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Cheap, free, and local-endorsed things to do in beautiful places

Liechtenstein

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  • A small mountainous kingdom ruled by a prince
  • German-speaking and shares much of its culture with Switzerland
  • Its largest “city” has under 6,000 people
  • One of two doubly-landlocked countries in the world

Area: 62 square miles (6th smallest in the world)

Population: 37,531 (7th smallest in the world)

When To Visit: March-October

Climate: Warm in summer, cool in spring and fall, cold with some rain and snow in winter

Visitors often come to Liechtenstein just to cross another country off their list, but this fascinating little country is worthy of so much more time and attention. The very compact and walkable capital city of Vaduz has a few interesting sights to see, and the mountain town of Malbun offers access to one of the most gorgeous hikes in the world. One or two days is plenty of time to experience this entire country!

Photo: Schaanwald

Getting To Liechtenstein

Liechtenstein is not directly served by plane or rail but the Liechtenstein bus system connects to the towns of Sargans and Buchs, Switzerland, and Feldkirch, Austria, which are part of the Eurail system. Ask the bus driver for a day pass, specifying where in Liechtenstein you’ll be going as there are various zones with different prices.

Where To Go in Liechtenstein

Vaduz

Tourist Information Center: This office in the center of Vaduz is a great starting point to get your bearings, pick up a city map, and plan your day. You can get a Liechtenstein stamp in your passport for 3 franc, get directions to Vaduz’s lockers, and take a photo in a royal chair. Free.

Vaduz Castle: Liechtenstein’s ruling family lives in this castle overlooking Vaduz. It’s a steep but short walk from the center of town. You cannot go inside but it’s beautiful to see up close and there’s sweeping views of Vaduz and the rest of Liechtenstein. Fun fact: once a year, the prince throws an open party and invites residents and visitors into the castle’s grounds. Free.

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Vaduz Castle looms above the town

Prince’s Winery (Hofkellerei): If you’re a wine lover, you’ll have to stop by the prince’s own winery which has beautiful grounds and open tasting. Free admission, fee for tasting.

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The Prince’s Winery

Mitteldorf: A luxurious residential area that is great for a stroll and showcases some of the country’s most architecturally stunning homes. Free.

Red House: You can’t go inside this cute tower-shaped home in the Mitteldorf area, but it’s worth a walk to admire. Free.

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Red House

Vaduz Cathedral: The most majestic church in Liechtenstein has a grand European-style interior and its grounds hold the final resting place of the country’s deceased royals. Free.

Parliament Building: Despite being a kingdom, Liechtenstein’s ruling family actually shares its power with an elected parliament that sits in this building. Guided tours are available.

Town Hall (Rathaus): A stately building that houses the city government that unfortunately is not open to the public but is worthy of a walk-by. Free.

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Vaduz Town Hall

Schaan

Liechtenstein’s largest city (eeking out Vaduz by about 500) is just north of Vaduz and offers a less touristy experience if you want to take a stroll and see “real Liechtenstein.”

Malbun

The furthest destination in this tiny country, Malbun is a half-hour bus ride from Vaduz and is situated in a quiet mountainous region. The drive there offers sweeping views of the charming town of Triesenberg, Swiss mountains, and the country’s main river valley.

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View from the Augstenberg summit near Malbun

Augstenberg Hike

  • 7.5 mile loop, 4-6 hours, 3,000 foot elevation gain
  • Challenging but not as difficult as the staggering elevation gain makes it seem
  • Begins at the Malbun Chapel
  • Incredible panoramic views of mountains, meadows, and wildflowers in all directions
  • See five countries at once at the summit
  • Check at the Malbun info office for trail conditions – there may be some precarious snow piles to navigate in late spring and early fall
  • If short on time, begin at the chapel and turn around when you need to – you’ll get great views within 30 minutes of walking
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Augstenberg hike

Feldkirch, Austria

Just a couple miles across the northern border from the town of Schaanwald, Feldkirch is a historic town that is a popular hangout spot for Liechtensteiners. Crossing the border can be done easily via bus or car. The bus ride from Vaduz to Feldkirch takes you through the majority of Liechtenstein and showcases the country’s cute towns and tranquil countryside.

Old Town: Feldkirch’s lovely Old Town has a plentiful amount of outdoor restaurants and bars and great historic architecture to admire.

Power Plant (Elektrizitätswerk): Stop by and marvel at this historic water and electricity plant built directly in the center of the city.

Schattenburg Castle: This castle overlooking the city has lovely views of Old Town and contains both a restaurant and a museum.

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Schattenburg Castle

River Ill: Take a stroll along this glacially-fed crystal blue river that flows near the Old City.

Liechtenstein Blog

Click here to read my blog from my day exploring Vaduz and taking an epic hike to a mountaintop with a view of five countries.

Nearby Side Trips from Liechtenstein

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The River Aare in Bern

Zurich: Switzerland’s largest city 1.5 hours west is known as the world’s most expensive, but has tons of free and quite remarkable historical and contemporary landmarks to explore. Read more.

Lucerne: This mid-sized city also located 1.5 hours to the west has incredibly well-preserved history, including a 700-year-old wall with several towers, covered bridges with centuries-old murals, and a small but charming Old City. Read more.

Interlaken and the Jungfrau Region: A resort town sandwiched between two large lakes and just below a gorgeous portion of the Swiss Alps, Interlaken (2.5 hours away) is perfectly positioned to allow exploration of quaint towns and stunning mountain peaks. Read more.

Bern: Switzerland’s capital city 2.5 hours to the west is one of the only cities in the world to maintain its central street plan since medieval times and is surrounded on three sides by the River Aare. Read more.

Lausanne: This hilly, historic city that is known as the “San Francisco of Switzerland” is 3 hours west of Liechtenstein. Read more.

Geneva: This international city 4 hours to the west is the 2nd largest in Switzerland and hosts an impressive Old City and one of the tallest fountains in the world. Read more.

 

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