Have you ever heard about Liechtenstein? It is a small country that lies between Switzerland and Austria, so small that my bus trip to cross it took just 20 minutes! The capital is Vaduz, and being such a small country, it still can have a town larger than the capital!
Most of those who pass by Vaduz often make the same mistake as I, not saving enough time to visit the town. And then, they discover a really interesting town filled with history, but without enough time to explore it properly. I only had about 4 hours to explore the town, so I didn’t have enough time to visit museums from inside. But there are several options! And even if you just have a couple of hours, you can still visit a lot of that small town, and walk a lot!
The Old Bridge over the Rhine River
One of the natural borders of Liechtenstein is the Rhine River, and in this part of the river the distance between both shores is really short. So short that in certain parts you can even cross it on foot (if the water flow isn’t too strong).
The Old Bridge over the Rhine River is the only remaining wooden bridge crossing the river. No motorised traffic can cross the bridge, which makes this route quite popular among cyclists and pedestrians. Of course, I had to cross the border on food to Switzerland!
The bridge has several interesting characteristics, the fact that is covered and all made in wood are the most obvious ones, but also the fact that is already a centenary bridge (built in 1901) make it a local monument, hence being one of the highlights. It is 135 meters of engineering that still lasts until today!
Walk to the Vaduz Castle
When I went to the tourism office they told me that the Vaduz Castle is closed to the general audiences, since it is the official residence of Liechtenstein Prince. However they highly recommended to walk to the castle for the views, and the path itself.
It is a walk that still takes a bit, if I am not mistaken I took about one hour to go up and back. But I also stopped several times to appreciate the view over the Rhine River. So I guess one hour is quite easy.
On the way you can learn a lot about this small country, the city and the royal family. And yes, you can learn a lot on the way to the castle! There are several information boards explaining the history of the country, how the government is formed, the king’s powers, the government and the people. It is a real street history class!
For me, the walk to Vaduz Castle was the highlight of my visit to the city. I learnt a lot, and it also worked as a small workout!
The path is properly marked, it is easy to find and to follow. But in doubt, you should visit the tourism office and ask for a city map, and of course, a few suggestions on what to visit.
Saint Florin Cathedral
Like I mentioned before, I didn’t have the time to visit any of the points of interest from inside, and of course, the cathedral wasn’t an exception. In fact, it isn’t even a cathedral, but rather a church and it isn’t even that big. It is the most important church in the country, hence being considered as the Cathedral of Vaduz.
On the way to the old bridge you will pass by the cathedral, so if you have interest in it, it is a good opportunity to take a break on the way to the bridge.
One of the points of interest in the cathedral is the graveyard, the official graveyard of the royal family, where the father of the reigning pince is buried.
The Parliament Building
There are two parliament buildings, the new and the old one. And they are right next to each other, both interesting to see from outside and a nice square to photograph. I think I passed there a few times just to take photos.
The majority of the points of interest in Vaduz can be found in the Main Street. And being such a small city, it is normal that we walk back and forth to try to find new things.
The new building and the square are works of the same architect, in fact, you can even notice that by the material used and the harmony. It was inaugurated in 2008, and it is the home to 25 members of the parliament. Yes, only 25 people are part of the parliament! Quite proporcional to the size of the country, no?
The Government House is, in fact, the old parliament! Before I mentioned that there are two parliament buildings, but officially the old one is now the Government House. Nowadays it is used as the administrative center of Liechtenstein, and it is where the state archives are kept.
Museum of the Country of Liechtenstein (Liechtensteinisches Landesmuseum)
If walking to the castle isn’t your cup of tea, or you simply want to learn more in detail about the history of Liechtenstein. Then the Museum of the Country of Liechtenstein is an option to consider!
The museum tells the history of Liechtenstein since the medieval times, the witch trials, and the manufacture of false teeth (yes, that’s exactly what it says at the Lonely Planet’s website).
Something these small countries have in common is that they know how to take advantage of those things that make them unique. Currency and stamps are things that can become a really good source of income, mostly for collectors.
With the arrival of the electronic email, stamps stopped being so desirable, but they are still an important part of the country’s history. In fact, of most countries! Stamps tell a story, they highlight events, they celebrate people. Even though nowadays few use this traditional method of correspondence, stamps are an essencial part of a letter. And for this and other reasons, it is why I love to send postcards to friends and family whenever I travel! Which better souvenir than a photo with an unique stamp sent directly from the place we are visiting?
With this said, if you have the change and time, please visit this museum. And once you get out, send a few postcards to those you care about.
And in the same build where the Stamp Museum is, you can also find the Treasury Chamber. An excellent opportunity to do a two in one, and see from up close some of Liechtenstein and the royal family’s treasures. Including hunting weapons, gifts offered to the royal family, and even a collection of Russian Easter Eggs from the czars era.
Where to drop the luggage in Vaduz?
One of the things I searched a lot before going to Vaduz was where to drop my luggage, and I was amazed by not finding any information regarding this subject. But since I would spend the day in Vaduz before heading to Switzerland (where I spent the night), on the other side of the river, I didn’t want to carry my backpack the whole day. Even if I was traveling light, but after a few hours walking, the weight feels like increasing.
And to answer this question, YES! There are lockers in Vaduz where you can drop your luggage! At the square in the main street, where you can find many of these places I suggested to visit. And they accept both Euros as Swiss Francs. There are not many lockers, therefore depending on when you visit this town, your chances of finding a free locker might be fewer…
Where to stay to visit Vaduz?
Accommodation in Liechtenstein is somehow expensive, however just by crossing the border we are in Switzerland in a town way less touristic and with a fair amount of available accommodation. And just in 10 minutes by bus you are in Vaduz. Buchs is an excellent place to stay overnight, even better if the plan is to keep traveling by train.
Basically one day is enough to visit Vaduz. It is a really small city, but really interesting. If you want to explore more of the Liechtenstein, then you should stay a few more days.
Where is Vaduz?
Vaduz is located at the western side of the country, right next to the Rhine River bordering with Switzerland.