Monaco Basic Information
It’s not only one of the smallest sovereign states in the world, Monaco is also the most densely populated independent country with 33, 000 permanent residents in just 2 square kilometres. While the religion here is 90 percent Catholic, the languages are more varied – French is the official tongue but you’ll also hear English, Italian and Monegasque, a local dialect of the Ligurian language similar to that spoken in Genoa. To be prepared before you visit, here’s some more must-know info about Monaco.
Monaco has the same visa requirements as France. Because France is party to the Schengen Convention, Australian passport holders can also holiday in Monaco without a visa for up to 90 days within a 180-day period. Just make sure you have at least 6 months’ validity on your passport, and check whether you will need a transit visa. Please be aware this information is only a guideline. For the most up-to-the-minute visa information, contact the Consulate of the Principality of Monaco in Melbourne.
Although Monaco is a sovereign state and not a member of the European Union, it still uses the Euro as its currency - pretty handy if you’re travelling along the French Riviera. The exchange rate between the Australian Dollar and the Euro fluctuates constantly, so it’s a good idea to monitor the rate before purchasing cash. For safe spending while overseas, consider using a credit card or debit card.
Being sandwiched between Italy and France, Monaco’s cuisine is influenced heavily by these two culinary countries. As you’d expect from such a ritzy region, the quality of meals and establishments is also pretty high. Its close proximity to the seaside also makes seafood very popular with fish being a staple of the local diet. The national dish of Monaco is stocafi, dried cod served with a tomato-based sauce. Pastries are also popular with barbagiuan and the fougasse lapped up by most tourists. Barbagiuan is a pumpkin-and-rice or spinach stuffed pastry and fougasse is a bread with nuts, flower water, orange and aniseed that makes a delicious dessert or sweet treat. Another Monegasque fave is socca – a chickpea pancake. You can try many of Monaco’s traditional dishes at Place des Armes, one of the cheaper places to dine in the open air with a gentle sea breeze.
Make room in your suitcase for dancing shoes and your most glamorous threads. In Monaco, you’ll need to dress to impress for nights out. Don’t be surprised if you hear, “not in those shoes” time and again if you try to get by in kicks. Particularly at the über-cool Black Legend. This ‘70s-themed cocktail bar has an illuminated dancefloor so you can finally have your ‘Saturday Night Fever’ moment. Before midnight, it’s also a Supper Club, so you can grab a bite if you fancy. There’s also a bunch of other nightclubs, lounge bars and of course the casinos. Just outside the Monte Carlo Casino is the famous Café de Paris. This place is possibly the country’s most famous café, which has been operating since 1882. Go here to see and be seen. A visit to Monaco also would not be complete without seeing a show at the Opéra de Monte Carlo. There’s also an open-air cinema with showings from June to September.