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Blick auf Vaduz, Bild: Boris Stroujko / shutterstock

Vaduz – the capital of Liechtenstein

Hidden in the Alps between Austria and Switzerland, Liechtenstein is the sixth smallest recognized state in the world and forms an almost unknown small kingdom that has never been visited by many travelers. With its capital Vaduz, the principality not only offers a historical core in the development of Europe, but also a great destination for a short trip. Vaduz itself occupies the most important part of the country and attracts visitors with sights as well as a unique culture and history.

The long history of Liechtenstein and Vaduz

Vaduz city centre
Out and about in the city centre of Vaduz, Image: Andrii Lutsyk / shutterstock

The first settlers are said to have been on the move in the area around the Alpine Rhine as early as the Stone Age. With its fertile meadows and protected by the mountains, Liechtenstein has repeatedly had to assert itself in European history and has lost its sovereignty for a while more than once. Once just one of many counties in the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, the fate was of course closely linked to today’s neighboring states of Austria and the Swiss Confederates. In 1719, the time had finally come for the current Lords of Vaduz to acquire the land and establish it as a separate principality in the empire.

After the various wars in Europe, the country’s actual sovereignty developed. Since Liechtenstein was rich, but could hardly survive isolated between Austria and Switzerland, they sought rapprochement with Switzerland. A close partnership is stipulated in various contracts, which is one of the reasons why a visit to Liechtenstein from Switzerland is now as easy as you can imagine. Vaduz as the capital has also developed into a sought-after destination for tourists. The picturesque backdrop with the castle is not only a popular motif for postcards, there is also a lot to experience and discover in the city itself – not least about the interesting history of the city and the country.

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Vaduz – small village with great power

Vaduz Castle
The castle of the princely family, Image: Boris Stroujko / shutterstock

Liechtenstein’s importance in Europe can hardly be compared with the size of the country. The prince is considered one of the richest people in Europe and companies in particular use the country’s unique tax structures for their own purposes. This could possibly give you the wrong impression of what to expect when visiting Liechtenstein and Vaduz. In fact, only about 6,000 people live in the capital and many of these families have lived here for generations.

Towering above it all, of course, is Liechtenstein Castle, which is still inhabited by the princes today. This is also the reason why a visit is not possible. Instead, the focus is on the historic city centre of Vaduz. Various guided tours offer an insight into the history of the principality and the capital, and the Fürstenkino goes into even more detail about the history of the building and the country. In general, you have to think of Vaduz more like a slightly larger village. Not much has happened here since the Middle Ages and even though the city has been modernized again and again, it has not grown significantly over time.

If you stroll through the streets of Vaduz, you should definitely visit the other museums. The local history museum tells a lot about how people lived here, especially in the Middle Ages, and what the challenges were to survive in this region of the Alps. The Art Museum and the Postal Museum round off the visit. What is also always striking in Vaduz is the contrast in the city. If you still have the houses on one corner that look a bit as if they haven’t been changed for 200 years, there are already modern banks on the next corner. The principality is still known for its banking business and enjoys a very good international reputation in this industry.

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Travel to Vaduz and relax a bit in the streets

If you want to travel to Vaduz, it is best to do so by bus from Switzerland. Of course, it is also possible to travel by train, but the train station of Vaduz is a little outside the actual city area and you can either rely on local transport or take a taxi. Of course, it is also possible to travel with your own car – but the number of parking spaces in the small town is manageable and especially in the popular excursion months it may well be that you have difficulties trying to park your own car.

After a stroll through the city and a visit to the three most important museums, a long view of the castle and the other historical testimonies of the city, you have a good selection of restaurants with different specialties. The cuisine can be compared to that of Switzerland and is hearty and relies on product from the region. Many cafes also offer an opportunity for relaxation and round off the day trip to Vaduz.