28 interesting facts about Monaco

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From the world’s second-smallest country to the most super-rich people per capita, these are the most interesting facts about Monaco.

Interesting facts about Monaco include Le Rocher
Interesting facts about Monaco include the headland, Le Rocher (Shutterstock)

Fast facts

Official name: Principality of Monaco
Population: 31,400
Area: 2 sq km
Capital city: Monaco City
Major languages: French
Major religions: Christian (Roman Catholic)
Time zone:  UTC+1 (Central European Time)
– Source: CIA World Factbook

Interesting facts about Monaco

1. Monaco is a country and city-state in Western Europe bordering France.
– Source: CIA World Factbook

2. Monaco was originally founded as a Greek colony in the 6th century BC known as Monoikos.
– Source: P. Christiaan Klieger (2012). The Microstates of Europe: Designer Nations in a Post-Modern World. Lanham: Lexington Books

3. Its name comes from two Greek words “monos” which means single or alone and “oikos” which means house.
– Source: CIA World Factbook

A map of Monaco and France
Monaco is bordered only by France (Shutterstock)

4. In 1297, Monaco was seized by Francesco Grimaldi from Genoa. Monaco has been ruled by the Grimaldi family ever since.
– Source: BBC News

5. At various stages, Monaco has been ruled or protected by other European states. From 1524 to 1641, Monaco was under Spanish protection; from 1793 to 1814, Monaco was annexed by France; and from 1815 to 1860, Monaco was a Sardinian protectorate.
– Source: Britannica

6. Monaco’s flag is identical to Indonesia’s (apart from its dimensions) although this is entirely coincidental. The horizontal red and white stripes represent the traditional colours of Monaco’s coat of arms and royal family which date back to at least 1339.
– Source: DK Publishing (2008) Complete Flags of the World. DK: London

Monaco's flag flying against a blue sky
Monaco’s flag (Shutterstock)

7. Monaco is the world’s second-smallest (independent) country. Only Vatican City is smaller.
– Source: World Bank

8. Monaco has the world’s sixth-smallest population of independent countries after Nauru, Tuvalu, Palau, San Marino and Liechtenstein.
– Source: World Bank

9. However, Monaco is the world’s most density-populated (independent) country with 19,361 people per sq km.
– Source: World Bank

Yachts in Monte Carlo's harbour
Monte Carlo’s harbour (Shutterstock)

10. Monaco is one of just three sovereign principalities in the world. The others are Andorra and Liechtenstein. A principality is a sovereign state ruled by a monarch with the title of prince and/or princess.
– Source: P. Christiaan Klieger (2012). The Microstates of Europe: Designer Nations in a Post-Modern World. Lanham: Lexington Books

11. Monaco is famed for its opulence with nearly 70% of people living in Monaco are millionaires (USD).
– Source: The Guardian

12. Monaco also has the most super-rich people per capita in the world, with 199 people holding assets of $30m or more out of a population of just 39,000 – five people in every thousand.
– Source: The Guardian

Monte Carlo at night
Monte Carlo is the home of the super-rich (Shutterstock)

13. In 1956, Prince Rainier III of Monaco married Hollywood actress and Oscar-winner Grace Kelly. As such, she became Princess Grace of Monaco and retired from acting.
– Source: History Channel

14. In 1982, Grace Kelly died at the age of 52 when her car plunged off a mountain road.
– Source: History Channel

15. A road named in her honour, Avenue Princesse Grace, was named the most expensive street in the world in 2008 with real estate valued at $17,750 USD per square foot.
– Source: Wall Street Journal

Avenue Princesse Grace in Monaco
Avenue Princesse Grace (Shutterstock)

16. Monaco is made up of four administrative areas known as quarters: Fontvieille, La Condamine, Monaco Ville and Monte Carlo.
– Source: CIA World Factbook

17. Monaco Ville, the old town of Monaco, is also known as Le Rocher (The Rock) due to its cliff-top position on a rocky headland overlooking the sea.
– Source: Lonely Planet

18. Monaco is famous for its Formula One race, the Monte Carlo Grand Prix. The street circuit has held races since 1929 and the race was in the inaugural F1 championship in 1950.
– Source: The Guardian

F1 cars round a corner in Monte Carlo
Monaco is famous for its F1 legacy (Shutterstock)

19. One of Monaco’s most famous landmarks is the Casino de Monte Carlo. Opened in 1866, the marble-and-gold casino is regarded as one of the world’s most exclusive establishments.
– Source: Lonely Planet

20. The casino was featured in two James Bond films: Never Say Never Again starring Sean Connery in 1983 and GoldenEye starring Pierce Brosnan in 1995.
– Source: IMDB

21. Despite this, gambling is illegal for Monaco’s residents. Only tourists are allowed to gamble.
– Source: BBC Travel

The fountain outside Casino de Monte
The Casino de Monte Carlo (Shutterstock)

22. Monaco has the world’s highest GDP per capita at $173,688 USD.
– Source: World Bank

23. Monaco is one of 27 countries that does not have a single UNESCO World Heritage Site.
– Source: UNESCOThe Telegraph

24. One of Monaco’s most famous tourist attractions is the Musée Océanographique de Monaco. Opened in 1910, the huge aquarium contains 450 of marine species, sustained by 250,000 litres of freshly pumped seawater per day.
– Source: Lonely Planet

A child looks at fish in the aquarium in Monaco
The Musée Océanographique de Monaco (Shutterstock)

25. Monaco has the world’s lowest murder rate recording zero (0) murders per year.
– Source: World Bank

26. Monaco is one of the world’s most notorious tax havens. The country does not levy income tax on its residents. Instead, it raises money from taxes on commercial transactions, luxury tourism, banking, state-run radio, television and gambling institutions, state-operated tobacco companies, postage stamps and sales taxes.
– Source: Britannica, Lonely Planet

27. Monaco is one of just 21 countries that does not have an army. Instead, its defence is the responsibility of France.
– Source: The Atlantic, CIA World Factbook

28. Monaco has the world’s shortest coastline at just 5.6km (3.5 miles).
– Source: Guinness World Records

Every effort has been made to verify these facts about Monaco using primary sources. However, if you find an error or have any questions, please contact us.