The standard ‘Euro trip’ may not excite offbeat travelers, but here’s one place that even well-traveled folks are unlikely to have visited (unless you live in close proximity to it). Liechtenstein, Europe’s second least-visited country (the first being San Marino), ironically sits between two super popular travel destinations: Switzerland and Austria!
Straight out of a fairytale book, Liechtenstein also happens to be the fourth smallest country in Europe (and sixth in the world), behind Vatican City, Monaco, and San Marino. You can literally drive through it in under 30 minutes, and this might just be a reason why not many people visit it.
With a population of merely 40,000 people, it is surrounded by gorgeous alpine scenery and best-known for its landmark 12th-century Vaduz Castle that overlooks the capital city of Vaduz. It is also one of two doubly landlocked countries in the world (the other being Uzbekistan), which means that it’s landlocked between landlocked nations.
It is undoubtedly a great destination for skiing, mountain hiking, and biking, but what else can one do in Liechtenstein?
We found out by virtually traveling there this weekend: we looked at travel blogs, Instagram posts, TripAdvisor reviews, and YouTube videos. Continuing our ’36 Hours’-inspired virtual travel blog series…
36 Hours in Liechtenstein
9.00 AM: Get Stamped
Liechtenstein doesn’t have an airport so you can fly in from Zurich, Switzerland, which is about 130km away. Alternatively, you can drive down or take a train and bus to get to Vaduz, the capital of Liechtenstein.
Head to the Liechtenstein Centre where you can get your passport stamped for €5 (you don’t have to, but it buys you bragging rights) and generally plan your trip with the help of the local guides and maps.
Don’t forget to purchase an Adventure Pass (costs approx. CHF/$ 25) which gives you access to almost all the places you’re likely to visit in Liechtenstein.
9.30 AM: Art, History & More
Like any European country, Liechtenstein too boasts of cultural immersion through art and history, even when sitting between alpine scenery. Head over to the National Museum, Postal Museum, and Treasure Chamber (contains one of the world’s finest Easter egg collection), all of which are within a few minutes of walking distance from each other.
If you’re crunched for time or want to experience public transport here, you can also hop onto the Citytrain for a 35-minute ride through Vaduz.
12.30 PM: Go Off the Beaten Track
To experience something off the usual tourist trail, check out the Watch Museum for antique, mechanically operated watches. Liechtenstein also has a Calculator and Typewriter Museum (yes!) which you ought to visit as well.
2.00 PM: Comfort Food
Grab a quick bite at one of the eateries near you. Don’t forget to try ribel, wursts, schnitzels, smoked meats, and the Swiss favorite- Rösti while in Liechtenstein.
3.00 PM: Ski Chairlift
Take the ski lift at Sareis (€10 round trip) to get a bird’s eye view of the tiny town below. You’ll be able to see Austria in front of you and Switzerland behind!
Don’t head back without trying the local Brauhaus beers at Malbun Lodge.
If you have time, you can also visit the Galina Falconry Centre in Malbun.
6.00 PM: Unwind
Take a breather after a hectic day, or if you fancy, check out one of the local events on offer that day.
7.00 PM: Dinner
7.00 AM: Do the Liechtenstein Trail, or Better- Trek With Llamas
Set off on an early start! Do the Liechtenstein Trail which goes through all 11 municipalities of Liechtenstein. The route is 75 kilometers long and you might need 4–5 days to complete the full trail, but you can do a part of the trail if you’re crunched for time.
There are plenty of other hiking trails on offer in Liechtenstein, including hiking with an eagle and trekking with Llamas and Alpacas! These would require you to sign up for a day tour with a travel company, so plan ahead. Lunch and transfers are likely to be included in the package.
3.00 PM Vaduz Castle
Whether you go on a hike or not, you can’t leave Liechtenstein without visiting it’s most popular tourist attraction and symbol of the capital- the Vaduz Castle. It is the official residence of the Prince, parts of which are open to the public for visiting.
4.00 PM: Wine-o-clock
Vaduz has over 100 winegrowers, but visiting the Princely Cellars in Vaduz should definitely be on your list! Known locally as the Hofkellerei, make sure to stop by for some wine tasting (available Monday through Saturday, it’s a 90-minute guided tour and costs roughly $20) of their Pinot Noir (locally as Blauburgunder or “Blue Burgundy”) and Chardonnay.
If you have the Liechtenstein Museum and Adventure Pass, you will get a tasting of each for free!
6.00 PM Dinner at Torkel
After a busy two day excursion, sit down for some scrumptious dinner at Restaurant Torkel. Have all your dishes paired with wine grown in the vineyards next to the restaurant; the venue is sure to be an experience in itself!
While Liechtenstein may be a quintessential European country in many ways, what sets it apart from popular destinations is that it offers these experiences without the hordes of other tourists.
Finally, we’ll leave you with a fun fact about Liechtenstein that you’d never have guessed: it happens to be the world’s leading manufacturer of false teeth! So much so that it even has a Bollywood connection.
How to get there
Liechtenstein doesn’t have an airport so you can fly in from Zurich, Switzerland, which is about 130km away. You can also take a train from Zurich to Sargans (approx. 50 minutes), followed by a bus from there to Vaduz (approx. 30 minutes).
Where to stay
When to go
The best time to visit Liechtenstein is from mid-May to late September when the weather is mild (pleasantly warm during the day and cool at night). However, do note that afternoon thunderstorms are frequent in the mountains.
Liechtenstein’s border regulations are the same as those of neighboring Switzerland and there are no entry checks crossing over the border from Switzerland. Nationals from the European Union, as well as the USA, Canada, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand do not need a visa for visits of up to three months, but for longer visits visas will need to be applied for.
Swiss Franc is the currency of Liechtenstein.
The public transport is great here. The LIEmobil buses are always on time and you can get from Vaduz to either end of the country in less than 15 minutes. You can also rent a bike and go around by yourself.
Pretty much everything is closed on Sunday (yes, even restaurants), so plan your trip accordingly.
Read more of our virtual travel blogs at Quilt.AI