If, like me, you collect countries instead of stamps, coins or Faberge eggs, getting to every corner of Europe is important. Visits to Europe’s “micro-states” like Andorra, San Marino and Luxembourg will increase your country count faster than you can spell “Liechtenstein.” Liechtenstein is the fourth smallest country of Europe; only Vatican City, San Marino, and Monaco have a smaller population. Its population of somewhere between thirty-five and forty thousand live on a tiny piece of land bordered by Switzerland to the west and south and Austria to the east and north
when you arrive at Zurich airport, follow the signs to the train and go to the SSB ticket office. If you tell them you are going to Liechtenstein they will know exactly what to do. You will take the SSB train to Sargans, with only on quick stop to transfer trains at Zurich HB station. From there, it takes about an hour. You can purchase first class tickets if you are feeling like royalty, but quite frankly all seats are good. First class cars are marked in yellow. This train does not have a café car, but there is a man with a cart that sells coffee and tea – though you must have Swiss Francs cash, as credit cards are not accepted on board. Traveling toward Liechtenstein, sit on the left side of the train – the views are much better.
Once you arrive at the quiet station at Sargans you will take the #11 bus to Vaduz Post. The bus stop is just outside the station so it is easy to find. The price of the bus ticket will be included in the price of the ticket you purchased at Zurich airport, so don’t lose it! The #11 takes about 20-25 minutes, making local stops to get to the stop Vaduz Post, where you should get off. This is just a few steps to the center of tourist activity (mostly Asian I have noticed) and just below Vaduz Castle. The center of Vaduz is referred to by locals as the “Städtle” (“small town”).
There are a few hotels to stay in on the central tourist street. I opted for the Residence Hotel – this was a very nice choice, and so quiet I could really hear the voices in my head. Liechtenstein has a constitutional monarch as Head of State, currently Prince Hans-Adam II, and he lives in Vaduz Castle (just above the Städtle). You can hike up to the castle but it is closed to the public, so there is no chance you will inadvertedly cause an international incident.
From there you can visit a variety of museums and visit the few coffee shops in the Städtle. The Café at the Kunstmuseum is open until 11:00pm, and has a chill vibe and good wifi. From the window you can see the Vaduz Castle.
After you have had your fill of Liechtenstein, head back to the #11 bus at the Vaduz Post and just do everything in reverse. If you buy a return ticket to Zurich HB when you buy your ticket to Vaduz this will save you time.
Once you are done your twenty-four hours you have my permission to check Liechtenstein off of your travel to do list!