Here you will find the top things to do in Liechtenstein, a small landlocked country in Europe.
I compiled this guide to help you plan a trip to the micronation AND to help you decide if it’s worthwhile a visit.
Table of Contents
🧭 Where is Liechtenstein?
Liechtenstein is a small landlocked country situated in the European alps between Switzerland and Austria. The country is further split into the Oberland (highlands) and Unterland (lower lands).
The Rhine river to the west forms the border to Switzerland, located to the left, with the principality of Liechtenstein in the east. The area is known as the Liechtenstein Rhine Valley.
Located to the east tower the alps that establish the main border to Austria, and the federal state of Vorarlberg.
Flanked by the alps, and sandwiched by some of the richest countries in the world, Liechtenstein somewhat belongs to the DACH countries.
The DACH countries include all the German speaking countries, including Germany (D for Deutschland), Austria and Switzerland (CH fro Confœderatio Helvetica).
📕 What is Liechtenstein known for?
Liechtenstein is known as the principality of Liechtenstein. In German, it’s the Fürstentum Liechtenstein.
That means the small country is a monarchy and its current leader is prince Hans-Adam II of the house of Liechtenstein.
The country is mainly known as one of the smallest countries in Europe as it belongs to the list of micronations such as Monaco, Andorra, Vatican, and San Marino. In fact, it’s the world’s 6th smallest nation with just 62 square miles (160 square kilometers).
Thanks to its location and intricate history, it has emerged as a banking heaven in Europe. Therefore, Liechtenstein is frequented by upper-class people. With that also comes the casino culture, and the tiny country has a whooping 8 major casinos.
Fortunately, the country has been investing in art, and you will plainly see that on your visit to the capital, Vaduz.
One of the most well-known power tool brands, Hilti, has its base in Liechtenstein, and incidentally, they created the Hilti foundation.
📍 Experience Vaduz, the Capital of Liechtenstein
Vaduz is the capital of Liechtenstein, located at the heart of the tiny country. All administrative buildings and most sights can be found in Vaduz.
The town isn’t that large and in fact, it feels more like a village environment and not a busy country capital. As a result, you will be able to see Vaduz within a morning or afternoon trip.
The old town of Vaduz is a modern town with renovated buildings and plenty of art. Restaurants, bars, small shops and museums can be found in the historical city center. It reminded me of Luxembourg, another small newly fashioned country in Europe.
Some of the most excising street art pieces include the African King bronze sculpture by the German artist Gunther Stilling, Reclining Woman bronze sculpture by Colombian artist Fernando Botero and the various colorful postage stamps between the cobbled streets.
Important old world historical buildings include the Vaduz town hall, the Verweserhaus and the Cathedral of St.Florin. Situated at the border of Vaduz lies the Red house (Rote Haus), which is a popular photo spot.
As bizarre as they may seem, but the Council and Federal government offices of Liechtenstein at the grand Peter-Kaiser square bring in a fresh breeze of contemporary architecture to the city of Vaduz.
And yes, art and flowers take over the rest of the town, with the art Kunstmuseum, the square cement building at the city center, taking over most impressions of Vaduz.
Learn more about Vaduz on a historical city walking tour with a local.
🏰 Liechtenstein Castles
The Vaduz Castle is the main landmark of Liechtenstein. The prince of Liechtenstein and his family still reside in the medieval 14th century stone walls, and therefore the castle is not open to visitors.
Yet, the city of Vaduz wouldn’t be the same with the iconic hilltop castle, and you can take some remarkable pictures of the castle from the old town. Another idea is to drive or walk up via the Schlossstieg and Schlossweg path to the castle to take in the landscape view from there.
The Burg Gutenberg castle is in Balzers a village south of Vaduz. This castle from the 12th century can be visited between 1st of May and 31st October. They also offer English tours!
I highly recommend a photo session of the hilltop castle with vineyard slopes. You will also find a pretty little rose garden there and a cute chapel.
The Schellenberg Castle Ruines consist of the Neu-Schellenberg (Obere Burg) which was the upper castle and the Ruine Alt-Schellenberg (Untere Burg), which was the oldest castle built before everything fell into ruin over the ages.
Relatively easy to access, and free of cost, the ruins of Schellenberg offer a window into the history of Schellenbeg, a state once belonging to the lordship of Schellenberg. The castle buildings were left to nature when Schellenberg became part of Liechtenstein in 1437.
🏫 Visit Museums
Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein – This unmissable cubic building at the heart of the city hosts contemporary and modern art. Entry is free of charge on Wednesday, and they are closed for visitations on Mondays.
Postmuseum – Liechtenstein was one of the first countries in the world to use letter stamps with the first stamps appearing in the 19th century. The permanent collection tells the tale, and you get to see unique collectibles in the Postmuseum.
Liechtenstein National Museum and Treasure Chamber – Consisting of 3 full floors, you will be able to learn more about the history of Liechtenstein. Simultaneously belonging to the national museum, the treasure chamber with a considerable collection of fabergé eggs is situated nearby.
The DoMus is a museum dedicated to stimulating contemporary art in Schaan, a municipality near the capital Vaduz. Rotating exhibitions can be seen and experienced free of charge every weekend from 2 pm to 6 pm (except Fridays it’s from 2 pm to 8 pm).
📜 Get your Passport stamped
While this might seem like a silly little thing to do, and yet my wife swears on it, but stamping a passport seems to be an attraction in itself when in Liechtenstein.
The micronation doesn’t have an international airport, and as a result, it’s almost impossible to get your passport stamped with the Liechtenstein arrival seal.
Passport stamp collectors, however, can collect a stamp at the Liechtenstein center (tourist office) in Vaduz. The center is located right next to the parliament building, so you can’t really miss it.
In a country where many activities are free, stamping a passport comes with a €3 or CHF3 fee. Yet, it’s definitely a fun touristy thing to do, or so claims my wife.
👁️ Discover the other Towns in Liechtenstein
Triesenberg – Head to Triesenberg by taking the road up to the Vaduz castle and continue the one-way road until you get to the municipality. From there you get the best views of Liechtenstein and Switzerland. Continue up this road to get to the iconic ski resort of Malbun to experience a prey show at the galina falconry centre.
Schaan – The largest municipality, located about 1.8 miles (ca. 3 kilometers) north of Vaduz, is Schaan. The Hilti headquarters and stores are located in Schaan and here you will also find the DoMus museum and the Kastell Schaan, a historical chapel sitting on top of still visible roman ruins. Hikers will enjoy the culture and forest trail in Schaan.
Balzers – When in Balzers visit the 12th century Burg Gutenberg fort.
Triesen – One of the earliest settlements in the area, Triesen is now known as a starting point for various themed hiking trails, such as the Triesen culture trail.
Gamprin – The outdoor sports and leisure park, Grossabünt, is located in Gamprin. The complex can be accessed free of charge and its main attractions are the kids’ playground and artificially created bathing lake.
Planken – You can get the best view of the 3 sisters (summits) in Planken and from here you can take on a hike to the Gafadura hut.
Ruggel – Known as the largest nature reserve in Liechtenstein, the Ruggeller Riet nature reserve is home to many endangered animals and plants. The nature reserve is a protected peat rich marshland, and you can do the beginner-friendly Ruggeller Riet circular hike to experience the area.
Schellenberg – Once upon a time, a historical state of the Holy Roma empirer, Schellenberg has been united with Liechtenstein for over 500 years now. The medieval Obere Burg von Schellenberg ruin tells the tale of this municipality.
🥾 Plan a Hiking Tour
Liechtenstein is an alpine country, and due to its size, an easy one to hike. That said, you will find tours for expert hikers, intermediaries, including easy trails.
- Fürstin Gina Loop – a sure-footed scenic 6 hour long loop.
- Fürstensteig to Three Sisters – for alpine experts and lovers of rock landscapes
- Liechtenstein Trail – This multi day trail takes you right across the country, from one end to the other.
- Eschnerberg Trail – A fun hiking loop, which takes you to the Schellenberg ruins, the former smuggler path Austrian border crossing and to Kneip water basins.
- Center of Liechtenstein – The geographical center of Liechtenstein comes with a lovely view. Go to the village of Gaflei and walk upwards for 40 minutes.
- Ruggeller Riet Circular Hike – a relaxing walk across the marshlands and the largest nature reserve in Liechtenstein.
- Schlossweg – The walk-up from Vaduz old town to the castle and view points.
🍷 Take part in a Wine Tasting Session
I’m certain that you haven’t heard of Liechtenstein wine in the past. Yet, Liechtenstein wine is a top product from the region and one that can be easily compared to wines produced in Germany, Austria, and the Alsace wine region.
The countries’ location in the Rhine valley, with a mild dry foehn wind climate and fertile soil, makes for a prime spot for wine production.
High-quality red grape varieties such as Blaufränkisch, Pinot Noir (aka Blauburgunder) and Zweigelt, as well as white wine varieties including Chardonney and Gerwürztraminer have been cultivated in Liechtenstein since before the time of Charlemagne (9th century).
Four major winegrowers, among many more smaller ones, are present in the principality. This includes the Hofkellerei, which is the prince’s own winery, the Castellum Vineyard, the Harry Zech Vineyard Cantina and the Hoop Vineyard.
The Prince of Liechtenstein winery (Hofkellerei) is centrally located in Vaduz and seems to be the most obvious choice for a wine degustation. Their packages start at €30 per person, and you might get a wine tour led by the Princess Marie of Liechtenstein.
Join a wine tasting session, learn about Liechtenstein wines and buy wine bottles to take back home because you certainly won’t come across Liechtenstein wine so soon again.
✨ Day Trips
Here are some of the best day trips from Liechtenstein:
- Feldkirch (Austria) – a quaint little border town known for its medieval old town and 12th century castle (Schattenburg).
- Dornbirn (Austria) – located near Feldkirch, Dornbirn is famed for its old town architecture.
- Bregenz (Austria) – situated at the lake Constance and known for the Bregenzer Festspiele summer performing arts festival.
- Lindau (Germany) – near Bregenz just across the border is Lindau, with the old town on an island.
- Appenzell (Switzerland) – a car-free village known for colorful houses and a strong smelling cheese.
- St.Gallen (Switzerland) – Famous for the UNESCO heritage protected abbey and cathedral.
- Wildhaus-Alt St Johann – A cute Swiss mountain resort near Liechtenstein.
⌛ When to visit?
The beauty of Liechtenstein is that it’s not overcrowded with tourists. You can visit the princely state anytime of the year, and it will feel as if you are all on your own.
Yet, most visitors, just as in Austria and Switzerland, still tend to travel to Liechtenstein during the summer months or winter months. The summer months because of the hiking season and the winter months for the skiing season.
We visited last in peak season August 2022 on a Monday, and found that the city was getting lightly crowded thanks to tour operators. Nonetheless, the people were not that overwhelming compared to other hot spot destinations in Europe.
Visit in spring or summer if you want to go hiking and explore the natural landscape of the country. Come in fall when the official wine season starts. Winter is obviously reserved for all lovers of snow and ice.
🚗 How to get there?
The nearest airport to fly in is the Zürich international airport in Switzerland. This is Switzerland’s biggest airport, so connections are frequent, and ticket prices are as per the region’s average.
Optionally, you can also fly into Innsbruck in Austria, but I don’t recommend this option because Zürich is much closer to Liechtenstein and flights to Innsbruck tend to be pricier because it’s a smaller International airport.
Private jets can land in St.Gallen-Alternheim too and the southern commune Balzern in Liechtenstein has a Helipad.
Road trippers from Zürich should avoid using smaller roads from Zürich to Buchs, because of the 30 km/h (18 mph) speed restrictions and speed cameras.
We thought it was a good idea, and then it wasn’t, so learn from our mistake if you would rather not pay for over speeding.
Instead, take the A3 highway to Sargans, the last point in Switzerland, and cross over to Balzern Liechtenstein.
You will need to get a highway sticker, valid for a year, and they only have that one, to use the Swiss highway. They can be purchased as post offices and gas stations.
The maximum speeding limit in Switzerland is 120km/h (74 mph). The road trip from Zürich to Liechtenstein is not specifically scenic, taking about 70 minutes in total.
In Austria, you will need to buy a highway sticker and those can be purchased at gas stations. The only way to cross the Tyrol region is via the busy A12 highway.
Then you will get to the Arlberg pass and here you can choose to pay and take the immensely long tunnel or to drive over the pass. We can highly recommend the scenic pass road when it is not winter.
Vorarlberg is short and sweet and soon enough you get to cross over to the Liechtenstein border.
By Public Transport
Train travel is convenient, frequent, affordable and always on time in Switzerland. You will find many great connections to Liechtenstein.
Take a SBB train in Zürich to Sargans. In Sargans take the bus to Vaduz.
If you take a fast train from Innsbruck towards direction Zürich, you will have to get out in Buchs, right next to the Liechtenstein border. From there you can take a bus to Vaduz.
If you are coming from Feldkirch in Austria, you can take the regional ÖBB train connection and get out at Schaan. Yet, the post bus offers a better and faster connection from Feldkirch to Vaduz.
Liechtenstein makes for a lovely base if you are looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of the world. The princely state isn’t that well known, so spending time there might be your choice if you are looking to tune out.
Culture seekers will want to stay around the capital, Vaduz. Hotel Vaduzhof is centrally located and offers modern large self-checkin rooms. The Residence Hotel is another top choice. Both are 4-star properties that offer rooms with various amenities.
The Parkhotel Sonnenhof comes highly recommended for all those looking for special accommodation with flair.
If nature is your true love, then I recommend booking a room at the Hotel Turna in Malbun. This ski resort town is situated at higher altitudes, and you will love the alpine landscapes there.
Yet, if you plan to visit Liechtenstein as part of a road trip day trip because it’s on your transit route, then staying over in the Austrian province of Vorarlberg might be your choice to save money.
Hotel rooms across the boarder in Austria are just a 25-minute drive away. You can find some fantastic accommodations in Feldkirch, a historical medieval city in Austria, for the fraction of the price.
Most 4 and 3-star room properties in Liechtenstein start at €200 per night.
What’s the official language in Liechtenstein?
The official language is German; however, the locals speak a dialect of German. The Liechtenstein German resembles Eastern Swiss German and West Austrian Vorarlberg German. Triesenberg is known for a special dialect in Liechtenstein.
What currencies do they take in Liechtenstein?
The Liechtenstein government is tied to the Swiss Franc (short CHF). Therefore, you can pay in Swiss francs BUT they also take Euros in most stores and restaurants in Liechtenstein. It’s usually a 1:1 conversion there.
Can I visit Liechtenstein on a day trip?
Yes, Liechtenstein can be seen and experienced on a day trip from Zürich, Switzerland, or from Bregenz, Austria.
Is it worthwhile to visit Liechtenstein?
It really depends on what you are in for. If you are planning to visit Europe on a 2-week vacation, I’d say it’s not worthwhile to visit Liechtenstein because you will want to make the most of your once-in-a-lifetime Europe trip. Yet, if you are traveling for a longer period or if you have seen the world, then a visit to Liechtenstein might make sense. Most people visit Liechtenstein because they are based in Zürich or Bregenz. A few choose to spend their winter or summer vacation week in Liechtenstein to hike or ski. Truthfully, most visitors come to Liechtenstein to deal with money matters.
What souvenirs to get from Liechtenstein?
If you are into travel souvenirs, get the passport stamp first thing from the Liechtenstein center (tourism info). Another nice souvenirs from Liechtenstein are stamps. You can go to the postal service and buy collectors stamps there.