Whilst going across from Austria to Switzerland, we took a day out to visit the small, German speaking, country of Liechtenstein.
When we left Austria, we came through to Liechtenstein on a small country road. It was a beautiful road and with it being early in the morning, when we got to the top of the hill we were above the clouds. It was a remarkable experience and gave it a eerie yet fresh feel as we entered the country.
Our first stop was not far from the border. I mean, everything is close to the border as its a very small country.
It has two of the five remaining castles in Liechtenstein, three of them now in ruin. We visited one ruin in the area called Obere Burg. We parked a little down the road and took a stroll up to the top. The castle is free to walk around and dogs are allowed in.
It has some gorgeous views over Liechtenstein with it being high up above everything else.
The castle itself was a nice castle. It may have been in ruin but you can see the original style of the castle, and as you walk in you can see how each room would have been laid out. At this stage you can let your imagination run wild!
Our next stage was to visit the capital. It only took us about 20 mins to travel there by car (have I mentioned how small Liechtenstein is?), so we took a nice leisurely drive through the countryside as we took in the views.
Vaduz is one of the smaller capitals we have visited and, to be honest, feels more like a town more than anything. Don’t get me wrong, I say this as a compliment as I love old towns.
It is quite a modern looking town with lots of modern art dotted around the city, including a fountain that you could walk in and it would go straight over your head!
We then came to the Cathedral of St. Florin. It is a quite impressive modest cathedral that was nice to just walk around, and close to the centre of the city.
Before we headed to Vaduz castle, we stopped off and the prince’s personal wine collection. It’s just on the outside of the city and it is a vineyard with a wine cellar attached. It is named Hofkellerei and is well worth a visit if you are in the area.
Up above the city is the castle of Vaduz. It is still home to their prince and is a well preserved castle. You can visit parts of the castle but we couldn’t do this with our boys, so we took a drive past it through the forests and windy roads.
Malbun ski resort
After Vaduz we made our way down the small windy roads to Malbun ski resort. I love the feeling of ski resorts and would love to take a trip and stay at one at some point in the future. Though much the same as other places, it gives you a whole different winter feeling where you know you can go skiing (or whatever winter sport you like) and then come back to a nice hot chocolate. Malbun was a lovely skiing place and you can imagine how beautiful it will look when the snow starts to appear on the mountains. We stopped off for lunch here and just admired the scenery.
Our last stop on the tour was in the area of Balzers, and has one of the five remaining castles in Liechtenstein. It is one of two of the preserved castles of Liechtenstein, but no longer serves as a residence but a museum open to the public. It is best to see this castle within the summer months as you will be able to see the whole of the castle when open. However, you can access the outer grounds and courtyard part of the castle when it isn’t open, which is what we did. It is a beautiful castle that has done well to stay in the condition it is in for so long. It gives you amazing views of Liechtenstein and over the town of Balzers itself.
Our day was nearly over in Liechtenstein and it had been a great one just relaxing around this charming country, but now it was time to think about crossing the border and entering yet another county – Switzerland. Before we could cross the border, Switzerland charge an annual toll for there motorways and you can suffer a fine if you get caught without one. Getting one of these is easy, most petrol stations along the borders of Switzerland have these available to buy. It is worth knowing that no matter when you buy it, the ‘vignette’ sticker lasts just over one year (from December the 1st to January 31st the following year), so take this into account if you happen to be in Switzerland over the new year.
The vignette sticker is on the window, so it’s now time to see how expensive Switzerland really is……..