Liechtenstein, a European ministate

Liechtenstein – ​​160 km² and about 40,000 inhabitants – is located between Austria and Switzerland. The country is a European mini-state, like Vatican City, Monaco or Andorra.
Monaco is known for its jet-set, Andorra as a ski paradise, and the Vatican owes its reputation to the overpopulation of men. But Liechtenstein is best known for, yes, for what exactly?

In fact, Liechtenstein is the Paris Hilton among the microstates. But like the socialite everyone has heard of Liechtenstein, nobody knows precisely why.

street art Liechtenstein
Royal Palace Vaduz Liechtenstein
cathedral Vaduz

In fact, Liechtenstein is the Paris Hilton among the microstates. Like the socialite everyone has heard of Liechtenstein, nobody knows precisely why. Still, you should know some peculiar facts about this tiny country if only to look good at your next pub quiz. So soak up these facts below:

 

10 awe-inspiring facts about Liechtenstein

  • The capital of the country is Vaduz. In 2019, the city had 5668 (!) inhabitants. However, Vaduz is not nearly as big as Schaan. This city has as many as six thousand souls.
  • The country is 26 kilometres long.
  • Ice cream in the main street of Vaduz costs €7.50 for two scoops. To be precise, it is this amount in Swiss francs because that is the currency used here.
  • Hans Adam II is the Prince of Liechtenstein. And if Liechtenstein is Paris Hilton, then Hans Adam II is her father. Even though he is the wealthiest monarch in Europe with a personal wealth of four billion dollars, he is almost invisible in the media. To put this in perspective, by comparison, ‘The Queen’, Elizabeth, has only a whopping 350 million pounds of personal assets (source).
  • Hans II is immensely rich, but he also has autocratic tendencies. At the beginning of this century, he considerably expanded his powers. Since 2003 he has been allowed to interfere with the appointment of judges, block laws passed by parliament and send the government home without any reason. No questions asked. While in the rest of Europe, the monarchs are increasingly less influential in governmental decision-making.
Vaduz kasteel

royal castle Vaduz

More facts

  • Liechtenstein was the first country ever to practically abolish the death penalty in 1798. Yes, quite liberal, however:
  • Liechtenstein was the last country in Europe – and only in 1984 worldwide the last Western country  – to grant women the right to vote. 
  • The state is part of Schengen but not the European Union.
  • Liechtenstein’s national holiday is on August 15th, when the monarch invites the entire population to Vaduz Castle. The crowd is entertained with speeches, fireworks and garden reception.
  • It has won more Olympic medals per capita than any other country. Ten in total. That means one for every 3,800 residents of the country. The awards are all for downhill skiing. And yes, it is possible to go skiing here.
Sweeping views from the royal palace over Liechtenstein

Vaduz sightseeing

Besides the ski slopes, there are also a couple of interesting sights in Vaduz. It is impossible to miss them because they are all located in (near) the main street.

  • The monarch lives in the imposing Castle Vaduz, a castle on top of a mountain. The oldest part of the court was built in the 12th century. It is not open to tourists.
  • Briefmarkenmuseum Vaduz is a small stamp museum.
  • Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein is a museum of contemporary art.
  • Liechtensteinisches Landesmuseum is the state museum where you can see the development of Liechtenstein from the Stone Age to the present day.
  • Vaduz Cathedral (1874).
postmuseum Liechtenstein

postzegelmuseum

tourist office Vaduz

tourist office Vaduz

Tourist Information Liechtenstein

  • Like almost everything else, the Tourist Board is in the main street. There is also the possibility to rent bikes and buy souvenirs here.
  • The 4-star Park-Hotel Sonnenhof in Vaduz has a sweeping view of the Alps, the Rhine Valley, the Vaduz Castle and the nearby vineyards. To view prices or to make a reservation, click here.
  • The ski area at Malbun is small (23 km of slopes). Therefore, it is especially suitable for novice winter sports enthusiasts.
  • The Sporthotel Turna Malbun is an excellent option if you want to ski. Located next to the Sareism ski lift, the family-run hotel has a spa with a pool and Finnish sauna. Check prices and availability of rooms.
Hoofdstraat Vaduz

hoofdstraat Vaduz

kunstmuseum Liechtenstein

museum modern art

Liechtenstein

Stefania in local attire

Liechtenstein city trip

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Liechtenstein city break

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