An Afternoon in Liechtenstein

BY ONEIKA RAYMOND

I’m not the type of traveller who goes to places just to say that I’ve been.  But when I realized that I was just a hop, skip, a jump away from the tiny European nation of Liechtenstein (well, a train and a bus ride, if we’re going to be accurate) I couldn’t help adding it to my itinerary.

Allow me to set the scene: it was late August and I found myself kicking around Switzerland as part of my solo epic rail journey last summer with Eurail.com.  I was in Zurich, the weather was splendid, and I was feeling pretty happy to be alive.  But I was also, if I’m completely honest, a bit… bored.  Though I love travelling solo and have espoused the value of travelling by yourself in this post, I was starting to get a bit tired of my own company.

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*cue violin music*

Before I could feel too sorry for myself, however, I realized that this was the prime opportunity to embark on an adventure. Tiny Liechtenstein is a just over an hour away from Zurich.  Quickly referencing my Eurail guide, I figured out that I could use my rail pass to get to village of Sargans, on the Swiss border, then hop a bus to Vaduz, Liechtenstein’s capital. Before I knew it, I was there, sweating profusely as I scampered up and down the city’s main drag in the search of a cold drink.

 

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Sadly, I wasn’t hugely impressed with what I saw.  I didn’t ‘feel’ like I was in Liechtenstein; for all intents and purposes it resembled Switzerland, at least to me. There is not much to do in Vaduz other than to hike up to the Royal Palace (and even then you can’t enter- it’s closed to tourists, boo!).

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A brief stop in the tourist office told me that Vaduz has an art museum and a post stamp museum (huh?), but those of you who know me well know that this discovery left me very uninspired.  Lest you find me completely mirthless, this statue of a dude planking had me amused…

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To be fair, my dismay with this miniscule principality was partially my fault. Quite simply, I was in the wrong place at the wrong time of year.  Liechtenstein is a prime tourist destination in the winter, not summer, appealing to ski enthusiasts who flock to the slopes in Malbun, a village 15km southeast of Vaduz.

Furthermore, what Vaduz was lacking in excitement, it made up for in views.  Check these snaps out:

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After three hours of exploring in the relentless sun, I hunkered down in my seat on the bus and made my way back to Switzerland. I’m not sure I would come to Liechtenstein again, but I’m glad that I had the chance to see it with my own eyes.  I mean, how many people can say that they’ve been to Liechtenstein?!

Have you ever heard or been to Liechtenstein?

 

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59 Comments

  • So my ancestral ( a few centuries ago) home is Lichtenstein. We travelled there many years ago, stayed in the village of Balzers, and bought stamps with pictures of the Balzer castle. It is a great deal like Switzerland, but it was a sentimental journey.

    Reply
    • I remember you telling me that! I did see the name Balzer while in the region and thought of you. 🙂

      Reply
  • I had a great time in Liechtenstein! Part of that was the wonderful guide I had on my first day, who showed me places like the chapel where all the girls like to get married because of the views of the vineyards.

    You can actually go wine tasting in the prince’s personal vineyards!

    Reply
    • I think I really would have benefitted from having a guide. I was actually invited by the Liechtenstein tourism board to spend two days and one night in Vaduz, but I had already planned by stay in Zurich and couldn’t accept their offer. I totally forgot to mention that visiting vineyards is a possibility – I guess I do have a reason to go back after all.. 😉

      Reply
  • I have heard of Liechtenstein, but it has never crossed my mind to visit it…beautiful pictures you have here.

    Reply
  • Have to echo my love of visiting the vineyard there. And the restaurant at the vineyard (Torkel), eating on the patio with the view of the vineyard and the Alps across the Rhine…perhaps one of the best dining experiences of my life!

    Reply
    • In my short time there I didn’t have the chance to sample the local cuisine, which is a shame!

      Reply
  • It looks gorgeous! However, I suppose if you were surrounded by similar scenery in Switzerland before and after this, that you were probably just used to it!

    Reply
    • I think that was basically what happened… I was also super tired from travelling, which sucked some of my enthusiasm!

      Reply
  • I love the pictures and your impressions of Liechtenstein (had to scroll back up to make sure I spelled that right). I’ve never been, but it’s not a place that inspires me to go. I’d rather see more of Switzerland, I think. Still, very interesting post and another country to check off your list!

    Reply
  • Nice scenery, beautiful photos (as always). What really impresses me about some of the countries that you’ve visited is that they are so clean. No trash on the streets, no McDonalds wrappers, pop bottles or candy wrappers any where to be seen. I really love that they take so much pride in their countries. Here in the U.S. people seem to revel in tossing their trash on the streets like its a sport. Anyway, thanks for sharing your experience and, like you said, you really do need to go back to Liechtenstein in the winter. I’d love to see those hills and valleys capped with snow.

    Reply
  • Looks absolutely! A country with that odd a name is surely worth a visit. Did you know they got a black woman as a princess there? Now that’s a true royal romance!

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  • I was in Liechtenstein for a day in autumn back in 2010 and I had exactly the same impressions as you. It must be the most boring capital and country to visit. The views weren’t all that great (neighbours Austria and Switzerland have them so much better!) and Vaduz was seriously the capital with nothing to do. But I did loved the vineyards!

    Reply
  • Thank you for this post & the inspiration 🙂 I live in Zurich but have never been to Lichtenstein (besides driving trough by train). So the next sunny day I know what to do – I will visit Lichtenstein!

    Reply
  • I traveled through Liechtenstein on a cold winter day two years ago. I am glad to see some sunny pics now. I esp love the first one. Very symbolic. By the way there are some palaces and castles still owned by the princely family of Liechtenstein in my native country Austria. So if you would like to see some more Liechtenstein feel free to visit Austria 🙂

    Reply
  • I have certainly heard of Liechtenstein, it is Europe’s 4th smallest country, 5th being my country Malta 🙂 It looks like a very picturesque place, do not know much about it though, thanks for the info!

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  • No, but Liechtenstein is on my list of places to visit during a winter season. I had never heard of it until Prince Max married Angela Brown (a Black woman from NYC) in May 2000. I thought that was pretty cool because that sort of thing happens only once a century or so. Since it’s Black History month, I thought I would share that tidbit of information. 🙂

    http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/princess%20angela%20of%20liechtenstein

    Reply
    • Yes, I heard about her, it was one of the reasons that I hiked up to the royal residence! Sadly you’re not able to enter!

      Reply
  • I do agree with all of the ideas you’ve presented in your post. They are very convincing and will certainly work. Still, the posts are too short for newbies. Could you please extend them a little from next time? Thanks for the post.

    Reply
  • I’ve been to Liechtenstein and we met the Prince as he as walking across town kind of incognito. He took our picture hahaha.

    Reply
  • haha “I was starting to get a bit tired of my own company.” Yeah, I know that feeling 😀 Sorry to hear it didn’t impress; I agree with the Switzerland comment, though. When I was looking at your pictures, I was thinking “kind of looks like Switzerland!” lol

    Reply
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