The Ultimate Insider's Guide to Monaco

The tiny independent city-state on France's Mediterranean coast may be small - but you have to know where to go.

Monaco, the tiny independent city-state on France's Mediterranean coast, has long been known as the playground to the rich and famous. While it's not big, Monaco - the glamorous Monaco we've all heard about - can be elusive to someone who is going for the first, or doesn't know a well-informed local.

monaco travel
Monaco is a stunning little gem on the Mediterranean coast. Getty

So we decided to ask Jon Turk, a Manhattan plastic surgeon who has been close friends with Prince Albert since they roomed together in college, to tell us how to truly experience the magical city on the Mediterranean.

Turk, who travels to the country several times a year with his glamorous wife, CBS New York reporter, Carolyn Gusoff, was happy to oblige.

Where to Stay

Hotel Hermitage Monte Carlo:
The legendary Hotel Hermitage Monte Carlo. Hotel Hermitage Monte Carlo

Hotel Hermitage Monte Carlo: "It's the more private and subdued sister of the famous Hotel de Paris," Turk said. "It's where people who know stay, not people who show."

The Monte Carlo Beach Hotel: This American-style resort hotel backs up directly onto the Mediterranean. "It's home to the largest sand-bottom swimming pool in the world and good for large groups or families," Turk said.

The Chevre d'Or in Eze
The views at the Chevre d'Or in Eze take in all of Monaco and the Mediterranean. The Chevre d'Or

The Chevre d'Or in Eze: If everything in Monaco is booked - or you really just want a stunning view more than a dip in the ocean, this is the hotel for you, as, according to Turk: "It's located just above Monaco via the Grand Corniche with breathtaking views of the Principality and the Mediterranean Sea."

Where to Eat

Coya: Turk loves this new Peruvian restaurant, and raves about the food and the "great" bar scene (And who doesn't love a scene, especially in Monaco?).

Buddha Bar: Since it opened in 2010, this restaurant-bar-lounge which is adjacent to the iconic Casino Monte Carlo has been the place to hang out before, during and after dinner.

le deck
Le Deck at the Monte Carlo Beach Hotel, where you can eat fabulous food and soak up some rays. The Monte Carlo Beach Hotel

Le Deck at the Monte Carlo Beach Hotel: If you're in the mood for great food and to do some serious people watching, this is the place to be, according to Turk.

Joel Robuchon Monte Carlo: Located within the Hotel Metropole, this restaurant headed by the world-class chef is not just about the food - it's a visual treat as well. Sit on the terrace and watch life in Monaco unfold before your eyes.

Polpetta: If you're not in the mood to get uber dressed for dinner, go full local and try Turk's old favorite, Polpetta, which serves hearty and delicious Italian fare.

Things To Do

The Royal Palace
The palace in Monaco is perched high on a cliff overlooking Montecarlo. Getty

Take a Palace Tour: No stop to Monaco is complete without a look at the sumptuous palace where Grace Kelly the Oscar winner became Princess Grace of Monaco - and where her progeny still live.

Visit the Automobile Museum: The late Prince Rainier III was a huge classic and race care collector - and in 1993 opened his collection (a car enthusiast's heaven) to the public. Located on the Terrasses de Fontvieille, the huge exhibition has over 100 cars including a 1903 De Dion Bouton, a 2013 Lotus F1 and an assortment of Ferraris, Maseratis, Alfa Romeos, Rolls Royces, Lamborghinis and more. Many of the cars have appeared in The Monaco Grand Prix, "The rich uncle of motorsports," Turk said. "During that event, there are more yachts, burnt rubber, and champagne than anywhere else in the world."

Spend the day with the beautiful people at the Monte Carlo Beach Club: Take a cabana for the day and dive into the Mediterranean.

Charter a boat for the day: "it's really the best way to experience the Cote d' Azur," Turk said.

So you've had a full day and a wonderful meal, what about apres? The nightlife in Monaco is legendary and not to be missed.

After Dark

Night club Monaco
The clubs in Monaco are always full of models, celebrities, and royals. Getty

Le Bar Americain: Famed for its live music and signature cocktails, this bar, located inside the Hotel de Paris, is perfect for when you're done with the casinos and want an adult evening.

Twiga: Located on the second floor of the Grimaldi Forum, this giraffe themed bar is full of "models, music, dancing, and Hookah all night," according to Turk.

Jimmy'z Place du Casino: This legendary nightclub is the final destination for the rich and famous every night, all night. It goes so late, according to Turk that they even serve a 6 am pasta breakfast to patrons before they head home.

Sass Cafe: This piano bar turns into a hopping club late at night

The Ultimate Insider's Guide to Monaco | Culture