Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

Liechtenstein: The Strange and Beautiful

19

When you read about Liechtenstein, you hear about its many quirks.  Like the fact that Liechtenstein is the world’s top producer of dentures and dental fillings.  And that you could fit six Liechtensteins into one Andorra.  And the prince is just a regular guy who does his own grocery shopping.

Yes, the principality is definitely strange.  But it’s also beautiful.

As I toured Liechtenstein, I got to see a lot of interesting parts of the country — both strange and beautiful.  And many of them are hardly known.

Here are my favorite highlights of Liechtenstein:

The Royal Family

On Liechtenstein Day — August 15 — the Royal Family invites the entire principality into its castle grounds to have a picnic and celebrate.  It’s such a nice tradition, and everyone gets excited for it.

The strange part?  The Royal Family is scandal-free.  Can you believe it?  Just about every royal family has had a regular spot in the tabloids.  Not the Liechtensteins.  They’re content to live quiet lives behind the scenes.

The Wedding Spot

My tour guide from Tourismus Liechtenstein, Lisi, a native Liechtensteiner (and only 2/3 of Liechtensteiners are natives!) showed me some of her favorite parts of the principality.

Like here: Liechtenstein’s brides’ favorite place for a wedding, a small chapel in Triesen.

Like many countries in Europe, Liechtenstein has an increasingly nonbelieving population.  You wouldn’t know it from the Roman Catholic art peeking out of everywhere and the churches that dot every village.

So why would Liechtenstein brides choose to get married at a church in the first place?  This view.

Wow.  There’s nothing more I can say but that — WOW.

Creepy Art

I love modern art, and I make a point to seek it out wherever I go.  But no museum has ever scared me as much as the Kunstmuseum in Liechtenstein.

There was an exhibit of TVs with scary clowns on them.  When I walked by them, they all burst into scary laughter.  Behind them were photographs of decapitated torsos.  Beyond that was a slowly moving mannequin.  All while a record played a hoarse, “I love you.  I love you,” on repeat in the background.

I ran out.

Wine Tasting with the Prince

One of my favorite stops in Liechtenstein was the Hofkellerei — the Prince’s personal vineyards.  You can walk into the wine cellar and taste a few vintages.  They’re particularly strong on Pinot Noirs — I actually got to sample three very different Pinots.

If you have a wino in your life, give the gift of oak-aged Liechtenstein Pinot.  Just make sure to drink it within three months, before it loses its oakiness.

Walking Into Switzerland

Thanks to the open borders of the Schengen area, it’s easy to stroll from Liechtenstein right into Austria or Switzerland.  I found a covered bridge near Vaduz and crossed the Rhein right into Switzerland.

For the photos alone, make sure you check out the covered bridges.

And, to conclude, FOOD.

As always, I wanted to try the most local dish possible.  Upon our arrival at Lowen Schellenberg, my guide, Lisi, suggested I try Liechtenstein’s national dish, käsknöpfle — little cheese dumplings served with fried onions and topped with applesauce.

Yes.  You eat those three foods together — and they make an absolutely delicious dish.

Over dinner, Lisi told me about more of Liechtenstein quirks.  With nine gold medals in downhill skiing, Liechtenstein has the most Winter Olympics medals per capita.  Of all the schools, there is only one gymnasium.  The country has 36,000 people and 6,000 cows.

The Verdict on Liechtenstein

I was bowled over by the charm and beauty of Liechtenstein, and amused at its eccentricities.  It’s definitely worth coming here for more than just a day trip — and FAR more than just the passport stamp!

My visit to Liechtenstein was sponsored by Tourismus Liechtenstein.  All opinions, as always, are my own.

Comments

19 Responses to “Liechtenstein: The Strange and Beautiful”
  1. oh Kate that really does sound wonderful! I have been dreaming about traveling to Liechtenstein for a while now, and might be heading there later this year – really thankful you shared this with us 🙂

  2. Great pictures! I’d consider having my wedding at that little chapel–looks so cozy! And the mac & cheese looks mouthwatering =)

  3. Lauren says:

    That museum sounds TERRIFYING! Clowns freak me out so much…

  4. MaryAnn says:

    Liechtenstein looks storybook beautiful and I can almost smell the fresh air! I would skip the museum or run past the clowns as they really freak me out! It must be wonderful to be able to walk from one country to another! I am so jealous!

  5. Great post. I did not know much about this small country except that they sometimes have athletes compete in the winter Olympics. Good to learn some more and the photos were amazing.

  6. We visited Liechtenstein in 2004 and we can’t agree more with you about the charming “country”! Absolutely beautiful place!

  7. Rebecca Garland says:

    Hey Kate,

    Great blog! Love your articles. Wish we could see a pic of that prince! lol 😉

    Safe and fun travels,
    Rebecca

  8. Cailin says:

    Very cool! I have always wanted to visit there!
    Was there much of an option for where to stay?

  9. Colleen says:

    The traveler in me wants to pack up a bag and head there immediately. The little girl in me wants to ride a white horse over those hills and live in the castle. The religious person in me wants to roll my eyes when non-religious people want to get married in a church. Seriously – any building will do, so why make a mockery of those of us that actually believe it sacred? Getting married in a church just because “it’s pretty” is NOT okay.

    Tangent!

    I have loved reading about your European vacation – keep up the great posts cuz!

  10. Such a lovely country, definitely want to visit!

  11. What a beautiful post with so many insights into this enchanting country. Great article my friend.

  12. Tom says:

    Here I was, sitting all chipper reading your Austria entries until I came across your description of Liechtenstein’s modern art scene. OHMYGOD KATE I’m going to have nightmares about that art gallery nowwwwwww!

  13. NLM says:

    Dental fillings..who would have guessed?

  14. Jamie says:

    I came across your blog because I’m intrigued by Liechtenstein. Your posts make it sound really great, and then I saw that your trip there was sponsored. So….would it be a place you would visit if you were doing it on your own dime, like me?

    • ABSOLUTELY, Jamie! Of COURSE I’d visit it on my own dime! I never lie! I was planning on visiting Liechtenstein no matter what; I just contacted the tourism board and they offered to host me. Just keep in mind that they’re on the Swiss franc so it is a bit of a pricey destination, but thankfully the US dollar is much stronger now than it was when I went.

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!


nine + = fifteen