If you paid attention to the French Open recently, you probably watched familiar faces on the tennis courts. Players from Serbia, Spain, and the United States whose names are known around the world. Amid the women was Stephanie Vogt, from Liechtenstein. That’s right, Liechtenstein. Vogt ended up losing her third-round match, but she put the spotlight on her tiny, German-speaking, landlocked country.
Surrounded by Switzerland and Austria, Liechtenstein is only 62 square miles, making it one of the smallest counties in the world. It’s known for having little villages full of chalets, medieval castles, and dramatic mountains. Those would be the Alps. From the Liechtenstein Panorama Trail, you can see most of the country. Really. From Malbun to Augstenberg, and as far as the Drei Schwestern mountain. The Rhine River and little vineyards, wooded hills and wildflower-filled meadows, and Vaduz, the small capital city.
The pedestrian-only center of Vaduz has Gothic and Baroque buildings next door to dramatic contemporary structures. The Liechtenstein Museum of Fine Arts, which is filled with modern artwork from Warhol and Basquiat, looks like a black cube. Vaduz Castle–the home of the royal family–sits on a hill overlooking the city. Tour the Briefmarkenmuseum–Liechtenstein is known for its engraved postage stamps that become collectors’ items. Sip a glass of Blaufränkisch at the Blue Lounge Bar. Shop for items made in the Alps at L’Atelier or handmade pottery at Schaedler Keramik. Enjoy dinner with a dramatic view of Vaduz Castle and the vineyards. The scenery pairs quite nicely with Restaurant Torkel’s carrot-orange soup, lake perch, and Gewürztraminers.
Now which country will make a surprise appearance at Wimbledon?