When we planned our summer road trip around central Europe we planned it around the country of Germany. As the planning process stretched on and our itinerary evolved we refined our overnight stops and filled in destinations. One destination that crept into the itinerary was the microstate of Liechtenstein. We had little interest or expectation for visiting the tiny country but it was one of our favorite stops and we were shocked to find so many things to do in Liechtenstein.
Maybe it’s because the country is so small, offbeat and for many unknown – but we just loved it. We couldn’t wait to write this post and relive our time in Liechtenstein. I must confess, part of the reason we decided to spend a night in Liechtenstein was to check a country off our list (we think you should spend the night to count it) but we quickly
Some links may be affiliate links. This means we may get paid if you buy something or take an action after clicking certain links at no extra cost to you.
Where is Liechtenstein?
You’ll find Liechtenstein if you look really closely on a map of Central Europe. It’s a double land-locked nation that sits between Switzerland and Austria. It covers land on from the banks of the Rhine River that rise to a tall Alpine slopes.
The entire country is only about 25 km (15.5 miles) long, so it’s easy to overlook. Vaduz, the capital city, is the financial and cultural center of Liechtenstein. The country is dotted with medieval castles and villages connected by trails and mountain roads.
We were super excited to explore Liechtenstein, located in the Upper Rhine Valley, after spending a week exploring the Middle Rhine Valley and High Rhine at Rhine Falls. This area of the Alpine Rhine was so unique to the other sections of the river that we explored. It was fascinating to come full circle and see a different section of the great European river.
How Do You Get To Liechtenstein?
Based on the location of the country, you’re probably wondering… how do you get to Liechtenstein? We drove, which was the easiest way to get there for our travels.
One of the most interesting things about driving in Liechtenstein is that the main highway is on the Swiss side of the Rhine. It makes sense because they can better-fund a national highway system in Switzerland. This also meant that we crossed the border several times to get on the highway and drive to different ends of Liechtenstein.
It’s also easy to reach Vaduz by bus from the train stations of Buchs and Sargans in Switzerland. If you take an express train to Buchs it’s only about a 10-15 minute ride by taxi or bus to Vaduz.
As you may imagine, there’s no international airport to service Liechtenstein. That means that it’s best to travel by road or rail to Liechtenstein.
Where to Stay in Liechtenstein
The obvious place to stay in Liechtenstein is Vaduz. Its has the most tourist attractions, restaurants, cafes and other amenities. It’s also central enough that you can easily navigate the tiny country from Vaduz.
If skiing is on your Liechtenstein itinerary, then Vaduz may not be the best place to stay. In that case you’ll want to stay “up the mountain” from Vaduz in the cozy mountain village of Malbun, Triesenberg. The popular Liechtenstein ski resort village of Malbun is nestled in the beautiful Alpine mountain peaks. It’s close to the Austrian border and a place you should visit whether you decide to stay there or not.
Recommended Hotels in Vaduz
Recommended Hotels in Malbun
The 20 Best Things to Do in Liechtenstein
Now that you know where Liechtenstein is, how to get there and where to stay, there’s only one questions left – what to do in Liechtenstein? Here’s a rundown of our favorite things to do in Liechtenstein.
One way to get a highlight of the city of Vaduz is the Vaduz City Train. It’s a 35 minute ride through the city with an audio guide. It runs daily between 1:00 and 4:30 pm and costs about €10.
Visit The Castles In Liechtenstein
One thing you’ll notice about this region of Europe is that there are castles all over the place. They dot the landscape and it seems like every protected hill is fortified with a majestic stone castle. You, of course, notice this while visiting Liechtenstein and that’s why we recommend you start your trip planning by mapping out the castles of Liechtenstein.
1. Vaduz Castle
The royal family of Liechtenstein still retains a residence at Vaduz Castle, so it’s not open to the public. Still, Vaduz Castle dominates views from almost every corner of the city and it’s worth the trip to see it up close. We chose to drive to the castle but you can also hike up the walking trail to catch a view of the castle, Vaduz and the Rhine Valley.
Vaduz Castle was built in the 16th century and was acquired by the Princely Family of Liechtenstein in 1712. It was restored and expanded in the 20th century, but again – it’s closed to the public.
2. Obere Burg
Obere Burg, known locally as Castle of Neu-Schellenberg, is one of the ruins castles in Liechtenstein. You may think that a castle which lies in ruins isn’t worth visiting. That’s wrong – it’s super cool! In fact, visiting a castle in ruins gives you chance to walk through the foundations and imagine what once stood in the place.
The ruins are located just north of Vaduz and are easy to reach from the town of Hinterschloss. There is no cost to enter the grounds of the castle and there are signs and markers to guide you around the ruins.
3. Schalun Castle
Also known as Wildschloss, Schalun Castle is a second ruins castle which is about a kilometer northeast of downtown Vaduz. The charming castle is fascinating to walk around and dates back to the late 1100’s. Best of all it’s also free to enter and easy to reach. You can access Schalun by foot and there are hiking trails near the site to bring you to the ruins.
4. Gutenberg Castle
The well-preserved castle of Gutenberg is located in the town of Balzers. We drove there from Vaduz in a little over 10 minutes and walked up the hill of the castle.
The hill has been occupied since the neolithic period, but a castle similar to the current structure has exited since the early 1100’s. It was originally a medieval church and cemetery which were walled off, fortified and expanded.
It’s free to explore the castle grounds and guided tours can be arranged. We didn’t look into a guided tour and when we visited the grounds there were no tour groups on the premises.
5. Untere Burg
The final ruins castle to visit is called Untere Burg or Lower Castle. It’s also known locally as Castle of Alt-Schellenberg and is the smaller and newer castle in Schellenberg. Construction of the castle finished in 1250 and was an occupied residence for about 300 years. Eventually, the castle lost strategic military purpose and was abandoned by the local nobility.
Similar to nearby Obere Burg, it’s free to enter the ruins of the castle and you can hike to the site easily. It’s located on the edge of the forest near Schellenberg. The site has informative sign markers and maps to aid in your visit.
Check Out The Local Liechtenstein Food and Drink
Okay, I get it – you don’t go out for Liechtenstein cuisine often. Still, there’s a few local food and drink stops that you have to make while in Liechtenstein. Here are three distinctly Liechtenstein food and drink experiences you should include in your itinerary.
6. Do a Tasting at The Princely Wine Cellars
We love wine tourism, so it was super exciting to learn of the Liechtenstein winery in Vaduz. It’s the Princely Wine Cellars of the Prince of Liechtenstein and they do walk-in tastings and allow the public to tour the grounds of the vineyard.
We tried four glasses of wine and enjoyed learning more about wine making in Liechtenstein. The royal family owns vineyards in Vaduz as well as the Austrian capital of Vienna where they maintain a royal residence.
7. Try Käsknöpfle, the National Dish of Liechtenstein
One of the best ways to experience local culture is through the food, so we were excited to try Käsknöpfle, the national dish of Liechtenstein. It’s a rich dish made from pasta that reminded me a little of macaroni and cheese. The dough is made from flour, eggs, water, salt and pepper – simple enough. Then it’s cooked and mixed with local cheese and topped with fried onions. It’s served with a side of apple sauce or apple puree.
8. Taste Liechtenstein's Craft Beer
We love a local craft beer in any country that we visit. To our surprise, we found the scene in Liechtenstein to be delicious and sampled the Alpagold from Liechtenstein Brauhaus. It’s a premium lager and the highest rated beer from the brewery.
If you visit Liechtenstein we highly recommend a visit to the brew house or ordering it from any bar or restaurant you visit.
Visit the Best Museums in Liechtenstein
When you visit Liechtenstein, you’ll want to learn more about the history, art and industry of the tiny country. For a small microstate, there are a lot of museums that can teach you more about the country. Here are four of the most popular museums in Liechtenstein.
9. The Liechtenstein National Museum (Landesmuseum)
There are over 3,000 exhibits at the Liechtenstein National Museum. Together they detail the history, art, culture and archaeology of Liechtenstein. There’s even a gallery covering the natural history of the tiny nation.
If you only have a short time in Liechtenstein, the museum is a perfect way to get an overview of the nation. It’s conveniently located on the pedestrian street of Vaduz near the tourism office.
10. The Postage Stamp Museum
The postage stamp museum is actually part of the National Museum and surprisingly fun and interesting. You don’t need to be into stamp collecting to enjoy the museum. Bonus, you can even get and mail post cards from the museum – which is what we did. Who wouldn’t want a post card from one of the smallest and least visited countries of the world?
Robe Trotting Tip: After learning more about postage stamps, walk across the pedestrian street to the Liechtenstein Tourism Office. They will actually stamp your passport for €3 and since Liechtenstein and it’s neighbors are part of the Schengen Zone, it’s the only way to get a Liechtenstein passport stamp.
11. The Art Museum of Liechtenstein (Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein)
The art museum of Liechtenstein is housed in an architecturally famous building in Vaduz. Unpopular opinion – it’s kind of a plain building – but maybe I just don’t know anything about architecture. It’s probably the latter.
Inside the building you’ll find the lovely state museum of modern and contemporary art. The highlight of the museum is a revolving exhibition of the Prince of Liechtenstein’s private collection. An area of the art gallery has been constructed to house this special exhibition.
In 2015 an addition to the museum was erected in the Hilti Art Foundation. It acts as an extension of the original museum and also houses works of art from the last 130 years.
12. The Typewriter and Calculator Museum in Schaan
One of the quirky things we didn’t get to experience is the TYperwriter and Calculator Museum in Schaan. We had to cut it for time because decided to take the Lake Constance ferry to our next destination. Even though we missed it, you shouldn’t because it seems like the kind of “good weird” hidden gem in Liechtenstein you will talk about at Christmas parties for years to come.
An interactive museum on typewriters and calculators still has us super curious – so we may need another trip to Liechtenstein soon.
Enjoy Outdoor Activities in Liechtenstein
It goes without saying, but the Alps are a perfect place to experience the outdoors. This makes Liechtenstein an ideal destination for any outdoors lover looking to explore the region. Here are a few ways for you to enjoy the wild side of Liechtenstein.
13. Go For An Alpine Bike Ride
When we first drove up the mountain to Malbun I was shocked to see so many people biking. Then I realized that the majority were getting up the large hills using an e-bike. Whether a regular mountain bike or an e-bike is your mode of choice, you should consider renting a bike in Liechtenstein.
Having a bike gives you access to the many hiking and bike trails in the country. It’s also easy to bike up the mountain with an e-bike and stop off at lookouts for gorgeous views of the Swedish Alps across the Rhine.
14. Enjoy Skiing in Liechtenstein
As mentioned, our first trip to Liechtenstein was during July. Naturally it did not include skiing, but we wouldn’t be able to offer a complete list of things to do in Liechtenstein without including the activity. Malbun is the skiing village that we visited while in the country and it looks like a spectacular skiing destination.
There are several connected lodges and gondolas that even run in the summer to transport hikers. The country is known worldwide for skiing so experience the rush of Alpine skiing in Liechtenstein if you get the chance.
15. Hike The Historical Eschnerberg Trail
The entire country of Liechtenstein is wrapped with hiking trails. Many lead to and from castles, villages and scenic overlooks. The most famous among them is the historical Eschnerberg Trail, a 15k (about 10 miles) linking Bendern and Schellenberg.
The trail takes about four hours to hike if you move at a decent pace. Give yourself a half day because you’ll want to stop at various points to take photos of the valley views and the Rhine River and to explore ancient settlements and ruins castles.
Another popular hiking trail is the Prince’s Way. It cuts through the Rätikon mountain range and gives you sweeping views of the Tree Sisters or Drie Schwestern.
Visit The Best Landmarks in Liechtenstein
Some of the best things to do in Liechtenstein include visiting landmarks and sites. There’s so much natural beauty in the country, but some of the man-made structures rival that brilliance. Here’s a list of the best places to visit and of course snap a photo for your social media. Instagram selfies from Liechtenstein should set your feed apart from everybody else’s.
16. The Cathedral of Saint Florian Vaduz
This stone church is built in the neo-Gothic style and has been standing in Liechtenstein since 1873. It was originally a parish church but was declared a cathedral in 1997. The site has long been a house of worship and the modern cathedral was built atop medieval foundations.
17. The Old Rhine Bridge, Alte Rheinbrück
The Alt Rheinbrück was one of the first things we noticed when we drove into Liechtenstein. It’s a gorgeous covered bridge connecting Liechtenstein and Switzerland. This wooden connection crosses the Alpine Rhine and is reserved for pedestrians and bike traffic.
We walked the river trail on the Swiss side of the river to reach the bridge and spent about 40 minutes. It was incredibly serene to relax, enjoy the surrounding mountains and watch the river flow. Of course it’s also one of the best instagram spots in Liechtenstein.
18. The Red House, Rotes Haus
The Red House of Vaduz is a gabled-stairs building and tower that has had many owners over the centuries. A structure was built in 1338 and was painted dark red in the mid-1800s. Today it’s a privately-owned building but at one point it was a monastery.
Because it’s privately owned, the Red House can only be viewed from the outside, but it’s worth visiting for a photo op.
19. The Medieval Central Village of Vaduz, Mitteldorf
Not far from the gorgeous Red House you’ll find Mitteldorf, the historic center of Vaduz. The medieval central village is lovely to stroll through and see up close. This historic village features charming ancient houses and narrow streets – perfect for a lazy afternoon.
In this area of the city you can also find several restaurants and vineyards. There’s also a great view of Vaduz Castle from this higher area above the modern city center of Vaduz.
20. Liechtenstein Parliament
The government building of Liechtenstein is gorgeous and dates back to 1905. It’s the seat of government of Liechtenstein and located on an ornate plaza with fountain. It’s located on the edge of the Städtle, the promenade and pedestrian street running thorugh the center of Vaduz.
Now You Are Ready For Liechtenstein
That’s it! Now you’re ready to get out and explore this underrated region of Europe. Liechtenstein was such a highlight of our summer road trip and you’ll love the country just as much. It’s simply beautiful and these Liechtenstein travel tips should set you on your way.
Make sure to let us know what you think and anything else you discover in Liechtenstein as you travel!
Pin This Post
Lets Keep in Touch
Like our Facebook page. Follow us on on Twitter. Follow us on Instagram.