Most people have never heard of it but Liechtenstein is a tiny country tucked in between Switzerland and Austria. It’s actually the sixth smallest country in the world and the only country to sit fully within the Alps and is very much like neighbouring Switzerland (but don’t tell them that). The country is very expensive (even more than Switzerland) and it’s not the place to come if you’re looking to party or have a wild time. The only wild thing here is the nature and its appeal is to those who love the outdoors. However, the Liechtensteiners do love their food and there are gourmet restaurants throughout the country.
The visitors who do come here usually come for the summer. The main tourist season runs from June to October but visit in Autumn and the red and brown hues are absolutely magical; visit in the winter and the snowy wonderland will blow you away. At 1600 metres, you can snow-board, cross-country ski or just toboggan your way around. The ski season starts in December through to April and two of the most popular ski resorts are: Steg and Malbun. Triesen is a mecca for cross-country skiers but you don’t have to just visit in the winter asSteg is also popular with hikers during the summer season. If you’re planning to go up into the mountains, Triesenberg is a good stopover village.
Visit at the end of the season and you can enjoy the landscape without having to share it with anyone. Liechtenstein has 400km of marked hiking trails from valley walks through nature reserves to peak climbs of up to 2600 metres, and the Sareis chairlift at Malbun is an ideal starting point for the majority of the hikes. If you prefer biking there are 90km of marked bike paths, and maps for biking routes can be bought when you’re in the country. For something a little higher there’s rock climbing as well as a high rope adventure park and you can even trek with lamas but be prepared to be walking with children too.
The capital, Vaduz doesn’t look or feel like a capital. It’s more like a countryside village and the highlight is Vaduz Castle. At nearly 700 years old it has been in the family of the Princes of Liechtenstein for 300 years. You can’t visit the castle but if you stand below you may be lucky to meet the prince (now retired) who sits by his statue and talks to passing tourists about his country. You can even drink the Prince’s wine from his private vineyards at the Court Wine Cellars of Hofkellerei. If you like art, the Princely familys’ art collection can be seen on a guided tour at the Liechtenstein Garden and City Palace.
Even the museums won’t take long here, choose from the Art Museum, National Museum, Ski Museum or the Postage Stamp Museum, which has decorated pavement stamps outside. If you don’t fancy walking around the capital you can take the citytrain instead and learn about the country as you ride. You even get a glimpse of the Red House, Vaduz’s oldest house from the 17th century that you may not see on foot. Take the walking path to the Kanzeli for a panoramic view of Vaduz and the Rhine Valley below.
Although it is a small country and more about the hiking, there are a couple of treasures that you really shouldn’t miss if you come here. Visit Balzers for the Gutenberg Fortress and Gothic Castle and Schellenberg for its fortress ruins. The history of Liechtenstein started here and the area offers a great view of the Alps. Other places to see are: Schaan for its stained glass chapels and Nendelnfor ruins of a Roman villa.
Check accommodation before you go as some are only open between June to October.
Buses run regularly and are an easy way to get around. LIEmobil bus even runs into Buchs in Switzerland and Feldkirch in Austria. Taxis are reliable or you can drive yourself around and hire a car. Many people who visit here cycle around the country as it is so small.
From the Airport
Resorthoppa operates a cheap airport shuttle that will take you to the city centre or your hotel. If you fly from Zurich in Switzerland, the airport is 13 km from the city. You can drive from the airport, take a train, tram or an airport taxi to Zurich. Take the train to Sargans, then a bus to Vaduz. *N.b you may need a toll sticker if coming from Switzerland or Austria.
How long do I need?
If you’re just sightseeing, two or three days or drive through on the way to Switzerland or Austria and stop for a few hours. For skiing or hiking you could easily stay up to one week.
Travelling onwards (check visas before you travel)
To Switzerland – Buses run to Sargans and Buchs. Then take the train to Zurich or others in Switzerland.
To Austria – From Vaduz take bus numbers 11 or 14 to Feldkirch.
- Can I drink the water? Yes.
- Is tipping expected? No it’s included in the price.
- Fixed price or barter? Fixed price.
- Any ATMs? Yes.
- Which side of the road do they drive? Right.
- Good for vegetarians? Okay.
- Any seven wonders of the world? No.
*This is accurate at time of writing but we appreciate things can change. Please let us know if you experience anything otherwise. Thanks…