LIECH.TEN.STEIN. This name is difficult to spell…and might ring absolutely no bells. But in fact it’s a small country, just 1.5 hours outside of Switzerland!
Given the pandemic situation, Vince and I had ideally wanted to visit to have a break and go somewhere unique for the end-of-year vacation, but still not too far away from home for safety reasons. That was why we were so thrilled when we were invited by Liechtenstein Marketing to spend a weekend winter holiday in this princely state!
In this post, I’d be sharing with you all the activities you can do in Leichtenstein, featuring the Liechtenstein Museum & Adventure Pass. With four museums, a royal treasury to snoop around, plus a ski resort and fairytale castle, this itinerary has you covered for a fun and unique winter holiday!
Also, read till the end of the post for a fantastic giveaway 😀
DISCLAIMER: if you don’t feel comfortable travelling during this pandemic, save this list for later. Being a travel content creator, I know what an impact the lack of travelling has on the industry. I’d made the conscious decision to travel, but of course under compliance of the respective rules within Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein, and with consideration of mine and especially other people’s safety.
Where is Liechtenstein?
Liechtenstein is located in Western Europe. Interestingly, it is a rare double-landlocked country, meaning that it is surrounded by two landlocked countries, between Switzerland and Austria.There are only two double-landlocked countries in the world, the other being Uzbekistan in central Asia!
Just How Small is Liechtenstein?
Liechtenstein is the sixth-smallest country in the world. In fact, it only spans 160m2 and has a population of just 38,000 people. (In comparison, highly dense Singapore where I come from alone has 5 million people!)
Tiny has its advantages though: When we ask the locals on how it feels like living in Liechtenstein, for them it’s as though one is living in a very large family where everyone is related. And from what we observe, the people in Liechtenstein always seem to know somebody or another no matter where they go, always ready to smile and greet with a familiar “hoi“! You can tell that it is a very small but close knitted community in here.
How to get from Switzerland to Liechtenstein
Liechtenstein does not have its own airport, so you would have to pass through either Austria or Switzerland before entering.
The nearest city to Liechtenstein is Zurich. Get your ticket from SBB, and from Zurich HB, take the train to Saargans station. From there, transfer onto either Bus 11 (direction Feldkirch) or 12E (direction Vaduz), and hop off at Vaduz Post where you would arrive at Liechtenstein’s main city centre is. The bus ride would take you approximately 30 minutes.
The whole transfer was so smooth, I didn’t even realise that I’d crossed into Liechtenstein territories! That’s because there are no border checkpoints between the two countries.
Things to do in Liechtenstein
1. Get your passport stamped
Technically, Liechtenstein is in the Schegen area, so officially, you do not have to get your passport stamped to cross through the borders. But since you’re already here, why not right!? After all, it’s not that often you can get to show off having a stamp from one of the smallest and most rarely visited country in the world!
To get your passport stamped, head to the Liechtenstein Tourist office and produce your passport at the counter.
Liechtenstein Tourism Center
Address: Städtle 39, 9490 Vaduz, Liechtenstein
Hours: Open daily 9 am – 5 pm
Liechtenstein Museum and Adventure Pass: Free Souvenir stamp in passport (worth 3 CHF)
2. Visit the Cellars of the Prince of Liechtenstein
Another must-do when in Liechtenstein is to go for wine-tasting at the Herawingert vineyards, straight from the personal wine cellars of the Prince of Liechtenstein! Being an avid wine-lover, Vince was certainly looking forward to this part of the trip.
The Herawingert is one of the oldest vineyards in Liechtenstein, and represents the heart of the country’s viticulture. At only 4 hectares, it isn’t big, and produces a limited 20,000 bottles of wine a year. However, thanks to its southwest exposure, mild climate and rich schist and calcareous soil, it produces some of the best Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in the Rhine valley.
We were brought on a private wine tour around the cellar facilities, where we saw the new press, fermentation cellar and the century-old wine storage room, and also learnt more about the wine-making process here in the Prince’s winery. A lot of precision and expertise goes into the long process of wine production!
Sampling the various red and white variety of wines. I highly recommend sampling and getting the Pinot Noir Bocker (35 CHF), and the Blanc de Noir (18.90CHF). We bought a bottle back for sharing with our family!
The Cellars of the Prince of Liechtenstein
Wine-tasting (5 wines) with tour of cellar facilities: 23 CHF (groups of at least 10 persons, smaller groups upon request)
Liechtenstein Museum & Adventure Pass: Free Degustation of two wines (1 dl)
3. Redeem your Ceramic Mugs at Schaedlers Ceramic Studio
For craft-lovers, look no further than Schaedlers Ceramic Studio. Here, you will find resident potters skillfully honing their craft inside the potter’s studio, producing simplistic yet timeless-looking ceramic pieces which you wouldn’t find anywhere else.
Vince is recently into coffee-making and we were actually intending to get some coffee mugs. We were so happy when we found out that our Adventure Pass actually included a free redemption of a ceramic cup at the studio! In the end, we topped up a little more for a more premium selection.
There are also many decorative household items crockeries and art pieces sold at the shop, perfect for getting a gift for loved ones.
Schaedlers Ceramic Studio
Churerstrasse 60, 9485 Nendeln
Liechtenstein Museum & Adventure Pass: FREE gift of a ceramic cup (worth 17 CHF)
4. Get your Coffee Fix at Demmel Kaffe
When looking for the best coffee brands in Liechtenstein, the Demmel Kaffe in Schaan is a sure winner. The beans are hand-roasted locally, and certified bio by the Swiss Organic Regulation and recipient of the DLG (German Agricultural Society) Gold award.
You can also grab a bag of coffee beans (sourced from India, Indonesia and South America) to take home and make your regular morning brew. We bought a bag of the Verona Express blend, which has a nice fullness and chocolaty finish to it. We have it for our morning/afternoon coffee everyday now!
Landstrasse 85, 9494 Schaan
Monday – Friday
9.30 a.m. – 12.30 p.m.
1.30 p.m. – 6 p.m.
9.30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Liechtenstein Museum & Adventure Pass: FREE one cup of coffee or milk drink (worth 6 CHF)
5. Chairlift your way up to the Sareiserjoch
Take the Sareis chairlift in Malbun up to Sareisjoch, one of the most beautiful spots in Liechtenstein. Here, you can marvel at magnificent panoramic views of the country’s scenic mountains and valleys, with the neighbouring region of Vorarlberg in Austria stretching into the distance.
I’d never taken a chairlift EVER so I was slightly freaked out at the idea of myself dangling in mid-air! It was scary, especially during the descent, but once you get used to it it’s really thrilling!
Malbun Mountain Railways (Bergbahnen Malbun)
Daily from 8.00 a.m. until 5.00 p.m.
Return journey from Malbun to Sareis: Adults 15.30CHF, children 8CHF
Single journey from Malbun to Sareis or from Sareis to Malbun: adults 9.80 CHF, children 5.40CHF
Liechtenstein Museum and Adventure Pass: One free ride with the Malbun Mountain Railways up to Sareis
6. Go Nordic skiing in Malbun
Tiny Lichtenstein hosts only one ski resort in the whole country, which lies in Malbun. Tucked away inside the mountains of Trisenburg at 1,600m above sea level, this ski resort might not be the largest in the Alps, but it offers the advantage of never having too many people on the slopes. In fact, Prince Charles reportedly brought then Princess Diana to learn to skiing in Malbun, to keep away from the prying eyes of the media! Definitely on a royal skiing level (literally and figuratively!) in Liechtenstein!
Malbun is also a great ski-resort suitable for families with kids: It received the Swiss stamp of approval by being awarded the Famiy Destination, in recognition of family-friendly services and infrastructure. Parents should definitely check out the children’s area in the cenrte of Malbun called the Malbi-Park, with fun features including such as the carousel, an adventure obstacle course, a daycare playroom and even a magic carpet!
We went for a taster lesson for cross-country skiing. Cross-country skiing is different from alpine skiing that is more atypical in Switzerland: the former is typically done on rolling landscapes, whereas the latter allow for downhill skiing terrain. That being said, both forms of skiing require tons of stamina and strength!
Being absolutely beginners, of course we didn’t master cross country skiing within a day, but our instructor Johanas managed taught us the fundamentals, such as how to move, how to brake and how to walk up slopes. I was like a helpless ugly duck while looking at the others graceful skiiers whizzing past us effortlessly! Maybe someday…I will reach their level.
If you are a beginner and are interested in taking skii-classes, or just a taster course like we did, Malbun Ski and Snowboard School offers private tuition and group courses for children and adults of all abilities. The full-time instructors in Malbun are fully qualified and experts in helping skiers and snowboarders to improve their technique while having fun at the same time!
Snowsports School Malbun
Im Malbun 35
Monday: 9.30 a.m. until 2.00 p.m. and 2.00 p.m. until 4.00 p.m.
Tuesday to Friday: 10.00 a.m. until 12.00 p.m. and 2.00 p.m. until 4.00 p.m.
Monday to Wednesday: 10.00 a.m. until 12.00 p.m. ski kids special
Liechtenstein Museum and Adventure Pass:
CHF 10.- reduction on a Group-Ski- or Snowboardcourse from 5 days, inclusive a Snowli-keychain for free
7. Snow-shoe and wander in Steg
Not a ski-pro yet but still want to enjoy the delights of the winter landscapes? Then definitely try out snow-shoeing! Snowshoeing requires ZERO experience: If you can walk, then you can definitely snowshoe. Not only is it more affordable as a winter sport, you actually burn MORE calories while snowshoeing than walking, running or cross-country skiing at the same pace! I definitely enjoyed snoe-shoeing alot more than skiing because it catered more to my fitness level and ability.
Snow-shoes is a type of plastic/ metal outer footwear, designed to fit over your regular shoes or boots. The wide frame helps to displace your weight over a larger surface area and prevent your foot from sinking into the snow.
For a city girl like me, snow-shoeing in Liechtenstein was such a fascinating experience! We did a 4 hour hike with an ascent of 260m. Our guide, Nikolaus was really adventurous and brought us away from the much-trampled paths, and we ventured into the deep snowy forest. The vast snowfields were literally untouched, and we left fresh footprints in the snow! It was really beautiful.
If you are looking for a reliable guide for your snowshoe experience in Lichtenstein, do consider engaging Nikolaus and his team from Wanderleiter. You can either choose to enroll in one of the hikes already listed in his programmes, or he can help to plan your own customised hike based on what and where you would like to explore!
Landstrasse 158 9494 Schaan, Liechtenstein
+41 79 669 88 84
8. Visit Liechtenstein’s many museums
Judging from the number of museums in this tiny country it’s clear that Liechtenstein invests heavily into its arts and cultural scene. The Liechtenstein Adventures Pass gives you free access to not just one, but ALL museums! It’s any museum buff’s paradise.
We did a museum tour on our last day in Liechtenstein and these are the 3 that I recommend worth checking out:
The Art Museum
The Liechtenstein Kunstmuseum (Liechtenstein Museum of Fine Arts) is the national gallery, with a special focus on international modern and contemporary art. The building itself is also an architectural beauty, built in a black cube-like form and made of tinted concrete and black basalt stone.
We had an incredible “night at the museum” experience and were lucky to be brought on a private tour, after the museum’s exhibition hours! We visited the highlight exhibition of the month: The Parliament of Plants. Each of the art installations from different disciplines (including botany, floristics and horticulture, forestry and farming, (landscape) architecture, meteorology and art) attempts to address their relationship with plants and extend a voice to these silent, leafy creatures.
Our guide Clara was super informative and explained to us the various exhibits throughout the whole time. She was the x-factor that COMPLETELY elevated our museum experience! I’d admit that in the past when I’d visit art galleries on my own, I walked out feeling confused and not understanding the meaning of the art I’d just saw. Having someone to provide context and meaning to the art pieces certainly helped us appreciate the beauty and depth of the artist’s work and the thought process behind each piece’s creation.
The National Museum
The National Museum (or Landesmuseum) offers over 3,000 exhibits showcasing the history and culture of Liechtenstein. I think this is the museum most worthy of visiting because it has art, natural history (ie stuffed animals and birds), archeology, the country’s history – all under one roof!
There was also a temporary exhibition on Global Happiness that looks for happiness indicators in the world and explores “sustainable happiness”, which we found it super interesting. Through the interactive quizzes, Vincent also discovered that he is happier than 80% of the world’s population!
My favourite part of the exhibit was this wall of happiness where it features the heartwarming, personal stories behind everyday objects of people from all around the world, and why it brought them happiness.
The exhibition is on till Feb 2021, so if you happen to be in Liechtenstein during then, I highly recommend that you visit it.
The Treasure Chamber
The Treasure Chamber (or Schatzkammer) is home to some of the prized collections of the Prince of Liechtenstein and the country’s national treasures.Security is tight in here: The room is long and dark, you can only enter using a coin and walk in a single direction.
The whole exhibition is pretty small so 30 minutes inside would suffice.
The best artefacts in my opinion, are the replica of the royal crown, the beautiful collection of fancy easter eggs and *gasp* MOON ROCKS brought back by Apollo 11 in 1969, and Apollo 17 in 1972! These were gifts from NASA in recognition of Liechtenstein’s contribution for supplying protective coatings for the US space rockets.
9. Go Ice-Skating at the Vaduz Rink
For those looking for a socially-distant outdoor activity to enjoy this winter, lace up your skates at one of Liechtenstein’s local open-air rinks! There’s so much fun and freedom in gliding across ice and enjoying the beautiful outdoors on a crisp winter day. Take note: masks is required to be kept on at all times.
The rink is located right in the centre of Vaduz, so you won’t miss it. The rink is open from November to January during winter season. There is also another ice-skating rink at Schluchertreff Malbun.
10. Admire the Vaduz Castle
Of course, no trip to princely Liechtenstein is ever complete without visiting the medieval Vaduz Castle! The Prince of Lichtenstein still actively lives there with his family, so unfortunately entry is not allowed inside the castle. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t hike up to the top and admire it from afar! Admittedly it’s not the most magnificent castle I’d seen (that title goes to the Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany!)
How to get to Vaduz Castle
You can reach the Vaduz castle by foot, or by car. If going with the latter option, enter “Vaduz Castle Parking Area, Bergstrasse, Vaduz” into your GPS for guidance.By foot, the hike towards the castle takes roughly 20-30 minutes. The trail is slightly sleep, but not difficult.
Starting from the steps next to the Brasserie Burg restaurant, follow the follow the brown arrow signs for “Schloss” or “Castle. There are also informative signedboards lined along the hiking trial, which provide bits of history regarding the founding of Lichtenstein, the Royal Family and the castle.
At the final juncture right before the castle, there is a scenic Känzeli Viewpoint that overlooks the entire the city of Vaduz and the Rhine valley, so don’t forget to stop by there for some pictures!
Vaduz Castle (Schloss Vaduz)
Schlossstrasse 9490 Vaduz Liechtenstein
Where to Stay in Liechtenstein
Do yourself a favour and book an accommodation anywhere but Vaduz. Because WHY would you even want to stay in the city when you can just travel out a few minutes more and wake up to the views out the mountains??
We stayed at Hotel Oberland at Triesenberg, located 15-minutes away from the centre of Vaduz.
I loved the overall look and feel of the hotel: While the interiors of the hotel room are modern and sleek, on the outside it retains a cute, rustic mountain cabin aesthetic. Best of all, when night sets in, the hotel lits up beautifully with fairy lights!
The hotel check-in process is manless and fully automated. A pretty neat solution, considering this being such a small country where manpower resources are limited especially during off season!
For breakfast, you have a plentiful continental selection inside a cosy breakfast room: with bread, eggs, yoghurt, ham, ham coffee/tea and other hot beverages. Again, the beverage bar is manless, and it works on an honesty policy, meaning the hotel trusts that guest will only take what they pay for!
While there is no indoor pool at the hotel, there is a snug little sauna room, perfect for warming yourself up and relaxing during the cold winter.
Bergstrasse 25, 9497 Triesenberg, Liechtenstein
Quote “OBERLAND” when booking online to get 5% discount on your stay in Hotel Oberland.
Where to eat in Liechtenstein
Chow down for lunch and replenish energy lost on the slopes with a hearty meal at Sareis Mountain restaraunt. Sit outside at the terrace, where you can enjoy dining with sweeping views of the surrounding peaks! We had a huge, nortorious plate of rosti with eggs and bacon, bratwurst sausages AND our favourite winter beverage: vin chaud aka HOT WINE!
It was snowing while we were having lunch so we had extra snow topping on our food!
We had dinner at this splendid gem of a restaurant just 5 minutes away from our hotel. Their menu is kept small, which to me is a good sign because it means that their ingredients are kept fresh.
The menu were all in German, which we couldn’t decipher well… but our waitress was super helpful in recommending us the choice dishes and she simply nailed them all! We opted for the german pork belly with sauerkraut, the beef with roasted vegetables and mashed potatoes. But the desserts definitely stole the day: fried apple fritters!
With a quiet and welcoming ambiance, Eldelweiss restaurant is an ideal place to try the local cuisine in Liechtenstein.
This charming Italian brasserie is located right in the pedestrian zone of Vaduz, just 3 minutes away from the Liechtenstein Kunstmuseum. It is one of the restaurants opened by Adler Gastronomie, which also owns other renowned restaurants in Liechtenstein including the Restaurant Adler, the Vanini Café – Bar, the Cesare restaurant and the Japanese cafe at the Liechtenstein Kunstmuseum.
Our dinner was planned as part of the museum package, which included a splendid 3 course gourmet meal. For the regular menu, the restaurant’s offerings include stone oven pizzas, a buffet with more than 26 fresh salads, sandwiches, burgers and pastas, alongside vegan and vegetarian options.
For starters we had curried pumpkin soup with salmon. Main course was a succulent braised pork ribs with tagliatelle pasta and truffle, full of amazing rich flavours. Finally, we ended dinner with the classic tiramisu. Our bellies were 100% satisfied!
Tel +423 232 23 83
With that, I hope that you have enjoyed reading about our winter wonderland holiday in Liechtenstein and that I have given you some inspiration for your own itinerary and holiday! If you are looking for more winter travel ideas, check out my other post on our mindblowing Bernina Express train experience!
If you would like to have the same experience, great news! I’m giving away 3 PAIRS of 2-Day Liechtenstein Museum & Adventure Passes, which provides free transportation on the whole LIEmobil bus network and free/ reduced admission prices to all the activities that I’d listed above! Hop over to my Instagram to join the giveaway!
(Contest ends 12 Jan 2021, Valid for Swiss and EU residents only)
Have you ever been to Liechtenstein? Which of the 10 Things to do in Liechtenstein is your favuorite? Have we left out other things to do in Liechtenstein that you would recommend? Share with me in the comments below!
This post is written in partnership with Liechtenstein Marketing. Special thanks goes out to Nicole Thoeny and the respective business hosts for organising the itinerary and for extending their hospitality. All opinions are my own.