Monaco beaches include what is perhaps the most glamorous beach in the world—Larvotto Beach, or Plage du Larvotto (“plage” is the French word for “beach”). This the only Monte Carlo beach you will be able to find unless you are staying at the exclusive Le Meridien Beach Plaza Hotel, which has its own separate section at the far western end of Larvotto. There are no other Monaco beaches that are private, and this one is only open to hotel guests. On the beach, the hotel offers massage services, sun beds, umbrellas, and a beach bar.
This tiny principality (the second smallest after Vatican City) has an area of only about three-quarters of a square mile. Its entire area pretty much consists of the city that most people call Monte Carlo, and this is only about three times the size of the National Mall in Washington DC. Its coastline is less than 2.5 miles long. Much of that coastline is taken up with a heliport, a seaport, and marinas for yachts. Some of the coast that is not taken up with these modern developments is rugged and rocky. Even the Monte Carlo beach of Larvotto is on reclaimed land, and the sand is trucked by the ton.
The Larvotto Beach Monte Carlo was created in front of the seafront not long after World War II. Even though good sand is trucked in, this is primarily a fine shingle beach. There are three concrete jetties separating the sections. All along the beach are plenty of bars, restaurants, and bistros providing a wide variety of refreshments. If you have come during the peak summer season, you will need to arrive early to beat the crowds. While this is a public beach (except for the section in front of the Meridien) there are sections with a fairly steep entry fee (from $30-$40) for a sun bed and umbrella. On the free sections, you really need to bring your own umbrella and chairs. This is a very family-friendly beach, just be on the lookout for jellyfish (there will be a flag flying from the lifeguard stand when they are present). There are outlets to book jet skis and banana boat rides. There is also windsurfing, parasailing, a toddler playground, and a roller blade and skateboard area. Another good feature of the beach is that just about everything is within walking distance, no matter what Monaco hotels you’re staying at.
Those who are looking for the kind of Monaco beaches that boast miles of powdery white sand and row after row of umbrellas and lounge chairs filled with beautiful people will need to look outside the borders to the east and west. This is the Cote d’Azur—otherwise known as the French Riviera—that extends from the border of Italy in the east to Saint-Tropez in the west. In between are the jet set resorts of Antibes, Nice, and Cannes, all of which do boast miles of beautiful beaches. If you head only a few hundred feet towards Italy, you will find more stretches of glamorous beach and a large number of luxurious France villas and other holiday rentals.