Nestled between Switzerland and Austria, the Principality of Liechtenstein is one of those holiday destinations that is often overlooked but ends up as a pleasant surprise.
This micro-state is just 162 square kilometers, famous in the past for being a tax haven is a country with a strong financial sector. With 35,000 inhabitants, it lies in third place on the list of countries with the highest gross world domestic product (GDP).
But its charms go beyond the purely economic. For art lovers, the capital, Vaduz, offers the opportunity to enjoy and interact with it, and to take a walk through the “Sculpture Park”. Works by Fernando Botero, Henry Moore, Daniel Spoerri, Heinz Mack, among others, are mixed with architectural elements that make this tiny town a benchmark of modern art.
A stroll through the streets of the old town of Vaduz is an unforgettable experience for art aficionados: there are five museums, all in close proximity to each other. They include the Art Museum of Liechtenstein, housed in an award-winning building nicknamed the black cube, and holding one of the oldest private collections in Europe; the National Museum, which displays the history of the principality, and the Postage Stamp Museum, a must for any philatelist.
In the city, on top of the valley and with stunning panoramic views, the imposing medieval Vaduz Castle, which is not only the residence of the royal family and a symbol of Liechtenstein but also a reminder of the dominance of its monarchy.
A must visit for wine lovers is precisely in Vaduz, at Herawingert, a Prince owned vineyard. There are four hectares of southwest facing slopes that have a temperate climate, influenced by the Föhn wind, a warm breeze characteristic of the Northern Alps. The location of these vineyards is considered the best in the Alpine Rhine Valley. The excellent quality of its soil has the ideal conditions for growing pinot noir and chardonnay grapes. Lichtenstein mainly grows pinot noir and Muller-Thurgau grapes, but exports only 1% of its wines due to its small and exclusive production.
In the world of gastronomy, Liechtenstein has four establishments in the influential French restaurant guide Gault et Millau, quite an achievement considering the state’s small size: Restaurant Torkel, Park Hotel Sonnenhof, Kokon and Zentrum.
For those looking to enjoy the mountain range of the Alps, Liechtenstein is an ideal winter destination. The Malbun ski resort, located behind the crest of the Southern Alps, is known for its slopes, a guarantee of snow and the success of some of its star skiers. In the summer, you can take advantage of the network of 400 kilometers of trails to explore the country and its natural and scenic beauty.
Liechtenstein, the sixth smallest country in the world is extremely discreet and promising. It has the charm of exclusivity to be enjoyed by its select visitors. ■