A Perfect Day Trip to Liechtenstein

Do you think that country-bagging is the only reason to visit Liechtenstein? Think again.

On a day trip to Liechtenstein from Feldkirch in Austria as part of an Interrail trip from London to Budapest, I quickly discovered that this tiny principality is more than just cowbells and questionable bank accounts.

Fancy finding out more? Get the lowdown on how to get there and discover my favourite things to do in Vaduz, its diminutive capital.

vaduz cathedral framed by white blossoms

Getting to Know Liechtenstein

Where is it?

Liechtenstein is sandwiched between Austria and Switzerland. After Vatican City, Monaco and San Marino, it is the 4th smallest country in the world. It is roughly the size of Washington DC or one-tenth the area of Greater London.

Safety

It has one of the lowest crime levels worldwide.

Language

Although the official language is German, English is widely spoken.

Currency

The official currency is the Swiss Franc but Euros and credit cards are widely accepted. Liechtenstein is an expensive destination.

How to Get to Vaduz, Liechtenstein

The bus is your best friend in Liechtenstein.

It has one railway line connecting Switzerland to Austria which is not particularly useful. This makes limited stops at only three stations: Schaan, Forst Hilti and Nendeln. If you decide to take a day trip to Vaduz by train, you must alight at Schaan and take a bus from here.

I stayed in the lovely old town of Feldkirch and caught bus #11 to Vaduz (terminates at Sargans). The journey time is 50 minutes and the bus drops you off at Vaduz Poste, from where it’s a 2-minute walk to the Tourist Information Centre.

Pay the driver with cash or contactless card. You can check the timetable here.

yellow and black bus that will take you on a day trip to liechtenstein from austria
The bus from Feldkirch to Vaduz

Liechtenstein is a rewarding day trip from Zurich. You are looking at a journey time of 90 – 120 minutes.

The easiest way to get there is to catch a train to Sargans, just south of the Swiss-Liechtenstein border. From here, jump on bus #11 (direction Feldkirch) or the express bus #12E (direction Vaduz)

What to Do in Vaduz in One Day

As this is probably the smallest capital you will ever visit, getting around is not a problem. Anywhere you want to visit can be reached on foot.

That said, free bike hire is available and there’s a kooky city train that makes 35-minute circuits of Vaduz.

Make the Liechtenstein Center your first stop of the day. This Tourist Information centre has free maps and you can perch on its fake throne for the ultimate selfie.

people queueing at liechtenstein tourist information centre
stone exterior of vaduz cathedral with tall bell tower

Built between 1868 and 1873, the Neo-Gothic Parish Church of St. Florin is Vaduz’s cathedral. What it lacks in grandeur, it makes up with in charm.

It was designed by the Austrian architect Friedrich von Schmidt and is known for the magnificent stained glass windows that form a backdrop to its gilded altar. The Princely Vault, at the rear of the cathedral, is the final resting place of the members of the Prince’s House.

altar of vaduz cathedral with gilded tabernacle and stained glass windows
wooden covered bridge across an aquamarine river with snow covered mountains close by

Alter Rheinbrücke, or the Old Rhine Bridge, is a pedestrian/cyclist-only covered wooden bridge linking the municipality of Vaduz with that of Sevelen in Switzerland. Completed in 1901 and 135 meters in length, it is the sole surviving wooden bridge across the Rhine.

a sign saying sevelen and vaduz
bronze sculpture of nude declining woman
Muhende Frau, Fernando Botero (1993)

The area around the main pedestrian drag of Städtle has been transformed into an open-air sculpture gallery. It features works by Fernando Botero and Nag Arnoldi amongst others.

I loved this sculpture by Gunther Stilling.

bronze sculpture of african mask
African King, Gunther Stilling (2000)

Adding a Principality of Liechtenstein stamp to your passport is one of the most popular things to do in Vaduz. Liechtenstein does not operate border checks and this is a souvenir stamp, not an official one.

There have been reports of souvenir stamps considered a mutilation of a passport. The Department of State advises against US citizens buying novelty stamps such as these.

But if you want to go ahead, the Liechtenstein Center will do the deed for a modest fee.

panoramic view of the town of vadus set in an alpine valley
The path to Vaduz Castle

Take the (very) steep pathway opposite the Rathaus to the place Prince Hans-Adam II likes to call home. Although you cannot visit Vaduz castle, your reward for huffing and puffing your way up the hill is sensational views across the city and the Rhine Valley beyond.

Vaduz Castle started life as a fortress in the 12th Century and came into the hands of the Princely family in 1712. On August 15th each year, the Prince opens his doors for the National Day celebration where cheese and wine are served.

glass of red wine next to yellow napkin

Wine lovers aren’t short-changed when visiting Liechtenstein. The Prince of Liechtenstein Winery in Vaduz produces excellent Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the grapes grown in the Herawingert vineyards, one of the best grape-growing regions of the Rhine Valley.

Although I was gutted to learn that the Princely Cellars (Hofkellerei) were closed on my day in Vaduz, it wasn’t difficult to find a restaurant that served the sublime local Pinot Noir.

plate of macaroni type pasta with cheese sauce topped with onions

You have to love a country whose national dish is a twist on macaroni cheese. This delicious delight is made from short tubes of pasta smothered in cheese sauce and topped with fried onion slivers. It is served with a side of apple puree.

Your coronary artery will be screaming for mercy.

old red house in vaduz liechtenstein

It’s easy to understand how this distinctive building got its name.

Although the Red House dates back to 1338, the dark-red colour is a 19th Century addition. Since 1807, the building has been the private residence of the Rheinbergher family. It is not possible to view the interior

shrine set into the wall with an alpine valley in background

The walk from the Red House back to the city centre takes you along the charming streets of Mitteldorf. Old houses line the narrow streets of this historic village and there are some of the best views of Vaduz Castle.

Vaduz punches above its weight when it comes to museums. If you are looking for a cultural experience or a rainy day activity, here is the pick of the best.

Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein

State collection of the Principality of Liechtenstein. Modern and contemporary art.

brightly coloured tabes and chairs outside liechtenstein kunstmuseum

Liechtenstein Landesmuseum

Liechtenstein National Museum, chronicling the country’s history and culture.

Liechtenstein PostMuseum

 Detailing the postal history of Liechtenstein.

exterior of postal museum in vaduz liechtenstein

Is it Worth Taking a Day trip to Liechtenstein?

Vaduz is worth visiting as an addition to your Austria or Switzerland itinerary.

Set in a valley ringed by snow-capped peaks, it packs a punch considering its diminutive size. It has a clutch of cultural attractions and is home to some of the friendliest locals in Europe.

Curiosity and country-bagging may lure you to Liechtenstein. Vaduz’s relaxed vibe and scenic surroundings will tempt you to linger for longer.

bridget coleman the flashpacker 2

About Bridget

Bridget Coleman has been a passionate traveller for more than 30 years. She has visited 70+ countries, most as a solo traveller.

Articles on this site reflect her first-hand experiences.

To get in touch, email her at hello@theflashpacker.net or follow her on social media.

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