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 Pierre Dartout since 2020.
The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) provides advice about risks of travel to help British nationals make informed decisions. Find out more about FCDO travel advice.
Before you travel
No travel can be guaranteed safe. Read all the advice in this guide as well as support for British nationals abroad which includes:
- advice on preparing for travel abroad and reducing risks
- information for women, LGBT+ and disabled travellers
If you choose to travel, research your destinations and get appropriate travel insurance. Insurance should cover your itinerary, planned activities and expenses in an emergency.
This advice reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British citizen’ passport from the UK, for the most common types of travel.
The authorities in Monaco set and enforce entry rules. If you’re not sure how these requirements apply to you, contact the Monaco Embassy in the UK.
There are no COVID-19 testing or vaccination requirements for travellers entering Monaco.
Passport validity requirements
To enter Monaco your passport must:
- have a ‘date of issue’ less than 10 years before the date you arrive. Passports issued after 1 October 2018 are now valid for only 10 years, but for passports issued before 1 October 2018, extra months may have been added if you renewed a passport early
- have an ‘expiry date’ at least 3 months after the day you plan to leave
Contact the Monaco Embassy in the UK if your passport does not meet both these requirements.
Check with your travel provider that your passport and other travel documents meet requirements. Renew your passport if you need to.
You will be denied entry if you do not have a valid travel document, or try to use a passport that has been reported lost or stolen.
France handles immigration matters for Monaco. If your passport describes you as a British Citizen you will not need a visa to enter Monaco for stays of less than 90 days. To stay longer, you will need to meet entry requirements. Check which type of visa you may need on the France Visas website.
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.
Vaccination requirements (other than COVID-19)
At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the vaccinations and certificates you need in TravelHealthPro’s Monaco guide.
France handles customs matters for Monaco. Read the travel advice for France for information on customs rules.
There is a high threat of terrorist attack globally affecting UK interests and British nationals, including from groups and individuals who view the UK and British nationals as targets. You should remain vigilant.
UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out how to reduce your risk from terrorism while abroad.
Terrorism in Monaco
Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in Monaco, attacks can’t be ruled out.
Protecting your belongings
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.
Follow local advice regarding swimming in the sea, especially if you see jellyfish.
Laws and cultural differences
Apart from on the beaches and in bathing areas, it is not permitted to walk about in swimsuits, stripped to the waist, or barefoot.
The legal age for driving in Monaco is 18. If you are planning to drive in Monaco, see information on driving abroad and make sure you are aware of the rules of the road listed in the RAC guide for Monaco.
Licences and permits
You need either a 1968 international driving permit (IDP) or a valid UK driving licence to drive in Monaco. The 1949 IDP is no longer accepted. You cannot buy an IDP outside the UK, so get one before you travel. You can buy an IDP in person from some UK post offices – find your nearest post office branch that offers this service.
Before you travel check that:
- your destination can provide the healthcare you may need
- you have appropriate travel insurance for local treatment or unexpected medical evacuation
This is particularly important if you have a health condition or are pregnant.
Emergency medical number
Dial 112 from a mobile or 18 from a landline and ask for an ambulance.
Contact your insurance or medical assistance company promptly if you’re referred to a medical facility for treatment.
Vaccinations and health risks
At least 8 weeks before your trip check:
- the latest information on vaccinations and health risks in TravelHealthPro’s Monaco guide
- where to get vaccines and whether you have to pay on the NHS travel vaccinations page
The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or bought in the UK can be different in other countries.
The NHS has information on whether you can take your medicine abroad.
Healthcare facilities in Monaco
Monaco is not a member of the European Union (EU) so reciprocal medical arrangements with the EU do not apply.
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) do 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 and repatriation.
Travel and mental health
The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) cannot provide tailored advice for individual trips. Read this travel advice and carry out your own research before deciding whether to travel.
Emergency services in Monaco
Telephone: 112 on a mobile or 18 on a landline (ambulance, fire, police)
Contact your travel provider and insurer
Contact your travel provider and your insurer if you are involved in a serious incident or emergency abroad. They will tell you if they can help and what you need to do.
Refunds and changes to travel
For refunds or changes to travel, contact your travel provider. You may also be able to make a claim through insurance. However, insurers usually require you to talk to your travel provider first.
Find out more about changing or cancelling travel plans, including:
- where to get advice if you are in a dispute with a provider
- how to access previous versions of travel advice to support a claim
Support from FCDO
FCDO has guidance on staying safe and what to do if you need help or support abroad, including:
- finding English-speaking lawyers in Monaco
- dealing with a death in Monaco
- being arrested or imprisoned in Monaco
- getting help if you’re a victim of crime
- what to do if you’re in hospital
- if you’re affected by a crisis, such as a terrorist attack
Help abroad in an emergency
If you are in Monaco and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the British Embassy Paris who provide consular assistance for Monaco.
You can also contact FCDO online.
FCDO in London
You can call FCDO in London if you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad.
Telephone: 020 7008 5000 (24 hours)