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Not even big enough on most maps of Europe to contain the letters of its name, Lilliputian Luxembourg makes up in snazz what it lacks in size. A respected member of the European Union, a role model of international finance and a benchmark in comparisons of quality of life, Luxembourg enjoys a prosperity that nations many times larger aspire toward and envy. Visitors to the country pay for their luxury accordingly, but in exchange they find a wealth of spectacular verdant landscapes crisscrossed by rivers and dotted with the sort of rural hamlets that most people associate solely with fairy tales.

This is not to say that Luxembourg is all swanky suits and medieval villas. Its capital, Luxembourg City, manages to maintain a tranquil air of antiquity despite playing frequent host to fist-pounding, finger-pointing gatherings of financial-world leaders and EU officials. The north of the country lures outdoors enthusiasts with sylvan settings promising fabulous skiing and hiking. The Moselle Valley, just east of Luxembourg City, is one of Europe's most idyllic wine-producing regions. And what's most convenient, the capital is no more than an hour's drive from anywhere else in the country, so you can truly get a sense of the lay of the land without spending eons in doing so.

Luxembourg may not be as big a tourist draw as its superpower neighbours, but its charms are nonetheless unique and its people justifiably proud of their heritage and of their homeland. Just in case you'd doubt it, take a look at the writing on the wall: the nation's motto is inscribed everywhere throughout the capital -

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