You may say spending just one day in Liechtenstein isn’t really giving the country a chance but considering there are only 38,000 residents & the capital, Vaduz, consists of 2 main shopping streets, you can be forgiven for thinking the visit is too rushed.
Driving into Liechtenstein from Innsbruck is a beautiful drive, it took around 4.5 hours (avoiding tolls), you simply meander along with a continuous panoramic view of the Alps. As we were in our VW bus, we had found a park up on Park4Night close to the centre, at Vaduz’s football teams stadium car park. The parking is cheap; first hour free and then 0.5 CHF per hour thereafter, along with free evenings & weekends it’s a steal!
With the football stadium being one of the highlights it’s a great place to start! The walk from the carpark to the centre of Vaduz takes less than 10 minutes, Vaduz Castle is another 10-15 minutes & the parliament building is a similar distance. You can easily cover the city centre in an hour or two.
The main ‘high street’ features mostly designer watch shops, high end fashion and souvenir shops. For an exuberant €3 you can take your passport into the souvenir shops and have it stamped with the official Liechtenstein stamp! We saved our pennies and didn’t bother, but if you are collecting passport stamps I suppose it’s a price worth paying!
We didn’t eat or drink out here but looking at a couple of menus the prices were pretty steep. €9 for a green salad (just lettuce!), €12 for vegetable soup & main courses upwards of €22. Dave likes to collect beer bottle caps, but he has a rule that he has to have tried the beer himself for it to enter the collection. We saw a couple of local beers in a gift shop for €5.50 a bottle but managed to pick the same bottle in the supermarket for €1.80. Remember gift shops are tourist traps! Don’t get me wrong I love to look round them and do occasionally buy a souvenir, but I always check out whether I can get the same thing elsewhere for less.
The walk up to the castle is pretty steep but on a well-marked paved/gravel path. You can’t actually go inside the castle as the country’s Royal Family still resides there, but you can admire the building up close and look out over the city and surrounding mountains.
Fun facts about Liechtenstein
· There are only 38,000 residents. That’s less than half the number that attended the Women’s European Cup Final at Wembley this summer! (It’s come home – go Lionesses! 😊)
· Liechtenstein is known as a financial hub/tax haven, it actually has more businesses registered here than people!
· Liechtenstein became a Sovereign state in 1806 and abolished its army of 80 men in 1868.
· The last conflict Liechtenstein were involved in was in 1866, they sent their 80 strong army to defend the boarders against the Prussians. They experienced zero casualties as they spent their time smoking and drinking in the hills. Better still, accounts from the time say they returned to the city with 81 men! Depending on which account you read this extra man was either a Austrian Liaison Officer or an Italian man who defected from the Prussian alliance. Either way I think it’s a great story 😊
· Two thirds of the country of Liechtenstein is made up of mountains, hills and fields.