Leichtenstein

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Talk about tiny. The Principality of Liechtenstein is so small that if you blink when you go through it, you might miss it. Itís a grand total of 25  kilometers (15 miles) from north to south, and barely even 4 miles wide for most of its length. Itís like the runt of the European litter. It does, however, have a lot to offer, not the least of which is some spectacular scenery. Itís located between Switzerland and Austria (the very western edge of Austria), and is basically part of Switzerland; they use Swiss money, Swiss travel documents, Swiss telephone and postal service, and although there are border restrictions on the Austria side, the border with Switzerland is an open one. Itís known for two things Ė postage stamps and status as a tax haven. The population is a little over 30,000, one third of whom are foreigners. You wonít find much in the way of shopping here, unless you count cheesy tourist sovenirs. One unique thing is the passport stamp Ė itís such a novelty that theyíve actually turned it into a little money making tourist venture; while youíre in the capital city of Vaduz, you can go to the information booth and pay for a passport stamp. When I was there, there was a bus full of Chinese tourists all lined up and practically pushing each other out of the way to get the stamp. The excitement on their faces after receiving it was priceless.

Thereís not much in the way of sightseeing in Liechtenstein. Just some beautiful mountainous scenery and the novelty of seeing one of the smallest countries in the world. However, if you have the chance, I recommend the drive from Liechtenstein to St. Moritz, Switzerland. Itís some of the most dramatic scerery in Europe. Definitely worth it.

Be warned Ė Liechtenstein, like Switzerland, is very expensive. They will take Euro in most places, but you will be on the losing end of an already disadvantageous exchange rate. Nothing in Liechtenstein is cheap.

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