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Facts at a Glance
 Full country name: Principality of Monaco

Area: 1.95 sq km

Population: 32,150

Capital city: Monaco

People: French 47%, Monégasque 16%, Italian 16%, other 21%

Language: French, Monégasque, Italian, English

Religion: Roman Catholic

Government: Constitutional monarchy

Head of State: Prince Rainier III


A tiny speck on France's eastern Mediterranean coast, Monaco weighs in at an awesome 1.95 sq km. There isn't a great deal of geographic variety possible in such a small area. Most of the country is hilly, rugged and rocky, and there are some very fetching sea cliffs.

Those keen on wildlife spotting are best advised to visit the Monaco aquarium. The country is almost entirely urban and not the best place for nature lovers. With no forest or woodland cover left here, the only fauna you're likely to see are cockroaches, alley cats and other tourists.

Monaco's climate is typically Mediterranean, with a bit of rain but not too much chill in the winter. Summers are dry and can get very hot. The Monégasque claim they enjoy 300 days of sunshine a year.

Economic Profile
 GDP: US$800 million

GDP per head: US$25,000

Major industries: Tourism

Member of EU: no

Facts for the Traveler
 Visas: No visa is required for stays of up to 90 days

Time: GMT/UTC plus one hour (plus two hours in summer)

Electricity: 220V, 50Hz

Weights & measures: Metric

Money & Costs
Relative Costs:

  • Budget: US$8-10
  • Mid-range: US$10-80
  • Top-end: US$80 and upwards

  • Lodging

  • Budget: US$35-45
  • Mid-range: US$45-150
  • Top-end: US$150 and upwards
  • Monaco is not a budget destination - over 75% of its hotel rooms are classified as four-star deluxe. There is one hostel and no cheap hotels, although you might get away with paying around US$20 a night for half a double room. However, accommodation in this price range is very scarce, and you'll need to book ahead. If you manage to snap up one of these rooms and you can restrain yourself from splurging at the Casino, you should be able to scrape by on about US$40 a day. Buying your food at the supermarket in the Fontvieille shopping centre is one way to save a few precious francs.

    Realistically, most visitors to Monaco will need around $100 a day. This will pay for your mid-range room, a couple of meals and maybe a turn or two on the roulette wheel. On the upside, there's not much more than a day's entertainment in Monaco, so chances are you won't be staying overnight anyway.

    Although Monaco's currency is the French franc, there are a few Monégasque coins in circulation, but they're not much use outside the country except as desperate last-minute gifts for your little brother. This is a nation that wants you to spend, spend, spend, and consequently they're falling over themselves to change your hard-earned foreign currency into casino-country cash. Whatever you've got, you shouldn't have too much trouble changing it - there's a plethora of banks around the Casino in particular.

    When to Go

    The shoulder seasons - April/May and September/October - are the most pleasant times, climatically, to visit Monaco. Summer - June to August - can be very hot, and you'll be pressing flesh with most of Europe. Winter is a better bet, as it may be a bit rainy but it's unlikely to be too cold. Car-racing fans will probably want to be here either in January for the Motor Rally or May for the Grand Prix.

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