Liechtenstein is a very special country surrounded by Switzerland and Austria: the sixth smallest country in the world, under 40,000 inhabitants, a constitutional monarchy with a 25-person parliament and a conservative ruler with a veto-right living in a castle high above the capital village Vaduz (5,000 inhabitants). The people speak German, the country is part of UNO and the European Economic Area but not the European Union. You can pay with the Swiss franc, the country is in a customs union with Switzerland and doesn’t have an army. Beloved are Ribel, Käsknöpfle and local wine – and since 1984 even women are able to vote (but it was a close decision).

Liechtenstein is a strong financial center and was for a longer period used to hide foreign money, but after some serious scandals (remember the chairman of Deutsche Post, Klaus Zumwinkel?) this has changed. The country has a very strong industry and is exporting into the entire world. Best known brand is Hilti, a manufacturer of drilling devices that you can find on most construction sites in Europe. Largest settlements in addition to Vaduz are Triesenberg and Schaan, the latter is the only place with a railway station (trains pass from Switzerland through Liechtenstein to Austria).

The Fürstentum Liechtenstein exists since 1719 CE, was part of the German Confederation and strongly connected to Austria and Austrian monarchy. Since 1923 the country is economically more closely bound to Switzerland. When Austria became part of Nazi Germany in 1938 the prince of Liechtenstein decided to move from Austria to Vaduz, since then the rulers live in the castle which is not open to the public. Most interesting places of the capital city can be found close to the city center in the pedestrian zone: the town hall, the Kunstmuseum, the Landesmuseum, the Engländerbau, the cathedral St. Florin and the modern parliament building.

Worth to explore is also the Rätikon mountain range with the Gänglesee at Triesenberg or the ski resort Malbun. But how to get to Liechtenstein? You can try to get a train to the only train station at Schaan, but the best connection is probably to take a train to Sargans on the line connecting Basel, Zürich and Chur. There you can switch to a bus bringing you via Balzers and Triesen to Vaduz. As in Switzerland you can these days use the smartphone app fairtiq to easily pay for public transport. At the bus stop behind the town hall you’ll find public toilets and lockers. Getting a hotel room at Vaduz seems to be nearly impossible, but Buchs in nearby Switzerland has some options (the bus connection via Schaan brings you there without any problems).

Fürstentum Liechtenstein

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