From Halal Food & Travel
The Principality of Monaco (French: Principauté de Monaco) is a city-state which lies between the Alps and the Mediterranean Sea, bounded by the French Riviera to the east and west, with the Italian Riviera only a few kilometers further to the east.
- 1 Islam in Monaco
- 2 Monaco Halal Explorer
- 3 How to get around in Monaco
- 4 What to see in Monaco
- 5 Annual Events in Monaco
- 6 Top Muslim Travel Tips for Monaco
- 7 Muslim Friendly Shopping in Monaco
- 8 Halal Restaurants in Monaco
- 9 Muslim Friendly Hotels in Monaco
- 10 Stay safe as a Muslim in Monaco
- 11 Medical Issues in Monaco
- 12 Explore more Halal Friendly Destinations from Monaco
Islam in Monaco
Islam is a minority religion in Monaco, a small sovereign city-state located on the French Riviera. While there are no official statistics on the religious demographics of Monaco, it is estimated that Muslims make up a very small percentage of the population.
There are several Islamic organizations and mosques in Monaco that serve the local Muslim community. One of the most well-known Islamic organizations in Monaco is the Islamic Cultural Centre of Monaco, which was established in 1987. The centre provides a place of worship, education, and community support for Muslims in the area.
Another notable mosque in Monaco is the Masjid Ar-Rahma, which was opened in 2011. The mosque is located in the Fontvieille district of Monaco and can accommodate up to 800 worshippers.
Despite being a small community, Muslims in Monaco enjoy the freedom to practice their religion and are generally accepted by the wider society. Monaco has a reputation for being a tolerant and inclusive society that welcomes people of all backgrounds and faiths, however in 2011, the government introduced a law banning the wearing of the burqa and niqab in public spaces, citing security concerns. This law has been criticized by many Muslim groups including the OIC as a violation of their religious freedom.
Monaco Halal Explorer
This is the second smallest independent state in the world (after the Vatican) and is entirely urban. Monte Carlo is not the capital of Monaco but a government district. The country is divided into nine sectors: Monaco-Ville (the old city), the Condamine (port quarter), Monte-Carlo (business and recreation) and Fontvieille (recreation, second port for smaller boats and light industry) are the most well-known among them. With no natural resources to exploit other than its location and climate, the principality has become a resort for tourists and a tax haven for wealthy people. Monaco is six times the size of the Vatican and the world's most densely populated country. While its borders have not moved since 1861 (when it de jure lost over 80% of its territory to France), Monaco has still grown its territory by creating artificial land from the sea, which is how the area Fontvielle came to be.
Buy a Flight ticket to and from Monaco
The nearest airport is Nice Aéroport Nice Côte d'Azur (IATA Code: NCE) in neighbouring France, which is around 40 km (25 mi) away from the city centre. It operates daily flights to nearly all of Europe's main cities, such as London and Paris. There are regular buses connecting Monte Carlo with both terminals at Nice Cote-D'Azur airport, and taxis are always available outside the terminal buildings - although make sure a fee is agreed in advance or the meter is switched on at the start of the journey, as shady French taxi drivers are notorious for charging tourists whatever they see fit.
By helicopter transfer
Monacair is the sole operator of regular helicopter transfers between Nice Airport and the Monaco Heliport. After collecting your luggage at the Nice airport, present yourself at the Monacair reception desks (in terminals 1 and 2). A ground crew will carry your luggage and drive you to the heliport. The flight along the coast is beautiful and only lasts 7 minutes. When arriving right at the Monaco heliport along the water's edge, a chauffeur will take you directly to your hotel. When leaving Monaco, a partnership with airlines allows for a direct transfer to the boarding gate with your cabin luggage. Check with the company if these benefits are applicable with your airline. Rates are €140 for one-way transfers, and €260 for round trips.
Muslim Friendly Rail Holidays in Monaco
Monaco-Monte Carlo is the principality's only railway station and operated by the French railway company SNCF. It is about 300 m back from Port Hercule. There are lockers for left luggage.
There are good connections to the nearby parts of France and Italy which are run mainly by SNCF and also Trenitalia. There are 2-4 services per hour to Nice, Cannes, Menton and Ventimiglia (Italy).
Trains to further afield also stop in Monaco, such as the 'Ligure' (Marseilles - Milan), the 'Train Bleu' (Paris - Ventimiglia), the high-speed TGV (Nice - Paris, 6hr 30min) and the longest train journey wholly in Europe (Nice - Moscow, 47hr) run by Russian Railway.
From Ventimiglia, it is easier not to use the Trenitalia counters or machines. Go to the travel agency (the only one) inside the station, which is marked with the sign of SNCF (French Railways). Return tickets not tied to a specific train are also available. Remember to validate your tickets just before boarding using the machines on the platforms.
Monaco is easily accessed by its land borders from France or Italy by a network of highways, most commonly used of which is the A8 which runs west from Monte Carlo to Nice and Marseilles, and east towards the Italian border.
Between Nice and Monaco, there are also three more scenic roads: the Basse Corniche (Low Coast-Road - Highway 98), along the sea, the Moyenne Corniche (Middle Coast Road - Highway 7), going through Eze-Village, and the Grande Corniche (Great Coast Road), going through La Turbie and Col d'Eze (Eze Pass).All are pretty drives offering spectacular views over the Coast line. For an extra-special treat, rent a convertible sports car from the many airport rental services and take in the French Riviera in style.
Taxi trips to and from Nice cost around 90€. So if you're on your own the helicopter is a viable alternative.
Travel on a Bus in Monaco
There is no bus station in Monaco. Instead, international buses stop at various points throughout the city. Regular buses, run by Rapide Cote D’Azur, connecting Monaco with Nice and other French destinations. Services run regularly to many major French towns and cities. Route 100 leaves every 15min from the central bus station (Gare Routière) in Nice and costs only €2.90.An express shuttle, route 110, links the Nice Côte d'Azur Airport and Menton with multiple stops near all major hotels throughout Monaco, not just the ward of Monte Carlo. A bus leaves every half hour and a single ticket costs €22 (August 2022), a round-trip will set you back by €33 (August 2022).
Book a Halal Cruise or Boat Tour in Monaco
Monaco's two ports are no strangers to private yachts. Port Hercule is exceptionally beautiful and offers mooring and anchoring possibilities for up to 500 vessels, some of which are extremely large and elegant (in fact, many visitors often take time out of their day to simply have a drink by the water and admire the fantastic super yachts). The Port of Fontvieille, integrated into the new district, can receive as many as 60 vessels of at least 30m in length. Both are large and well-equipped.
Monaco also serves as an embarkation port and port-of-call for cruises, so large cruise ships can often be spotted sailing in or out of Port Hercule.
In close proximity, the Port of Cap d'Ail is also a choice destination for pleasure-boats.
Halal Walking Tours in Monaco
Outside of the train station, follow the road a few meters and take the stairs on the left to pass under the tracks. Once you reach the small road, turn left and walk a few meters, then take the stairs on your right next to the restaurant "La Pinède" to join the trail. If you want to do the route from Monaco to Cap d'ail station, go to the west of Fontvieille ward, cross to the French border to join the Cap d'Ail port and follow the seashore. After a few minutes you will arrive to the Sentier du bord de mer (from Monaco) just after a final parking lot. It can be dangerous and closed in case of bad weather. In this case you will have either to go back and take the train, or walk on the road. There is no lighting at night.
How to get around in Monaco
Walking is by far the best way to get around Monaco; however, there are some areas, such as the Exotic Gardens, that require a large change in elevation and therefore make for rather strenuous hikes. There are also seven public escalators and elevators (all free) that help negotiate the steep slopes of the city. If you find yourself afoot and wanting to reach the opposite bank of Port Hercule, look for the small Bateau Bus, a pedestrian-only ferry that runs each 20 minutes or so during daylight; it costs €2.
Travel on a Bus in Monaco
Monaco has an urban bus service, operated by the Compagnie des Autobus Monaco, through the city's five bus routes (labeled 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6) which serves 143 stops. Each stop has the bus number(s) that stop there, and most stops feature a real-time display showing waiting times for the next service. Each stop has a name and a network map. The service usually starts at around 6 in the morning and runs right through until about 9 o'clock at night. Tickets can be purchased on board the buses themselves (2€) or at many news vendors and shops throughout the city and at auto ticket machines at the bus stops (1.50€) - often it will be advertised as to where you can do this. A daily pass allows you to use the buses all day for €5.50 (9/2016) and can also be purchased on board the bus. A night bus service operates in a circular route from 22.00 until 04.00.
By motor scooter
You can easily rent a motor scooter in Nice and take a short trip east along the sea into Monaco. The views are beautiful and the ride is fun along the twisty seaside road. There are plenty of places to park for free. Theft is not a concern, as there are cameras throughout and police everywhere. To rent one whilst there, you must be at least 16 years old.
How to travel around Monaco on a bicycle ?
Cycling is definitely a good option to get around in Monaco, but the traffic in high season can be intimidating. There are two bicycle shops in town, which rent out bicycles. The bike shop rents e-Bikes and road bikes, whereas Newteon focuses on e-Bikes only.
Private cars are singularly useless for getting around Monaco, as you'll spend more time trying to park than if you walked or took a taxi instead.
International rental car companies do have offices at the airport in Nice and also in Monte Carlo city. These include Avis, Gare Monte Carlo, Europcar and Hertz - drivers must have held a national driving license for at least one year and it is usually requested that the cost is paid for with the driver’s credit card. Driving in the city center can be intimidating in Monte Carlo with heavy traffic - however, it is often worth this to drive alongside the more expensive vehicles in the city! Make sure to request a car with an automatic gearbox if you are not used to driving manual.
Best way to travel in Monaco by a Taxi
Taxis cannot be hailed on the streets (they won't stop) and there are two main taxi stands open around the clock at the Avenue de Monte Carlo and the railway station, although it is always best to agree a fee beforehand or make sure the meter is running. Most hotels will provide taxis or courtesy drivers. The best is to get the taxi service phone number to be able to call a taxi wherever you are.
As an independent state, Monaco has its own mobile phone networks. Although these are provided by the same multinationals as operate in France, if your phone connects to a Monaco network, it will count as 'roaming' in a new country, and as it is outside the EU, the EU directives and individual company's offers on the cost of roaming may not apply. If you are travelling through Monaco by train, the mobile signal at the station will be from Monaco, so you can be caught by this even if you never get off the train. Similarly, when travelling in France or offshore close to the border with Monaco, the strongest signal may be from a Monaco network.
What to see in Monaco
Monaco is a beautiful country that attracts visitors from all around the world. While the country is predominantly Catholic, there are some Muslim-friendly attractions that visitors can explore.
Old Town: Monaco's Old Town is a great place for Muslim visitors to explore. The area is home to many cafes and restaurants that offer halal options. Visitors can also explore the Prince's Palace, which is a must-visit attraction in Monaco.
Shopping: Monaco is known for its luxury shopping, and there are plenty of stores that offer halal options. Visitors can explore the shopping district in Monte Carlo, where they will find high-end stores like Chanel, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton, as well as halal restaurants.
Beaches: Monaco's beaches are a great place to relax and enjoy the sun. Visitors can find beaches that are suitable for Muslim visitors, and they can also rent beach chairs and umbrellas. The beaches are a great place to unwind and enjoy the beautiful scenery of Monaco.
Le Jardin Exotique: Le Jardin Exotique is a beautiful garden that is home to many exotic plants and flowers. The garden is located on a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and offers stunning views. Visitors can explore the garden, take a guided tour, and learn about the history of the area.
Annual Events in Monaco
Monaco Grand Prix: It is the most famous event held annually in Monaco. The race takes place on the Circuit de Monaco in the streets of Monte Carlo. The Formula One race has been held since 1929 and is considered one of the most prestigious events in the racing world.
Monte Carlo Rally: This event is held in January and is a part of the World Rally Championship. The rally is held in the mountainous regions of Monaco, France, and Italy, and attracts a large number of motorsport enthusiasts from all over the world.
Monaco Yacht Show: It is an international event held in September and is one of the most important shows in the yachting industry. The event showcases the latest yachts, superyachts, and luxury boats from around the world.
Monaco International Fireworks Festival: This festival is held annually in July and is one of the most popular events in Monaco. The festival showcases some of the best fireworks displays from around the world, and attracts a large number of tourists to the city.
Monte Carlo Masters: It is a tennis tournament held annually in April and is a part of the ATP World Tour. The tournament attracts some of the best tennis players in the world and is held at the Monte Carlo Country Club.
Top Muslim Travel Tips for Monaco
- Hike or drive up Tête de Chien ("Dogs Head") - Enjoy one of the most spectacular views over Monaco. Another nice place nearby with an extraordinary panorama GPS 43.7345973,7.4034171 can be found right north of the "Fort de la Tête de Chien". A big chunk of the Formula 1 track can be seen from this viewpoint. Equipped with binoculars it is the most economical and special way to see the Grand Prix live.
- Hike along the coastal path from Monaco to Carnoles - A beautiful walk with splendid views towards Monaco. It takes around 2 hours from Monte-Carlo to circle Cap-Martin and finally reach Carnoles train station, where you can catch a train back to Monaco. An alternative to go back is by bus number 100. The overall distance is about 9km.
- Azur Express - Fun tourist trains make daily tours all over Monaco. You will visit the Monaco Port, Monte-Carlo and its Palaces, the famous Casino and its gardens, the Old Town for City Hall and finally the royal Prince’s Palace. Commentaries are in English, Italian, German, French and another 8 languages. This enjoyable tour runs about 30 minutes long without the possibility to leave the train.
- Monte-Carlo Sporting - Sporting Monte-Carlo - In the summer time, Monte-Carlo is illuminated with dazzling concerts at the exclusive Salle des Etoiles, which lies within the Sporting complex. It has featured such artist as Natalie Cole, Andrea Bocelli, the Beach Boys, Lionel Richie and Julio Iglesias among others. The club also hosts a small casino which includes basic casino games. With no one under the age of 18, the rate per person is 20€.
- Watch football They play in Ligue 1, the top tier of French football, and often qualify for European tournaments. The stadium, capacity 18,500, is on reclaimed land on the southern border of Monaco: one of a select few where a wayward shot on goal might see the ball land in another country.
Muslim Friendly Shopping in Monaco
Shopping in Monte Carlo is usually quite exclusive and is certainly no place for a budget holiday. There are plenty of places to melt the credit card alongside Europe's high rollers. The chic clothes shops are in the Golden Circle, framed by Avenue Monte Carlo, Avenue des Beaux-Arts and Allées Lumiéres, where Hermès, Christian Dior, Gucci and Prada all have a presence. The area on and around Place du Casino is home to high-end jewelers such as Bulgari, Cartier and Chopard. You will find, however, that most Muslim visitors will simply enjoy wandering the area and window shopping, even if you don't buy anything. The normal shopping hours are from 9AM to noon and 3PM to 7PM.
For a more cultured take on shopping in Monte Carlo, try the Condamine Market. The market, which can be found in the Place d'Armes, has been in existence since 1880 and is lively and attractive - many hours can be spent simply wandering around, bargaining for souvenirs from the many tiny shops, boutiques and friendly locals. If however, your shopping tastes are more modern, just take a short walk along the esplanade to the rue Princess Caroline pedestrian mall.
The Fontvieille Shopping Centre is also a more "normal" shopping experience with 36 shops selling electronic goods, CDs, furniture, and clothes as well as a Carrefour supermarket and McDonald's. The tourist office also issues a useful free shopping guide to the city.
- Le Métropole Shopping Center - Some stores to browse or buy:
- Fred Boutique - Located on the exclusive avenue of des Beaux-Arts, this is one of only a handful of Fred boutiques in the world. An official jeweler of Monaco's royal family and a favorite of celebrities, you may not be able to afford much in this boutique, but its worth a jaw dropping visit. If you go to Monte Carlo, you shouldn't miss this.
- Boutique du Rocher - Opened by Princess Grace in the 60s, Muslim travellers still flock here to grab the very best in take home souvenirs. Choose from hand-carved frames and mirrors, ceramics, homewares and toys. Prices are moderate and all proceeds go to local charities.
- Davidoff - High end cigar and cigarette store, where you are assisted by staff that know their product well.
- Galerie Moghadam - Award-winning speciality shop that offers superb hand woven tapestries and carpets.
- Pratoni Monaco - Monaco fashion brand Pratoni offers a variety of ready-to-wear clothing & accessories for gentlemen in addition to wide range of made-to-measure services. All items are of high quality and made in Italy or Monaco.
Halal Restaurants in Monaco
Monaco, being a predominantly Catholic country, has limited options for Halal food. However, there are a few restaurants that cater to the Muslim community and serve Halal cuisine.
Some of the popular Halal restaurants in Monaco include Le Taj Mahal, located in Monte Carlo, which offers Indian and Pakistani Halal food, and Le Medhi, situated in La Condamine, which serves North African and Mediterranean Halal dishes. Additionally, there is also L'Arabesque, an Arab restaurant in Monte Carlo, that has a few Halal options on its menu.
Overall, Halal dining options are relatively limited in Monaco, but visitors can still find some good options if they look around.
Muslim Friendly Hotels in Monaco
If you're on a budget, Monaco is not the best place to be. For example, a two star hotel without breakfast and bathroom will cost around €60 per person. A better option is to stay in one of the many towns outside of Monaco, for example Ventimiglia, which is a sea-side town situated on the French-Italian border on the Italian side. Nice is only 1/2 hour away from Monaco and it's very affordable to use the frequent trains. During the winter season, a comfortable two star hotel will only cost you about €20 a person.
The Monaco Tourism center staff will also sit down and make phone calls to assist walk-ins in finding accommodation. Even if you ask for "cheap" lodging.
- Colombus Hotel: Situated in La Condamine, the Colombus Hotel is co-owned by successful Glaswegian hotelier Ken McCulloch, designer Amanda Rosa and British F1 racing driver David Coulthard (all Monaco residents today). There is an excellent restaurant and the lobby is a great spot to relax on the comfortable sofas. Rooms are modern. The hotel is located just by the heliport, and about 200 meters from the Stade Louis II.
- Hotel Ambassador - Surprisingly standard mid range hotel that is good value for business travellers and those watching their euros. Rooms are kitted out with the usual TV, mini bar air con, with wi fi access and cable making it a nice touch.
- Hôtel Cosmopolite - Simple hotel that is well priced given the hotels location. There's no elevator, and only some rooms have bathrooms, but its reasonably affordable and the hotel owner, MadameAngèle is welcoming and makes you feel right at home.
- Bw Hotel Prince De Galles Facing the Mediterranean, with panoramic terrace and bar, lush tropical garden and Mediterranean Restaurant.
- Hôtel Hermitage - Perched on a clifftop, the Hermitage offer idyllic living at its best. The majority of rooms have balconies, so guests can have stunning views from their rooms. While the hotel is quite old, all amenities and features and modern and elegant in their styling and a stay here is truly well deserved. The SBM's Carte d'Or offers the Hermitage's guests transport and access to the facilities of the Monte Carlo Beach Hotel and Les Thermes Marins spa.
- Hôtel de Paris - Offering a level of sophistication that has awarded itself as one of the world's most famous hotels. Featuring marble pillars, crystal chandeliers, Louis XVI chairs, and sumptous carpets, its a vision of luxury and a favorite among the world's travellers. Rooms are simply enormous with marble and brass furnishings and the hotel is home to the country two finest eating establishments, the Le Grill de l'Hôtel de Paris and Le Louis XV. The SBM's Carte d'Or offers the de Paris' guests transport and access to the facilities of the Monte Carlo Beach Hotel and Les Thermes Marins spa.
- Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort - Awe impressive 4-hectare (10-acre) resort. The high price reflect the quality of stay. Only steps away from Monte Carlo's sandy beaches, more than 3/4 of rooms open onto sea views. Marble bathrooms feature flat screen tvs with cable ties, the hotel pool has an indoor pool covered with an ornate glass dome, and the hotel bar is none other than Jimmy'z's. The furnishings are sandstone floors, soft Mediterranean pastels and sleek modern amenities. The service to detail is outstanding, different shampoos and towels on different days, and the staff are polite and attentive without being intrusive. The SBM's Carte d'Or does not offer the Bay Hotel's guests access to the facilities of the Monte Carlo Beach Hotel or Les Thermes Marins. The Bay Hotel is rather self-contained, but lacks a beach.
- Hôtel Métropole - It was built in 1886 and has 126 guest rooms, including 64 suites. It was designed by Hans-Georg Tersling. Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark died there in 1944, and American television host Mike Bongiorno died there in 2009.
Stay safe as a Muslim in Monaco
Monaco is generally safe, even for a night walk through the streets or coastline, with little street-crime, and a strong police presence. It has one of the lowest homicide rates of any country in the world, and among the lowest in terms of overall violent crime. Because of their wealth, public spaces are blanketed with cameras and any kind of disorder may produce an immediate reaction and the attendance of several officers. However, pick-pocketing may occur during sporting events, like the formula One Grand Prix and major football games.
Monaco security can follow anyone on public areas, streets & corridors, using the vast camera network without losing you from their screens.
Medical Issues in Monaco
Tap water is safe to drink.
Explore more Halal Friendly Destinations from Monaco
- Other places at the Cote d'Azur, like Èze, Nice, Antibes, Cannes
- Coastal towns further east along the French Riviera, like Saint Tropez, and Marseille
- Maritime Alps
- Italy (Ligurian coast, Genoa, Milan, et al.)