Even in these difficult times, we all yearn to travel. While you may not be able to flee just yet, here is some inspiration for some pint-sized places you might want to visit once travel restrictions are lifted.
The tiny walled enclave of Vatican City is technically not a country, but rather a sovereign city-state’ ruled by the Pope. In any case, with only 900 residents, it is the world’s smallest independent state in terms of both area and population. The other half is a garden.
A must-see on any trip to Rome, marvel at St. Peter’s Basilica, explore the Vatican Museums and pose for a photo with a Swiss Guard.
The Principality of Monaco, the subject of many a pub quiz, is a sovereign city-state surrounded by France and the sea. It has the highest population density in Europe (16,403.6 people per square kilometer) and the world’s lowest unemployment rate (an unbeatable 0 percent at last count).
Gape at the mega-yachts, lose a million at the casino and visit during the Monte Carlo Grand Prix if possible. If you don’t own a yacht, you might be better off staying in Nice because it’s less expensive.
The tiny Republic of San Marino, founded on September 3, 301, is the world’s oldest surviving sovereign state and constitutional republic. It’s a popular day trip from surrounding Italy, so join the crowds as they climb up to Castello della Cesta and pick up an extremely kitsch souvenir.
San Marino is perhaps best known for consistently propping up international football qualifying groups, as well as taking the lead against England at Wembley Stadium in 1993 after only 8.3 seconds. They were defeated 7-1.
Little Liechtenstein, sandwiched between Austria and Switzerland, holds a record – it has the world’s lowest external debt. Aside from that thrilling claim to fame, it is a (somewhat underappreciated) winter sports destination due to its location in the Alps. Vaduz, the capital, is more popular for tax havens than for city breaks.
The Republic of Malta is made up of three islands: Malta, Gozo, and Comino. Malta enjoys hot summers and a mild winter climate due to its location in the Mediterranean, south of Sicily and east of Tunisia, making it a popular year-round tourist destination. Malta also has some remarkable prehistoric sites, such as the Gantija megalithic temple complex.
Andorra, located in the eastern Pyrenees and bordered by Spain and France, attracts millions of day-trip tourists due to its tax haven status, which means cheap booze, cigarettes, and electronics. Those who stay longer than just to fill their trolleys with whisky do so for the excellent winter sports and mountain hiking.
The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is not high on the list of European tourist hotspots, but its fairytale, medieval castle at Vianden is one of its main draws. The charming capital’s jumbled old town is the ideal place to try the national dish of judd mat gaardebounen: smoked pork in a cream sauce with broad beans and potatoes.