This is the second part of a look at Liechtenstein. We move out from the capital and look at some other places outside of Vaduz. I have the impression that the vast majority of tourists through Liechtenstein stop in Vaduz for lunch and not much else. This post should help show some other places.
Stepping Out – Into the Postcard
As mentioned last time, we definitely did the passport stamp and postcard stuff. It does seem a shame to miss that part. It might be like visiting Paris for the first time and not even bothering to look at the Eiffel Tower as the bus goes by. But this post is about getting beyond that single step off of the tour bus and experiencing a great place.Not just buying a postcard of a place but going and seeing that place first hand.
Our first step was booking a hotel in Triesenberg which is halfway up the mountain and looks out over the entire valley and into Switzerland. In my opinion this is THE view in the country. If you only have a few hours by all means take the bus up and take a look and just take the next bus down. There are a few restaurants up there and one cafe just a few meters uphill that served decent pizza with a terrace view of the valley.
Malbun – Above
Our next step out was following the recommendation of our first bus driver to Malbun. We ran from the hotel and barely made the bus “up”. (See the first post about how nice the bus drivers are.) The road switchbacks up the mountain and through a tunnel to another valley behind. Malbun is another 800 meters above see level higher than our hotel, almost double Triesenberg. The views are good, but not as impressive as the valley laid out below Triesenberg. Another thing, despite being in the middle of summer it was cloudy and cold. This was true of most of the weekend, but especially true up there.
It is a cluster of cabins that winds up into the hills and a few hotels with restaurants. While walking around, the church bells began to ring and echo from the valleys around. It was amazing. The busses only run every hour up this far and had two trips home after 7pm. Between the cold and the lack of much to do we decided to just have a drink at a restaurant near the stop. The bus driver was there having a piece of cake. So at least we knew we wouldn’t miss the bus. The restaurant was decorated in alpine style of wood everywhere. The waitresses were in Dirndl style dresses and the radio was playing random 80s. We named it the “place the 80s forgot”.
There were a few cable cars reaching up into the peaks, but they were not active. I don’t know when the high season is, but it wasn’t that weekend. This is not a town that I would spend more than an hour in, but I definitely got the feeling of seeing more of the country than just Vaduz for a passport stamp. From the map and brochures the snow up there is impressive and there are a lot of cabins to rent. There are apparently also a lot of hiking trails around. Just realize with that bus schedule and no car you are stuck there in the evening. I am not a small town person, but it could be a neat place to spend a few days completely away from it all.
Sargans – The Way Home
We had only booked one night in the hotel and only having a weekend for the trip had to head home. The next morning we headed down to the bus stop. The valley was filled with fog but with the wind it was coming and going. Transferring from the 21 bus onto the 12 was just crossing the street at one point and that got us heading out toward the train station in Switzerland where we were to catch our ride home. This was a win for us as the schedule that we originally had planned 35minutes for that switch because the computer didn’t think 3 minutes was enough. This gave us 30 minutes to get sandwiches.
From a transport point of view, Liechtenstein is not the simplest place to get to. There are apparently no train stations in the country, though the tracks do cut through. Feldkirch is in the north in Austria, Buchs is about the same level as Vaduz and Sargans in the south both in Switzerland. These three places all have train stations and bus links into the country. We came in from the north and were leaving from the south toward Sargans, so did indeed experience the entire length of the country. The linkages from Sargans to Zurich seemed plentiful.
Balzers – The One Regret
Along the way out we passed through Balzers. This is my one regret of the trip. Although I enjoyed the trip up to Malbun at the time, seeing Balzers in the sun makes me wish we had come here instead. The castle on the hill was impressive from the bus. I know nothing else about the town other than the castle on the hill and the name on the map, but it looks like a neat little residential community.
Beer – A Parting Word
“One Land. One Beer.” is the motto on the bottle of apparently Liechtenstein’s only beer. It is a smooth light beer and I quite liked it. It was far better than the Löwengarten from Switzerland that I saw around. Even if you are only in the country for a few hours (which would be a shame, haven’t you read this post?) I recommend this beer with your lunch and passport stamp.
A day after we entered the country, we were heading home again. The weekend was excellent and relaxing. We got to see two new places and forget the stress of our apartment renovations. Liechtenstein is worth a night at least. Try to get out of Vaduz and up enough to get a good view of the whole valley.