Monaco or officially the Principality of Monaco is the smallest (a microstate) but the most densely populated country in the world. Monaco is located on the coasts of the Ligurian Sea in Southern Europe. It shares its border with France. The capital of the country is the city of Monaco.
Monaco has a subtropical Mediterranean climate. Summers here are dry and hot. The average temperature is +28-+30°C. Winters in Monaco are soft but rainy with the average temperature +10-+12°C. The best time for spending your holidays in Monaco is from May to September.
The Monegasques are the indigenous people of the Principality but they make up only 16% of the total population in Monaco. The majority of the population are the French (47%), the Italians, the Belgians, and the Swiss. The official language of Monaco is French but many people speak the Monegasque dialect well. The majority of people in Monaco are Catholics.
Monaco attracts people who love the beach, diving and snorkeling. The country is filled with ancient monuments so those who like excursions will not be bored here. The major event the Formula One Grand Prix, which takes place in Monte-Carlo, attracts crowds of people to the country. The event starts at the end of May but people begin to buy ticket six months before the grand opening of the Formula One. Monte-Carlo is often called a European Las Vegas. In this country, there are a lot of casinos, night clubs and other entertainments. The main beach of the Principality Larvotto is in Monte-Carlo. Women like to stroll along the beach topless but with their jewelry on.
The tourists will find many old buildings in Monaco which is the oldest part of the Principality. In the capital city, you can have a look at historical buildings having great cultural and religious value.
The business-center of the Principality is located in La Condamine. This part of the city also includes the port of Monaco. The main sight is the Sainte-Dévote Chapel. The city of Fontvieille was constructed on the artificially reclaimed land. In Fontvieille, visit the Museum of Antique Automobiles, the Oceanographic Museum and the Old Maritime Museum. Do not miss a chance to visit the Princess Grace Rose Garden. There are over 5.000 sorts of roses and 150 of which are unique.
If you like to have a country holiday enjoying nature, visit Jardin Exotique in the residential and tourist area Les Revoires.
Monaco does not have its own airport, so the tourists usually reach Nice first. Regular buses run from the Nice airport to the capital city of Monaco.
Aeroflot offers everyday flights to Nice from CIS countries. Instead of Nice, the tourists can choose Turin, Milan and Paris.
The tourists from EU and CIS countries can go to Monaco by train with a stop in Brussels, Aachen.
To visit Monaco, the tourists need to obtain a Schengen visa or a France visa. You can submit the documents to obtain a visa in a French embassy and in special centers having the authority to issue visas.
To receive the permission for entering the country, you can apply to VFS. There are the branches of VFS almost in all CIS countries. The centers work daily.
You need to submit the documents by appointment only (you can arrange an appointment on the VFS web site or by phone).
You can also obtain a visa for your travel to Monaco in Lithuanian and Finnish embassies.
Before going to Monaco, make sure you know what things are allowed import and export. The tourists coming to Monaco can import and export money without any restrictions. If you have cash over 9.000 Euros, you must declare the money.
The citizens of EU and non-EU countries can bring in Monaco the same amount of goods and money.
The citizens of non-EU countries can import cigarettes, 0.5 kg of coffee beans, alcohol and perfume in reasonable amounts for personal use.
It is strictly prohibited for everyone to import medications. The tourists can bring medications for personal use and only with a doctor's prescription.
It is prohibited to export antiquities and objects which are considered the national heritage of Monaco, weapons and rare species of flora and fauna.
Monaco will remind the foodies Spain or France because the cuisine of the Principality has very much the same culinary traditions. Any dish that was created in Monaco has still undergone transformations under the influence of French and Italian food traditions.
In Monaco, you can treat yourself to seafood prepared with olive oil and herbs. We highly recommend trying a truly Monegasque fish soup Bouillabaisse.
French sauces gained great popularity among the Monegasques chefs. A famous sauce Stocafi is always served for fish dishes.
Milk and dairy products are not very popular among the Monegasques. The only exception are cheeses. Cheese is one of the main ingredients in many dishes. Try cheese flat bread with spices. Order pies with an orange filling, nuts and anise for a desert.
Sparkling wines became incredibly popular among the Monegasques and they believe that these wines are their authentic drinks.
The official currency in Monaco is Euro.
You can exchange currency at any bank, in exchange offices or a hotel. Search exchange offices with the sign No Commission or go to a bank. The tourists can cash traveler's checks in hotels, travel agencies and banks. It is convenient and economically beneficial to exchange currency in ATMs.
Credit cards are accepted virtually in all malls and entertainment centers. ATMs in Monaco accept VISA and American Express cards.
If you spent in Monaco over 185 Euros, you can partly refund the cost of the goods at the customs or when you come back home. You will just need to cash the check at a bank.
Details of interest
Out of 30.000 people living in the Principality, only 6.000 are the Monegasques. The Monegasques are considered the aristocracy, to some extent. They do not pay taxes and they are given a priority in employment. Usually, the Monegasques rent their own houses and live in the houses granted by the state for a small fee.
The citizens of Monaco respect the Royal family. Monaco is the only European state where a king has an absolute power. The tourists will be amazed by absolutely clean streets and the lack of crimes.
Sightseeing in Monaco
Monaco is often called a large casino. Any fan of gambling games will find how to entertain himself or herself.
The Monegasques are very passionate Catholics. Religious holidays are the most important events. Christmas is celebrated especially lavishly in the most popular and expensive hotel Hôtel de Paris in Monte-Carlo. In the past, Russian and European aristocrats and the members of the Romanov family stayed in the hotel.
The Principality of Monaco is world-famous for its luxurious palaces, national parks and museums. In the capital city, there are a lot of architectural and cultural monuments. A magnificent Prince's Palace of Monaco is one of the most beautiful buildings in the country. The Palace is not only beautiful from the architectural point of view but this is an extremely durable building. In the past, the building served as an outpost of the August family during a conflict between France and Spain. It is prohibited to make pictures inside the Palace.
A trip to the Old Town will make happy those who like visiting museums. The Wax Museum of the Princess of Monaco, Museum of Old Monaco and Oceanographic Museum should meet the expectations of all the travelers.
If you are in Monte-Carlo, do not miss a chance to visit the oldest casino Monte-Carlo Casino. If you want to have a look at the sights of the city, visit the Chapel of St. Charles, the National Museum of Dolls and the Japanese Garden.
La Condamine is an ideal place for the tourists who are in search of city entertainments and good shopping. In the Princess Caroline street, there are a lot of boutiques, stores and malls. In the center La Condamine the oldest market in Europe is located. People first started selling their goods on the market in 1880.
Couples will enjoy a walk across Fontvieille and further to the Rose Garden and the Fontvieille Park.
Souvenirs in Monaco
There is not a great variety of souvenirs in Monaco. Typically, the tourists buy key chains, magnets, mugs and other gifts depicting the views of Monaco.
The most popular souvenir from Monaco is a T-shirt with Formula One label.