Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports... all others are games.
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Travel Guide: Liechtenstein

Featured hotels in Liechtenstein »

Residence Hotel

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$343 - $478 / night

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Location. Residence Hotel is a business friendly hotel located in Vaduz, close to Liechtenstein Art Museum, Liechtenstein National Museum, and… more »


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$160 - $364 / night

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The Principality of Liechtenstein (German: Fürstentum Liechtenstein) is a small alpine German-speaking country which is doubly landlocked by Switzerland and Austria (meaning it is landlocked by landlocked countries). It is the last remnant of the Holy Roman Empire and an independent state with very close ties to Switzerland. It enjoys a very high standard of living and is home to some incredibly beautiful mountain scenery. The principality's capital, Vaduz, is a major center of commerce and international banking and mainly a modern city.



The Principality of Liechtenstein was established within the Holy Roman Empire in 1719 and became a sovereign state in 1806. Until the end of World War I, it was closely tied to Austria, but the economic devastation caused by that conflict forced Liechtenstein to conclude a customs and monetary union with Switzerland. Since World War II (in which Liechtenstein remained neutral) the country's low taxes have spurred outstanding economic growth. Shortcomings in banking regulatory oversight have resulted in concerns about the use of the financial institutions for money laundering and tax evasion. However, the days of bringing suitcases of money into banks for deposit without questions asked is over. Liechtensteiners are also very proud of the fact that their nation has never been physically involved in a battle or military confrontation with an "enemy state" and see their flag as a banner of peace.

  • Liechtenstein Tourism (official site)


Despite its small size and limited natural resources, Liechtenstein has developed into a prosperous, highly industrialized, free-enterprise economy with a vital financial service sector and living standards on a par with the urban areas of its large European neighbors. The Liechtenstein economy is widely diversified with a large number of small businesses. Low business taxes - the maximum tax rate is 20% - and easy incorporation rules have induced a large number of holding or so-called letter box companies to establish nominal offices in Liechtenstein, providing 30% of state revenues. The country participates in a customs union with Switzerland and uses the Swiss franc as its national currency. It imports more than 90% of its energy requirements. Liechtenstein has been a member of the European Economic Area (an organization serving as a bridge between European Free Trade Association {EFTA} and EU) since May 1995. The government is working to harmonize its economic policies with those of an integrated Europe. Liechtenstein has one of the highest personal income rates (GDP Per Capita) in the world, with the base rate of income tax currently standing at just 1.2%.

Liechtenstein was the home of the Curta calculator.


Liechtenstein is very mountainous and one of the world's two doubly-landlocked countries (along with Uzbekistan). Most of the country's population lives in the long and wide Rhine Valley in the western third. Roads are mainly laid out in a north-south pattern following the valley as well. To the north the main roads lead to the border with Austria, to the south they enter Switzerland, and to the west across the river the bridges also cross into Switzerland. The eastern border to Austria is not passable and is only accessible by foot as it is very mountainous. The country's highest point is the Grauspitz, which stretches to 2,599m. Liechtenstein is 2.5 time bigger than San Marino and it is 81 times bigger than Monaco.


Liechtenstein has a continental climate featuring cold, cloudy winters with frequent snow or rain, making the country a moderately popular ski destination. Summers are cool to moderately warm, also often cloudy and humid.


  • Vaduz — capital city of Liechtenstein and the seat of government
  • Balzers — this town is home to a very beautiful church and castle
  • Malbun — an area for skiing and snowboarding
  • Schaan — the largest populated area in the country
  • Triesen — a small town south of Vaduz
  • Triesenberg — an alpine town high in Liechtenstein's mountains
  • Ruggell — a town in northern Liechtenstien where there is a nature reserve of rare plants and animals
  • Bendern — where Liechtenstien was born in 1699
  • Nendeln — Where there are a ceramics works and Roman ruins
  • Schellenberg — a town with a museum of rural homes

Get In

Liechtenstein maintains a complete customs union with Switzerland and hence does not issue its own visas: It is represented by Switzerland in embassies around the globe. If you can enter Switzerland, you can enter Liechtenstein, for decades there have been no border formalities needed for crossing between the two countries. The Swiss still operate a border controls at Liechtenstein's frontier to Austria. In essence there is nothing more than a sign announcing your arrival in Switzerland or Liechtenstein (when you cross the Rhine or the land border), similar to the situation at smaller border crossings in many EU nations, (Austria/Germany/France/Italy etc.) Stamp hunters can, however, get an authentic Liechtenstein entry stamp in their passport at Vaduz's tourist office for 3.00 Swiss franc (CHF) or €2.00. The stamp is not available at the Liechtensteinisches Landesmuseum, the tourist office is the only place that you can purchase the stamp. This is the same entry stamp received (for free) by non-European visitors when entering Liechtenstein from Austria - although the Swiss border guards do not always stamp your passport if entering via Feldkirch/Austria. Following the lead of Switzerland, who handles the border duties for the Principality, Liechtenstein will be abolishing border controls to Austria and the (EU) in 2009. This means that there will actually be border checks between Switzerland and Liechtenstein as of December 2008, until Liechtenstein joins the border-less Europe in November of 2009. However, they merely consist of video monitoring at the Swiss-Liechtenstein border. After this point the agreement will allow for free and unchecked travel both into Austria (and the EU) and will re-open the border to its partner and neighbor Switzerland.

By plane

Liechtenstein has no airports due to the size of the country. You can take a flight to the Zürich Airport (115 km). Although the airport was the only major airport near Liechtenstein, there were some limited services from Vienna to St. Gallen-Altenrhein Airport (53 km) by Austrian Arrows . There was also a private airport in Bad Ragaz, very near the country. Another popular point of entry is through Friedrichshafen in Germany, which is served by low-cost airlines.

Liechtenstein's Prince has a heliport in the Southern low lands.

By train or bus

ÖBB, the Austrian federal railway company, has been continually providing a limited service from Buchs SG station in Switzerland, to the Schaan-Vaduz station near Schaan. Trains only run a few times a day. Rail timetable for 2009 . The Best and most frequent option is to arrive by bus. Buses run every 15 minutes form Buchs SG train station to Schaan and Vaduz. Tickets can be purchased on the bus for 2.60 CHF and it only takes about 10 minutes to Schaan and another 5 to Vaduz.

If you're coming by rail from the direction of Zürich, it's sometimes quickest to get out at Sargans and catch a bus to Schaan (where you can change for Vaduz). Consult the SBB timetable to find out what'll be quickest when you're travelling. There are lockers at the Sargans station so you can leave your luggage there. Here is a map of the station showing the lockers and where to catch the bus from.

You can also catch the number 12 bus directly from Sargans station to Vaduz or Buchs. It leaves from outside the railway station and runs approximately every 20 minutes. The buses are yellow-green in colour and the fare is 3.60 CHF.

By car

The Swiss Autobahn A13/E34 runs along the swiss side of the Rhine River, the border between Switzerland and Liechtenstein. There are several access points that cross the Rhine into Liechtenstein, the two that are most commonly used are the bridge crossing into the southern town of Balzers and the crossing into Vaduz. Parking in Vaduz is easy, with a large parking garage located below the Kunstmuseum. Driving in Liechtenstein is relatively safe, but extra care should be taken on narrow and winding mountain roads. Speed traps are everywhere!


Very easy indeed from Feldkirch in Austria. Rush hour sees lots of commuters head into the capital. A simple sign as you stand by the main road in Feldkirch should get you a lift within minutes.

Get Around

Public transport in Liechtenstein is amazingly efficient and commonly used. The country's sole bus operator is LBA . The LBA fares are very cheap, as a 7-day unlimited use card costs just CHF 10. Another cheap way to travel, weather permitting, is by bike. The roads in Liechtenstein are in excellent condition and many (in the Balzers-Schaan corridor) even offer bike lanes. Biking through the whole country (entering from Austria going all the way south through to Switzerland) takes only a few hours, but is worth every minute of the wonderful alpine scenery!


Liechtenstein boasts a number of attractions that are of interest to visitors.

Balzers - Home to a beautiful church and a spectacular gothic castle.

Vaduz - The capital is the main shopping area in the country, with many souvenir stores and assorted restaurants. The city is also home to a modest cathedral and the decade-old Liechtenstein Kunstmuseum. A ski museum is north of downtown.

Schloss Vaduz - This imposing and historic castle, home to the royal family, overlooks the city of Vaduz and is approachable on the main Vaduz-Triesenberg road (bus route 21). But it is not open to the public.

It is entirely possible to encounter the royal family at the Kunstmuseum or skiing during winter time. This is one benefit of such a small country.


The national language is German, but the main language in everyday use is Alemannic German dialect, which Liechtenstein shares with German-speaking Eastern Switzerland, Baden-Württemberg (south of Stuttgart, Germany), and Vorarlberg, Austria. Almost everyone can speak standard German when necessary, and English is also prevalent. French and Latin are also widely taught in the secondary public school system.


Liechtenstein offers great hiking, road biking, and mountain biking terrain. Skiing and snowboarding are also offered at a reasonable price at the country's small resort, Malbun, in comparison to the expensive lift prices in neighboring Switzerland or Austria. Make sure to stop by the local tourist office in Vaduz and get your passport stamped. To get the stamp costs 3.00 CHF or 2.00 Euro (as of October 2009) and is a nice souvenir of your journey to this small nation.

Get up early one morning and drive up the mountains on the east side of the river. From here you have an incredible view over Vaduz & Switzerland that you can stand and admire.


Liechtenstein uses the Swiss franc (CHF) as its currency. Many shops will also accept the Euro, but the exchange rate may not be very advantageous.


Costs in Liechtenstein are roughly equivalent to those in Switzerland and are therefore somewhat more expensive than other European countries.


You will find a few restaurants in the larger cities of Liechtenstein. There is also a McDonald's restaurant (opened in 1996; serves wine), which is very popular and is widely publicised by road signs throughout the country.

The many small bakeries are a great place to get a warm, fresh roll or pastry.

One recommended restaurant is the Old Castle Inn (Aeulestrasse 22 9490 Vaduz, Liechtenstein, +423 232 10 65) in the centre of Vaduz. It is impossible to miss and offers authentic food at a reasonable price and with a pleasant atmosphere.


There is a small amount of wine that is produced in Liechtenstein that is available in supermarkets and tourist shops throughout the country. Expect to pay around 25 Swiss Francs for an average bottle. The Prince even owns his own vineyard in Vaduz, off the main road. Beer is also available for purchase that is made with malt from Liechtenstein, although most of the beer itself is brewed in Switzerland. A variety of other European wines, beers, and soft drinks are also available. There is now a brewery in Liechtenstein that produces a variety of beers; lagers including Helles (blonde) and Hefe Weizen (unfiltered wheat) styles are brewed.

There is also a one-man distillery in Triesen who makes liquors and schnapps from fruits. Tours on Saturdays.


There are a few hotels in Liechtenstein, but they tend to run on the expensive side. There is one youth hostel located in Schaan, but it closes for the winter. You will probably be able to find cheaper accommodation in neighboring Feldkirch, Austria.

Camping Mittagspitz is the only full-service campsite in the Principality. It offers excellent facilities, a friendly reception and a fabulous reasonably priced restaurant. There are three other campgrounds in Liechtenstein. One in Bendern, one in Vaduz, and one in Triesen. All are pretty much full year round.

  • Gasthaus Krone, Dorf 36, 9488 Schellenberg (next to post office and bus-station), ☎ +423 373 1168, [9]. Very inexpensive rooms. Familly run hotel and restaurant. 15 km away from Vaduz, regular (hourly) bus service to all parts of Liechtenstein. 60 CHF (double).


Liechtenstein's university offers courses only in technical sciences. Without either Liechtenstein/Swiss or EU citizenship, a large bank balance and a fluency in German, it is unlikely to interest visitors.


Finding work in Liechtenstein is difficult. A majority of non-nationals working in the Principality are Swiss, with a smaller number of Austrians and Germans. Liechtenstein is not a member of the European Union, so the government has no obligation to let nationals of EU member states work and live in the country.

Stay Safe

Liechtenstein is easily one of the safest countries in the world, though it is not without its problems. The most common crime in Liechtenstein is of a non-violent nature, though the Principality maintains a well-equipped police force which maintains a presence on the streets. In the late 1990s, the Liechtenstein Landespolizei launched a crackdown on prostitution in Vaduz. Considering the largest cities nearby are Innsbruck and Zürich, outside of Schaan and Vaduz, the whole place can seem very rural. Drunk drivers and winter road conditions may be your only "realistic" concern. Speed limits are strictly enforced by speed cameras which will be very pricey. Don't speed and enjoy the scenery instead!

The country's beautiful scenery is also very dangerous. Cases of hikers finding themselves in difficulty are very common, and extreme care should be taken when leaving the well-marked trails. Follow local advice, read local weather forecasts (newspapers in the Principality print individual forecasts for the different cities in Liechtenstein which is beneficial because the difference in altitude often results in different weather conditions) and ensure that you have the correct equipment before setting out.

Stay Healthy

There are excellent medical facilities in Liechtenstein, but it is more likely that you would be transferred to a hospital in Switzerland should you require medical attention.


The Principality of Liechtenstein has existed for centuries as an independent state and this should be remembered. Liechtenstein is not part of Switzerland or Austria, and its citizens will not hesitate in reminding you of this!

Remember that this is a traditional Catholic country. On a Sunday the streets are all but dead except for the tourists and the tourist shops. Liechtensteiners are very proud of their national identity and would take offence to being wrongly labelled "German", "Austrian" or "Swiss". Those who may feel inclined to denounce the monarchy as a system of government should be advised: the Prince is well loved and very popular, and certainly he should be held in high esteem when discussing national politics.


Internet access is available with one station at Telecom Liechtenstein immediate south of Vaduz's downtown on the main road, but this is only open during business hours. Most hotels and some bars/restaurants will have net access such as in Schaan. The last real Internet cafe disappeared, because every one in the country has net access in their homes, so the local market completely disappeared and only visitors need access.