At just two square kilometres, the principality of Monaco is the world’s second-smallest country, after the Vatican City. But what it lacks in size, it makes up for in luxury.
With an estimated 2,724 hours of sunshine per year, Monaco is one of the sunniest urban spots in Europe. The tiny Mediterranean coastal state is bordered by south-east France, with the French city of Nice and Italy’s Ventimiglia each less than 25 minutes away by train. Nice Côte d’Azur airport lies 22km to the south-west, with flights to Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, as well as to New York and Montreal in North America.
As Monaco has become a byword for glamour, it is perhaps no surprise that, despite its small size, it boasts five Michelin-starred restaurants. The three-starred Le Louis XV — Alain Ducasse à l’Hôtel de Paris at Place du Casino, situated in the Monte Carlo district, offers a menu inspired by the area’s French Riviera setting.
In addition to its famous annual street-circuit Formula One Grand Prix, the principality’s sporting calendar includes international showjumping against the backdrop of the yacht-lined Port Hercules. And, each April, the world’s best male tennis players gather for the Monte-Carlo Masters clay tournament, which, despite its name, is held across the border in France.
Monaco does not levy income tax on residents, apart from French nationals, who are subject to French income tax unless they meet certain exceptions. While inheritance tax applies to property in the principality, the amount charged depends on the nature of the relationship between the person who has died and their heir; there is a zero rate for assets passing between parents and children, or between spouses.
To obtain those assets, however, buyers must contend with the world’s most expensive residential property prices; the average resale price reached €41,300 per square metre in 2017, according to a report published this June by estate agents Savills. Those who do make the move will join a multicultural community where English is widely spoken. In 2016, a total of 139 nationalities were represented among Monaco’s 37,308 residents, who live in the world’s most densely populated country.
Photographs: Getty Images/iStockphoto; Alamy; Dreamstime