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Mary Rose McLean on how to spend 48 hours in Monaco

Monaco - Mary-Rose McLean

Living in Monaco is a daily pleasure, with the sights and sounds of this unique principality all around me. But is it possible to squeeze in the best of Monaco in just 48 hours? Absolutely!

Here’s my guide to a whistle-stop two days in Monaco, with a suggested itinerary taking in all kinds of glitz, glamour and quintessential Mont-Carlo delights.

The most enjoyable 48 hours in Monaco

Let’s assume you arrive in Monaco in time for a leisurely breakfast. And while there are so many places to choose from, I’d suggest heading straight to the famous Café de Paris Monte-Carlo. Situated opposite the iconic Monte-Carlo Casino, this restaurant has been at the centre of Monaco for more than 150 years. There is certainly no better spot to absorb the ambience of Monte-Carlo.

When you’ve finished your meal, take a walk to Monaco’s Old Town. Called Le Rocher, the town is right on top of the famous headland with a stunning view over the Med. You can stroll through the winding streets and stop off at the most well-known tourist attractions. These include Saint Nicolas Cathedral where Princess Grace of Monaco was married, the fascinating Oceanographic Museum and the Prince’s Palace.

Just before midday (11.55 on the dot), you can find the Changing of the Guard outside the palace. Pop into the stunningly beautiful Saint-Martin Gardens before heading off to lunch at one of the many restaurants in the area.

Superyachts, sunsets and scenery

Walk down from Le Rocher towards Hercules Port, which is where you will find the awe-inspiring super yachts. Along the way you can stop at Fort Antoine, which used to be an old fort but is now an open-air theatre. It’s ideal for the perfect photo op to show off Monte-Carlo on your Instagram.

Wander around the port while checking out the yachts, and if you find you’re peckish, there are plenty of places there for ice-cream or a drink. It’s worth making the journey to the furthest corner of the port area, where you’ll find a church called Sainte Devote. It’s a beautiful old chapel, which gives a quiet moment away from the bustle of Monte-Carlo, and it’s also the namesake of the first corner of the famous Monaco Grand Prix.

There are plenty of high-end restaurants to dine in for your first evening in Monaco, but I’d suggest something a bit different. Monaco is located in the most beautiful countryside of the French Riviera, and if you go west towards Cap D’ail you’ll find some glorious coastline. If you pack a picnic and follow the walkway along the sea, I can promise you’ll have the most serene end to your first day in Monaco.

Where to go on Day 2 in Monaco

There’s only one place to head to for breakfast on Day 2, and that’s the Marche de la Condamine. You’ll be doing as the locals do by eating at this bustling, covered market, which boasts lots of different kinds of restaurants, cafes and places to eat. After breakfast, head to Larvotto, where you can laze on the small but beautiful public beach, before taking a leisurely swim.

Following lunch at one of the many restaurants near the beach area, it’s time for the highlight of Monaco – the Monte-Carlo Casino. Famous for its connection with 007 himself, the casino is Monaco’s most well-known and most-visited venue. It opens to visitors from 2pm every day, and whether you just want to have a look round or want to try your luck on the famous tables, it’s a must-visit.

Afterwards, it’s just a five-minute stroll to Le Metropole Shopping centre for some souvenir shopping. Monaco is famous for its luxury shopping, and no visit here is complete without at least an hour or two of retail therapy.

For your final dinner in Monaco, head to somewhere really special like Le Vistamar. If you can eat out on the terrace here, you’re in for a real slice of Monte-Carlo luxury dining. A last drink at the Fairmont Monte Carlo will give you the chance to sip champagne in its luxurious Saphir 24 bar. If you time it to go with the sunset you will end your 48 hours in the best way possible.

Monaco offers visitors fascinating places to visit in a principality teeming with glitz, glamour and beauty. It’s the ideal location for a short break and, as you can see, you can fit plenty in in just 48 hours.