tiistai 2. elokuuta 2011

Sightseeing and tourist attractions

What to see and do in Liechtenstein? How long should I stay there? These are the questions often asked by the people planning to visit Liechtenstein. In this blog post I will try to answer these questions.

Time that you need to see Liechtenstein and its tourist attractions may vary from few hours to couple of days depending on what you actually want to do and see. For most of the people, a few hours is enough time to see Liechtenstein and to get a new "country point" so to say. Couple of hours is enough time to walk through the main pedestrian street in Vaduz where you can see some stores, nice cafes, government building and a few museums. You can also climb up to the medieval castle (Schloss Vaduz) which lies right next to the city centre at the edge of a cliff (see the picture below).

Schloss Vaduz

If, for any reason, you deside to spend a bit longer time in Liechtenstein, here are some tips of what to do. After seeing the city center of Vaduz, you might like to take a nice look over the whole Liechtenstein and see the surrounding countries, Switzerland and Austria, as well. For this the best thing to do is to hike up to the mountains. The best route for a nice hike is definitely from Gaflei to Planken (the route is called Fürstensteig). For more detailed information about hiking, check out my previous blog post about hiking in Liechtenstein http://lifeinliechtenstein.blogspot.com/2011/07/outdoor-activities-hiking.html.

A view from Fürstensteig over Liechtenstein and to Switzerland

Other things to see, if you have more time to be spent in Liechtenstein, might be:
  • Prince wine cellars: Taste the country's wines on a tour of the Prince's Wine Cellars in Vaduz http://www.hofkellerei.li/
  • Balzers area: Admire Gutenberg Castle and St Peter's Chapel at Balzers.
  • Cycle in the valleys and lower-lying areas; there are 96km (56 miles) of cycling trails on both sides of the River Rhine. Mountain bikers may also use the hiking trails.

    Click here to see more amazing photos from Liechtenstein in our facebook-page.

torstai 21. heinäkuuta 2011

Outdoor activities: Hiking

Liechtenstein lays in the middle of the Alps, and hence, there are plenty of hiking possiblities everywhere there. In this blog post I will write a few tips about how to make a good hikein Liechtenstein.

First of all, if you don't know where to hike, go to the Vaduz city center and buy a hiking map from tourist information center (costs 22,50fr but definitely worth the price). This map has all the main hiking routes and altitudes in it which helps a lot in plannig a hike depending on how demanding it should be and how long time it should take.

Most of the hiking routes are closed in the winter months but usually they are fixed and prepared again for hiking at the beginning of every spring. However, there may be some parts where you have to pay extra-attention but, luckily, the most difficult parts usually have a rope, where you can grab, next to them, or a wooden ladder is built there to make it easier to pass these spots. (You can see even grandmum's passing by you in the hiking routes so anyone, who is not retired yet, should be able to hike these routes as well, just remember to be careful and not to run around like a headless chicken.) All the hiking routes are marked with red-white stripes and signs with the names of different peaks to make it easier to follow the desired route.

An example of a good hiking route for beginners is to start from Gaflei (where the info point is in the picture below) and then to follow along the green-red path (going higher in the picture), turn right and come back along the red path in the picture. It takes around 2-3 hours and on the way you can enjoy the spectacular views over Liechtenstein and Switzerland. To ge to Gaflei you can either take a bus or drive with your own car. First you have to drive up to Triesen from Vaduz and then continue to the direction of Gaflei.

If you want to do a bit longer hike, you can follow the green-red path all the way to Planken. This means that you start from Gaflei and go all the way up to 2100 meters and then hike down to Planken to 500 meters altitude. It takes between 4-8 hours depending on how fast you hike. There are regular bus connections both to Gaflei and Planken but the buses do not go more than once in an hour and not the whole day so check the timetable before leaving.

Minimum equipment for hiking:
-Proper shoes (sneakers should be okay in case you don't have hiking shoes)
-Enough water
-Warm and breathable clothes (it may be a lot colder up on the mountains than in the valley)
-Snacks or something to eat to make sure you don't run out of energy

Wish everyone enjoyable hiking time!

tiistai 14. kesäkuuta 2011

Import regulations and tax free

Liechtenstein as well as Switzerland are not part of the European Union, and hence, there are lots of regulations regarding importing stuff there tax free, but also a nice possibility to be able to get back value added tax of the products bought from abroad. Between Liechtenstein and Switzerland there are no import nor export regulations whatsoever.


Now I will give you a bit deeper information of what you should be aware of when shopping in Austria or Germany for instance. First of all, I would like to mention that Liechtenstein (and also Switzerland next to it) is a very expensive place to do shopping. The easiest way to buy some cheap food and other stuff is to travel to Feldkirch which is an Austrian city only a few kilometers from the border between Liechtenstein and Austria. The price level of the food (especially of meet, cuts, alcohol, vegetables and fruits) is way lower than in Liechtenstein and makes it worth travelling for 30min to the Austrian side of the border.

However, one should always keep in mind the regulations when importing stuff to Liechtenstein. One is only allowed to import half a kilo of meet, 3,5kg of chicken, 2 litres of alhocol beverages <15% and 1 litre of alcohol beverages >15%. All the regulations are per person. Usually if you cross the border by bus or with a car which is registered in Switzerland, Germany or Liechtenstein, they don't stop you at the border. On the other hand, if you cross the border with a car from Poland, Chezh, Eastern Europe or from other countries, which are not so developed, there is a very high probability that you will be stopped at the border and your shoppings will be checked.

More information and a comprehensive list of all the regulations can be found here: http://www.ezv.admin.ch/zollinfo_privat/essen_trinken/00356/index.html?lang=en


If the total sum bought from one store exceeds 75€, one can ask for a task free receipt in the store and then he has to get a stamp to it in the customs. By then going back to that store with the stamped receipt, one can get back the whole VAT of their purchase. In case the total sum of the shopping exceeds 300€, one has to pay the Swiss VAT at the border. Usually Swiss VAT is 8% but the Austrian one is 20% so it is still a good deal to do the shopping in Austria.

Stores for shopping:

About the shopping itself. In Feldkirch there is an Interspar in the middle of the city center and it's the nearest big supermarket from the border. If you continue 2-3km further to the direction of Rankweil, you can see Hofer, Lidl and even a bigger Interspar right next to the street on the way. Hofer and Lidl are extremely cheap but they don't have that a good range of products, whereas Interspar is a bit more expensive but there you can find pretty much everything you need. If you insist on doing shopping in Liechtenstein, there is a new shopping mall between Schaan and Vaduz called Mühleholz, and there you can usually buy many things on a decent price compared to general price level in Liechtenstein.

Have a nice (and hopefully affordable) shopping time!

maanantai 30. toukokuuta 2011

Getting to Liechtenstein

The first thing is naturally, how to get to Liechtenstein.

By plane:
If you come by plane, the easiest way is to fly to Zürich international airport, take a train from there and then change to a bus in Sargans. When coming from Zürich airport by train, you have to change at Zürich main trainstation to the train travelling to Sargans. Other option is to take train to Buchs, which is another city right next to the boarder of Liechtenstein and Switzerland, but then train has to be changed once more so the best way is to travel to Sargans.

Outside the Sargans bahnhof there is a bus stop and the bus number 12 goes to Liechtenstein. It costs around 2,7fr for a student and 7fr for an adult.

Other airport near Liechtestein is Friedrichshafen in Germany which quite small and a bit nearer than Zürich but it's more difficult to find flights there as well as connecting tranportation to Liechtenstein.

If you are up for some budget travelling, Memmingen airport is appr. 150km away from Liechtenstein and Ryanair flies there from many destinations. From the airport there is a shuttle bus to the railwaystation (2,5€ one way) and a train to Feldkirch (see more information about how to get further from Feldkirch below) costs 32€ normal price and 21€ with Austrian vorteilscard.

By train:
There are no long-distance trains stopping in Liechtenstein but there are three main train stations just next to the boarder of it. Feldkirch train station is on the Austrian side, Buchs and Sargans in Switzerland. Right outside any of these stations bus stops from where you can take Liechtensteinian bus to travel anywhere you need to go in Liechtenstein.

Buses from Feldkirch to Liechtenstein are numbers 13 and 14, from Buchs to Liechtenstein are number 12 and 13, and from Sargans to Liechtenstein is number 12. Bus tickets cost normally around 7fr/adult and 2,7fr/student. Inside the buses there is always a screen, which shows the name of following bus stops, which makes it easy to know where to get off even if you hadn't been earlier in Liechtenstein.

By car:
It's easy to drive to Liechtenstein from any direction. Roads are generally in a good condition and traffic is not aggressive at all. Drivers are usually very polite and give enough space to other drivers as well as to pedestrians.

More posts will be coming soon so stay tuned, and in case you have questions, feel free to ask in the questions section.