A Day in Liechtenstein
O ne of only two doubly landlocked countries in the world and the only country located entirely in the Alps — specifically, between Austria and Switzerland — Liechtenstein is also one of the smallest countries in the world. Its national currency is the Swiss franc; and it is one of the wealthiest countries in the world and has amongst the lowest crime rates in the world…
…but none of that information really mattered much to me as I drove on European route E43 — which follows along the Rhine River, and is also know at that point as autostrasse A13 — in Switzerland east and then north towards Liechtenstein. You can also travel by train or bus to Liechtenstein; but you cannot travel by airplane, as the country has no airport. The nearest international airport is the one in Zürich.
All I knew was that the scenery improved as I got closer, as you will see in the photographs posted in this article. I exited the highway and immediately entered Liechtenstein as I crossed the Rhine River, followed Zollstrasse east to a traffic circle, where I turned north towards Vaduz, which is the capital city of Liechtenstein.
Do not expect a bustling capital city such as Paris, Rome or London. Think of Vaduz as more like a quaint yet upscale Alpine village.
Vaduz is indeed a city in which you can easily walk, as it is friendly to pedestrians. I parked the car in the large garage located below the Kunstmuseum and decided to take a stroll around town. There was no fee to park the car — unusual for the central area of a capital city in Europe.
There is a visitor center located nearby where friendly and helpful employees do speak English; and they have free information and maps. It is called the Liechtenstein Center; and it is located near the southern end of the Städtle — meaning small town — which is a mostly pedestrian street in the center of Vaduz. Do not be shy about asking them anything pertaining to Liechtenstein, as they will be more than happy to answer any of your questions.
After wandering around the town — it will not take all that long — I decided to drive east across the country — a whopping 13 kilometres, or just greater than eight miles — on Bergstrasse to the village of Malbun…
…but as I was driving up the mountain, I just had to stop in the village of Triesenberg and take pictures of the scenery.
Do not think that the drive would only be a few minutes just because it is only eight miles. Think more of almost a half hour, thanks to the mountainous Alpine terrain. In fact, part of the route is through a mountain via a tunnel.
I was greeted by a blanket of white on the other side of the tunnel.
It was as though I entered a different world almost a mile above sea level in altitude. The ambient temperature was considerably cooler than in Vaduz, where no jacket was needed.
The village of Malbun seemed desolate and almost isolated; but it is the home of the only ski resort in Liechtenstein — and I suppose it was not the season for skiing just yet.
On my descent back towards Vaduz, I was fortunate enough to watch the sun setting behind the mountains in Switzerland.
I bade farewell to Vaduz as I looked at the town one last time before driving back to France through Switzerland and Germany.
Liechtenstein is definitely worth a visit, in my opinion. I did not stay overnight; but if you do, you have a choice of two dozen options for lodging — but none from the major hotel chains. Strangely enough and unusual for me is that I did not have time to eat a meal to sample a typical dish of Liechtenstein, as I was far more interested in the views and exploring the country.