Bargaining is not a part of Monaco's culture; customers are generally expected to pay the stated price.
Dangers & Annoyances
Monaco is generally a safe place; the biggest challenges for first-time visitors are steep hills and convoluted streets.
- Getting around Monaco by car is a nightmare, given the complicated system of one-way streets and tunnels; parking is advisable, but rates can be expensive.
- For pedestrians, the going gets tough away from the waterfront; Monaco's system of elevators is useful for navigating steep climbs, but not very intuitive for the uninitiated.
Emergency & Important Numbers
|Monaco's country code||377|
|International access code||00|
|Emergency (police, fire, ambulance)||112|
Entry & Exit Formalities
No formalities are observed at the border between Monaco and France (indeed, you'll be hard-pressed to find a sign indicating that you've even crossed the border). Nonetheless, Monaco's customs police technically have the right to search travellers entering and exiting the country.
There are no significant regulations affecting exports, and customs checks between Monaco and neighbouring France are virtually unheard of.
Members of the EU require nothing more than a passport or national identity card to enter Monaco. Monaco belongs to the Schengen zone, which means that nationals of certain other countries may require a Schengen visa to enter Monaco. However, this requirement is waived for visits of less than 90 days for citizens of Australia, Canada, the US and many other non-European countries.
- Attire Dress modestly in churches, with shoulders and torso covered. Formal attire is expected in certain social settings, including evening visits to the Casino de Monte Carlo.
- Conversation Use the formal vous when speaking French to anyone unknown or older than you. The informal tu is reserved for close friends, family and children.
- Greetings Men will typically shake hands when greeting each other. A man and a woman, or two women, may exchange bisous (cheek-skimming kisses).
Gay & Lesbian Travellers
There is generally no overt prejudice against gay and lesbian individuals or couples. However, Catholicism's role as the official state religion means that Monaco remains more conservative than most other European nations in its attitudes towards same-sex marriage.
Reliable internet and wifi access is widely available. Monaco Telecom (www.monaco-telecom.mc) offers a network of more than 30 public wifi sites, including the train station, the port and various post offices, markets and squares. Multilingual instructions facilitate signup, but access is not free: rates per 1/7/30 days are €5/15/30.
Visitors arrested in Monaco are entitled to a presumption of innocence, prompt access to a lawyer, and information (within 24 hours) about the charges against them and their legal rights.
Away from the beach, walking around barefoot or in swimwear is prohibited.
Monaco's currency is the euro (€). ATMs, known by their French name distributeurs automatiques de billets, are widely available and are the cheapest and most convenient way of getting cash. Major international credit cards such as MasterCard and Visa are widely accepted; higher end shops, hotels and restaurants also take American Express.
For current exchange rates, see www.xe.com.
- Hotels Tip porters €1 to €2 per bag, housekeepers up to €5 at your discretion.
- Restaurants No tip required (service included in bill); customers may tip an extra 5% to 10% in recognition of good service.
- Bars No tip required; round bill up slightly in appreciation of good service.
- Taxis No tip required.
Banks 9am-noon and 2pm–5pm Monday to Friday
Shops open 9am to 10am, close by 5pm to 7pm
Restaurants lunch noon–2pm, dinner 7.30pm–9.30pm; no midday closure in busier tourist zones
New Year's Day 1 January
Fête de Ste-Dévote (patron saint's day) 27 January
Easter Monday March–April
May Day (Fête du Travail) 1 May
Ascension May–June (40th day after Easter)
Corpus Christi May–June (60th day after Easter)
Assumption 15 August
All Saints' Day 1 November
Sovereign Prince's Day (national holiday) 19 November
Feast of the Immaculate Conception 8 December
Christmas 25 December
- Smoking Prohibited in indoor public spaces such as bars, restaurants and nightclubs.
Taxes & Refunds
Citizens of non-EU countries are entitled to a refund of VAT paid for goods purchased in Monaco. Many shops, especially those selling high-end and luxury goods, will provide customers with a pre-filled tax refund form at the time of sale, which you then submit at your EU airport of departure to receive the refund.
Monaco's country code is 377. Include this when dialing Monaco numbers from outside the principality.
Any cell phone that works in France will also work in Monaco. If you're bringing an unlocked cell phone from your home country, the most cost-effective way to make calls in Monaco is with a prepaid SIM card purchased from one of France's major providers, such as SFR, Orange or Bouygues Telecom. Within Monaco, SIM cards from Monaco's domestic phone company Monaco Telecom are widely available but more expensive than their French counterparts. If using a French phone within Monaco, it is generally unnecessary to dial the initial 377 country code.
Central European Time (GMT/UTC plus one hour). Monaco is one hour ahead of London, six hours ahead of Washington, DC and eight to 10 hours behind Canberra.
Monaco has an excellent, extensive network of free public toilets. You'll find them everywhere, from the train station to parks and other public spaces around town.
Get maps and info – along with your semi-official Monaco passport stamp – at the helpful tourist office just above the casino. For tourist information by the port, head to the seasonal kiosk near the cruise-ship terminal on Esplanade des Pêcheurs, open mid-June to mid-September.
Travel with Children
Monaco is welcoming to children, with excellent public playgrounds and other family-friendly facilities. You'll find high chairs in many restaurants and baby-changing facilities in the well-maintained public restrooms at Monaco's train station. Getting around with a stroller is tricky in some places, especially in the narrow streets of Le Rocher, but Monaco's system of elevators is helpful in getting up and down hills with young ones in tow.
Travellers with Disabilities
Monaco offers better-than-average facilities for travellers with disabilities, including handy elevators throughout town. The government publishes a list of services for people with disabilities; see http://service-public-particuliers.gouv.mc/Profils/Personnes-Handicapees.
Given the country's small size and the transient nature of most people's visits, opportunities for volunteer work in Monaco are limited. If you're sticking around for a while, the humanitarian organisation Monaco Aide & Presence (www.monaco-map.org) accepts volunteers for everything from administrative work to translation to graphic design.
Weights & Measures
- Weights & Measures The metric system is used.
EU residents may be eligible to work in Monaco, but permanent residency in the principality is strictly controlled.