Founded around 1322 by the Counts of Werdenberg (Holy Roman Empire), Liechtenstein is one of those countries that should not be left out by any aspiring tourist. Why? Well, let’s just put it this way: you have never seen such grandeur packed in such a small place in any other corner of Planet Earth! Situated proudly between Switzerland and Austria, Liechtenstein stretches upon an area of only 160 square kilometres and has a total population of just over 37,000. But do not be fooled by these seemingly insignificant numbers for the locals know exactly who they are: their national identity is immovable and they will never hesitate to remind you of it if you act ignorant (wink).
With a population of just over 5,400, Vaduz is the capital city of its parent country but it is by no means the largest (that prize goes to the neighbouring city of Schaan, where more than 5,900 people live). In spite of that, it is the most well-known municipality in Liechtenstein and it is its political seat in all shapes and forms. Covering an area of 17.3 square kilometres, Vaduz soars at an elevation of 455 metres. Clean air, friendly people and the indubitable allure of perpetual silence: these are the words that describe the jewel of Liechtenstein the most.
One of the most interesting aspects of Vaduz is that it is located within the bounds of an oceanic climate zone. How can such a thing be possible? Well, because Liechtenstein is especially adept at forming microclimates here and there depending on elevation. For this particular reason, Vaduz experiences temperature fluctuations to some degree: July is the warmest month with daily means around 19 degrees Celsius whilst the coldest one is January with averages around 0.7 degrees. Do keep an eye on the seasons of the Northern Hemisphere and pack adequately!
For those of you who planned flying to Liechtenstein, we have to break your hearts and reveal the fact that it does not possess an airport due to its size. In spite of this, there are a couple of options that you might want to pursue. You can either fly to Zürich Airport (located at a distance of 115 kilometres from Liechtenstein) and plan ahead from there or travel to Balzers and take a scenic ride via a helicopter to Vaduz. Note that there are also private flight chart options at Zürich. These are just about the only options that you can choose from when considering air-based travel to Liechtenstein.
Railways in Liechtenstein are extremely limited and the most prominent link is only between Schaan and Vaduz. Even this will only run during weekdays and only during peak hours. We know that that sentence may have suggested that Vaduz is congested, but in truth it is not. As you can see, train options are far too conditional to be convenient, so we recommend that you hit the buses (they run all through Liechtenstein and are reliable).
Another viable option in Liechtenstein is to stick to a car. Rented or not, four wheels will get you far in Vaduz and in the country for parking spaces are plenty and the people are laid back. Driving in Liechtenstein is safe and distances are insignificant when considering the speed at which you can travel. You can traverse the entirety of the country in a matter of hours. But here’s another option of you do not wish to use vehicles: go the eco-friendly way and get yourself a bike (wink)!
SIGHTS AND ACTIVITIES:
Did you know that the name of Vaduz comes from a castle and not the other way around? This is quite unusual and it only amplifies the grandeur of Vaduz Castle, one of the main attractions of the capital. Situated on top of an imposing hill overlooking the municipality, it is the official residence of the Prince of Liechtenstein. Presumably built by the counts of Werdenberg-Sargans in the 12th century, it subsequently underwent renovations in 1904 and 1920. In spite of the splendour that it emanates, the castle is not open to the public and can only be admired from the outside.
No matter how small a country may be, there will always be space for cultural establishments. For this particular reason, the Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein (the “Liechtenstein Museum of Fine Arts”) is something that you should definitely not leave out. Opened in 2000, it was designed by Swiss master architects Meinrad Morger, Heinrich Degelo, and Christian Kerez. Exhibiting the works of modern and contemporary artists, it is considered the national art collection of the Principality of Liechtenstein. Notable artists whose works can be admired there include David Reed, Richard Artschwager, Bill Bollinger, Donald Judd, Jessica Stockholder, Gary Kuehn, Steven Parrino, Richard Serra, Keith Sonnier, and Fabian Marcaccio. Also keep an eye out for occasional exhibitions dealing with the Collection of the Prince of Liechtenstein.
If you are interested in the most important religions structure of Liechtenstein, be sure to check out the Vaduz Cathedral (also known as the “Cathedral of St. Florin”). Built between 1869 and 1874 by German architect Friedrich von Schmidt to adhere to the majestic standards of the Neo-Gothic architectural style, it is the indubitable nucleus of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vaduz. What’s interesting about it is that it is not dedicated to any central biblical figure, but to Florinus of Remüs, a saint from the Vinschgau Valley who lived in the 9th century. Definitely a must-investigate!
Vaduz is a city that will not cease to amaze you with the amount of magnificence that it has packed within its bounds. It will never be modest about its allure and the people living there will constantly warm your heart. In spite of this, Liechtenstein is not a cheap country and speaking German is also advised (even though countless people speak English there, they will appreciate people striving to appeal to them). Safe travels!