While we were on our 2021 road trip through Switzerland, we decided to tick off Liechtenstein. Tucked between Switzerland and Austria (Liechtenstein is also German speaking), this little country is the 4th smallest in Europe, only about 62 square miles, about the same size as Washington DC! It's less than 70 miles drive from Zurich so is really easy to visit as a day trip.
We spent the day in the capital city, Vaduz, which has a dinky population of around 6700. Liechtenstein uses Swiss Francs as currency so you won't need to do any exchanges before driving in from Switzerland.
Need persuading? Check out our blog Is Vaduz worth visiting for more information.
Here's our short list of the top things to do in Vaduz, Liechtenstein:
1. Schloss Vaduz
Vaduz castle sits up on a hill overlooking the city. With stone walls and pointy towers it's a real fairy tale looking castle and dates from the 12th century - today it's still the private royal residence of the royal family of Liechtenstein, which means that while you can't go inside you can hike up the hill to stand outside and enjoy views across the valley to the mountains over the border in Switzerland.
2. Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein
This imposing square black basalt stone building dominates Städtle, the pedestrianised main drag. Open Tuesday - Sunday, its collection of contemporary art includes paintings, sculptures and installations.
3. Mitteldorf and the Rote Haus
To see what Liechtenstein used to look like before it became a rich tax haven, walk north out of the centre to Mitteldorf. This quarter is a lovely tumble of traditional houses, cobbled lanes and steep hills dotted with rose gardens and vineyards. The most famous building in this area is the Rote Haus (red house), a brightly coloured gabled Medieval house with a stone tower, set within vineyards.
4. St Florin Cathedral
Liechtenstein is a catholic country, and St Florin church was given the status of cathedral in 1997. The Neo Gothic building dates from the 1870s, has a 45m steeple and is where several members if the Royal Family are buried, including the parents, wife and brother of Prince Hans-Adam II, the current reigning monarch.
Just by the cathedral is Peter-Kaiser-Platz square, home the palatial looking Government Building and the striking new Landtag building, where the Liechtenstein parliament meets. While it's high pointed roof is dramatic, to us it looks a little bit like flat pack furniture...
5. Postage stamp museum
This quirky little free museum is well worth popping into. Before email took off, niche little Liechtenstein's stamps were sought after and it had a roaring trade selling stamps to collectors. Since the 30s this museum has gathered and displayed postage stamps issued by the Principality of Liechtenstein since 1912, and you can also learn about the history of the country's postal service.
To get really meta, why not buy a postcard from the gift shop and send it from the museum's postbox?
While central Vaduz is easily doable in a day, keep an eye out for local festivals and events. When we visited in September 2021 there was a Country & Western/ BBQ festival going on which was a lot of fun! Stetsons, line dancing and grilled meat with an Alpine background. Fantastic!
Have you been to Liechtenstein? What would you recommend doing that we haven't mentioned?