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A Day Trip to Vaduz, Liechtenstein
(originally published in the September 2009 issue of Expat In Switzerland)

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As Liechtenstein’s major income source, the finance industry has been having a tough time recently, we decided to head to Vaduz to find out what else it has to offer.

After a slightly more than one hour car journey from Zurich we arrived in Vaduz, the capital of Liechtenstein. Our first impression of the capital is a medium size town and on top of it the beautiful castle. It is not the most beautiful castle we’ve seen compared to some in Germany or Scotland however it certainly is special in that it is not only owned by its own royal family but also occupied by them.

We parked at a space in a public car park in the street “Am schrägen Weg” and headed to the centre of Vaduz where the main street is called Städtle. It is like a pedestrian zone on which you can find the town hall of Vaduz, an art museum, the tourist office, a postal museum and amongst others some restaurants and shops. While walking along this street we also passed by some interesting art figures. Vaduz is full of sculpture which enlivens the streets.

We went to the admission free postal museum which is open daily from 10am to 12 noon and from 1pm to 5pm. In the museum you can see some exhibits of the postal history and a huge collection of stamps. We did not inspect all the stamps so we finished the museum within 15 minutes. After the museum we had a short visit at the tourist office in which you can obtain a stamp in your passport from the tourism board which is quite nice for tourists as there are no border controls in Liechtenstein.

As we felt our stomachs needed some good food we went to the restaurant “Lett” which we saw on our way from the car park to the main street. Restaurant Lett is located at street “Lettstrasse” number 3. It is a modern style restaurant and they have daily special lunch offers for example a soup plus a main course for approximately CHF  23 which was really tasty. The restaurant has also a good wine selection making it a must for every wine fan. Well fed we had to get some exercise so we walked up to the castle.

You can drive up to the castle but a little walk up along what they call the romantic footpath was quite convenient. If the blue-red flag with the golden crown flies above the Castle the Prince is at home. Unfortunately, you cannot visit the castle but you can take pictures from outside and just before the castle there is a nice viewpoint where you can enjoy the view over Vaduz, its mountains and take in the princely air. Our conclusion about Vaduz is that it has indeed something to offer outside the financial realm and they would do very well to expand this.

Short information about Liechtenstein:

Area: 160km² (62 square-miles)

Population: 35,446 (2008 estimate)

Language: Official language is German and an Alemannic dialect is the colloquial language

Currency: CHF GDP per capita: $129,101 (making Switzerland look impoverished with its $67,385)

System of State: Constitutional hereditary monarchy on a democratic and parliamentary basis

Head of State: Reigning Prince Hans-Adam II von und zu Liechtenstein

Parliament: 25 Members

Government: Five-person collegial, appointed by Reigning Prince on recommendation of Parliament for 4 years

Christina Schmidt Christina is a German national who relocated to Zurich in May 2008 and regularly contributes to Expat In Switzerland.

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