A city hidden in-between mountains, where history and modernity prevail together in harmony.
Vaduz stands out for being one of the smallest capital cities in the world. In fact, curiously enough, it is not even the largest municipality in Liechtenstein. That honour is held by the neighbouring town of Schaan. Yet, the cultural, gastronomic and historical attractions of this city are surprising for a town with barely 5,000 inhabitants.
Vaduz’s main cultural attraction is its six large museums. The Liechtenstein Museum of Art, in German Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein, offers an excellent combination of modern and contemporary art, topped off by the outstanding sushi restaurant that gives life to the bottom floor. The Liechtensteines Landes Museum, or Lichtenstein National Museum, is located in a splendid building that dates back to 1438. Through this space, visitors can learn about Liechtenstein’s history and traditions. In between those two, also located in the most concurred street in Vaduz, the Städtle, we can find The Postage Stamp Museum. This one is also a no-brainer for history-lovers. Located a few metres from this building is the Treasure Chamber of the Principality of Liechtenstein, where visitors can admire belongings of the Princes of Liechtenstein and other private collectors. The prices of the museums range from free to 12 Swiss francs, offering discounts to students.
Despite the wide range of museums in the city, the highlight of Vaduz is undoubtedly its castle. The residence of the Royal Family of Liechtenstein is a remarkable fortress from the 12th century. It is located on a hill above the city, from where medieval kings and emperors could control the whole Upper Rhine Valley. It is unfortunately closed to visitors, however it is worth walking up the cliff and taking a close look at the building as well as admiring the views of the valley.
As it happens, hiking in the Summer and skiing in Winter are also some of the best options for a fun day in Liechtenstein. The mountains that surround Vaduz offer incredible views. The outstanding beauty of these mountains make them a top leisure choice in Liechtenstein.
With respect to cuisine, Liechtenstein is highly influenced by Austria and Switzerland, and its traditional dishes are as blurred as the borders with those countries. But, as a nation, they have a national dish. Known as Käsknöpfle, it consists of dough made with eggs, water, flour, salt and pepper, and it’s accompanied by local cheese, fried onions and apple purée on the side. Ribel is the other delicacy this small but beautiful country is proud of. Made with corn and wheat, it is a kind of slow-roasted porridge and eaten with, of course, apple purée. But in order to become a genuine Liechtensteiner, it is important to eat the meal whilst enjoying one of the 25 different types of wine made in Liechtenstein or a good pint of the two breweries that coexist in the country. Local food is widely found, as even Italian, Chinese or Vietnamese restaurants will often offer these options. But be careful when ordering! Liechtenstein is not precisely known for its affordability.
The best day to visit is by far August 15th. As the national holiday, a fair is held in the capital, food and drink is provided to locals and visitors and a ceremony with traditional music takes place near the castle. At night, the day is concluded with a magnificent display of fireworks and projections of Liechtenstein’s national colours on the castle.
Embedded images by Guille Alvarez and Clemens v. Vogelsang, featured image by Clemens v. Vogelsang via Flickr