Cramped in between Austria and Switzerland, tiny Liechtenstein is one of the smallest countries in the world. This alone makes it a fun country to spend some time in combination with a visit to one of its larger neighbours!
Fun Fact: Liechtenstein is one of the 2 double landlocked countries in the world. It is surrounded by landlocked Austria and Switzerland which have no direct access to a sea or ocean. What is the other double landlocked country I hear you ask… that would be Uzbekistan.
Liechtenstein at a glance
The monarchy, as it is reigned by the Prince of Liechtenstein, has an area of only 160 square kilometres. (62 square miles). The capital is Vaduz, where you also find the main tourist sights. However, the largest municipality is Schaan, which is actually neighbouring Vaduz.
Economically, the country has one of the highest gross domestic products per person in the world (if not the highest). The unemployment rate is one of the lowest in the world at 1.5%. Liechtenstein has been known in the past as a tax haven. However, this has changed in recent years to avoid being on any blacklist.
The country only has around 38.000 inhabitants. This obviously results in “administrative” challenges, for which the country has found solutions. For example, the border police of Switzerland is guarding the border with Austria. The country does not have an army and it uses Swiss Francs as a currency.
Key sights and activities
Liechtenstein has multiple sights and activities to fill any time from a few hours to a few days, depending on your itinerary! We only spend a few hours here, travelling from Switzerland to Austria, as most tourists do. The country has various historical sights and various museums.
The most famous historical site of Liechtenstein is Vaduz castle, which is the palace and official residence of the Prince of Liechtenstein. It overlooks Vaduz and the valley from a hilltop and you cannot miss it! You can drive up close, but it is not open to visitors.
Unlike Vaduz Castle, the Gutenberg castle does not serve as a residence and is open to the general public and functions as a museum. It is located in the town of Balzers.
This Winery of the Prince of Liechtenstein. We just drove up to have a look at the vineyards, within the backdrop the Vaduz Castle. You can do a sample tasting here or have lunch or dinner.
Like Switzerland, Liechtenstein seems to have all luxury brand watches here in its shopping street. When we visited the city was performing various renovations. The city centre of Vaduz is quite modern. Do not expect any quint cobblestoned streets, like find in some other alpine towns.
On the main street of Vaduz, next to the various watch shops, you will find various museums. Examples are the Liechtenstein National Museum and the very modern Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein.
Hiking and skiing
Depending on your travel plans and time of year, you may want to enjoy the outdoors of Liechtenstein. For example, next to the Vaduz castle we saw various hiking trails. In case you visit during winter you could try some of Liechtenstein’s ski slopes. Also, do check the monarchy’s Tourism website for additional information!
I believe this sums up most of the key sights and activities in Liechtenstein. Let me know what you think or share your must-do activities via my various social media channels!…