Of course, all avid travelers are interested in seeing the top tourist spots in each new city. But independent travelers prefer to stay away from the crowds whenever possible. And for savvy travelers looking to avoid crowds of tourists, I’d like to suggest the 4 best sites to visit in beautiful Monaco.
Port Fontvielle One of my favorite things to enjoy in Monaco is the half-mile walk along the port here on the opposite side of the “Rock” from the much larger and more commercial Port of Monaco. Here, you’ll get a close up look as some of the world’s most luxurious yachts, as well as a few of the working class outboard motor boats that share the pier. Just watching the mingling of the ships’ crews and passengers could fill an afternoon. But all along the stroll you’re treated to incredible views of the “Rock” and, especially from the very end of the pier, the Oceanographic Museum. There are also two excellent restaurants right on the pier, Michelangelo and La Saliere”, and at the beginning of the pier is the Fontvieille Shopping Centre – with reasonably priced shops and food spots as well as several interesting museums.
Princess Grace Rose Garden Covering over an acre of land in the captivating Fontvielle area, these gardens were established by Prince Rainier III in 1984 in memory of his wife. Rose aficionados will marvel at more than 300 different varieties represented in some 8,000 rose bushes here. But, located just a short stroll from Port Fontvielle, everyone will appreciate the charm of the gardens as well as the surrounding neighborhoods. And while admission to the garden is free, the peaceful and quiet atmosphere is priceless.
Jardin Exotique (Exotic Garden) If you’re looking for expansive views of Monaco, the “Rock” and the Mediterranean, there is no place in Monaco better than the Cliffside walk through the gardens here. Wide but often steep paths meander through all varieties of dry-climate plants from around the world, but most notably past virtually every type of cactus you could imagine. There’s also a cave, or grotto, as well as a small anthropological museum to enjoy. But don’t visit here unless you’re physically able to walk up and down step rocky paths and endure what, during summer months, can be a vey hot Mediterranean sun. And allow at least an hour or two in order to enjoy all of the sights.
Chapel of Saint Devote This small, out of the way chapel is beautiful to see. But while its beauty is reason enough for a visit the site should really be appreciated more for its history. In the early 4th century a young girl named Devote was tortured to death because she refused to denounce her Christian faith. Legend says that a frail boat carrying her body was miraculously led to a nearby beach by a white dove. The chapel here was built on top of the girl’s tomb and January 27th is now celebrated as the feast day for Sainte Devote, the patron saint of Monaco. A torchlight procession through the town that day ends with a symbolic fisherman’s boat being set on fire and a white dove, the symbol of the patron saint, being released.