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  • A traveler’s guide to Liechtenstein

    Vaduz, the capital city of Liechtenstein.

    Vaduz, the capital city of Liechtenstein.

    The tiny landlocked country of Liechtenstein is one of the last remains of the huge and powerful Holy Roman Empire, and while what remains is considerably less intimidating, Liechtenstein has preserved much of the dignified old world charm of its ancestor. Liechtenstein is not cheap, but it has some incredible sights, and it is surprisingly friendly even for backpackers living on a shoestring.

    Hiking, mountain biking and skiing opportunities abound in this small country – it’s like a ‘best-of’ of Central Europe at a slightly highest price than the rest of the continent. Here’s a short traveler’s guide to Liechtenstein for those who are in for an interesting adventure.

    Transport

    Vaduz, photo by Bob Hall on Flickr

    The advantage of small countries is that you don’t have to spend much time or money on transport, but either way, Liechtenstein’s public transport system is incredibly well organized, and surprisingly cheap. There’s only one bus operator in the country, and it is quite cheap (to stretch you budget, buy a week-long pass that affords you unlimited travel).

    But if you don’t mind a bit of exercise, you can travel all over Liechtenstein on bike – most of the roads have bike lanes, and you can cross the country from one border to the other in a matter of hours, which is a great way to see the stunning Alpine scenery.

    Eat and sleep

    The larger cities in Liechtenstein have a nice selection of restaurants and hotels, but usually they are not exactly cheap. For (very) fine dining, you can check out the Old Castle Inn in the capital city of Vaduz, stay in a luxury hotel and drink wine from the personal vineyard of the Prince, but backpackers should not despair.

    There’s one affordable youth hostel in the country’s largest city Schaan, hidden in the back streets but close to the center, but unfortunately it closes in the winter. In summer, camping is a great alternative to hostels and hotels – there are several camping grounds with full service that are open all year round.

    When it come to eating, you can either try the fabulous restaurants that serve amazing cheese and wine among other things, or set your standards lower and dine at McDonald’s, which, judging by the number of road signs, is very popular in Liechtenstein (and it serves wine). But if you’d rather not eat fast food in a country known for its fine tastes, you can grab delicious pastries and sandwiches at bakeries.

    Things to see

    photo by Francesco Crippa on Flickr

    Liechtensteiners are very proud of their country, and for good reason, because the natural beauty of Liechtenstein is nothing to scoff at. The mountain scenery is incredible, but the urban landscape is also great fun.

    Vaduz is full of great shops and a great museum (Kunstmuseum), as well as the imposing royal castle looming over the city (it’s not allowed to enter it, but you can see it up close and maybe even see the royals coming or going). Balzers is a small town with a beautiful church and an even better castle, while Ruggell is located next to a nice nature reserve.

    If you want to see some rather awesome Roman ruins, take a trip to the village of Nendeln. If you want to unwind in the evening, head to Schaan which has a lively enough nightlife.

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