The tiny principality of Monaco is a privileged spot, full of mega yachts in the port town of Monte Carlo, as well as jet-set hotels and restaurants. The smallest country in the world next to the Vatican in Rome, Monaco is just 200 hectares in size – and its tax-free status has made it the home of some of the wealthiest people in the world.
But there is more to Monaco than just wealth and a jet-set lifestyle. Located close to Nice and other towns on the spectacular French Riviera, it boasts beautiful beaches, spectacular scenery and plenty of places to enjoy good food and wine. Its proximity to Provence and Italy makes it an ideal base from which to explore the Mediterranean.
Why holiday in Monaco
- Experience the country’s intoxicating glitz and glamour.
- Attend major sporting events like the Monaco Grand Prix and the Monte-Carlo Masters tennis tournament.
- The winding roads of Col de la Madone are used by cyclists training for the Tour de France.
- Soak up the sun on beautiful Larvotto Beach.
- Monaco is an excellent base from which to discover the magnificent French Riviera.
Every country has its own unique charm and personality, and as small as it is, Monaco is brimming with character, places to see and things to do. Let Thompsons Holidays make your dreams come true with a Monaco holiday package, one that is perfect for the whole family, partying with friends or for a honeymoon in paradise.
Things to do in Monaco
The beautiful principality of Monaco enjoys a stunning location and its proximity to the French Riviera makes it the perfect base for an idyllic summer holiday. This 200-hectare principality packs a punch when it comes to personality. Visitors enjoy travelling here to learn about its fascinating history, and to attend major events such as the annual Monaco Grand Prix in May and the Monte-Carlo Masters tennis tournament in April. Monte Carlo and surrounds are full of grand nightclubs and casinos as well as sumptuous hotels.
A Monaco holiday is not only for the wealthy. There are plenty of things to do here that can be accomplished without a hefty bank balance. Here are some ideas...
Things to do in Monaco
- Stroll around the spectacular Jardin Exotique, a UNESCO World Heritage Site filled with 7,000 plants.
- Visit the Musée Océanographique de Monaco, home to fascnating aquariums and a marine museum.
- Explore this exciting principality when the Grand Prix is taking place.
- Enjoy a night at the opera at the famous Salle Garnier.
- View exquisite contemporary art in the Nouveau Musee National de Monaco.
- Discover Prince Rainier's private collection of vintage cars at Collection de Voitures Anciennes.
- Spend time in Monaco’s charming Old Town, a labyrinth of alleyways on The Rock.
- See the Changing of the Guards at the Royal Palace.
- Shop for luxury goods at the Metropole Shopping Centre.
- Try your luck at the Casino de Monte Carlo.
One of the highlights of travelling to Monaco is enjoying superb cuisine. Another is sipping something refreshing while people-watching at a sidewalk café. Let Thompsons Holidays tailor-make a Monaco holiday package for you to enjoy this magnificent little principality to the full.
Know before you go...
- Monaco is a popular year-round destination with hot summers and cool winters.
- The best time to visit Monaco is in Spring (April and May) and autumn (September and October).
- High season (summer) is June to August; winter is November to March.
- You will fly from Johannesburg to Monte Carlo in Monaco with one stopover or you can fly to Paris and onto Nice in France and drive from there to Monte Carlo.
- There are reasonably regular flights to and from Monte Carlo. The flight duration from Johannesburg with one stopover is 13 hours, 45 minutes.
- South African passport holders require a visa to enter Monaco.
- Passports should be valid for at least 3 months after travel.
- South Africans entering via France need a Schengen visa.
- Monaco is on Central European Time, 1 hour behind South Africa during the winter (November to March) and the same time as South Africa in the summer months (last Sunday in March to last Saturday in October).
- The official currency is the Euro (€ or EUR).
- Credit cards are widely accepted and ATMs are prevalent.
- Tipping is an accepted custom. A service charge of 15% is usually included in restaurants and bars, so pay a tip of 10–15% of the bill if it is not included.
- Food is expensive in Monaco.
- French is the official language.
- English and Italian are both widely spoken.
- Catholicism is the dominant religion in Monaco, practiced by 93% of the population.
- When visiting religious sites, dress conservatively.
- Monaco's culture has strong influences from its neighbours, France, Italy and Spain.
- It is preferable to drink bottled water in Monaco, as the drinking water tastes of chlorine.
- Vaccinations are not currently required but do check with your travel clinic before you go.
- Smoking is not permitted in public areas such as restaurants, bars and indoor workplaces as well as on public transport. Airports offer designated smoking rooms.
- Many public restrooms will charge a small fee to use them, so keep change on hand for this.
What must I pack?
- Depending on when you visit, lightweight clothing and beachwear for summer, warm layers for winter.
- Take note of dress codes for places you wish to visit, including high-end restaurants and casinos where more formal attire may be required.
- Dress modestly when visiting religious sites.
- Comfortable walking shoes.
- Sunscreen, lip balm, hat and sunglasses for summer holidays.
- Mini first aid kit and regular prescription medication.
- Hand sanitiser and insect repellent.
- Travel adaptor.
- Monaco has an excellent transport system, including taxis and buses.
- There are regular buses from Monte Carlo to the Nice and other towns on the French Riviera.
What can I do to be a responsible traveller?
- Wherever possible, buy local food and souvenirs and support local Monegasque artisans.
- Avoid single-use plastic; rather take fabric shopping bags with you and use refillable water bottles (when local drinking water is available).
- Respect each other's cultures and customs and avoid imposing your beliefs.
- Always have a map (or app) on hand, especially when travelling at night.
- Be safety conscious: don’t display cash or valuables. Leave jewellery and expensive watches at home.
- Keep your belongings safe – use the hotel safe for passports and valuables and watch out for pickpockets and bag snatchers when out and about.
What do I do in an emergency?
- If passports or valuables are stolen, report the theft to the hotel/police immediately.
- Contact the Thompsons Holidays 24-hour care line to assist.
Out of season
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