Cover an entire country in a day? That’s the basic idea behind Monaco, a nation so small it only has two Starbucks locations—although one of them does has a killer rooftop view of the Mediterranean. But you’re not here for caffeine. You’re here for wine. And the ocean. And as much Old World opulence as you can squeeze into a single square mile. Yes, that’s about the size of Monaco, the smallest country on the planet if you don’t count the Vatican. And let’s be honest, you weren’t going to the Vatican for your honeymoon anyway.
WHY YOU SHOULD CONSIDER MONACO AS YOUR HONEYMOON DESTINATION
Full of glitz and glam, luxurious Monaco may be known as the playground for the rich and famous, but there’s more to it than prestige, wealth, and royalty. A honeymoon in Monaco would definitely make you first vacation as a married couple truly epic. If it’s within your honeymoon budget, this tiny principality (the second-smallest country in the world!) has much to offer a pair of lovesick newlyweds. Here's why you should totally consider a honeymoon in Monaco.
1. Views of the French Riviera
You really can’t beat Monaco’s coastal views. For all its elegance, the backdrop of mountains and buildings paint a beautifully rugged picture that complement the spectacular spread of sky and sea that lay before it. Take a stroll among billions of dollars worth of yachts along Port Hercule in Monte Carlo until you reach its opening overlooking the vast Monaco Bay, the perfect place to catch a stunning sunrise or sunset. Stay by the water to follow Digue de l’Avant Port, which links from Port Hercule to underneath the Museum of Oceanography, for more landscape views of the ocean blue.
And Port Jardin de Saint-Martin and Jardin Exotique not only provide lush gardens to walk through, but a bird’s eye view of the country from above.
2. Grand Hotels
There is certainly no shortage of magnificent hotels to treat yourselves to. Hotel de Paris, just steps away from Monte Carlo Casino in the heart of Monaco, is known for its storied wine cellars dating back to the 19th century, complete with an intimate cellar for wine tastings or a romantic candlelight dinner. Posh and peaceful, Hotel Hermitage overlooks the Mediterranean and features stunning French architecture interiors complete with an outstanding red-carpeted staircase in the back lobby.
Stay here, and you’ll feel like royalty. No matter where you stay, honeymoon during the off-season to beat the prices.
3. Historic Attractions
What’s a trip to Monaco without a visit to the famous Monte Carlo Casino? Gamble the night away James Bond style or merely people-watch the fabulous pull up in their fancy cars from the patio of Café de Paris in Casino Square. During the day, get your royalty fix at Palais des Princes, which you can tour if you’re honeymooning from April to June and in September and October.
Nearby is the beautiful Cathedrale de Monaco, the burial place of Princess Grace Kelly. If you and your hubby are the more adventurous type, make a trek 300 steps down to the Observatory Cave beneath Monaco — the 250,000 year-old stalactites and stalagmite are jaw-dropping.
See More: European Island Honeymoon Escapes
4. Old Town Charm
For all its splendor, parts of Monaco are equally charming. Explore the old town of Monaco by wandering the colorful streets on Top of the Rock and Monaco-Ville. Not only does this area offer laid-back vibes and panoramic views, but it’s host to a number of quaint cafes. Make sure to pop into one for a barbajuan, a Monegasque specialty of spinach-and-cheese stuffed pastries.
5. The Food Scene
Whether you’re looking for fine dining or a hidden joint, Monaco’s authentic French and Mediterranean food scene has you covered.
Situated next to Italy, the country is also home to restaurants with Italian influences. Enjoy fresh fish or blue lobster, paired with stunning picturesque views, at Le Vistamar or experience elegant grandeur at Le Louis XV, helmed by top Monegasque chef Alain Ducasse and where all the clocks are stopped at 12 to remind you to savor the moment — something you’ll certainly want to do on your honeymoon. If you’re looking for something more casual, pop into Cooks Monaco, a hole-in-the-wall favorite among locals that serves fluffy squares of pizza.
Whichever way you go, you’ve got it made.
MONACO MAKES THE MOST OF IT'S LIMITED SPACE And even though you could conquer it in a day, that kind of hustle is best left for the cruise ship crowd. You want to stretch out, relax and act like you belong here—like a wealthy European of noble birth in need of a scenic tax shelter, which is a pretty good way to describe a lot of the residents.