[Peek abroad] The 6th smallest country

When planning my European adventure, part of my ‘thirty countries before thirty’ mission, I included Liechtenstein partly because it was on the route and partly because I was curious to see what the world’s 6th smallest country was like.

So, what is it like?

I’m not exactly sure what I was expecting – well, maybe a royal fanfare on entry and Ulrich von Liechtenstein – but landlocked Liechtenstein, unsurprisingly, is very similar to its neighbouring countries. Surrounded by the Alps it has green fields, a prominent river that acts as a natural border between it and Switzerland, and several towns.

Looking from Liechtenstein over to Switzerland.

There are about 12 towns; around one in each commune. We (Dad and I) stayed in the commune of Eschen, part of the Unterland district (the lower county). From there we had a great view across to Vaduz, the capital, and various other towns.

On arrival it had just started raining, but our host explained that the weather is very transient in Liechtenstein – within an hour the rain will have moved on. She was right.

We had an afternoon to explore Liechtenstein, which was just the right amount of time.

From Eschen to Vaduz you cross around a third of the country, but it only takes about 15 minutes. We walked around Vaduz – which, sadly, doesn’t have much history to it apart from the Cathedral of St Florin, Government House and the City House – and then headed on to Triesenberg and Malbun.

I have never been skiing before so visiting the ski resort-village of Malbun was an eye-opener for me. It was strange to think that the village will be buzzing in a few months and covered in a blanket of snow.

Government House and the Cathedral of St Florian, Vaduz.
The ski resort-village of Malbun.

We also visited Vaduz Castle, which is the oldest building in Liechtenstein and still home to the Royal Family. The Castle isn’t open to the public, but you can visit the Prince’s hofkellerei (wine cellars). The Prince’s  vineyards cover 4 .5 hectares of Vaduz, and while we didn’t sample the wine we spotted the vineyards.

It was interesting visiting Liechtenstein but I wouldn’t go out of my way to visit again in the future. If you are staying in neighbouring Switzerland or Austria it is worthwhile popping in, perhaps when Malbun has been transformed into a winter wonderland.

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