|Monaco is a tourist attraction in its own right because of its scenic location on the Mediterranean, and surrounded by the Alps. The size is also an attraction, and at less than one square mile (1.95 km sq) it is the second smallest country in the world, behind the Vatican. Despite its small size Monaco is divided into four areas: the old city (Monaco-Ville), the port quarter (Condamine), Monte-Carlo, and Fontvieille.
The oldest part of Monaco is Monaco-Ville and it’s situated on a rocky promontory known as the Rock of Monaco. This is an old fortified town dating to medieval times, and is a very attractive area to walk around and explore. The Prince’s Palace is one of the main attractions here and it was founded back in 1191. The Grimaldi Family have lived here for centuries and it continues to be the residence of the Prince of Monaco. You can watch the changing of the guard ceremony here every day at 11.55am.
St Nicholas Cathedral is the other main landmark in old Monaco plus another major attraction for Monaco as a whole is the Oceanographic Museum. This is a world famous museum that contains many historic collections of marine life, as well as an aquarium featuring 4000 species of fish.
Monte Carlo is the best known part of Monaco and it’s often mistaken as the capital of the country. This is the main resort and casino area and is home to the famous Monte Carlo Casino. This impressive building not only holds the casino but also the opera and ballet house. Ironically citizens of Monaco are forbidden to enter the actual gaming rooms of the casino.
Most of the Formula One Monaco circuit is within Monte Carlo and the circuit goes past the grand casino as well as the Port of Monaco. There’s also the world famous Monte Carlo Rally that takes place here and marks the start of the World Rally Championship.