Squeezed into just 200 hectares, Monaco might be the world’s second-smallest country (only the Vatican is smaller), but what it lacks in size it makes up for in attitude. A magnet for high-rollers and hedonists since the early 20th century, it’s also renowned as one of the world’s most notorious tax havens and home to the annual Formula One Grand Prix.
Despite its prodigious wealth, Monaco is far from being the French Riviera’s prettiest town. World-famous Monte Carlo is basically an ode to concrete and glass, dominated by high-rise hotels, super yachts and apartment blocks that rise into the hills like ranks of dominoes, plonked into an utterly bewildering street layout seemingly designed to confound lowly pedestrians.
In dramatic contrast, the rocky outcrop known as Le Rocher, jutting out on the south side of the port, is crowned by a rather charming old town, home to the principality’s royal palace.