We came with low expectations, but ended up putting little Liechtenstein on our top 5 list of countries visited.
Liechtenstein is a tiny little country situated in the alps between Switzerland and Austria. It has a reputation of being very boring, extremely expensive and somewhat conservative. Hey, they waited with letting their women vote until 1984!
So we came with low expectations, but we were blown away with how awesome it was. So much that both me and my wife put it on our top 5 list of countries visited.
1. The views
Just as everywhere else in the Alps, there are vast elevation changes on all roads, which means you might get to amazing viewpoints just by driving ahead. Especially on the byways of Liechtenstein, you will experience some amazing ”wow”-moments along the way. And thanks to Liechtenstein not having heavy traffic, stops are possible here and there.
2. The castles
Liechtenstein has some interesting history and probably holds a world record of castles per capita. The most famous is the Vaduz Castle where the prince lives, but the most beautiful is probably Gutenberg. Both are open to the public at certain times, so be sure to check opening times before you go. The history geek will also appreciate a visit to Oberes and Unteres Burg in Schellenberg.
3. The wine
There are vineyards everywhere in Liechtenstein and many people make their own wine. We visited Gutenberg Castle which is situated on a vineyard hill and they had a friendly social event with their own wine at the very time of our visit. We could have had some, but we had to head home and even though the entire country’s police force probably was present at the party, we didn’t want to have problems with the German Polizei on our drive home later that evening. But we nicked some amazing grapes on our way down the hill. Hope that’s ok. (Please don’t prosecute us when we come back).
4. The Hoi
”Hoi” is their own little way of saying hello. And as the entire country consists of only 30 000 inhabitants, I guess everyone knows everyone. Frankly we saw more goats than humans but the people we met were laid back and friendly.
5. The size
Let’s face it. It’s so small that you might miss it if you blink while passing by. Well, almost. It’s only 40 kilometers from tip to toe and some 15 kilometers wide at the most. This makes it a perfect destination for someone who wants to ”see it all” but still fit it in a weekend. Skiing in Malbun, visit the Gutenberg castle in Balzers, seeing Vaduz and taking in the hills in Schellenberg and Mauren can actually be done in a day if you are efficient enough.
On a budget?
Good news. It is possible to visit Liechtenstein on a budget. There are some really affordable hotels or even guesthouse options in neighbouring Austria. And your biggest save will probably be to fill the car up in Austria, no matter where you’re headed next in Europe. We paid no more than 1€ per liter for Austrian diesel, which is around 40% cheaper than back home in Sweden and 30% cheaper than in Liechtenstein.