Europe is a great continent for those who want to experience something different. Each country still has its own culture and quirks, so there is always something unusual to experience.
This is particularly true of smaller countries. The people in these places value their identity, so work hard to hang onto what makes them stand out from their neighbours.
Austria, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Andorra, Lichtenstein and Monaco are great examples. They have individual cultures for you to explore and enjoy.
Austria is a wonderful green country that is known for its spectacular mountains, as well as being the home of the waltz and the birthplace of Mozart. If you want to get a good understanding of this country, visit Vienna.
It is a surprisingly sophisticated city. Yet is not at all ‘stuffy’. Tourists are welcome, and encouraged to attend the many balls, concerts, operas and theatre performances, which are very much a part of everyday life here.
Vienna opera tickets are reasonably priced. The opera companies of this city cater for all tastes. They regularly perform lesser-known pieces as well as the classics.
There are even shortened performances of popular operas, which have been re-written with children in mind. These one-hour performances are a big hit with adults too, especially people who are new to this performance art.
Switzerland is known for its banking system and watches, but it has far more to offer than that. This country covers only 41,290 square kilometres, but there is still plenty to see and do.
Swiss society is amazingly diverse. There are four official languages, German, French, Italian and Romansh. This country has taken the best of its neighbours and mixed it with their own culture, which is part of the reason it is such an interesting place to visit. Each canton has its own character, for example, Ticino has a distinctly Italian feel, while Aargau is more Germanic.
If you love winter sports, great food, good quality products and pristine countryside, you will love Switzerland. There is no official capital city, but Bern, Zurich and Geneva are fantastic places to visit. If you can make it to Geneva for their huge festival, which is held in July, you are in for a fantastic experience.
The Principality of Monaco is a unique place. It covers just under two sq kilometres, yet has a population of around 38,000, so as you would expect it is quite built up.
However, it is far from a concrete jungle it is in fact a very glamorous place. As a tax haven, Monaco is home to many of the richest people on earth. A visit to the harbour is a must. I have seen private yachts there that are bigger than many ferries. A visit to the Royal palace is interesting and the botanical gardens are nice, but you really should not leave without visiting the famous Casino of Monte Carlo.
There are lovely hotels here, but they are expensive. If you leave the principality and travel a few miles along the coast you can stay on the French Riviera for half the price.
If you are looking for something different, our recommendation is to add a night or two in a small country to your travel itinerary.