Liechtenstein is a tiny doubly landlocked country in Central Europe. It’s bordered by Switzerland to the west and south and Austria to the north and east. Officially the Principality of Liechtenstein, the country is the fourth-smallest in Europe and sixth-smallest country in the world. It’s a member of the United Nations, the Council of Europe and the European Free Trade Association.
The country’s mountainous landscape make it the perfect winter sports destination. Expect charming villages, friendly locals, excellent cuisine and Alpine views. Although small in size, Liechtenstein has plenty to offer. This Liechtenstein travel guide shows you what.
- Liechtenstein travel guide: quick facts
- Regions of Liechtenstein
- How to travel to Liechtenstein
- How to travel around Liechtenstein
- What to pack for Liechtenstein
- The best time to visit Liechtenstein
- Liechtenstein food to try
- Famous events in Liechtenstein
- Public holidays in Liechtenstein
- Cultural customs to be aware of in Liechtenstein
- Where to stay in Liechtenstein
- Basic phrases and their pronunciation
- Safety in Liechtenstein
- The use of cash and cards in Liechtenstein
- Calling abroad, WiFi and data use in Liechtenstein
- Tipping in Liechtenstein
- A brief Liechtenstein history
Liechtenstein travel guide: quick facts
Liechtenstein size: 160km² or 62 sq mi
People living there: more than 37,810
Liechtenstein capital: Vaduz
Liechtenstein government structure: the government is formed by a mixed constitution where the political power is shared by the monarch and a democratically elected parliament.
National day: August 15
Liechtenstein time zone: Central European Time (CET) / UTC+1
Liechtenstein currency: Swiss franc
Power voltage and socket type(s): 230 V, plug types C and J. If these plug types don't match your devices, make sure to pack a universal adapter.
Official religion(s)/Freedom of religion: Freedom of religion. The main religion is predominantly Catholic with a small amount of the population identifying as Protestants and Muslim.
Official Liechtenstein language(s) and general knowledge of English: The official language is German. However, there are other German-related languages spoken here including Swiss German, Alemannic, Walser, and English.
Drives on this side: right
International driver's licence accepted? yes
Liechtenstein phone code: +423
Vaccinations needed? no
Can you drink the tap water? yes, so make sure to bring your reusable water bottle
Want to learn some more Liechtenstein facts? Check out this post.
Regions of Liechtenstein
Liechtenstein is divided into 11 municipalities. The regions serve as constituencies during parliamentary elections.
The region is the most northerly and low-lying area with a largely flat landscape situated on the Rhine River. It’s mainly known for conservation areas and housing the historic St. Fridolin’s Parish Church.
Schellenberg is in the lowland part of the country, right on the banks of the Rhine. Located in the region, you can find two sets of castle ruins called Obere Burg and Untere Burg meaning Upper Castle and Lower Castle. Built in the 1200s, it’s thought the castles fell into disrepair in the 16th century.
The Gamprin municipal consists of the towns of Gamprin and Bendern. The Gampriner Seele lake was created by a flood in 1927 and lies in the village of Bendern. Spend a relaxing afternoon hiking and exploring the surrounding areas.
Located in the north of the country, there’s plenty of hiking to do in the area. The hill range of Eschnerberg is nearby and consists of seven hills with a height of around 700m. The town of Eschen is the fourth-largest in Liechtenstein.
Mauren is situated in the north of Liechtenstein. Visit the Kulturhaus Rössle in Mauren for a wide range of cultural programmes and inspiration. It used to be the former Rössle Gasthaus, a center of social life for many years. The building had been saved from demolition due to its historic value as it dates back to 1833.
Spend the day in Schaan and enjoy several local highlights. Visit the St. Maria zum Trost Chapel, SoMus cultural center and be sure to check out the Roman excavations in the area. Experience some of the country’s best restaurants and bars while visiting. To the east of the town of Sichuan, you can find the Garsellakopf mountain on the border of Austria.
The region only contains the town of Planken with a population of around 450 people. As the country’s smallest village, it has few local amenities so doesn’t tend to be a massive draw for tourists. However, it is a good base for a summer walk up to the Gafadura mountain restaurant for good food and great views.
The region includes the capital city of Vaduz as well as Ebenholz and Mühleholz. The capital of Liechtenstein sits on the Rhine River. The Vadu Castle can be seen on a hillside overlooking the town. It dates back to the 12th century and is the private residence of the royal family.
The main city center, Das Städtle, has a pedestrianized street that’s filled with shops, restaurants, and cafes to explore. Other things to do include visiting the Prince of Liechtenstein’s Vineyards, the Old Rhine Bridge and the Vaduz Cathedral.
As with all of Liechtenstein, hiking is one of the top activities with the mountainous scenery. Treisen contains several historic churches to visit which date back to the 15th century. Popular attractions in the area include the Aquarius Kanel and Mazorahohi Park.
The region of Treisenberg is home to the Malbun Ski Resort. The high-altitude resort is a paradise for winter sports lovers. Situated just behind the southern Alpine ridge of the Saminatal Valley, the resort is famous throughout the country. The family-friendly resort has 23km of pistes for all abilities. If you’re traveling with children, visit the Malbi Park Kinderland in the center of the area to help improve their technique.
Situated in the far south-western corner of the country, the region is most well-known for its Burg Gutenberg. The 12th-century castle sits on a rocky hill over the center of town. It features two chapels, the Chapel of St. Peter and the Chapel of Mariahilf.
How to travel to Liechtenstein
Liechtenstein visa requirements
Liechtenstein is part of the Schengen Area meaning you can travel from one border-free Schengen country to another without a passport. Citizens from the EU and the US need a passport valid for at least three months to travel. No visa is required for stays of up to 90 days.
How to get to Liechtenstein
Getting to Liechtenstein by bus
Bordering train stations in Austria and Switzerland are well connected to Vaduz by bus. From the train stations, take a short bus to Liechtenstein to enter the country.
How to travel to Liechtenstein by train
The best access is via rail from either the Swiss border stations at Sargans or Buchs or via the Austrian station at Feldkirch. There are no direct trains into Liechtenstein but these train stations are well connected with Vaduz by bus. It only takes 10 minutes to reach Vaduz from Buchs by taxi.
Flights to Liechtenstein
Liechtenstein doesn’t have its own airport but the nearest international airport is Zurich Airport in Switzerland. You can reach Zurich from all over the world, then take the Zurich to Liechtenstein train or rent a car to cross the border.
How to travel around Liechtenstein
Independent travel around Liechtenstein
It’s easy to get around the small country via bus or car. There’s a comprehensive network of buses that are cheap and reliable. Whether you’re heading down narrow mountain roads or sticking to the city, the bus system is a great way to see the country. The rail network is limited so buses are the better option for public transport.
Driving in Liechtenstein is an easy way to get around with a good standard of roads. There’s plenty of car hire companies from both international brands and local hire car companies. Check here to compare rental car options and prices.
For smaller journeys, take a taxi. However, fares can get very high especially with journeys that cross borders. Cycling is another option to get around between towns. There are more than 100 km of cycle paths throughout Liechtenstein. You can hire bikes at the Liechtenstein Center in Vaduz.
What to pack for Liechtenstein
Liechtenstein has a temperate, alpine climate with mild winters and warm, wet summers. It has four seasons, summer, winter, fall, and spring. During the summer months, there is no exhausting heat and days are usually warm and sunny. The maximum average temperature in the summer is 24°C. The mountains are much cooler in the summer than in the valleys.
The average annual rainfall is 1000 mm, which is pretty evenly distributed throughout the year. The precipitation in the mountains is roughly double this amount. Average temperatures in January are about -1°C, with lows of -4°C and bringing heavy snow in the winter months. The climate is usually influenced by a warm, dry southerly wind.
What to pack for Liechtenstein in summer
- good walking sandals
- a reusable water bottle
- light clothing
- a rain jacket
What to pack for Liechtenstein in winter
- merino woolen leggings
- a merino woolen baselayer
- merino woolen socks
- a long, warm, wind and waterproof coat
- a reusable water bottle
- snow boots
- a hat
- a warm scarf
What to pack for Liechtenstein in fall and spring
- a reusable water bottle
- a comfortable and lightweight hiking pant
- layered clothing
- a lightweight but warm jacket
The best time to visit Liechtenstein
Liechtenstein is most famous for its beautiful winter scenery so traveling in December, January or February is a great time to visit. The country has its best skiing and snowboarding then so expect larger crowds and higher prices. Snow can fall as early as October and as late as March, so for better deals, check out these months.
For hiking, swimming and other outdoor activities, July and August can be a great time to go. This can be a busier time during hotter weather. Traveling in September is a good option for getting warmer weather with fewer crowds.
Liechtenstein food to try
- Hafalaaban – a soup with bacon or ham and cornmeal dumplings
- Kasknopfle – small dumplings topped with cheese
- Rebl – a side dish of cornmeal and semolina
- Kasknopfle mit Apfelmus – a doughy pasta-like cheese with apple sauce
- Rheintaler Ribelmais – like polenta, often served in the Rhine Valley
- Schwartenmagen – pickled meat in jelly, muesli, oats, fruit, and nuts soaked in juice or water
- Rosti – grated potato, flattened into a pancake then fried
- Schnitzel – breaded pork cutlet
- Rehpfeffer mit Spätzle – a jugged venison with Knoepfle, a type of pasta made with fresh eggs
Famous events in Liechtenstein
- FL1 Life, Schaan (July) – the music festival attracts international acts with lots of different food stands
- LGT Alpine Marathon (June) – the LGT Alpine Marathon is the first of three Alpine marathons in Europe that jointly count for the Mountain Marathon Cup
- Vaduz Film Festival, Vaduz (July/August) – the two-week festival shows films in an open-air cinema in the capital
- Liechtenstein State Celebration (August 15) – the whole country celebrates the national holiday of Liechtenstein with a magnificent firework display
- The ‘Fasnacht’, Vaduz (February) – the week-long carnival party takes place throughout the city with loads of beer
- The Princely Liechtenstein Tattoo, Schellenberg (September) – about 300 musicians from Europe perform at the ruins of Schellenberg
- Christmas Market, Vaduz (December) – visit the Christmas wonderland tucked away in the mountains with a castle view
- Treisenberg Spring, at the end of March the festival celebrates the coming warm season with classical music and entertainment
- Liechtenstein Guitar Days, Eschen (July) – the best guitar players from around the country and Europe come to play in the weeklong event
- Funkensonntag – celebrated throughout Liechtenstein by lighting a large bonfire the Sunday after Ash Wednesday
Public holidays in Liechtenstein
- New Year’s Day
- Berchtold’s Day (January 2)
- Three King’s Day
- St. Joseph’s Day (March 19)
- Good Friday
- Easter Monday
- Labour Day (May 1)
- Ascension Day
- Whit Monday
- Corpus Christi
- Liechtenstein National Day (August 15)
- Nativity of Our Lady
- All Saints’ Day
- Immaculate Conception Day
- Christmas Day
- St Stephen’s Day
Cultural customs to be aware of in Liechtenstein
Liechtensteiners are proud of their national identity and don’t like to be confused with being German, Swiss or Austrian. The country is an independent state with many following traditional Catholic religion. You’ll find the streets are pretty empty on a Sunday so be prepared that not all shops, particularly tourist ones, will be open.
Where to stay in Liechtenstein
I always use Booking.com to research and book accommodation for my trips. It has a bunch of filtering options so I can easily get a list of only the hotels that meet my criteria. If you're looking for a hotel in Liechtenstein, I highly recommend you check there.
Basic phrases and their pronunciation
My name is…
Pleased to meet you
Do you speak English?
Would you help me please?
How much does … cost?
Where do I find…?
Where are the bathrooms?
Could you please talk more slowly?
Could you repeat that, please?
I’d like …
Where is …?
The menu, please
Could you recommend something?
The check, please
Enjoy your meal
Auf Wiedersehen! (ouf vee-der-zey-en!)
Ich heiße … (iH hays-e…)
Freut mich (froyt miH)
Sprechen Sie Englisch? (shprêH-en zee êng-lish?)
Würden Sie mir bitte helfen? (vuer-den zee meer bi-tehêl-fen?)
Wie viel kostet …? (vee feel kos-tet…?)
Wo finde ich …? (voh fin-de iH…?)
Wo sind die Toiletten? (voh zint dee toy-lêt-en?)
Können Sie bitte langsamer sprechen? (kern-en zee bi-te lâng-zâm-er shprêH-en?)
Können Sie das bitte wiederholen? (kern-en zee dâs bi-te
Ich möchte gern… (iH merH-te gern….)
Wo ist…? (voh ist…?)
Die Speisekarte bitte (dee shpay-ze kâr-te bi-te)
Könnten Sie etwas empfehlen? (kern-ten zee êt-vas êm-pfey-len?)
Die Rechnung bitte (dee rêH-noong bi-te)
Guten Appetit (gooh-ten âp-e-teet)
Safety in Liechtenstein
Liechtenstein is a stunning alpine country to travel to with very little crime but there are a few things to keep in mind. In the ski resort of Malbun, there are a few fenced off areas that you’ll be fined if you cross.
There is a risk of avalanches at some times of the year so follow local weather warnings. The only real hazards you may encounter are on the roads, during winter in icy conditions. Like many places, snow tires are compulsory during the winter months.
The use of cash and cards in Liechtenstein
Most major credit and debit cards are accepted in stores and restaurants in tourist areas in Liechtenstein. The more rural you go, the less chance you have of finding places that accept cards. There are plenty of ATMs in towns or cities so if you’re planning to go to the countryside, get some cash out first.
The currency used in Liechtenstein is the Swiss franc and although euros are often accepted, the exchange rates are usually poor. It’s a good idea to keep a combination of cash and cards on you while traveling.
Calling abroad, WiFi and data use in Liechtenstein
Those with a SIM card from an EU country don't have to pay roaming charges when calling, texting, or using data in Liechtenstein. The same goes for some global phone plans.
If you don't have a EU SIM but still want to have unlimited WiFi, check out Solis Wifi.
Skyroam offers both day passes and monthly subscriptions providing you with 4G throughout your trips. I've been using their daily passes not just when I travel outside the EU (no roaming charges for me in the EU) but also as a backup for when I think I'll go over my phone's data plan.
Tipping in Liechtenstein
In Liechtenstein, tipping is not obligatory but it is a common thing to do when you've received good service. You can find some guidelines on who to tip what here.
A brief Liechtenstein history
Archaeological sites show that Liechtenstein has been inhabited since the Neolithic Age. First settlements were then created on the raised areas of the land. In 15 BC, the Romans defeated the Rhaetians and created the Roman province of Raetia. The Roman Empire then fell with the Alemannic people moving into the area. In the 8th century, Raetia became part of the Frankish Kingdom and then the Alemannic Duchy in the 10th century.
In 1342, the country was divided, creating the County of Vaduz. The County then went on to be the backdrop of much fighting including the Swabian War from 1499-1500. In 1699, Prince Johann Adam bought the Dominion of Schellenberg and then the County of Vaduz in 1712. The two territories were united by Emperor Karl VI in 1719, creating the Imperial Principality, named Liechtenstein.
During the War of the First Coalition in the 1700s, French soldiers entered the country. Liechtenstein was later occupied by Napoleonic troops during the War of the Second Coalition until 1802. In 1806, Napoleon accepted the country as one of the founding members of the Confederation of the Rhine, making it an independent state.
The country became fully independent in 1866, adopting the Swiss currency in 1921. Liechtenstein Prince Franz Josef II took to the throne until he was succeeded by his son after his death in 1989. It went on to join the European Economic Area and the World Trade Organisation in 1995.
Today, Liechtenstein is heavily industrialized with one of the world’s highest per capita gross domestic product.
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