The independent and sovereign Principality of Monaco has played a unique and colorful role throughout the history of the Mediterranean and Europe. Today, its undiminished reputation as a glamorous, first class, luxury vacation destination and business and financial center is complemented by its enduring commitment to the arts, the preservation of its own cultural traditions and the protection of the global environment. Monte-Carlo is its most famous district.

Location: Between the Alps and the Mediterranean Sea surrounded by the French Riviera to the west and the Italian Riviera to the east.

Size: Three miles long by one half mile wide.

Government: Constitutional monarchy ruled by Prince Albert II. Monaco is divided into four areas: Monaco Ville on The Rock, the old fortified city which includes the Prince’s Palace, Cathedral, gardens and the Oceanographic Museum & Aquarium; the Condamine, or port quarter; Monte-Carlo, the business and recreation district; and Fontvieille, a man made waterfront area for leisure and light industry.

Climate: Ideal throughout the year: mild in winter (48 °F minimum); pleasantly warm in summer (78 °F minimum); mostly sunny.

Language: French is the main language, but English and Italian are also widely spoken. The native Monégasque dialect is still taught in schools.

Population: 30,000; 7,000 of whom are Monégasque.

Currency: Euro

Nearest Airport: Nice Cote d'Azur International Airport, Nice, France (15 miles).

Getting There: Air travel between Monaco and New York is about 8 ½ hours; Delta Air Lines offers daily nonstop service from New York (year round) and in the summer of 2006 will also operate a nonstop service from Atlanta to Nice; Air France and British Airways have flights through Paris or London from several U.S. gateways; Swissair offers flights through Zurich and Geneva; Daily helicopter transfers to Monaco are available from Nice International Airport (7 minutes). You can also get to Monaco by bus (regular connections daily), taxi, French National Railroad, or rental cars. Within the Principality, the Monaco Bus Company has five urban bus routes and daily tourist passes are available.

Train Station: Monaco's new underground railroad is a 'work of art' that allows visitors to easily enjoy excursions to nearby Riviera destinations.

Major Sights: The Princely Palace, where state apartments, the Napoleonic Museum and the Archives Collection are open (seasonally) to the public. The centuries-old tradition of the daily changing of the palace guards (at 11:55am) can be viewed by the public year-round.

The Oceanographic Museum & Aquarium, founded in 1910 by the "Navigator Prince" Albert I and for 30 years under the direction of Jacques Cousteau, houses one of the world’s best collections of marine life.

The Monaco Cathedral, dating back to 1875, houses the tombs of the former Princes of Monaco and is the burial place of H.S.H. Prince Rainier III and Princess Grace of Monaco.

The architect of the Paris Opera House, Charles Garnier, designed the Monte-Carlo Casino and Opera House in 1878.

The Grimaldi Forum, the new state-of-the art exhibition and conference center, is an architectural masterpiece rising above the Mediterranean.

The Exotic Garden, Japanese Garden, and Princess Grace Rose Garden are popular attractions throughout the year.

The National Museum, also built by Charles Garnier, contains one of the world’s finest collections of mechanical figures and dolls.

The Private Collection of Classic Cars of the late H.S.H. Prince Rainier displays 100 perfectly maintained vintage motorcars.

Day Excursions: Perfectly situated on the Mediterranean, Monaco is easily accessible to the French and Italian Riviera.
Biot: Artisans create and sell gorgeous colored glass, ceramics, and woodcarvings in this popular town.
Cap D’Antibes/Juan Les Pins: This modern and colorful seaside resort is lively with restaurants, boutiques, and nightclubs.
Eze: With some of the most magnificent views of all the hill towns, this restored city dates back to the Middle Ages.
La Turbie: This ancient village is set amidst the dramatic mountains bordering the Mediterranean.
Menton: As one of the larger towns in the region, this town features beautiful weather and an impressive waterfront.
Roquebrune/Cap Martin: Medieval village housing France's oldest castle.
St. Jean Cap Ferrat: A beautiful seaside retreat, the town is lined with luxurious villas and rocky cliffs.
Vence: Best known for the Matisse Chapel, designed by Henri Matisse.
Villefranche-Sur-Mer: This bustling fishing town originated during the 17th century as a seaport.

A selection of Annual Events:

International Antique, Jewelry, and Art Show (December)
Festival of Sainte Devote: a torchlight procession, service and ceremonial bonfire, commemorating the founding of Monaco's religious traditions (January)
Monte-Carlo International Circus Festival (January)


Spring Arts Festival (April/May)
International Tennis Masters Series (April)
Historic Grand Prix (May – every two years)
Monaco Formula I Grand Prix (May)

The Monte-Carlo Television Festival (June/July)
Monte-Carlo International Fireworks Festival (July/August)
Monaco Red Cross Gala (August)

Monaco Yacht Show (September)
Monégasque National Day (Traditionally November 19)
Monaco's Opera Season (November – April)

Sports: Soccer, golf, tennis, squash, boating, swimming, big game fishing, marine sports and other recreational activities.

Hotels: Monaco’s hotels range from legendary establishments that reflect the splendor and luxury of days gone by and modern, chic retreats which all maintain the highest level of service. Notable are: Hôtel de Paris, Hôtel Hermitage, Métropole Monte-Carlo, Fairmont Monte-Carlo, Monte-Carlo Beach Hotel, Le Méridien Beach Plaza, the Hôtel Mirabeau, the Columbus Monaco, Port Palace and the recently opened Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel and Resort .

Meetings: One of the favorite places in Europe for meetings and incentive programs, Monaco offers the entire Principality as a world-class venue.

Dining: Monaco’s restaurants are noted for their international renown, excellent quality, superb wine cellars and remarkable variety of cuisines. Foods from all over the world are elegantly served in a variety of restaurants, including traditional Monégasque dishes. Many of the finest restaurants are located in the major hotels.

Tipping: Service at hotels and restaurants is already included; tipping for special services is at visitor’s discretion.

For more information:

For more on Europe at In The Know