For a small city state, Monaco has a surprising number of internationally renowned events. Partially attracted by the prestige and money in the principality, artists and athletes from all over the world come to Monaco for festivals and fun in the sun. Grace Kelly, the former Princess of Monaco, was a famous American actress prior to marrying Prince Rainier, and she put a lot of effort into developing the fine arts scene and inspiring Hollywood intrigue.
International Circus Festival
Started in 1974 by Prince Rainier, he personally loved circuses and wanted to create a venue where everyone could enjoy a world class show. Since then, circus acts from all over the world come to Monaco in January to perform. Judged on technical difficulty and creativity, the best performances receive the Gold and Silver Clown Awards.
One of the most elegant and coveted fundraising events of the year is the Rose Ball, held annually in March. Started in 1954 by Grace Kelly, all proceeds goes to the Princess Grace Foundation. Each year the ball has a different theme and is known for the thousands of roses that are used to decorate the Salle des Etoiles venue.
Spring Arts Festival
Monaco’s annual Spring Arts Festival in April attracts artists from all around world. The festival showcases music, dance, arts, and theatre performances held in world-class venues throughout the principality. This is a popular event so tickets need to be purchased well in advance.
Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix
Racing enthusiasts should not miss the opportunity to see Formula 1 cars whizzing through the streets of Monaco. The Monaco Grand Prix, taking place in May each year, is one of the few street racing circuits on the Formula 1 calendar and not much has changed since it's inception in 1955.
Concerts at the Prince’s Palace
Outdoor concerts take place at the palace throughout the summer which were started by Prince Rainier III. Open to the public, visitors are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance to avoid disappointment. The venue is simply breathtaking and the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra usually has a beautiful line-up of shows. Concerts begin at 9:30 p.m. and visitors are expected to be seated on time.
Monte-Carlo International Fireworks Festival
Considered one of the best fireworks festivals in the world, this late summer event has been taking place since 1966. Scheduled in July or August, the fireworks are shot from Fort Antoine over the water by pyrotechnics from all over the world competing to put on the best show.
Monaco Yacht Show
Sailing enthusiasts should not miss the annual Monaco Yacht Show in September. Over 100 of the most beautiful and impressive yachts are on display at Port Hercules and 500 vendors come to showcase their wares, a sailing enthusiast’s dream.
Monaco International Marathon
Although this marathon is not on the major running curcuit, it is the only marathon in the world that traverses three countries: France, Italy and Monaco. Between 1,000 and 2,000 people participate in this marathon annually in November.