- The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes. Marcel Proust
A pocket-sized principality in the heart of Europe, Liechtenstein rarely tops anybody's bucket list of continental must-sees. Yet this tiny, landlocked nation offers more than you'd imagine: from long-standing history to sky-high mountains; cliff-hanging castles to odd cultural quirks.
Many of Liechtenstein's historical highlights are located in the capital, Vaduz. While this tiny town may only have around 5,000 inhabitants, it also boasts an array of fascinating museums and galleries – including the Liechtenstein National Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts and the FIS Ski and Winter Sports Museum – as well as the atmospheric Prince's Wine Cellars and the neo-Gothic Vaduz Cathedral. All these attractions are watched over by the pretty Vaduz Castle, which remains the official residence of the Prince of Liechtenstein.
And yet the true star of Liechtenstein is the remarkable nature. This country has arguably the most impressive landscape in Europe. Most of the peaks in Liechtenstein soar more than 2,000m (6,562ft) into the sky, making Liechtenstein a premier destination for skiing, hiking and mountain biking. Its shimmering lakes are also a big draw for swimmers.
As well as its permanent attractions, Liechtenstein also excels when it comes to unusual events. Some of the fun annual highlights include the Monster Concert (where troupes of musicians and dancers dress in outlandish costumes and bang drums), the Cattle Drive (where cows and sheep are festooned in colourful garments and adorned with bells) and the LGT Alpine Marathon (where competitors from around the globe run for 26 miles through the mountains).