Monte Carlo is known as a haven for the rich and famous. With its beautiful coastline, striking architecture, epic casinos and lax tax laws, it's no wonder why. The likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Bono, Jay Z and Elton John all have homes here. If you're not trying your luck in the casinos or checking out the upscale boutiques, you could spend hours just standing in awe at the luxury yachts that line the harbour. But despite all the excess and modern luxuries, Monte Carlo is actually one of the oldest cities in Europe, with occupation dating back to the stone age.
Monte Carlo is a historic city within the principality of Monaco, on the French Riviera. Monaco is the world’s second smallest country, only behind the Vatican City, and is a favourite playground of the rich and famous. With its classic casino, mega yachts, designer shops and glitzy hotels, Monte Carlo lies at the fore of the action. But there’s also much more to the city than that. Venture away from the waterfront to Monte Carlo proper and you will find old alleyways and charming churches.
While further along the coast is the Rock of Monaco, home to Monaco-Ville on the border of Monte Carlo. This romantic setting provides a stark contrast to the excess of the city. Of course, many visitors to Monte Carlo will coincide their visit with the annual Monaco Grand Prix. The Formula One race has taken place since 1929 and is considered one of the most important racing spectacles in the world.
Looking beyond the modern developments in Monte Carlo, there’s a rich history to be found here. This is one of the oldest cities in Europe and has evidence of occupation during the stone age, but in fact the first real settlement came during the iron age. The Romans arrived in 122BC and defeated the local tribes, while Julius Caesar himself is said to have sailed from Monaco to fight in Greece. Fast forward to 1215 and the Ghibellines began to assert their authority on the region by building a fortress, however, this was short lived. In 1927, Guelph Francesco Grimaldi disguised himself as a monk to enter the castle and capture it, founding the ruling dynasty that still exists today.
Set along France's Mediterranean coastline, Monte Carlo enjoys a Mediterranean climate. What this means is constant sunshine throughout the summer and winters that are relatively mild. There are 300 days of sunshine per year, and the sea temperature ranges from lows of 21°C to highs of 26°C between June and August. If you prefer to explore without it being too hot, then spring and autumn are the ideal times to go.
Between October and November, the temperature is around 22°C with lows of 14°C. If you want to avoid the crowds, then spring is your best bet - the weather has warmed to 17°C and the summer travellers are yet to arrive. The warmest time of year is generally early august where temperatures usually stick around 27 °C and rarely drop below 22 °C.
British and EU citizens don’t require a visa to enter Monaco. For more information on visas and general travel advice visit GOV.UK.