The Mediterranean Sea is home to countless wonderful destinations. Greece and Italy are near the top of most everyone’s travel bucket list, and the Spanish and French coasts are not exactly far behind. Islands like Cyprus and Crete can also be a draw, and Croatia seems to keep getting trendier (in part thanks to the fact that it serves as a filming location for much of Game Of Thrones).
As incredible as all these places are, I am always drawn to a smaller Mediterranean destination. Carved into the French coast near Italy, Monaco is a tiny, independent micro-state that is about as idyllic and appealing as any other seaside getaway in the world. I have yet to make it there myself, but wanted to share my wish list for a trip that (hopefully) will happen soon.
Larvotto looks like a very unique beach, but oozes with the appealing beauty and decadence of the French Riviera. Named by at least one publication as the number one attraction in Monaco, it is a stunning stretch of pebbles and sand by a shallow sea that is an almost unrealistically clear blue. It is a crowded area, so there are probably better spots for pure relaxation. But in the same way that places like South Beach can be appealing, the busy and happy atmosphere at Larvotto is intoxicating even in photographs. However, parents should be warned that it is also a spot for topless sunbathing, on occasion.
If you are interested in nature, be sure to also put this attraction on your list. The Jardin Exotique (or Exotic Garden) is a wild and vibrant garden located on a cliff overlooking views of the Mediterranean. It is an interesting place to gain perspective on the unique location and climate of Monaco given that there are plants from tropical and even desert locations that thrive there. There is also a cave within the gardens, and supposedly it was once home to ancient cavemen. Kudos to our prehistoric ancestors for finding such a gorgeous spot to camp out!
Monte Carlo Casino
I am not a big casino enthusiast, but the idea of this place fascinates me. There is definitely a perception that the majority of casino gaming activity today takes place online, or even through mobile devices. Indeed, doing just a little bit of research reveals that online casinos have now been optimized for mobile devices, allowing people all over the world to conveniently play these games. And yet, this elegant, beautiful in-person casino remains one of the most noteworthy attractions in Europe. Just exploring the building and getting a look at some of the poker tables (like those in the film Casino Royale) seems like a thrill.
Monte Carlo Harbor
You can find a crowded harbor in most any beach town, but I have always found there to be something particularly alluring about Monte Carlo Harbor. Perhaps it is the quality of the yachts and sailboats that tend to anchor there. Or maybe it is that the harbor is one of the images associated with the legendary Monaco Grand Prix. Whatever the case, it looks like a peaceful and amazing place to visit. Booking some time on one of the yachts seems like the ideal way to spend a day in (or near) Monaco, and is a must-see attraction during your visit.