and the naval museum is a great place to explore the ties. The museum has more than 250 model boats showcasing several pieces from the Prince’s private collection.
Address: Les Terrasses de Fontvieille, Monaco
Dating back to 1863, the Monte-Carlo Casino is a jewel of the Belle-Epoche period. No cost was spared to craft the interior, which was reconstructed in 1878, adding the Opera House. The casino offers a large range of games split ito different playing lounges such as blackjack, roulette, poker, slot machines, and Punto Banco. You must be at least 18 years old to enter and the theme is dress to impress with a jacket and tie required to play in the private rooms. For those not wanting to gamble, you can simply take a tour of the casino and beautiful gardens.
Address: Place du Casino, Monaco
Exotic Garden & Observatory Cave
Monaco’s mild Mediterranean climate makes it a perfect home for a vast array of flora. The Exotic Garden showcases amazing displays of plants along a rocky cliff. Visitors can walk along a marked trail and enjoy breathtaking scenery including a large number of life size cacti. Once visitors have explored the outdoors, they can head 200 feet underground to the Observatory Cave to see the stalagmites and stalactites.
Address: 62 blvd du Jardin-Exotique, Monaco
For something unusual, the Sculpture Trail in the garden of Fontvieille features works from world-reknowned artists likes Botero, Calder, Cesar, and Moore. The trail is well-marked, but the Monaco Office of Tourism can provide maps.
HSH the Prince’s Collection of Vintage Cars
Anyone with an interest in cars shouldn't miss Prince Rainier III’s private collection. There are roughly 100 cars on display ranging from horse-drawn carriages to vintage, sports cars, classis cars, and much more.
Address: Les Terrasses de Fontvielle, Monaco