The One with Vaduz, Liechtenstein

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Let the next round of travel posts begin! Last weekend was a 4-day so we took a trip down to Switzerland with a pit stop in Vaduz, Liechtenstein to check another country off our list! We're up to 15 :)
So you know how we swear by Rick Steves and his travel books and advice? Well. Liechtenstein gets a whopping two pages in the entire Switzerland book. TWO PAGES! Ha! It's a super tiny country, only 36,000 people and 62 square miles. They speak German, are mostly Catholic, and have an independent streak. We decided to visit the capital - Vaduz. There are 5000 people there and the pedestrianized main drag is lined with modern art and hotels bordering a district of slick office parks. Like other "micro-countries" Liechtenstein offers businesses special tax and accounting incentives so many European companies establish their official headquarters here to take advantage of its low taxes.

We loaded up, hopped in the car, and were off like a dirty shirt!
About 3 hours into the drive I realized I hadn't taken any pictures, so above and below are some snapshots from the drive. Greeny bridge. Signs for Vaduz! Tunnel but the camera focused on the bug-gut streaked windshield. Janey and her chubby cheeks eating goldfish.
The official country name is Fürstentum Liechtenstein, or FL (so if you ever see those oval country stickers on cars, FL is for Liechtenstein). One of my favorite unique "features" about this country is all of the license plates are a sleek black with white letters/numbers! For some reason I think it makes them look more "posh," if you will. 
We walked a bit down the main pedestrian street of Städtle.
Inside the tourist information building you can buy stamps and mail postcards and also pay 2 Swiss Francs to get a stamp in your passport. We didn't do any of that - we actually collect magnets which I will share when we're all done with our tour in Germany. On the right is a modern art museum. 
One of the only things to do is hike up to the castle, so up and up we went! I didn't think we were going to make it, it was hot and STEEP as... But we did and it was worth it.
Along the hike are various signs with information about Liechtenstein which were fun to read because we didn't know too much (or rather, anything) about this country.
Hello Vaduz!
We passed the FUNKIEST house EVER on the walk up to the castle. We could not for the life of us figure out the purpose of these dangling wooden planks. It looks like they're on a track and can move around. But the gaps are too big between to afford much protection from sun if they're for shade? Strictly for art? WHO KNOWS!

Sigh. So pretty.
I'd love to stay a few nights in this house overlooking Vaduz. Yup. I sure would.
The billionaire prince, who looks down on his six-by-twelve-mile country, wields more real political power in his realm than any other member of European royalty. The Liechtenstein family purchased this piece of real estate from the Holy Roman Emperor. In 1719 the domain was granted principality status answering only to the emperor. In 1806, during the age of Napoleon, Liechtenstein's obligations to the Habsburg emperor disappeared and the country was granted true independence. The Liechtenstein princes, who lived near Vienna, saw their country merely as a status symbol and at first didn't even bother to visit. In fact, it wasn't until the 20th century that the first Liechtenstein prince actually lived here. Later, after WWI, tough times forced the principality to enter an economic union with Switzerland. To this day Liechtenstein enjoys a very close working relationship with its Swiss neighbors - functioning in some ways like just another Swiss canton with the same currency, international diplomacy, bus system, and even soccer league.
You can walk up to the castle, but you can't go inside, because the prince lives there! I want to live in a castle!
Private gate and gardens.
It started to rain so we headed back down, but not without stopping to take some more pictures of the inhabited valley below.
The trail we walked along.
Vaduz homes.
Back along the main drag we passed the city hall, or Rathaus. The horse sculptures in front were über modern.
I totally dig wrought iron signs.
PLANKING! Was this where the idea came from? | Statue with a dude at the top. Forgive me for not finding out what it's of. If you know, feel free to chime in!
We had no plans, didn't know where we were, we just wandered the street of Vaduz and it was wonderful. We love immersing ourselves in these different cultures and countries! | Here we are on Friday June 13th 2014 under the Vaduz castle in Liechtenstein.
Pretty wildflowers. | Old ski gondola-turned-dinner table! How neat!
It rained off and on throughout our walk. But it was hot so the moisture was welcome. Oh what a beautiful country!
More jaw-dropping views of Vaduz, Liechtenstein.
Big yellow building. Just because.
Might be my favorite picture from Liechtenstein: wrought iron sign with the castle!
Potted flowers are everywhere in Europe. This trend needs to be adopted in the states stat.
I really like taking pictures of flowers.
This is the um..... Chris will have to update this because I can't remember. In any case, it's a really cool looking building!
Views from every angle because I can never pick just one!
Church wrapped in scaffolding, just our luck! | Fancy gate.
We let the kids run around and put rocks down grates.
More neat buildings.
Fox pondering the meaning of life :)
I'm so glad there are leaves on the trees again!
The other thing we wanted to see was the Rotes House (Red House).
It's all residential, people live in every part of it, so we can't go in or anything, just took pictures from the outside! Hope if anyone saw me snapping away they weren't creeped out!
Big beautiful homes.
Not much to do in good ol' Liechtenstein but we loved it just the same! Back to the car we went after we were satisfied with our walk and felt like we'd "seen" Liechtenstein.

We passed a bridge on our way out that seems like it would be scary to walk through as it's completely covered with minimal light to see...
Liechtenstein - check !
Next stop: Bern, Switzerland!


  1. How gorgeous!!! I can't believe a real prince lives in a real castle. I also love that Jane was awake in the family pictures.

  2. It may be a small country, but it is a beautiful one!

  3. Awesome photos from the trip, Paige!

  4. Wow, beautiful! I did a school report on Lichtenstein a loooong time ago. I couldn't really remember anything about it other than that it was really small, so this was fun to read.

  5. Loving all the photos!!! I wonder if that funky house was ever featured on HGTV?? They have weird house shows all the time from around the world!!

  6. So great to see these photos! I had a pen pal from there when I was younger (and people still had pen pals) lol. I always thought it would be fun to visit there :)

  7. You are making my bucket list getting longer and longer! Thanks for the share! I love the sound of it--Lichtenstein (saying it in true German manner)!


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