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.

Photograph ©2009 by Brian Cohen.

Aeulestrasse is the main street in Vaduz. This vantage point is facing south, with the steeple of the Cathedral of St. Florin on the left. Photograph ©2009 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2009 by Brian Cohen.

This vantage point of the Aeulestrasse — the main street in Vaduz — is facing north. Photograph ©2009 by Brian Cohen.

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.

Photograph ©2009 by Brian Cohen.

Part of the Städtle, which is for the primary use of pedestrians. You will find restaurants and lodging — but do not expect accommodations from the major hotel chains here. Photograph ©2009 by Brian Cohen.

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.

Photograph ©2009 by Brian Cohen.

Part of the Städtle, which is for the primary use of pedestrians. You will find restaurants and lodging — but do not expect accommodations from the major hotel chains here. Photograph ©2009 by Brian Cohen.

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.

Photograph ©2009 by Brian Cohen.

There is no significance or meaning to this photograph; as I simply thought the exterior of this building looked cool. Photograph ©2009 by Brian Cohen.

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…

Photograph ©2009 by Brian Cohen.

Vaduz Castle — built in a hillside — is perched 120 meters above Vaduz. It houses the royal family of Liechtenstein. It is closed to visitors. Photograph ©2009 by Brian Cohen.

…but as I was driving up the mountain, I just had to stop in the village of Triesenberg and take pictures of the scenery.

Photograph ©2009 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2009 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2009 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2009 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2009 by Brian Cohen.

Landstrasse in Triesenberg. Photograph ©2009 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2009 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2009 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2009 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2009 by Brian Cohen.

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.

Photograph ©2009 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2009 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2009 by Brian Cohen.

This is the view from the west side of the tunnel. Photograph ©2009 by Brian Cohen.

I was greeted by a blanket of white on the other side of the tunnel.

Photograph ©2009 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2009 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2009 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2009 by Brian Cohen.

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.

Photograph ©2009 by Brian Cohen.

The village of Malbun. Photograph ©2009 by Brian Cohen.

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.

Sücka. Photograph ©2009 by Brian Cohen.

Facing southeast in the direction of Malbun with Sückastrasse to Sücka on the right. Photograph ©2009 by Brian Cohen.

The sign showing the direction on the road to Sücka. Photograph ©2009 by Brian Cohen.

The sign showing the direction to Sücka using Sückastrasse. Photograph ©2009 by Brian Cohen.

On my descent back towards Vaduz, I was fortunate enough to watch the sun setting behind the mountains in Switzerland.

Photograph ©2009 by Brian Cohen.

The Rhine River in the center of the photograph separates Switzerland on the right with Liechtenstein on the left. Photograph ©2009 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2009 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2009 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2009 by Brian Cohen.

Photograph ©2009 by Brian Cohen.

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.

Click here for additional information about Liechtenstein.

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