Perhaps you’ve heard of Liechtenstein, perhaps you’ve not, but if you’re thinking it might be interesting to visit this landlocked microstate in Europe, you’re probably wondering - is Liechtenstein worth visiting?
Since I packed up my car and moved to Croatia, I’ve driven across Europe between the UK and Croatia on several occasions and each time, I try to take a different route. Our summer route in 2022 took us back through Switzerland and Austria so I decided it was the perfect opportunity to tick Liechtenstein off my bucket list and see what this small but mighty country had to offer.
Most people who have heard of Liechtenstein will be familiar with the assumptions that Liechtenstein is expensive, difficult to reach and there’s not a lot to do - read on to find out if Liechtenstein really is worth visiting!
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Where is Liechtenstein?
The Principality of Liechtenstein is a tiny, landlocked country located in Europe between Austria and Switzerland in the Alps and is the 6th smallest country in the world.
The country itself is German-speaking and the currency is Swiss Francs, although there is some circulation of the Euro. The capital city of Liechtenstein is Vaduz.
Just 25 km long and with a population of 38,000 people, Liechtenstein is a democratic constitutional monarchy ruled by the Prince of Liechtenstein and has been an independent nation since 1866.
How to get to Liechtenstein
Liechtenstein does not have its own airport, therefore you will need to arrive into either Switzerland or Austria in order to visit Liechtenstein.
The closest city and airport is Zurich, located 1 hour drive west of Liechtenstein.
St. Gallen-Altenrhein airport in Switzerland and Friedrichshafen airport in Germany are also nearby but they have less available flights from international destinations.
From Zurich, the Swiss rail connections will get you to Sargans or Buchs where you can get a bus connection to Liechtenstein.
Find the Liechtenstein bus timetables here.
If you’re arriving by road from Switzerland or Austria, please be aware that you need a Vignette (a motorway toll sticker) on your vehicle in order to drive on motorways in the two countries.
Flixbus also has connections to Liechtenstein from several major cities including direct connections from Munich in Germany, Milan in Italy, Lugano in Switzerland and Bregenz in Austria.
Is Liechtenstein safe for tourists?
Liechtenstein is extremely safe for tourists and locals.
Not only does Liechtenstein have one of the lowest crime rates in the world, but it’s also one of the few countries in the world that does not have a military. There is no perceived threat to Liechtenstein, it maintains a position of political neutrality, the employment rate is extremely high in the country and a population of just 38,000 people.
Liechtenstein’s borders are managed by Switzerland and there are no physical border checkpoints or crossings when you enter Liechtenstein.
Tourism in Liechtenstein is very minimal, in fact I don’t think we even came across any other tourists in Liechtenstein during our day there in late September. The country and even Vaduz seemed quiet, local and very safe.
Is Liechtenstein expensive to visit?
Simply put, yes it’s very similar in pricing to Switzerland as they use the Swiss Franc, so don’t expect a trip to Liechtenstein to be a budget friendly trip!
However because there is not much tourism industry in the country, prices stay relatively stable for visitors, inland with the normal fluctuations for residents. There are no price hikes in the summer or price drops in the winter as you would see in some European countries.
Is Liechtenstein worth visiting?
If you’re planning on visiting Liechtenstein as part of an existing trip then I would say yes, Liechtenstein is worth visiting.
A day trip to Liechtenstein from Zurich or Lucerne is a great option. Or perhaps if you’re planning a road trip in Switzerland or Austria, I definitely think that Liechtenstein is worth a visit for the day or perhaps a 1 night stay.
However I don’t think Liechtenstein is worth visiting as the sole destination on a trip, especially if you’re coming from further afield, simply because it is so small and more than a few days there would be too much - especially when there is so much incredible beauty and things to do in neighbouring Austria and Switzerland!
If you are thinking about adding Liechtenstein to your travel itinerary, here’s a few ideas for things to do in Liechtenstein.
What to see in Liechtenstein
If you’re planning what to see in Liechtenstein and what to do in Liechtenstein if you’re perhaps only visiting for 1 day like me, then here are some ideas:
You can drive up to this 12th century castle easily or walk up from the main street in Vaduz, called Staedtle street. If you have time to walk up there are many beautiful viewpoints along the way to see the city (and the whole country!) from above.
Vaduz Staedtle Street and Main Square
Vaduz was not as charming or traditional as I had expected from a European capital city and if you’re wondering “is Vaduz worth visiting?” then I’ll say honestly that I’m still on the fence! However the city does offer a clean, attractive, if unexpectedly modern, central area as well as vineyards and castle access.
Liechtenstein National Museum
I’m not a huge museum fan, but if you visit on a rainy day or you want to know more about the history of Liechtenstein then this is a great stop for you.
Vineyards of Liechtenstein
Did you know that Liechtenstein is actually pretty well-known for its wine products?
If you’re a wine lover then perhaps a visit to one of Liechtenstein’s wineries is a great way to spend your trip. Some are very close to the capital city of Vaduz, including the Cellars of the Prince of Liechtenstein which is located in the city itself and is a super easy addition to your itinerary.
Alte Rhinebrucke aka the Old Rhine Bridge
This old wooden bridge dates back to 1871 and it is the oldest bridge that crosses the Rhine River. It connects Liechtenstein to Switzerland and is used for commuters between the two countries as well as those following cycling and hiking routes between the two countries as it’s part of a very well-maintained foot and bike path.
Outdoor Adventure activities
Liechtenstein might be small but as you might expect being surrounded by Switzerland and Austria, the country is full of opportunities for hiking, swimming, mountain biking and trail running in the summer months and you can reach them all within half an hour thanks to the country’s size.
In fact, you’ll see trail markers everywhere as you’re exploring the town and the countryside.
Malbun Ski Resort
Liechtenstein has just as much to offer as a winter destination if you love snowsports. The country is home to a single ski resort - Malbun, where you’ll find epic slopes, ski and snowboarding as well as cross country skiing and the most charming alpine huts for a picturesque and more unique winter getaway in Europe.
Summary: Is Liechtenstein worth visiting?
Hopefully this article has given you a good idea of Liechtenstein and what to expect from this microstate.
As you’ve probably gathered, I wasn’t totally in love with the country as a destination however I do think it’s well worth a day trip from Zurich or an afternoon stop on your road trip if you happen to be passing through.
There’s enough of interest in and around Vaduz to make a quick stop worthwhile and then you can officially say you’ve been to one of the smallest countries in the world!
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