The independent and sovereign Principality of Monaco has played a unique and colourful role throughout the history of the Mediterranean and Europe. During the turn of the last century, the elite and aristocracy traveled to Monaco’s thermal center to enjoy its curative climate while escaping the wintry cold of Northern Europe. Today, wellness—staying active and healthy while traveling—is one of Monaco’s major draws.
Half the size of New York City’s Central Park, Monaco is one of the smallest countries in the world, but with so much to offer. Where else can one fly by helicopter à la James Bond to experience one of the many events or festivals offered here? The destination boasts beautiful buildings complete with a fairy-tale Palace perched atop The Rock and overlooking the sparkling Mediterranean Sea. Home to the ruling family of the Principality, the palace dates to the 13th century, and visitors can see the daily 11:55 am changing of the guard.
Monaco is known for its performing arts and museums. One of the most famous cultural landmarks in the world is the Monte-Carlo Opera House—a spectacular reminder of the Belle Epoque age. The Oceanographic Museum of Monaco, built in 1910 by the “Navigator Prince,” Prince Albert I of Monaco—a scientist and explorer and perhaps one of the world’s first environmentalists—is considered as one of the finest in the world with 4,500+ fish from every ocean on the planet. Jacques Cousteau was the museum’s director for 30 years, and rare maritime artifacts collected by Prince Albert I are still on exhibit.
Also known for its world-class events such as the Grand Prix, Monte Carlo Rolex Tennis Masters or the Monaco Yacht Show, Monaco is also the home of choice for several Formula One drivers (retired and current), as well as tennis players.
Among the many exceptional experiences, the Principality offers, dining is one of its most celebrated. From Michelin-starred restaurants to quaint sidewalk cafes, there is no other location in the world where so much epicurean distinction can be found within one square mile. The destination also offers wellness experiences through the menus of its many restaurants incorporating the region’s famous Mediterranean diet—which has always been the backbone of Monaco’s cuisine using fresh local ingredients such as seafood, olive oil, fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains—to provide healthy menu options.
One Michelin-starred restaurant stands out for wellness-minded visitors. Executive Chef Marcel Ravin of Blue Bay restaurant at the Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort grows many of the vegetables used in the award-winning restaurant. The onsite garden—run by local urban farming company Terre de Monaco—is an innovative project created by micro-farmer Jessica Sbaraglia. The project promotes organic urban farming on roofs, terraces and around buildings in the Principality.