Smashed between Austria and Switzerland, the Principality of Liechtenstein is roughly 60 miles large but just as beautiful as its much larger neighbors. Situated in the Alps, this tiny European country found its way onto my bucket list back in 2011, when I took myself on a trip to Germany following my college graduation. At the time I had hoped to spend a day playing tourist in Liechtenstein before paying for a passport stamp at the local visitors center (b/c why wouldn’t you?), but since travel plans are constantly evolving, I never got the chance to do either and Liechtenstein is still on my bucket list.
If I had the opportunity to visit Liechtenstein today however, I’d make a point to spend at least a weekend in the country to visit everything it has to offer. What the country lacks in space, it seems to make up for in the form of tourism. Since this is Europe after all, no country would be complete without a castle, and Liechtenstein miraculously has two. Vaduz castle in the capital city of the same name, is home to the royal family of Liechtenstein and is unfortunately not open for tours, but you can tour Gutenberg Castle in Balzers 11 km to the south. Although it may be less than grandiose than the royal residence in Vaduz, it does offer beautiful views of the nearby village and countryside.
Along with its castles, Liechtenstein is also home to quite a number of museums including the Liechtenstein Museum of Fine Arts and the Liechtenstein National Museum with exhibits on everything from archaeology to postage stamps, with national art and history galleries that include a room full of butterflies which particularly caught my attention. In case all of this sounds droll, you’ll be happy to know there’s also a winery, a set of old castle ruins, a go-kart track and plenty of hiking in the summer and skiing in the winter. Perhaps what makes this country even better is that if you don’t have very much time to spare, you can always just drive through on your way to either neighboring country in less than 30 mins… Just be sure to pay for that passport stamp along the way or no one will believe you.