Weekend getaway to a hidden alpine gem

Visited October 2020

From insanely breathtaking views to castles to wine tasting and (lots of) cows everywhere, the tiny country of Liechtenstein pleasantly surprised us with a little bit of everything and should definitely not be missed for a quick visit! The perfect destination for a weekend trip, we visited for 2 nights which turned out to be the right amount of time to experience it without being rushed. Its famed hiking was the original draw for us, especially with the new Liechtenstein Trail route that circles the entire country, but between the hiking, wine tasting, sight-seeing, dinner and drinks, we got to do a bit of everything!



How we got there and how we got around


Dinner and drinks with a view on night one


Hiking in Alpspitz via Gaflei on the morning of our second day


Exploring the capital during the afternoon of the second day


Getting There & Getting Around

We usually save this section for last in these articles, but Liechtenstein is a bit unique because of where it’s located (one of only two doubly landlocked countries in the world!) and the lack of an airport in the country itself. Zurich might be technically closer, but we flew into Memmingen, Germany from London Stansted and rented a car from the Memmingen airport, which we returned to for the second part of this long weekend. The airport is extremely small, so the car rental is just across the street from the terminal and super convenient. It was then about an hour and a half drive to Liechtenstein, an easy trip that, depending on your route, gives you the bonus of a drive through the two countries that fully surround Liechtenstein – Austria and Switzerland.

Because we had a car, we stayed at an Airbnb in Triesen, which is a 5 minute drive from Vaduz, the capital city of Liechtenstein. There were places to stay in Vaduz, and it has more going on than some of the other towns around it (there is also a pay-to-park lot right downtown), but the country is so small that you can basically choose to set up camp wherever you want and still be within a short drive of the restaurants, shops and bars in the capital. Triesen was great for us because it was incredibly quiet (the only sound being the cowbells from the herd across the street) and had amazing views overlooking the Swiss Alps given its higher elevation than Vaduz. It was also much less crowded and easier for parking.


Day 1: Dinner & Drinks in Triesen

We arrived at our Airbnb around dinnertime, so we checked in and then headed to Restaurant Kainer in Triesenberg (2 minutes up the hill from Triesen) – a must-visit restaurant in Liechtenstein! Kainer sits on top of a hill with the most breathtaking views of the mountains and delicious authentic food – we would recommend going at sunset and grabbing a table outside!  Also, order an Alpagold – a Liechtenstein lager – and you won’t be disappointed.

After dinner, we headed into Vaduz for a drink at Restaurant Adler, a hotel bar that had a nice outdoor patio for drinks (the nightlife in the area around our Airbnb area was pretty nonexistent). After drinks, we walked around the main street in Vaduz – and we were surprised at how quiet and empty it was at night! (Then again this was a Thursday night during COVID, not a weekend.) We scoped out a few spots for the next day, and then returned home for the night.

Local lager at Restaurant Kainer

Dinner with a view


Day 2: Hiking Alpspitz

We started our second day with a 4 hour hike up to Alpspitz, one of the area’s more famous peaks. If you’re an avid hiker, the Liechtenstein Trail mentioned above now allows you to circumnavigate the whole country in as little as two days, but we opted to go for just a section of it.

After parking in Gaflei, which has a convenient lot and facilities right near the trailhead, we made our way through a farmstead before climbing a steep set of switchbacks up to Bärgällasattel, with views getting better and better at each turn. This first portion would have been satisfying enough, because the very top “saddle” of the range offered beautiful views east towards Austria in addition to the west-facing views we already got along the way. That said, we kept on going along the grassy Sound of Music-esque Bargälla ridge until we arrived at Chemi, a narrow and steep “chimney” between two chunks of mountain, which featured its own rocky photo ops. Finally, we made our away along the top of the skinny Alpspitz ridge to arrive at the Alpspitz cross, with its magnificent views over all of Liechtenstein, before making our way back down a short-cut back to Bärgällasattel and the car.

Our hiking route

Still smiling at the top


Day 2: Exploring Vaduz

After the hike, we headed into Vaduz to do some sight seeing. Our first stop was grabbing a bagel from American Bagel & Coffee Company, a cute coffee/bagel shop and good for a quick snack before exploring town right next to a metered parking lot. Vaduz is very small, so it is easy to see all of the main sites in an afternoon, such as St. Florin Cathedral and Vaduz Castle (you cannot go inside the castle as it is still a current royal residence, but it sits on top of Vaduz, so you can get views of it). Make sure to stop by the Liechtenstein Tourist Information Center to get your passport stamped for a small fee!

We then ventured to Cellars of the Prince of Liechtenstein – If you like wine, definitely stop by for a wine tasting! The vineyard outside is beautiful for photos and they do wine tastings inside. No reservation needed, we just popped in and they sat us and poured us 4 wines to taste! After the winery, we walked up to the Red House. While there is not much to “do” there, it is a scenic photo spot with vineyards in the front and mountains in the back with great views of Vaduz Castle. That night, we had dinner at Amarone, an Italian restaurant in the middle of Vaduz with great food and great service, and stopped by Esquire Bar, a very trendy bar and bistro, for drinks after dinner. The next morning it was off to Memmingen for the rest of our trip.

The Red House

Near the Cellars of the Prince

In front of the cellars

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