Tips For Visiting Monaco
Monaco is one of the world's smallest independent states, as well as one of the most densely populated. Measuring just under one square mile, it has a coastline on the Mediterranean Sea and is surrounded entirely by France. Visiting Monaco is a chance to see how the other half lives, as this is also one of the world's wealthiest countries.
Entry Requirements and Getting Around
For UK citizens, trips to monaco are easy, and a valid passport is the only document required. Monaco is not officially a part of the European Union, but uses the same rules and regulations for border controls and customs. Monaco is on the French rail network, and the closest airport is Nice, about 15 miles away. The easiest way to explore Europe's second smallest country is by walking, although the principality is quite hilly in places. There are several bus routes in Monaco, and buses also provide service to nearby towns including Nice, Menton and La Turbie. Hotels in Monaco are as pricey as you might think, although in recent years several more affordable mid range hotels have been built. An affordable option is to stay in one of the nearby resorts and take the train or bus in to Monte Carlo for the day.
What to See and Do
Partly because it has no taxes, Monaco attracts the wealthy, and many rich and famous people have made their home in the tiny country. You may not be able to afford to live here yourself, but there is nothing to stop you looking, and much of the fun of any trip here is to admire the expensive yachts moored in the harbour, shop in the stylish stores, and eat in some of Europe's best restaurants. Most of the luxury hotels, restaurants and apartments are located in Monte Carlo, while the Old Town is a maze of narrow streets and squares dating from the Middle Ages. This small area of Monaco is built on a cliff top and is home to the royal palace and the oceanographic museum. A popular spot for tourists is outside the royal palace, where the changing of the guard takes place every day at 11am. The exotic gardens have a large collection of cacti, and also offer one of the best views of Monaco.
Of course, many people visit Monaco to set foot in what is probably the world's most famous casino. The building was designed in the 19th century by the architect of the Paris Opera House, Charles Garnier, and over the years has attracted such well known people as King Farouk, Sarah Bernhardt and various Russian aristocrats. There is a dress code in effect after 8pm each evening, and the casino offers roulette, blackjack and baccarat. The building is also home to several stylish bars, as well as the Monaco opera house. The famous casino is nearly always crowded, although the principality does have several other casinos, as well as plenty of bars, pubs and clubs for every taste.