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Introducing Liechtenstein

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Rhine Valley © afritzse

Liechtenstein is a mountainous little principality sandwiched between Switzerland and Austria. How little? Well, you could technically drive right around the edge of the country in about eight hours. The eastern region of Liechtenstein, the part that borders with Austria, is the highest point in a country of mountains with the peaks of Grauspitz reaching 8,527 feet (2,599m).

From there, because of the small size of the country, ski enthusiasts like to joke about riding right down the western slope into Switzerland. Of course, this is not technically possible. Besides the fact that the slopes end well before reaching Switzerland, the entire western border of Liechtenstein is made up of the mighty Rhine River - impossible to ski over even in the dead of winter. Having said that, border crossings are very relaxed in Liechtenstein and it is easy to bounce between Switzerland and Austria on your visit.

On your way past the lush Rhine Valley that makes up the western half of the country, a visit to the capital of Vaduz will yield a handful of remarkable sights. The Vaduz Castle is the residence of the Prince of Liechtenstein. It perches atop a hill overlooking the city and has become synonymous with the town despite the fact that no-one is actually allowed to visit the castle. There is an art gallery and the Liechtenstein National Museum which draws the story behind how this interesting little country came to be. Most of your sightseeing can be done by foot or on a bicycle; the city is very safe for such activity and certainly small enough. To see the rest of the country, simply rent a car.

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