Liechtenstein


Where?

Was this your first question when you saw the title of today’s blog?

Am I making them up now?

I am very interested in travelling to small and unique places that are normally off the beaten track for most tourists. Liechtenstein is certainly that.

Liechtenstein is a ‘double landlocked’ country, found between Switzerland and Austria. It is another microstate – like my previous blog about San Marino – however Liechtenstein is slightly larger at roughly 160 square kilometers and a population of around 38,000.

Being so small and situated in the alps, it does not have its own airport, so this meant quite a journey to get there.

I first flew to Zurich after work on a Friday afternoon. For these weekend trips I usually only take a backpack, as I don’t need much luggage and budget airlines now charge you to bring a wheeled carry on – and I enjoy the benefits of cheap flights.

Journey from Zurich to Vaduz

After arriving late in Zurich, I spent the night in a hostel as I was only passing through. The next day I got up bright and early to catch a train from Zurich Hauptbahnhof to the small town of Sargans, which took about an hour, and then caught a bus over the border to the capital, Vaduz.

The weather was quite bleak, and I was a bit concerned as I was planning on hiking up Grauspitz – which has a peak 8,527 feet above sea level.

I first made my way to the center of town, where I passed the Vaduz Cathedral, which is in a neo-gothic style of architecture and looks great with the looming mountains behind the cathedral (would have looked better with a sunny landscape). I then ventured along the main walkway, Städtle, which also had the Liechtenstein National Archives, which has a really grand facade that highlights the pinnacle of typical European architecture.

Cathedral of St. Florin (Vaduz Cathedral)

At the tourist office I paid 5 Swiss Francs for a passport stamp (just like in San Marino), as the country has no border crossing, so it is a great way to make some tourist dollars and a great souvenir for country counters. Unfortunately for me (as I’d already guessed) I was informed that parts of the hiking and skiing routes up in the alps were closed due to poor weather and low visibility.

This was my visibility near Triesenberg

I still wanted to do some form of hiking, so I took a bus up to Triesenberg where I planned to catch another bus to Malbun, the peak area to ski in the country. Buses cost around 3 Swiss Francs per one-way ticket. However, the next bus didn’t turn up and the weather didn’t get any better, so I decided to ditch Malbun and walk towards Gaflei, which led to another route to Alpspitz, which sits at a 6,375 feet elevation is an easier hike.

I walked along roads through suburbs and open fields where all I could hear was cow bells, but couldn’t see them due to visibility being only 5-10 meters. I then faced another issue, in that the road turned into gravel and was no longer safe for me to continue on with the weather being so bad.

I thought I could potentially walk back to Vaduz, however, yet again that wasn’t possible as visibility and the lack of footpath meant I had to turn back around to Triesenberg.

With my failed attempt to do any hiking I decided to head to Vaduz Castle, which is where the Prince of Liechtenstein resides, but unfortunately I was unable to explore the castle itself and could only enjoy the exterior of the building. On the walk up, however, there was a great viewpoint of the city and the border with Switzerland (The Rhine River).

Vaduz Castle

The day was almost over so I thought I’d walk over to the Alte Rheinbrücke, which is a beautiful river crossing over the Rhine River that really shows the true European vibe of the country.

Alte Rheinbrücke

On Sunday I had a couple of hours in the morning before I made my way back to Zurich to catch my flight home, so I decided to do another walk around town.

Liechtenstein National Archives

I found Vaduz to be a very arty city, with several unique sculptures across the small city and many museums such as the Postal Museum, Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein, and Liechtenstein National Museum – very handy in case you find yourself in the city in poor weather and you’re not a fan of walking in the rain.

There was an amazing chocolate shop, Läderach, which had massive sheets of chocolate in a variety of flavours and toppings, however I was unlucky that basically all the shops on the Sunday were closed.

So, word of warning – do your shopping on the Saturday (or any day except Sunday).

Even though there isn’t much to do in the microstate of Liechtenstein, I still would recommend a weekend or day trip if you are travelling through the region.

Keep up to date with my adventures, and be sure to subscribe, like and share my blog to spread the word of travel.

Safe travels!

Categories: EuropeTags: , , , , , , , , ,

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