Top 10 things to do in Monaco
World > Monaco highlights
Oceanographic Museum, Opéra de Monte-Carlo, Jardin Exotique de Monaco.
Monaco is a country.
Monaco i/ˈmɒnəkoʊ/, officially the Principality of Monaco (French: Principauté de Monaco (French pronunciation: [pʁɛ̃sipote də monako]); Monégasque: Principatu de Múnegu; Italian: Principato di Monaco; Occitan: Principat de Mónegue), is a sovereign city-state and microstate, located on the French Riviera in Western Europe. It is bordered by France on three sides; one side borders the Mediterranean Sea. Monaco has an area of 2.02 km2 (0.78 sq mi) and a population of 36,371; Monaco is the second smallest and the most densely populated country in the world. Monaco has a land border of 4.4 km (2.7 mi), a coastline of 4.1 km (2.5 mi), and a width that varies between 1,700 and 349 m (5,577 and 1,145 ft). The highest point in the country is a narrow pathway named Chemin des Révoires on the slopes of Mont Agel, in the Les Révoires Ward, which is 161 metres (528 feet) above sea level. Monaco's most populous Quartier is Monte Carlo and the most populous Ward is Larvotto/Bas Moulins. Through land reclamation, Monaco's land mass has expanded by twenty percent.
Monaco is a principality governed under a form of constitutional monarchy, with Prince Albert II as head of state. Although Prince Albert II is a constitutional monarch, he wields immense political power. The House of Grimaldi have ruled Monaco, with brief interruptions, since 1297. The official language is French, but Monégasque, Italian, and English are widely spoken and understood.[note 1] The state's sovereignty was officially recognized by the Franco-Monegasque Treaty of 1861, with Monaco becoming a full United Nations voting member in 1993. Despite Monaco's independence and separate foreign policy, its defense is the responsibility of France. However, Monaco does maintain two small military units.
Economic development was spurred in the late 19th century with the opening of its first casino, Monte Carlo, and a railway connection to Paris. Since then, the principality's mild climate, splendid scenery, and gambling facilities have contributed to Monaco's status as a premier tourist destination and recreation center for the rich and famous. However, in more recent years Monaco has become a major banking center and has successfully sought to diversify its economy into the services and small, high-value-added, non-polluting industries. The state has no income tax, low business taxes, and is well known for being a tax haven.