Monaco, officially the Principality of Monaco, is a sovereign city-state, country, and microstate on the French Riviera in Western Europe.
Monte Carlo is not the capital of Monaco but a government district. The country is divided into four areas: Monaco-Ville (the old city), the Condamine (port quarter), Monte-Carlo (business and recreation), and Fontvieille (recreation and light industry). With no natural resources to exploit other than its location and climate, the principality has become a resort for tourists and a tax haven for businesses. Monaco is six times the size of the Vatican and the world's most densely populated independent country.
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MONACO QUICK FACTS
Although not a member of either the European Union or the European Economic Area, Monaco maintains an open border and customs union with France and is treated as part of the Schengen Area.
Currency: euro (EUR)
Area: 1.95 sq km
Population: 38 682 (2018)
Language: French (official), English, Italian, Monegasque
Religion: Roman Catholic (90%)
Electricity: 230V/50Hz (European plug)
It has its own flag (red and white) and national holiday (19 November), and it uses the euro even though it's not part of the EU. You can easily visit Monaco as a day trip from Nice, a short train ride away.
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MONACO PUBLIC HOLIDAYS
- 27 January, Saint Devote's Day
- 19 November, H.S.M. the Sovereign Prince's Day
BEST TIME TO VISIT MONACO
Monaco benefits from a Mediterranean-style temperate climate, characterized by hot, dry summers and mild, humid winters.
The best time to visit Monaco is in the spring or fall. April and October are both ideal months for a vacation: the weather is balmy and the room rates are reduced. This lavish getaway loses some of its luster between November and March, but you will save money on accommodations if you visit in this cooler winter offseason.
Visit in the summer, and yes, the beaches will be packed, the weather will be hot, and the restaurants will have long waits, but you'll also experience Monaco at its liveliest.
SPORT & ACTIVITIES
HIKING & CYCLING IN MONACO
The best time for outdoor activities in Monaco is from May to October. Due to Monaco's coastal location, even the hottest months of July and August are pleasant.
BEACH OPTIONS IN MONACO
Beaches along Monaco's coastline are mostly manmade and often private. The warmest summer months are July and August, but you'll find people enjoying the beaches from June to September.
SURFING IN MONACO
With an extremely short coastline of only 3.8 kms, there are only two surfable beaches in Monaco, of which only one is not private!
MONACO TRAVEL COSTS
Monaco is no budget destination when it comes to accommodation. Budget-conscious travellers should stay in nearby Nice and visit as a day trip.
Dining in Monaco can be a very sobering experience for whoever is paying the bill. Perhaps the most exclusive and famous restaurants in the city are the Louis XV Restaurant and the Le Grill de L'Hotel de Paris, both centered on the very exclusive Hotel de Paris. You are more than likely to be seated next to a member of the rich and famous, and the gourmet food is simply out-of-this-world - however, these experiences come with a rather hefty price tag!
However, there are a huge variety of other restaurants and cafés in the city with a moderate price tag and excellent food. There are a few simple cafés along the marina-side, more like beach bars than anything else, that serve simple meals such as pizza, salads, and hotdogs throughout the day. These can be excellent for simply sitting back during the hot midday with a cold beer or glass of wine, a snack to recharge your batteries from exploring the city, and the gentle lapping of the Mediterranean (and often the roar of supercars) in your ears.
Somewhere in between these two dining experiences comes the world-famous Café de Paris, just outside the Casino. Tourists and locals alike can often be found during the afternoon and all through the night laughing, drinking, and eating some fabulous (but verging on expensive) meals. It is definitely a must-go during your stay in Monte Carlo, even if it is just for a snack in the afternoon - it is well worth it
MONACO TRAVEL TIPS
Private cars are singularly useless for getting around Monaco, as you'll spend more time trying to park than if you walked or took a taxi instead. Walking is by far the best way to get around Monaco; however, there are some areas, such as the Exotic Gardens, that require a large change in elevation and therefore can make for rather strenuous hikes but there are seven public escalators and elevators (all free) that help negotiate the steep slopes of the city. If you find yourself afoot and wanting to reach the opposite bank of Port Hercule, look for the small pedestrian-only ferry that runs each 20 minutes or so during daylight; it costs €1 EUR.
You can easily rent a motor scooter in Nice and take a short trip east along the sea into Monaco. The views are beautiful and the ride is fun along the twisty seaside road. There are plenty of places to park for free.
SIGHTS & HIGHLIGHTS OF MONACO
The principality of Monaco offers a great balance of historical and modern attractions. There are various museums and palaces to visit as well as shopping malls and casinos. Monaco also offers relaxation spots along the harbor and even around the attractions.
Take a walk through Monaco-Ville, also known as “le rocher” or “the rock.”
The Palais Princier (Prince's Palace) is in old Monaco-Ville and is worth a visit.
The Monaco Cathedral was built in 1875 and stands on the site of a 13th century earlier church.
The Oceanographic Museum and Aquarium is a world-renowned attraction.
The Jardin Exotique (Exotic Gardens) is one of the many gardens Monaco has to offer.
The Prince's Car Collection is the place to go for any car enthusiast - there is everything from carriages and old cars, to Formula 1 racers.
LGBTQ IN MONACO
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in Monaco may face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Both male and female same-sex sexual activity are legal in Monaco. Although same-sex relationships are recognised, Monaco does not recognise same-sex marriages. Since 27 June 2020, the country has allowed same-sex couples to sign a cohabitation agreement, which provides some limited rights and obligations.
Despite this absence of same-sex relationship legislation, Monegasque society tends to be tolerant of homosexuality and same-sex relationships.