The Art of Princely Living
Liechtenstein offers travelers a big and rich experience, even if it is the world’s 6th smallest country with only 37,000 residents. This princely principality offers tasty morsels for every fancy: mountains, trails and rivers, wines and cheese, a thriving music and arts scene in this 62-square mile safe haven, sandwiched between Austria and Switzerland. National Geographic Traveler Magazine describes this mini-state as a destination worthy of a prince.
Heavenly Hike & Bike
Hiking is a national sport in Liechtenstein—a beloved mecca for trekking and mountain biking. From the flat plains of the Rhine Valley to the steep and rugged mountains 2,599 meters (8,526 ft), there are trails for outdoor enthusiasts of all abilities. Summer and autumn are the best times for exploring the 400-kilometer (248 miles) trail network that crisscrosses this miniature alpine nation. A favorite is the Panorama Way, or Route 66 as its locally known. This 48-kilometer hike is divided into three parts with unforgettable alpine views and cozy mountain huts for overnighting. Those who conquer this micro-nation on two wheels have 100-kilometers (60 miles) of dedicated bike trails to explore.
Winter is for Family
The ski area Malbun guarantees snow and is nationally recognized as a premier “family destination.” Modern, comfortable lifts and the children’s winter playground Malbi-Park are located in a protected basin 1,600 meters (5,249 ft) above sea level. It’s a safe, family-friendly ski area with 23 kilometers of downhill runs. Nearby, the nordic ski resort Steg-Valüna invites skaters and classical skiers to 15 kilometers of groomed track that passes by alpine chalets, through pine forests and into open fields with stunning mountain vistas. A 3-kilometer loop is lit at night. There’s never a dull moment in Malbun. The modern skating rink, toboggan run and miles of winter walking paths keep parents and kids busy in the great outdoors.
Treasure-Hunting in Liechtenstein
Liechtenstein is loaded with treasures from Stone Age pottery and tools to the massive art collection of Prince Hans Adam II. For culture lovers, there’s no shortage of fine arts, natural history and collection museums (think postage stamps). The Liechtenstein National Museum in Vaduz is a good place to start your journey…the Treasure Chamber houses the “Princely Collection” which includes Old Masters paintings, an array of arms, weapons, hunting knives and royal gifts presented by kings and emperors. Another fascinating exhibit is the painted series of the Rhine River from its glacial source to low-country estuary in Holland, an 766-mile visual journey. Artifacts from the great mountain climber, Heinrich Harrer are showcased in the Tibet Collection, paying tribute to his Himalayan adventures and friendship with the Dalai Lama.
In the other 10 provinces, there is a lively music and theater scene. The summer schedule is packed with open-air concerts and festivals like the International Master Course; the Liechtenstein Guitar Days; the Jazz and Blues in Vaduz; and the Liechtenstein-Festival, a rocking dance party. A highlight for classical music fans is the Vaduz Classic where violin star, David Garrett plays.
Eat and Drink like Royalty
Princes and poets, kings and farmers have all feasted here. There’s no shortage of nature’s bounty and Liechtenstein prides itself on organic, small-batch delicacies. From crisp Rhine Valley wines (alone worth the trip) and gourmet restaurants with stars and accolades, taverns and mountain huts also serve heartwarming comfort food like national favorite: cheese dumplings with crispy onions and apple sauce. Don’t forget to sample Liechtenstein beer, fruit Schnapps (spirit) and local whiskey.