Monaco has a remarkable historical heritage dating back to 1297 and the beginning of the Grimaldi Family dynasty. With an outstanding wealth of attractions including a variety of sites, museums, monuments and exhibitions there is so much to see and visit.
The diversity of museums and places to visit reflects how important art, history and culture are in Monaco. With an offer of more than 10 museums, visiting them is to step into the legend: The Oceanographic Museum of Monaco, the Car Collection of HSH the Prince of Monaco, the Museum of Prehistoric Anthropology, the Museum of Stamps and Coins, the Naval Museum of Monaco and the National Museum of Monaco (NMNM) are just a few to name. Monaco has a colourful and fascinating history filled with barbarians, kings and even a movie star. Visiting the Principality means exploring its historic treasures. We invite you to learn about the must-visit places across the country.
Located in Monaco-Ville, the Prince’s Palace of Monaco was built in the 18th century and has been extended and renovated several times over the centuries. The Princely Palace is a guardian of an ancient tradition and is still to this day the Prince’s residence.
The Prince’s Palace is a private residence, but the State Apartments are open to visitors at certain times of the year. A tour of the State Apartments allows visitors to discover the Grimaldi family’s pomp and splendour and go on a journey through the centuries, from the Renaissance to the Napoleonic era. The Palace’s historic building reveals to visitors some of its splendours such as the Royal Courtyard with its 17th century Carrara marble double staircase, which is also the venue for Summer concerts. There is also the Hercule Gallery and its delicate 15th century frescoes and the Mazarin room with its multi-coloured wood-panelling, the York Bedroom and, finally, the Throne Room with its Renaissance fireplace.
The Changing of the Guards of the Prince’s Carabiniers can be watched every day precisely at 11:55 am on the front square, offering a timeless and unique ritual to spectators.
Built on the side of Monaco’s legendary Rocher in Monaco-Ville, the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco, founded by H.S.H. Prince Albert I, has been watching over the oceans for more than a century.
From the flourishes on the façades to the décor in the halls, every aspect of the Museum’s architecture evokes the marine world. Since its opening on 29 March 1910, this Temple of the Sea welcomes the public and has been an international benchmark for loving, protecting, and raising awareness of the oceans.
The Museum is renowned throughout the world for its expertise and has more than 6,000 specimens on display. Other than the natural history specimens, the museum houses the most unique and richest collection of oceanography instruments in the world. It includes all the prototypes used by Prince Albert I during his explorations and thus testifies to the evolution of science and technology since the end of the 19th century. Prince Albert I of Monaco was not only a scientist and explorer, but also an inventor.
The Oceanographic Institute has developed a special relationship with Australia: from island communities to major scientific laboratories. Australia’s exceptional biodiversity and aboriginal culture are mirrored by remarkable artistic and cultural wealth. This relationship echoes the scientific collaborations and political initiatives developed by the institutions of Monaco.
In 2016, the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco hosted “TABA NABA”, an exhibition showcasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island art for 6 months. In October 2018, HSH Prince Albert II visited the island of Badu in the Torres Strait, off the coast of mainland Australia where he carried out a Monaco Exploration Society mission, in which he experienced the culture of the islanders, who advocate a balanced and respectful relationship between humans and nature. In 2019, the Museum hosted a photographic exhibition recounting this mission and a feature-length documentary by award-winning Australian director Douglas Watkin will be released in 2020.
A little bit higher in the Monaco-Ville district, stands the Monaco Cathedral, where numerous visitors come to pay homage to the passed Princes and Princesses.
As part of Monaco’s old town history, a previous Saint Nicholas church, dating back six hundred years, was demolished to make room to the current Monaco Cathedral.
This unique car collection was unveiled in 1963 by Prince Rainier III, who was passionate about vintage vehicles. Previously gathered in the garage at the Prince’s Palace since the 1950s, the private collection is now at a dynamic new location on Port Hercule. The current car exhibition features a collection of nearly 100 vehicles. From a 1903 DE DION BOUTON to the 2013 LOTUS F1, not forgetting the LEXUS from the 2011 Royal Wedding, and much more. Also, on display are racing cars which have competed in the Rallye de Monte-Carlo and the Monaco F1 Grand Prix. A collection to excite any car lover.
Considered a jewel of the Casino de Monte-Carlo building, a theatre named the Salle Garnier, was built in 1897 by Charles Garnier, the famous architect of the Paris Opera House. The special room is an opera house and is known as Opera de Monte-Carlo, which continues to embody the excess and boldness that characterised the building of the Casino de Monte-Carlo in the 19th century.
The Opera de Monte-Carlo has always maintained the great opera tradition while supporting creativity. With excellent acoustics, it is a stage for international stars to perform eclectic and contemporary repertoire all year round. Visitors can enjoy amazing shows, including the Monte-Carlo Jazz Festival, which brings together the greatest jazz musicians every autumn.
Head over to the Opera de Monte-Carlo’s YouTube channel to watch the videos of some magnificent performances.