Your guide to an elegant Monaco Christmas
There’s nothing more iconic than a Monaco Christmas, with decadent holiday displays, quaint Christmas villages, and exclusive shopping. Looking for a world-renowned ski resort near Monaco? St. Moritz and Courchevel are only a short helicopter ride from the principality.
If you’re lucky enough to live in Monaco, the second smallest country in the world, this sovereign nation blends the best of Mediterranean glamour and chalet chic during the holiday season. A popular Monaco Christmas tradition is visiting the light and fireworks display at the Casino de Monte-Carlo and gazing at the 18-metre-high Christmas tree dripping with 4,000 ornaments at Place du Casino.
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Monaco Christmas; the best ways to celebrate
Like most of Europe, a Monaco Christmas wouldn’t be complete without a quaint Christmas market with homemade treats and crafts on display. Children can enjoy the carousel, mini-train, skating rink, and Ferris wheel, and even meet Santa Claus and his reindeer. The market is open every day at the Esplanade du Port Hercule from around midday until evening, from the first Friday in December to the first Sunday in January.
Also, check out the sumptuous Hotel de Paris Winter Garden, where you can enjoy a three-star hot chocolate expertly crafted by Michelin-star chef Alain Ducasse. In Monaco, Christmas is all about cozy luxury; snuggle up with a drink, feast on holiday treats in a wintry greenhouse, or peruse arts and crafts in the little shops along the inner courtyard.
Major festive events
Another Monaco Christmas must is the Winter Party at the Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort. The Blue Gin bar transforms into a faux chalet every Thursday in December. Sip cocktails on a heated terrace overlooking the Mediterranean and enjoy the live DJ.
After a late night out, rise and shine at 10 am on Christmas Eve and join hundreds for the annual Santa Swim at Larvotto Beach. Don a Santa hat and your bathing suit for an icy plunge in the sea, then wind down afterwards in true Monaco Christmas style with an indulgent breakfast and raffle supporting charity. And to fête the New Year, there’s no shortage of bespoke dinners and shows at nearly every major hotel and restaurant in town.
After enjoying the hubbub around town, the ultimate perk of a white Monaco Christmas is its proximity to first-in-class ski chalets for those seeking winter sports. A world-renowned ski resort near Monaco, St. Moritz is a 2-hour helicopter ride away; Courchevel is an hour away. Another famous French ski resort near Monaco, Meribel, is a 1-hour flight; and Isola 2000 and Válber are both less than 2-hours drive from Monaco.
St. Moritz has 350 kilometres of piste with four sections and is an intermediate skier’s playground with plenty of easy, long runs down the mountain and a few black runs. As the biggest interlinked ski area in the world, the Trois Vallées (Courchevel, Meribel, Val Thorens, and Les Menuires) boasts 600 kilometres of piste, with 170 lifts and resort villages dotted across the mountains—a ski pro’s dream.
If you’re looking for stylish hotels and high-society après-ski, St. Moritz is the way to go. This glitzy resort offers a wide range of budget and upscale dining, with eccentric restaurants like Alpetta, which purportedly serves roadkill game. Courchevel features some of the best dining establishments in the world for the true foodie, with six Michelin-starred restaurants (don’t miss the two-starred Chabichou) and incredible mountain eateries.
Not only can you visit a premium ski resort near Monaco, but Nice Cote d’Azur airport is only a 7-minute helicopter ride away, and Italy is right over the border.