10 Things Tourists Should Never Do in Monaco

Monaco from the water | © Hans / Pixabay
Monaco from the water | © Hans / Pixabay
Photo of Holly Howard
8 December 2017

Monaco is a captivating place. In an area no larger than Central Park in New York, you’ll find some of the best restaurants and architecture and some of the most far-reaching vistas in the world. There are some things, however, that you should know never to do while visiting. Here are 10 of them.

Start a bar tab

Partying doesn’t come cheap in Monaco, so unless you’re ready to spend the equivalent of a down payment on a small house on a night out, you should maybe just opt for splitting the bill rather than setting up a bar tab.

Visit in Grand Prix week (unless you love cars)

This will be a Marmite point for some. Each May, usually towards the end of the month, Monaco hosts its famous Grand Prix. The principality just about becomes one big race track, with the main streets closed off to everything that isn’t fast and motorised. For some, this is a dream come true and a trip to Monaco will have been planned for this exact occasion. However, for the rest of us it will mean that the principality is heaving, the restaurants are busier and the whole area is a lot harder to navigate.

Monaco Grand Prix | © United Autosports / Flickr

Hire a car

Whatever you do, don’t hire a car in Monaco. The roads get heavily congested around rush hour, and street parking is almost non-existent. If you have your heart set on having a car for exploring the region, just make sure you don’t have to worry about parking it at the end of the day.

Wear swimwear

Monaco has its own beach – Larvotto Plage – and swimwear is allowed here. However, as soon as you leave the pristine sands, you’ll have to cover up, otherwise you might get yourself a hefty fine.

Monaco’s beautiful beach | © Artur Orujaliev / Flickr

Go out without ID

A lot of the tourist attractions – most notably, of course, the Monte-Carlo Casino – will require ID. Monaco’s bars, restaurants and nightclubs are also very strict, so take ID with you wherever you go and things will run more smoothly.

Confuse Monaco and France

This is an easy mistake to make, as the main language spoken around you is French. However, Monaco is its own country and you’ll offend the locals if you mix the two up. Like anywhere else, Monegasques have a strong sense of identity, from their own language to their national dish.

Monaco’s flag | © Pawel Biernacki / Flickr

Invite a local to the casino

Amusingly, Monaco locals are forbidden by law to gamble, or even to enter any of their casinos. This was an initiative of Princess Caroline, leaving the casinos solely for the pleasure of visitors and internationals living in Monaco.

Stay on the tourist track

Monaco can seem very overwhelming when you first arrive, with glamorous people sweeping by and lines of super- yachts in the harbour. However, if you get off the tourist trail and walk a few streets back from the main thoroughfare, you’ll get more of a sense of the real Monaco. Sit in local coffee shops where the prices are a little more palatable, or browse the Condamine Market for some local bites.

Hail a cab

You can’t hail a taxi from the street it Monaco, or rather, you can try, but they won’t stop. All taxi bookings must be made in advance, unless you get here by train, in which case there is a taxi rank just outside the station.

Walk around barefoot

This is one of the big don’ts, unless you’re looking to be reprimanded and fined by Monaco’s police force. It’s hard to remember sometimes when you’re coming off the beach or off a boat in the Hercule Harbour, but just remember ‘shoes on’ as soon as your feet touch dry land.

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