Vaduz is the capital of the Principality of Liechtenstein, one of Europe’s miniature states. It is nestled between Austria and Switzerland. We only made one stop, in Vaduz. This was a slight detour from the north-south main road in east Switzerland.
Facts about Liechtenstein
The Prince of Liechtenstein is the constitutional monarch of a small nation of German speakers. There are about 38,000 Liechtensteiners living on roughly 160 km2. North to south is only 24 km. Not much really. On the other hand it is a prosperous country and famous for being a tax haven for rich people in other countries wanting to avoid heavy taxes at home. The financial sector is therefore an important industry. The capital of Vaduz into which we made our detour, is joined by the municipality of Schaan as the most populated places.
The Vaduz Castle is where the Prince has his residence. It is situated on a hilltop above Vaduz city centre. The castle dates back to the time Liechtenstein was established as an independent principality around the year 1700.
The palace looked like a medieval fortress surrounded by a heavy mist when we drove up to have a closer look. Being the actual residence of the Princely family there was no opportunity to get inside the castle, so we made a u-turn at the gate. I got out of the car once or twice to take a couple of pictures, and that’s it.
We continued through the streets of Vaduz and soon crossed the Upper Rhine river once again back into Switzerland. Looking back, and consulting Google Maps, we were hardly more than an hour in Liechtenstein. Still, it was an interesting visit.
The Rhine by the way, one of the most important in Europe especially in the northern sections, forms the entire western border of Liechtenstein. On the other side is Switzerland, the country Liechtenstein has the closest relationship with – including the currency.