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A Day Trip to Liechtenstein

Updated: Nov 15

Both Mrs. ATX and I love exploring new places and new countries. With three days in Zurich, we decided that a day trip over to Liechtenstein, the sixth smallest country in the world, should be on the itinerary. After all, when else would we have a reason to go and visit as the country isn't exactly easy to get to.

Our day started at Zurich Hauptbahnhof to catch the OBB RailJet with service to Budapest-Keleti. While there are many trains that will get you to Liechtenstein, they either involved multiple transfers or had a ton of stops between Zurich and our transfer point of Buchs. We arrived at the station just after 10:20a for our 10:40a train and made it to the platform just as the train was pulling in. It was a good thing we got here early as the train was expected to be very full and we didn't have reserved seats. Since we were early, we easily found a pair that hadn't been reserved.

OBB RailJet Train at Zurich Hauptbahnhof
The Austrian Federal Railways RailJet is our ride for today

Our train departed promptly at 10:40a and we took the southern route around Lake Zurich as we headed out of town. The ride was smooth and quiet which caused Mrs. ATX to promptly fall asleep. I passed my time looking out the window as we hugged the shoreline.

View of Lake Zurich from an OBB RailJet Train
View of Lake Zurich from the Train

The further east we went, the more mountainous the terrain became. By the time we were approaching Buchs, passing along the south shore of the Walensee, sheer cliffs and tall mountains dominated the landscape.

We arrived in Buchs just after 11:45a and headed over to the bus stand at the front of the station. While there is a train to Liechtenstein, it only operates every other hour, the bus transfer was faster. The bus from Buchs took us over to the town of Schaan. From there, we transferred to a second bus that took us to Vaduz, the capitol of Liechtenstein. Just like in Switzerland, the bus transfers were timed perfectly and all we had to do was walk off of one bus straight on to the other.

We hopped off the bus at the northern end of town and slowly started making our way down towards the south end. Vaduz only has a population 6,000, the whole country only has 40,000, so it didn't take us long to cover the distance. While most of the buildings were older in style, the Kunstmuseum stood out amongst them with its large black stone facade.

Towards the end of the of the street was the Government House, the seat of government for the country. While the building was impressive from the outside, we weren't able to go inside during our visit.

Government House in Vaduz, Liechtenstein
Government House in Vaduz

Next to the Government House was the St. Florin Catholic Cathedral. I'm always impressed by the architecture in European churches so we stopped in for a visit. While the church wasn't large, the interior was impressive for its size.

We left the church through the front doors which overlooked a small park as well as the funky Active Energy Building. Next to the church was a courtyard that had a monument for composer Josef Gabriel von Rheinberger.

Mrs. ATX noticed a few shops as we were walking through town and wanted to pick up some souvenirs. We also picked up a couple of postcards that we mailed off to friends in the states. Outside of the shop was a model of Vaduz Castle. With the real one perched on a cliff above town, this model would have to do until after lunch.

Model of Vaduz Castle in Liechtenstein
Model of Vaduz Castle

It was almost 1:00p and we hadn't eaten anything since before we left Zurich. There were a few restaurants along the street and we decided on the BURG Cafe and Bar. It was rather busy but we managed to get a table on the patio.

BURG Cafe and Bar in Vaduz
BURG Cafe and Bar

We ordered a couple of drinks, an Aperol spritz for Mrs. ATX and a local beer for me, while we perused the menu. We were hungry, but not overly so, and decided to split a pizza which was very good.

Refueled and recharged, we decided to hike up the hill to Vaduz Castle. While the castle is only less than a hundred meters as the crow flies from the main street, the route up the steep cliff is just over a kilometer. There were viewpoints along the way of the town and Rhine River valley below along with signage telling the history of the country.

At the top of the hill we found Vaduz Castle. Unfortunately, the views of the castle were obstructed by ongoing construction on the building and we could only get as close as the road. The castle is also still the primary residence of the Royal family and therefore is off-limits to visitors.

Vaduz Castle Undergoing Renovations in Liechtenstein
Vaduz Castle Undergoing Renovations

With our castle visit complete, we headed back down the Schlossweg to town. It was a much more enjoyable walk going down than it was heading up. We had roughly an hour to kill before our bus back to Buchs so we did a little more shopping and stopped to enjoy a drink at a local bar. I also found some old Jet Airways signage still occupying a spot in a nearby office building.

Our bus back to the station was scheduled to depart at 3:50p and we made our way over to the bus stop a few minutes beforehand. Sure enough, the bus arrived at 3:49p and we were on our way a minute later.

LIEMobil Bus in Vaduz Liechtenstein
Our Bus Back to the Station

We easily made the transfer in Schaan and found ourselves at the station in Buchs a few minutes later. Once again, we were on the OBB RailJet direct service back to Zurich this afternoon. Because of the crowds on the way out, and the fact that Buchs was the final stop before the train terminated in Zurich, I was worried we would have trouble finding a seat. Thankfully, we managed to grab a pair of seats for the return journey, though on the less scenic side of the train.

We were both fairly tired and slept on and off for the journey back. We arrived back where we began, Zurich Hauptbahnhof, just before 5:30p and headed out through the main station hall towards our hotel.


Getting to Liechtenstein isn't the easiest journey but, if you don't mind a few buses, it can be done relatively quickly. While we were happy to explore a new country, we didn't find much to do during our visit and four hours was more than enough time in Vaduz. While I wouldn't go out of my way to visit Liechtenstein again, I wouldn't avoid it if I had another reason to visit and it can be a fun day trip if you find yourself with extra time in Zurich.

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