Pay a visit to Monte Carlo’s Jardin Exotique to see the world’s biggest collection of cacti and succulents. Commissioned by Albert I the Prince of Monaco in 1912 and opened in 1950, the gardens are set on a cliffside with breathtaking views across Monaco and out over the Mediterranean, making this a beautiful place to spend a morning or afternoon.
To get to the Jardin Exotique, take the half hour walk uphill from the train station or hop on bus number 2 from the centre of Monaco. After buying your ticket, which lets you into the gardens, the caves and the onsite museum, go and explore the plant life ranging from huge ten metre tall African candelabras to small, flowering cacti. If you have small children, make sure they don’t get a nasty surprise by touching the spines.
As you walk along the pathways spotting cacti, succulents and sculptures along the way, make sure you take plenty of pictures of the panoramic views. After exploring the gardens, go to the grotto where you’ll walk down 300 steps to get into the caves for a 30 minute guided tour among the stalactites and stalagmites. As you walk, pay attention to the air temperature, as these are the only caves in Europe where the temperature actually rises as you go deeper.
Before leaving, spend some time at the Museum of Anthropology, looking at the prehistoric human artefacts found in the caves beneath the gardens. After your visit, go to Port de Fontvieille to explore the boats and enjoy a meal in one of the harbourside restaurants.