From the industrialized Rhine plain, it’s only a short drive up to a mountain idyll. Herbs and wildflowers sprinkle lush meadows, and despite a temperature of 30°C in the valley, the snow line is within reach up here at the beginning of June.
From the center of the country, you can see the borders of the principality in all directions – and far beyond. Surrounded by the Alps lies the small state of Liechtenstein, too rarely appreciated by (world) travelers.
Every way from the valley and up into the mountains leads along serpentine roads, often narrow and with only one lane. Conifers and mixed forests nestle on the mountain slopes, with tranquil little villages in between. Every now and then a vantage point offers a wide view over the small country.
Almost every path invites to a hike, leads past small streams and sometimes ends in an alpine pasture with a hearty lunch in a mountain hut.
Mountains have always enchanted people. For thousands of years, they were glorified and revered as the residence of gods. When humanity’s thirst for adventure was exhausted in the search for ever new continents, it saw new challenges in mountains. They were conquered by people climbing them, erecting crosses on their peaks, blasting tunnels through granite and conquering them with sporting ambition and hiking boots or bicycles.
For us it is enough to enjoy the beauty of the surrounding Alps. A fresh wind brings cooling, the spicy scent of herbs is in the air. A small fire has broken out in the village not far away. Rescue workers and firefighters are running around between the rows of wooden huts, looking for smoldering fires.
On a Sunday, downtown Vaduz is filled with Indian tourists. They snap selfies in front of the town hall and the art installations. The capital of the Principality of Liechtenstein has not even 6,000 inhabitants. A short walk leads to the Old Rhine Bridge from the previous century. On the other side lies Switzerland, with which Liechtenstein shares not only the currency but also part of the administration and public infrastructure.
We leave the Principality of Liechtenstein in the south towards Switzerland. One last stop for a photo of Gutenberg Castle. What the picture doesn’t show: the hill on which the castle stands is surrounded by factory buildings and industrial areas.
Info about our trip
We toured the Liechtenstein Principality for two days on our way to Italy. This is enough for a rough overview and the sights. Of course, you can also spend a whole week in the country. You can go cycling, hiking, mountaineering, skiing in winter or visit the numerous museums.
You should definitely take half a day for a walk through Vaduz and to the Old Rhine Bridge. Passing the castle of Vaduz, you will reach the village of Triesenberg and from there on to Steg and Malbun. The latter is a well-known ski resort and there or already at Steg there are beautiful hiking routes and pure nature. If you have more time and are in the mood for hiking, you can discover the Principality on the 75km long Liechtenstein Trail.