Liechtenstein - The Principality in the Heart of Europe
The Principality of Liechtenstein lies in an idyllic position between Switzerland and Austria. It fascinates with its medieval charm and modern culture. The small town of Vaduz accommodates a wonderful strolling promenade in its old town and lies in the stunning mountain panorama of the Alps.
Geography - A principality in the Alps
The small Principality of Liechtenstein is a landlocked country in the Alps located between Austria and Switzerland. It is divided into the two historical regions of the Oberland ("Upper region") and the Unterland ("Lower region"). Today it is divided into eleven municipalities. Vaduz, Balzers, Triesen, Schaan and Schellenberg are popular with visitors. Schaan, Vaduz and Triesen are the country's biggest towns. Despite the position in the Alps, the climate is temperate to warm with pleasant temperatures. However, the rainfall rate is rather high throughout the year.
Nature - Through mountains and valleys in the Alpine country
Liechtenstein is the smallest state which is completely located in the Alps. Therefore, its landscape is shaped by the mountain range. High mountains, smooth valleys and the Rhine as the national border to Switzerland characterise the principality's scenery. Liechtenstein's population distinguishes between two landscapes: the fertile Rhine valley in the west and the equally beautiful Samina valley in the east. Over 40 percent of the country's area are forested. In addition, there are 32 peaks with over 2,000 metres of height. The highest mountain is Grauspitz with a height of 2,599 metres. In winter, the mountains and valleys are covered in a thick blanket of snow, which transforms the country into an attractive skiing region.
Natural sights - Mountain lakes in an idyllic Alpine panorama
Holidaymakers do not have to go without bathing fun in the Alpine country in summer. The reservoir in Steg and the Gampriner Seele are the most beautiful lake sceneries in the principality. A popular destination is Gänglesee Lake, which is embedded in the scenic mountains of the Alps. Travellers also find long hiking trails in the mountains. Visitors who are not content with seeing the local cows can get to know the country's more exotic fauna in the Galina falconry in Malbun or take part in a trekking tour with llamas and alpacas. In addition, you can watch colourful parrots in the Birka Bird Paradise.
Culture - Modern and traditional
The present-day territory of Liechtenstein was already settled in the Young Stone Age but the historical counties of Bregenz and Vaduz only emerged in the 14th century. Relics from this time are the names "Oberland" and "Unterland". In the course of history, the country was faced with hostilities and claims of ownership by its neighbouring countries. Liechtenstein only gained complete independence as a principality with the foundation of the Confederation of the Rhine in 1806. While the country developed slowly in the 19th century, it saw a boom at the end of World War II and became one of the most important financial and business locations in Europe. Many banks have their headquarters in the principality. Liechtenstein is the only country, in which (Standard) German is the only official language. In everyday use, however, the dialect of Alemannic German is much more common than Standard German. The principality has maintained its status as a hereditary monarchy. The population keeps to its traditions and customs and is known for its charming hospitality.
Cultural sights - The small town of Vaduz
The country's cultural centre is the municipality of Vaduz with the town of the same name. Medieval traditions and modern architecture meet here in the heart of Liechtenstein. In the great pedestrian area, visitors can stroll from the government district and the government building, which was completed in 1905, to the modern buildings of the Centrum Bank. On their way, they see quaint guest-houses, charming terraces and interesting museums. The region's landmark, Vaduz Castle, lies 120 metres above the city. Besides Vaduz, the old bridge over the Rhine, the Red House with the residential tower, the castle ruins in Schellenberg and the 500-year-old rural museum are popular attractions.
Experience - Wine-growing in the principality
Liechtenstein prides itself on a highly developed and excellent wine culture. However, this is not well-known abroad because most products are consumed in Liechtenstein. The most exquisite wines are stored in the princely wine cellars. In addition, there are two breweries and one traditional distillery, which has been producing whisky for 130 years. Whisky and wine are also the most typical souvenirs. The chocolates "Liechtensteiner Fürstenhütchen" and ceramic ware are popular as well. Travellers find shopping facilities in Vaduz and on the many weekly markets all over the country. Nightlife takes place in bigger towns such as Balzers, Friesen, Eschen or Schaanwald. Discos, bars and restaurants offer entertainment here.
Activities - Relaxation in the Alps
As in all Alpine countries, wonderful hiking trails and bathing lakes attract visitors in summer while the steep ski-runs of the mountain slopes guarantee fun in winter. Mountain hikes in Malbun and Steg as well as the climbing facilities in the higher regions are very popular. The valleys with the Rhine dam offer great conditions for cycling tours. As soon as the fist snow falls, Liechtenstein transforms into a wonderful winter sports centre. Malbun is the highest situated village in the principality and fascinates with steep ski-runs and comfortable lifts. In Steg, cross-country skiing against the backdrop of the beautiful Alpine panorama is a popular activity.
Liechtenstein does not have an airport. The nearest one is located in the neighbouring country of Switzerland. The railway network is not well-developed either. An easy way of travelling to Liechtenstein is by car or travel bus. The country's official currency are the Swiss franc.
The idyllic principality in the Alps fascinates with its mountainous landscape and its central position in the heart of Europe. Both lovers of nature and culture enthusiasts get their money's worth in Liechtenstein.