MONACO TRAVEL GUIDE

MONACO TRAVEL GUIDE

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BIENVENUE EN MONACO!

Monaco – commonly referred to as the “Billionaire’s Playground”, is a sovereign city-state on the French Riviera and the second smallest (smaller than New York City’s Central Park) country in the world. Monaco is home to the fairytale Prince Rainier III and Princess Grace Kelly story, more millionaires per square mile than any other country (1 in 3 residents are millionaires), the second highest GDP per capita, the highest average life expectancy rate and zero-poverty rate (of course, with that kinda money), the most expensive housing market per square foot, the Monte Carlo Casino, where only non-residents can gamble (residents are forbidden by law to gamble), and holds lavish events such as the Monaco Grand Prix and the Monaco Yacht Show. You get the point.

LANGUAGES IN MONACO

The official language in Monaco is French, which is spoken by 58% of Monégasques, followed by 17% of Monégasques speaking Ligurian (an Italian dialect), and 15% speaking an Occitan dialect. English, of course, is also commonly used.

How's Your French?

Need any easy way to brush up on your French for your trip to Monaco?

MONEGASQUES CULTURE

Officially the Principality of Monaco, Monaco is now a sovereign city-state and micro-state located on the French Riviera. Originally founded by the Lingurians, it was re-founded in 1228 as a colony of Genoa. Monaco was later captured by French Revolutionary forces in 1793 and remained under French control until 1814. After its 1911 constitution declared the princes of Monaco absolute rulers, Monaco was taken by the Italians in WWII and ruled under a fascist administration until a new, and more liberal, constitution was established in 1962. In 1993, Monaco became a member of the United Nations.

Since 1911, Monaco has been governed as a constitutional monarchy with the Crown Prince as chief of state and a Minister of State presiding over a Council of Government responsible for social, internal and external affairs, the environment, health, finance and the economy.

The people of Monaco are called Monégasques (or Monegasques). There are strong Italian and French influences on culture. Approximately 16% of the the less than 40,000 claim Monégasque descent.

Roman Catholicism is the official religion in Monaco, but other religions practiced include Anglican Church, Greek Orthodox Church, Protestantism, Islam, Buddhism and Judaism.

Monaco’s education system is well structured to match international standards and its curriculum closely follows France’s system.

The Monégasques enjoy a robust, public health system as well as private healthcare.

French cuisine, desserts, beverages and wine have a major influence in Monaco. Most dishes are based on fresh seafood, fish, and vegetables, olive oil, rice, pastries, and cheese.

POPULAR MONEGASQUES ACTIVITIES

Enjoying milder temperatures year-round, Monégasques enjoy outdoor sporting activities like golf, rugby, tennis and football.

They also enjoy activities like beach-going and swimming, boating, shopping, traveling, dining out, and enjoy socializing in cultural, artistic and musical events as well as over food, wine, and coffee and pastries like the French.

Monaco is well known for its Monaco Music Film Festival held annually in Monte Carlo. Monaco also experiences other yearly festivals.

MONACO CURRENCY

Monaco uses the Euro (€). Exchange rates are usually favorable for Europeans but could fluctuate in the other direction.

MONACO TRANSPORTATION

Monaco does not have Uber, but it has Carpoolworld and possible regional ridesharing services and apps (research in advance if they are in your destination area). There are also taxis, of course.

Monaco also part of Europe’s incredible regional and inter-country bus and train services, so getting around and booking transportation is easy.

TIPPING IN MONACO

Traveling in a new country is easier when you know the country’s tipping etiquette in advance as each country has its own rules.  That said, country rules and norms can shift, so here is an international tipping resource for over 70 countries to use as a general guideline that I have found is constantly updated. 

What’s not on there is how to tip a concierge, beauty salons or spas, travel or tour guides, etc.  For these extras, it is acceptable to tip 10% at minimum. Remember, tipping is for good service only.

Additionally, you should always tip in the local currency (if tipping in cash), and do not be offended if your tip is refused as it may not be the norm. I feel it’s always better to offer a tip for good service than not, unless I know it will be considered offensive, like in Japan.

MONACO'S HOLIDAYS

A key activity to do in your early planning stage is to know, at minimum, the national holidays. I so suggest also looking into the local holidays.  It’s a complete bummer to spend time and money to take the holiday of your lifetime and when you show up at one of your key attractions, it’s closed due to a holiday.  It’s also not fun trying to travel and have a hard time accessing travel or other essential resources when no one is around because, yes, it’s a local holiday. So, take just a few moments to look at Monaco’s holidays.

MONACO ELECTRONIC ESSENTIALS

Besides money, required ID and your ticket, Monaco voltage is 230 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz so bring Type C, E and F adapters (I recommend bringing 2) for Monaco sockets and research if your electronics require a voltage converter, if not already included in the adapter; or, you can bring electronics already adapted for French outlets or wait to purchase them there (I recommend just bringing the adapter with converter).  

Remember, most smart phones, tablets and laptops don’t require a converter, but double-check your device(s) before you leave home.  If you are going to another country other than Monaco, you can check the global adapters list to make sure you’re prepared. I have also provided suggested adapters below for your convenience.

Schuko, Germany France Travel Power Adapter by Ceptics, Grounded European Plug - Type E/F Outlet, Adaptor for USA to Europe EU Socket - 3 Pack - Use In Norway, Korea, Spain, Greece, Russa, Iceland
14,100 Reviews
Schuko, Germany France Travel Power Adapter by Ceptics, Grounded European Plug - Type E/F Outlet, Adaptor for USA to Europe EU Socket - 3 Pack - Use In Norway, Korea, Spain, Greece, Russa, Iceland*
  • Compact heavy duty - 3 prong grounded safe Type E/F Plug adapter - Compatible in most of European countries such as
  • Perfect for travelling and using with your iPhone charger, laptop charger, camera charger and other dual voltage chargers.
  • Accepts plugs from all countries including USA, does not accept plugs from S. Africa
European Travel Plug Adapter by Ceptics Europe Power Adaptor Charger Dual Input - Ultra Compact - Light Weight - USA to any Type C Countries such as Italy, Iceland, Austria and More (CT-9C), white
6,002 Reviews
European Travel Plug Adapter by Ceptics Europe Power Adaptor Charger Dual Input - Ultra Compact - Light Weight - USA to any Type C Countries such as Italy, Iceland, Austria and More (CT-9C), white*
  • Perfect for your travel needs: This is all you need to charge your cell phones, laptops, camera chargers, CPAP machine or anything else that is dual voltage Compatible.
  • 2 in 1 Input: Accepts the standard N American 2 and/or 3 prong flat pin Plug (including polarized) - No Messy Universal Outlet
  • Ultra Compact Size & Safe: only measures 1.5 x 1.5 x 1.75" & max load rating: 10-15A/250V, round pin thickness - 4.0 mm
Ceptics Travel Adapter with Types A-M Plugs, Travel Plug Adapter Set Compatible with Power Sockets in All Continents, Compact World Travel Adapter, International Plug Adaptor Kit, Set of 12,GP-12PK
471 Reviews
Ceptics Travel Adapter with Types A-M Plugs, Travel Plug Adapter Set Compatible with Power Sockets in All Continents, Compact World Travel Adapter, International Plug Adaptor Kit, Set of 12,GP-12PK*
  • A Powerful Set of 12 Adapters - Our all-in-one international travel adapter set features 1 universal input socket that allows you to connect a plug from almost any country worldwide, including the 2-prong and 3-prong North American plugs.

TRAVEL DOCUMENTS FOR FRANCE / MONACO

From the U.S., you will need a valid passport. No visa is required.  Make sure your passport expiration date is greater than 6 months from your return to the U.S. The U.S. State Department always has their link up to date with pertinent information when traveling to France, including any advisories to local unrest or possible terrorist threats. It is advised to always check there during your planning stage and again before you leave.  If you are not from the U.S., please check your government’s website.

VACCINATIONS FOR MONACO

There are normally no vaccinations required for Monaco. The U.S. State Department always has their link up to date with pertinent information when traveling to Monaco.  It is advised to always check there during your planning stage and again before you leave.  If you are not from the U.S., please check your government’s website.

MONACO TRAVEL BOOKING

Explore Monaco's

The closest airport to Monaco is in Nice, France (NCE).

MONACO ECOTOURISM TIPS

There are ways to reduce your eco and carbon footprint through air travel, accommodations, tours, and activities in Monaco. To help avoid greenwashing businesses, here are some eco-friendly or sustainable travel (also called responsible travel) tips and resources, you can use to book your travel.

ECO-FRIENDLY AIR TRAVEL

Skyscanner provides a ‘Greener flights’ filter highlighting flights that emit less CO2.

Purchase carbon offsets through your airline or through a third party, like MyClimate.org, Carbonfund.org, or terrapass. Carbon offsetting allows you to buy a certificate to reduce carbon emissions, a major contributor to climate change, which in turn contribute community projects across countries to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

ECO-FRIENDLY GROUND TRANSPORTATION

Try to avoid renting a car in Monaco by using Europe’s regional and inter-country bus and train services.

ECO-FRIENDLY ACCOMMODATIONS

Look for accommodations with the following self and third-party assessed certifications when you book:

Green Globe certifies hotels, resorts, conference centers, transportation, attractions, tour operators, and other tourism businesses globally on sustainable operations and management. Look for Monaco and other European Green Global members.

Green Key Global is an internationally recognized environmental certification for the lodging and meetings industries, including hotels and hostels, campsites and holiday parks, restaurants and attractions in 65 countries. Search for Green Key awarded sites.

Living Building Challenge – if you want to stay in a true, sustainable building, find one certified by the Living Building Challenge. LBC’s certification directory shows all project types globally. Hopefully they will put in a filter soon to allow searching by hotels or hospitality type.

LEED Certified – the USGBC’s LEED Certified label on buildings, like many of the Marriott’s hotels, are those that have verifiably employed multiple and varying green building strategies to improve human and environmental health. Search the LEED directory for Monaco certifications.

Green Lodging Program – Audubon International has an environmental stewardship certification through third-party verification. Search its certified members directory.

GSTC Certified – the Global Sustainable Tourism Council provides global standards for sustainable travel and tourism, as well as international accreditation for sustainable tourism Certification Bodies. Booking sites that offer GSTC certified sustainable are bookdifferent, EcoHotels, and Transat.

Another way to find an establishments implementing eco-friendly or sustainable practices, certified or not, is through Booking.com in which you’ll need to find and review each establishment’s ‘Sustainable Initiatives’ within the booking process. Starting 2022, however, you’ll be able to filter searches for accommodations with the Travel Sustainable badge. Finally!

ECO-FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES

Monaco has ecotourism ideas available to explore for your next vacation.

Search Green Global and Green Key awarded members for eco-friendly activity providers in Monaco. Some may also have the GSTC Certified logo.

MORE ECO-TRAVEL TIPS

There are more ways to do your part for the planet in your responsible travel.  Read my 10 Easy Eco-Travel Tips and view my suggested Eco Travel Resources to learn more.

MONACO SAFETY TIPS

HOW TO TRAVEL MONACO SAFELY

The south of France has been known to have acts of terrorism, and Monaco is its neighbor.  Please consult your government’s travel advisory site in your planning phase.

If there is no advisory, there is nothing I can recall from Monaco making it more of a “safety concern” than traveling in my own home country. Crime such as vandalism, theft and drug dealing in Monaco is low. So, my standard tips for female and solo travelers are:

  • always carry photo ID with you; if you don’t want your passport on you at all times, at least carry a copy of it.
  • always be “street wise”.
  • always be aware of your surroundings, especially if you feel the need to imbibe or feel the need to “let loose” – you’re on vacation so have fun!
  • never leave your food or drink unattended.
  • keep your belongs on your person, or at least in your view in close proximity, at all times.
  • be open to meeting and talking with new people – that is where a lot of the travel experience lies – but be careful on how you divulge personal information.
  • research places in advance, if possible, so you know what to expect (i.e., “have a familiar view” – I like to Google the street view of new addresses I’m going to first).
  • if something, someone or someplace makes you feel uncomfortable, go with your gut – leave.

MONACO BUDGET TRAVEL TIPS

BEST TIME TO VISIT MONACO

If France can be pricey, put Monaco on top of that. However, that’s not to say you can’t find budget accommodations (at least close by), try local foods, or hit some great site seeing and entertainment on a budget.  Monaco is a country I would a little planning on if you are on a budget.  Like other countries in Europe, Monaco’s high, tourist season, and most expensive time, is the summer (June to August) – expect crowds to be heavy and prices to go up! 

Crowds are not as heavy in the spring (April and May) and Fall (September to October), where prices are better than the summer season.  The least expensive time to go to Monaco would be November to March. 

PERSONAL STORY

Call me silly, but of all things to do in Monaco, my top Monaco bucket list item was to gamble in the Monte Carlo Casino. I don’t gamble that much anymore, so it must have been all of those James Bond movies. Whatever. It’s a beautiful building, and I just had to do it when I spent three days the south of France. The though of drinking free champagne while playing roulette, surrounded by opulent decor for an evening, just couldn’t be passed up. Every time I clapped when I won 10 Euros, the roulette croupier would just laugh at me. I was such a tourist, but I could tell he was getting a kick out of me, and I didn’t care. It was worth the experience.  Sometimes we have to just live for the moment, no matter how silly it seems.  Now I just have to go back and experience more of what Monaco has to offer.  What an area.

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