Things to do in Liechtenstein – Travel Guide for first time visitors
Liechtenstein is an alpine German-speaking country landlocked by Switzerland and Austria. It is also considered as one of the smallest countries in the world with an area of 160 km2 only and a population, not more than 40 thousand people. So let’s see what are the things to do in Liechtenstein.
Vaduz, which is officially is still a village is Liechtenstein’s capital. A modern city and a major center of commerce and international banking. Like Switzerland, Liechtenstein also uses CHF or Swiss Franc as its currency.
However, it’s official language is German, and has an Alemannic dialect.
Its government is Hereditary constitutional monarchy on a democratic and parliamentary basis. Currently, the prince of Liechtenstein is Prince Hans-Adam II. It is known as the last remnant of the Holy Roman Empire and an independent nation with very close ties to Switzerland.
Check out my recent post: Travel Guide on visiting Neuschwanstein Castle
Getting to know about Liechtenstein
Liechtenstein is very mountainous as you can see in the above photos. It lies in the middle of two countries Switzerland and Austria. Together, with Uzbekistan, doubly landlocked. One of only two countries to be landlocked by landlocked countries.
According to its geographic state, most of the country’s population lives in the long and wide Rhine Valley in the western third. The country’s highest point is the Grauspitz, which stretches to 2,599 m.
Liechtenstein the 6th smallest country in the world, it is 2.5 times bigger than San Marino (5th smallest) and 81 times bigger than Monaco. (2nd smallest)
Despite being one of the tiniest countries, Liechtenstein was also named as a tax haven. With its outstanding economic growth, it is one of the richest countries governed by an iron-willed monarch.
As I have mentioned, the national language is German, but the main language in everyday use is an Alemannic German dialect. Almost everyone can speak standard German and English. French and Latin are also widely taught in the secondary public school system.
Towns of Liechtenstein
Divided into 11 municipalities, its capital is Vaduz, and its largest municipality is Schaan. We’ll start with Ruggell, the most northerly and low-lying of the Liechtenstein communities/municipalities, with a population of 2,243 in 2017. It is also a town where there is a nature reserve of rare plants and animals.
Schellenberg – a municipality in the lowland area of Liechtenstein, on the banks of the Rhine with a museum of rural homes.
Balzers, The main part of the village is situated along the east bank of the Rhine. This town is home to a very beautiful church and castle.
Malbun is an area for skiing and snowboarding, Schaan, the largest populated area in the country representing an important traffic hub and industrial location of the country.
There’s Triesen, a small town south of Vaduz, It contains several historic churches dating from the fifteenth century. Triesenberg, the largest municipality in Liechtenstein. It is an alpine town high in Liechtenstein’s mountains.
Another, is Bendern, where Liechtenstein was born in 1699 and Nendeln, where there are ceramics works and Roman ruins.
Last but not the list, Vaduz, the capital of Liechtenstein and the seat of government.
Things to do in Liechtenstein (Vaduz)
The first thing to do in Liechtenstein especially in Vaduz is to see its surroundings, mainly, its architecture styled residential houses and buildings.
When we arrived in Liechtenstein, I directly noticed how beautiful the buildings and the houses are. Vaduz was a really clean and classy town.
We have a great stroll from Vaduz cathedral to Rathaus. And I can see that Vaduz does have everything, from modern art and historical collections to outdoor cafés, restaurants and boutiques.
Get to see the Center of Government in Vaduz
Arriving in Vaduz, the center of government is the first place that we went after parking our car at a parking lot nearby. From there we gazed a unique baroc designed colored roof of the government building.
It s the seat of the government of the Principality of Liechtenstein dating from 1905.
At the back of Government building located is the Music School. It is the birthplace and memorial to the great Liechtenstein composer Josef Gabriel Rheinberger. The building today houses the country’s Music School.
Included in the center of government is the Parliament Building which seats few meters from the Government Building. According to the country’s history, the realization of the new building for the national Parliament (Landtag) is another milestone in the design of the Government District.
Since 2008, the 25-member parliament convenes in the new Parliament Building. This government center can be found near the Cathedral at Peter-Kaiser-Platz.
Check out the National Museum
Getting to the tourist information place, you will see the Liechtenstein National Museum. It features a permanent exhibition of the archaeology, history, art, cuture as well as the natural history of Liechtenstein, drawing upon over 3000 exhibits in 42 galleries.
The museum building dated back to 1438. It used to house the princely tavern, custom house and the seat of the government.
Don’t miss the Postal Museum of Liechtenstein
One of the best museums that you should visit is the Postal Museum. For postal stamp lovers, this is a perfect place to visit. The museum exhibits postage stamps issued by Liechtenstein since 1912 and also the history of postal service of the country.
The Postal Museum collects and preserves important documents regarding Liechtenstein’s philately and the history of its postal services, and makes them accessible to a wider audience in the exhibition.
It has a wide collection of the Liechtenstein philatelic collection, complemented by templates and exhibits from stamp production.
A collection of stamps from Universal Postal Union countries and documents regarding the history of postal service and communications
Lastly, it also features artworks by stamp designers.
Visit the largest museum of Liechtenstein – Kunstmuseum
If you happen to visit Vaduz, you have to visit its largest museum in Liechtenstein. Kuntmeuseum is an international museum of modern and contemporary art with an important international art collection.
The building was completed in November 2000 and forms a “black box” of tinted concrete and black basalt stone.
Liechtenstein Art Museum features architecturally significant masterpiece from the year 2000.
A state museum of modern and contemporary art with a temporary exhibition. It also has a special exhibition with painting from the private collections of the Prince of Liechtenstein.
The Rathaus or Town Hall
After a few minutes of walk from Kuntmuseum, you will see the splendidly decorated Rathaus. It was constructed in 1932-33 and as was renovated from 1982-1984.
Its southern façade is particularly noteworthy, with its ornaments around the window and the balcony fresco by Johannes Troyer.
Looking at the front of the balcony balustrade is decorated with images of winegrowers, while the sides show ears of wheat and corn cobs. The municipal coat of arms carved in stone over the entrance was realized by Engelbert Ospelt.
Therefore, the municipal coat of arms can be seen carved in stone above the entrance. The town hall is found near the Busterminal at the Stadtle street.
Get a glimpse of Liechtenstein Cathedral
As I’ve said earlier, the cathedral was one of the first landmarks that I have noticed. It was located just beside the center of the government and the music school.
It is a neo-gothic style, formerly the Parish Church of St. Florian Vaduz. Appointed as an official cathedral as a consequence of the elevation to the independent archbishopric of Vaduz 1997.
It was built in 1874 by Friedrich von Schmidt on the site of earlier medieval foundations. Nevertheless, its patron saint is Florinus of Remüs (Florin), a 9th-century saint of the Vinschgau Valley.
Visit the best known Red House
Since we went to the tourist office to get a map of Vaduz, I’ve also seen one of the nice landmarks to visit in this town. It was the astonishing Red House not far from the famous Liechtenstein University.
The house was built in 1338 and gots its name from the dark-red color the building has had since the middle of the 19th century. The Red House’s many owners over the years include the St. Johann Monastery.
Thus, it has been in the possession of the Rheinberger family. Egon Rheinberger is a famous painter, sculptor, and architect.
Get the best view of Vaduz Castle
Finally, we’re down to the last one. One of the best things to do in Liechtenstein is to visit its famous Vaduz Castle. Most known as the palace and official residence of the Prince of Liechtenstein.
The castle has been the primary residence of Liechtenstein’s Princely Family and is not open to the public as the princely family still lives in the castle.
The tower stands on a piece of ground that is 12 by 13 meters (39 by 43 feet) in area. At the ground floor, the tower walls have a thickness of up to 4 meters (13 feet). The original entrance lay at the courtyard side at a height of 11 meters (36 feet).
We went to see Vaduz castle close up, it was huge and very impressive to look at. We even went up to the back gate, but it was closed and not open for public.
Tips on how to get to Liechtenstein
If you happen to visit Switzerland or Austria or even up to the border of Germany, It a good opportunity to visit Liechtenstein with your car. You can take the Swiss Autobahn A13/E34 which goes along the Swiss side of the Rhine River.
The alternative is to reach Liechtenstein via Austria. (which was our case) Coming from Germany, you most likely will also buy a vignette which is available in a 10-day variety that is much cheaper than the Swiss year version.
You enter Liechtenstein directly from the north, via the Austrian city of Feldkirch.
If you are on a budget or doesn’t’ have a car with you, it is still possible to visit Liechtenstein. You can take the Austrian federal railway company that runs a limited service from Buchs SG station in Switzerland, via Schaan-Vaduz station (near Schaan) to Feldkirch in Austria.
Trains only run a few times a day, which makes buses commonly more convenient. There is a long-standing plan for a “FLACH S-Bahn” (for “Fürstentum Liechtenstein Austria Confoederatio Helvetica or Liechtenstein, Austria, Switzerland) to better connect Liechtenstein’s major urban centers to the neighboring railway networks.
Sources: Liechtenstein Wikivoyage and Liechtenstein Tourism
Things to do in Liechtenstein
Reading about Liechtenstein make me feel have been there, is adventurous. The national museum, wow, the reservation centers, the red house and exhibition.
Thank you Deborah, Liechtenstein is a must visit country, although it’s very tiny yet very interesting! You can do a one day tour here 🙂