The sixth smallest country in the world, Liechtenstein is roughly the size of Nicosia and Limassol put together. You could walk (at a leisurely pace) across this pocket-sized principality in about a week. And you’d be entirely safe to do so: Liechtenstein has one of the world’s lowest crime rates; the prisons are pretty empty and anyone who receives a sentence of more than two years is automatically transferred across the border (where, obviously, they’re more officially locked up as opposed to given a pair of Lederhosen and a Rough Guide to Yodelling).
Speaking of neighbours, Liechtenstein is also one of the few countries ever to have been invaded by the world’s most neutral nation. In 2007, 170 Swiss infantry soldiers wandered more than a mile over the border before realising their error. Liechtenstein, which has no army of its own, later admitted it hadn’t even noticed the incursion. It shrewdly decided not to retaliate!
A semi-constitutional monarchy headed by the Prince of Liechtenstein, the country boasts any number of claims to fame. It’s the world’s principal producer of false teeth; the national anthem is sung to the tune of God Save the Queen; and it’s one of only two doubly landlocked countries in the world.
Where it doesn’t necessarily distinguish itself, however, is cuisine. Although diverse, the fare here is much the same as its neighbours’: even the semi-official national dish is common across the entire region, purportedly originating in Germany. Called Käsespätzle, it’s basically mac and cheese but with added onions and a side of apple sauce.
Traditional Liechtensteiner meals incorporate cheese, meat and bread, and, due to the nation’s expansive dairy industry, milk products are an integral part of Liechtensteiner cuisine (Saukerkas and Alpkäse cheeses are apparently delicious!). Schnitzels, sauerkraut stews, and fondues are also popular, along with a fair few soups: Hafalaab – a soup with ham or bacon and cornmeal dumplings, flavoured with smoked bacon or ham – is considered another of the country’s national specialties, while asparagus, bacon, or ham broths are pretty common.
Dessert is generally influenced by French cuisine (crêpes, rich pastries and fruit-filled cakes appear on many a menu), and the country’s 100-plus winegrowers are known for producing some pretty fine wines, including a decent and Gewürztraminer, Blauburgunder, and Zweigelt. Not that you’re technically allowed to get plastered over your Liechtenstein lunch: ‘noisy festivities’ are prohibited between noon and 1.30pm, and after 10 in the evening. Which makes sense in a country so small: belt out a drunken tune on one border, and they’ll hear you on the other!