Monaco travel guide
From the multi-million pound yachts glinting in Monte Carlo harbour, to the endless flow of golden champagne, Monaco oozes privilege. Celebrities flock to this Mediterranean members-only club, with its opulent lifestyle, discreet banking facilities and heavily policed streets.
There’s more to this 200-hectare principality than meets the eye, though, with some terrific restaurants and an interesting history that continues to beguile to this day. In this, the second smallest country after the Vatican, natives still speak the Monégasque dialect, which sits somewhere between French and Italian. Meanwhile, Monaco’s citizens famously don’t have to pay taxes, which has partly made it an attractive place to live for some of the world’s richest people.
For visitors wishing to bask in some Monaco glitz, there are big annual events such as the Tennis Masters Series in April and the Formula 1 Grand Prix in May. Other festivals include the Monaco International Non Violent Film Festival, the Monte Carlo Opera and the annual Spring Arts Festival.
In Monaco, you can expect plenty of luxury hotel towers, glamorous nightclubs and grand casinos. The latter attraction is tied up with the modern fate of Monaco. The tiny country’s history of gambling dates back to the 1850s when the head of state commissioned the building of a casino to provide him with income, without having to increase taxes on his citizens. At first, the casino remained bizarrely empty, until a railroad connected Monaco with the rest of the world. It was soon doing so well that the principality was able to do away with taxes altogether. Overnight, Monaco became popular for Europe’s most hedonistic elites, who came for the ever-flowing champagne and renowned opera productions.
Away from the glamour, Monaco’s balmy climate and seaside location make it a naturally beautiful place to visit. You can enjoy scenic walking routes along pretty costal bays, and stop for a drink at many al fresco cafés. For those with a couple of days to spare, Provence, the French Riviera and Italy are all within easy reach.
2 sq km (0.8 sq miles).
37,863 (UN estimate 2016).
18,865.5 per sq km.
Prince Albert II since 2005.
Minister of State Serge Telle since 2016.
230 volts AC, 50Hz. European-style plugs with two round pins are standard.
Last updated: 10 October 2017
The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. ‘We’ refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
Terrorist attacks in Monaco can’t be ruled out.
Most visits are trouble-free.
If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission.
Safety and security
Police have issued warnings that counterfeit Euro notes are in circulation. Check that notes you receive are genuine.
Street crime is rare, but you should take sensible precautions to safeguard your passport and valuables.
Thefts have occurred on trains to and from Monaco, and at Nice airport, particularly at the car rental parks where bags have been stolen while drivers are loading their cars.
To drive in Monaco you must have a valid UK driving licence, insurance and vehicle documents. If you are driving a vehicle that does not belong to you then written permission from the registered owner may also be required.
The minimum age for driving a car is 18 years
Speed and alcohol limits are strictly enforced.
Follow local advice regarding swimming in the sea especially if jellyfish are present in the sea.
Terrorist attacks in Monaco can’t be ruled out. You should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be in public places, including those visited by foreigners.
There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.
Find out more about the global threat from terrorism, how to minimise your risk and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack.
Local laws and customs
Apart from on the beaches and in bathing areas, it is not permitted to walk about in swimsuits, stripped to the waist, or bare foot. Appropriate clothing must be worn in all public places and especially in religious buildings.
The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.
The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.
You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.
France handles immigration and customs matters for Monaco. If your passport describes you as a British Citizen you will not need a visa to enter France. Other British passport holders should check the current entry requirements on the website of the French Foreign Ministry and if necessary confirm with the nearest French Diplomatic mission.
You must hold a valid passport to enter Monaco. Your passport must be valid for the proposed duration of your stay. No additional period of validity beyond this is required.
UK emergency travel documents
UK emergency travel documents are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Monaco.
Visit your health professional at least 4 to 6 weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventive measures. Country specific information and advice is published by the National Travel Health Network and Centre on the TravelHealthPro website and by NHS (Scotland) on the fitfortravel website. Useful information and advice about healthcare abroad is also available on the NHS Choices website.
Monaco is not a Member of the European Union and therefore EU reciprocal medical arrangements do not apply. The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) does not provide health cover in Monaco. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.
If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 18 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.
Even though Monaco is not a member of the European Union, the local currency is the Euro.
Travel advice help and support
If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London on 020 7008 1500 (24 hours).
Foreign travel checklist
Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.
The FCO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.
When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.
Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.
Refunds and cancellations
If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.
For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Registering your travel details with us
We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.
Previous versions of FCO travel advice
If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.