160 sq km (62 sq miles).
233.2 per sq km.
Imperial principality with a hereditary constitutional monarchy.
Head of state:
Prince Hans Adam II since 1989.
Head of government:
Prime Minister Adrian Hasler since 2013.
230 volts AC, 50Hz. European-style plugs with two round pins are used.
A pocket-sized principality in the heart of Europe, Liechtenstein rarely tops anybody’s bucket list of continental must-sees. Yet this tiny, landlocked nation offers more than you’d imagine: from long-standing history to sky-high mountains; cliff-hanging castles to odd cultural quirks.
Many of Liechtenstein’s historical highlights are located in the capital, Vaduz. While this tiny town may only have around 5,000 inhabitants, it also boasts an array of fascinating museums and galleries – including the Liechtenstein National Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts and the FIS Ski and Winter Sports Museum – as well as the atmospheric Prince’s Wine Cellars and the neo-Gothic Vaduz Cathedral. All these attractions are watched over by the pretty Vaduz Castle, which remains the official residence of the Prince of Liechtenstein.
Vaduz isn’t Liechtenstein’s only town of historical note. The second town, Schaan, is actually larger than Vaduz, and comes with its very own impressive church and Roman remains, while Balzers in the south west boasts what is perhaps Liechtenstein’s most arresting fortification. There are also beautiful chapels to be found in lesser-visited villages like Triesen and Planken.
And yet the true star of Liechtenstein is the remarkable nature. This country has arguably the most impressive landscape in Europe. Most of the peaks in Liechtenstein soar more than 2,000m (6,562ft) into the sky, making Liechtenstein a premier destination for skiing, hiking and mountain biking. Its shimmering lakes are also a big draw for swimmers.
As well as its permanent attractions, Liechtenstein also excels when it comes to unusual events. Some of the fun annual highlights include the Monster Concert (where troupes of musicians and dancers dress in outlandish costumes and bang drums), the Cattle Drive (where cows and sheep are festooned in colourful garments and adorned with bells) and the LGT Alpine Marathon (where competitors from around the globe run for 26 miles through the mountains).
Factor in Liechtenstein’s dynamic dining, drinking and live music offerings, and you have a pocket sized nation that punches well above its weight.
Last updated: 18 October 2015
The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. ‘We’ refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
Crime levels are low, but petty crime can occur. Take sensible precautions to protect your passport and money, and be alert to pickpockets in public places. Do not become involved with drugs of any kind.
Foreign visitors and residents can be targeted by scam artists. Scams can cause great financial loss. If you receive an e-mail claiming to be from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) offering a tax refund on provision of your bank details you should make absolutely sure that it is not part of a scam.
If you plan to travel to Liechtenstein via the motorways in Switzerland or Austria you must purchase and display a motorway vignette or face large on-the-spot fines in these countries.
All road users should follow instructions given by local police and officials on the main alpine transit routes, at bottlenecks and areas of heavy traffic congestion. A warning triangle is compulsory and must be kept within easy reach (not in the boot). Radar detectors are prohibited in Liechtenstein whether in use or not. The limit for alcohol in the bloodstream is 0.8% and police may request any driver to undergo a breath test or drugs test. Traffic regulations are strenuously enforced. Any serious breach of the regulations can result in heavy fines and/or imprisonment.
Alpine winters often make driving more difficult. You should equip your car with winter tyres and snow-chains, and check road conditions prior to departure.
A full (i.e. not provisional) valid UK, or other EU/EEA, driving licence is sufficient for driving in Liechtenstein. There is no need for an International Driving Permit.
See the RAC and AA guides on driving in Liechtenstein.
Sports activities and winter sports
The following alpine hazards exist throughout the year:
— avalanches and snow drifts
— landslides and flooding
— glacial crevasses and hollows
— falling rocks
— altitude sickness
— sun exposure
— sudden weather changes
Many accidents happen due to insufficient information, inappropriate equipment or overestimating your own capability. Follow advice given by local authorities and guides, take note of weather forecasts and conditions, make sure you are physically fit and have the necessary experience, be in a team of at least two, inform someone of your plans, take warm clothes and wet weather gear, and use sun block and sun glasses.