The tiny Principality of Liechtenstein is an independent state in the territory between Switzerland and Austria. Liechtenstein is one of the most picturesque Alpine countries in Europe. Despite the fact that the country covers an area of only 160 square kilometers and its population is only 35,000 people, Liechtenstein has a very strong economy thanks to favorable tax laws. Surprisingly, this is one of the most industrialized countries in the world, which you can never tell from the forested slopes and alpine meadows of Liechtenstein. People have lived here since the Early Stone Age, but the area became truly important during Roman times, eventually becoming the Principality of Liechtenstein in 1719 and gaining full autonomy in 1806. Today, Liechtenstein is a popular tourist destination with excellent winter sports infrastructure , numerous hiking trails, impressive museums and castles. I suggest you learn about the 10 most outstanding sights of Liechtenstein.
Capital of Liechtenstein Vaduz
One of the most picturesque and smallest capitals in Europe, Vaduz with its tourist information center offers everything a traveler needs to know about their visit to Liechtenstein. From here you can easily explore the main sights of Liechtenstein, including the parliament building on the banks of the river Rhine and Pieter-Kaiser-Platz. Also worth seeing is Ratausplatz with its historic City Hall and the 1873 neo-Gothic Pfarrkirche parish church, also known as St. Florin’s Cathedral. Even though it is closed to the public, you will certainly want to take some photos of the impressive Vaduz Castle, the seat of the Liechtenstein monarch.
Located in Vaduz, the Liechtenstein State Art Gallery (Museum of Fine Arts) displays many fine pieces from different periods. In addition to frequent temporary exhibitions, its permanent collection includes art dating back to the 19th century — paintings, sculptures and even the collection of the Prince of Liechtenstein. Most of the royal collection is located in the Liechtenstein Museum in Vienna, but there is something to see in Vaduz. Museum address: Stadtle 37, FL-9490 Vaduz, Liechtenstein.
High above the village of Balzers in the south of Liechtenstein, the majestic Burg Gutenberg Castle is a superbly preserved fortress from the Middle Ages and one of Liechtenstein’s most visited sights. The castle is built on a ledge 70 meters high, which has been inhabited since Neolithic times. Many important archaeological finds have been made here, including an ancient statuette of Mars Gutenberg — now housed in the Liechtenstein Lndesmuseum. Particular attention should be paid to the chapel and rose garden, along with many cultural events during the warm season. In summer, numerous concerts and theatrical performances are held here. Address: Furstenstrasse 50, 9496 Balzers
Liechtenstein National Museum
A must-see attraction is the excellent Liechtenstein National Museum in Vaduz (Landesmuseum). The state-owned museum is housed in a brilliantly preserved old inn from the 15th century, which Wolfgang Goethe Faust visited in 1788. Outstanding exhibits include an excellent 1:10,000 scale model of the principality, as well as exhibitions focusing on the country’s early history, weapons and religious art. Address: 9490 Vaduz, Liechtenstein
Cities of Nendeln and Eschen
The small towns of Nendeln and Eschen are the main communities in Liechtenstein’s lowlands, definitely worth a visit. Nendeln is known for its old Roman villa, traditional Schadler pottery, and the oldest craft school in the country. Among the main attractions of the city is a ceramics firing workshop with tiled kilns. In Eschen, the 14th-century Pfündhaus and the pretty City Chapel are worth a look. Eschen is the starting point for all major excursions in the region.
Shan and Liechtenstein Festival
Just three kilometers north of Vaduz, at the foot of the Dry Schwestern mountain range, is Shan, a lively small industrial city with an old Roman fort. The 18th-century pilgrimage church Maria zum Trost dominates the town picturesquely, with great views of the town. As one of the oldest cities in Liechtenstein, Schan is home to the DoMuS center with exhibitions of local history and art, as well as the nearby Museum of Calculators and Printing Devices. Shan is also a good place for walking tours on numerous routes of varying difficulty. Shan hosts the famous Liechtenstein Festival, a two-day celebration with a maximum of music, entertainment and delicious food.
Culinary masterpieces Triesenberg
Triesenberg is the largest municipality in Liechtenstein, located in a beautiful location in the middle of an Alpine valley, just six kilometers from the capital Vaduz. The picturesque village of Triesenberg is known not only for its magnificent scenery and unique dialect, but also for its Triesenberger Vochen food festival. It is held every year from mid-October to the end of November. During the festival, all local restaurants and hotels serve the traditional dishes of this unique village, passed down from generation to generation by the locals. There is no shortage of beautiful views from pretty rustic chalets and small inns. Triesenberg is a great place to explore attractions in Liechtenstein.
Eschnerberg Historical Trail
Thanks to its alpine nature and picturesque towns, Liechtenstein is a hiker’s paradise, attracting tourists from all over Europe to its mountain peaks, wooded slopes and green valleys. Numerous hiking trails criss-cross across the country, but one of the most popular trails is the 15-kilometre Eschnerberg Historical Trail, which connects the cities of Bendern and Schellenberg. Along this fun trail are the ancient villages of Lützengutle and Malanser, as well as a range of breathtaking views of the Rhine and the surrounding mountains. Another popular hiking route is the Path of the Princes through the picturesque Raticon mountain range and with the superb scenery of the peaks of the Three Sisters mountain range.
Winter attractions in Malbun
Known as Liechtenstein’s only winter resort, the small town of Malbuna is a good place for winter sports enthusiasts. The alpine ridges near the Saminatal Valley always have perfect snow, and the first ski lifts were installed here in the 1960s. Today, Malbourne has many groomed trails and ski runs to enjoy one of the longest winter seasons in the Alps. More than 23 kilometers of pistes are maintained throughout the winter, offering suitable terrain for skiers, and three ski lifts are capable of taking athletes to altitudes of around 2,000 meters. For children, there is the Malbi Kinderland park with educational lessons and entertainment programs.
The castles of Liechtenstein are mentioned in the lists of the most perfectly preserved castles in Europe. There are five main castles here, two of which have survived intact: this is the home of the monarchs Vaduz Castle, and Schellenderg Castle in the village of Balzers. Of the rest of the castles, only ruins have survived, but they also have their own unique charm. One of the main attractions of Liechtenstein is Schellenberg, where you can also explore several ancient ruins. Among them is the Upper Castle (Obere Burg), built in 1200 with all the elements of a typical medieval castle. The Lower Castle (Untere Burg) was established in 1250, but by the 16th century both had fallen into disrepair. There are also the ruins of Shalun Castle, also known as Waldschloss.
Liechtenstein is worth a visit, if only because the sights of one of the smallest countries in the world are original and unique. It has its own history, traditions and cuisine.