Liechtenstein, a fun word and a fun time
Stars and Stripes October 2, 2023
Liechtenstein is a fun word to say, like…bumblebee tuna or baked potato. It is also a fun place to visit.
Liechtenstein is only 62 square miles in size. That means the entire country could fit inside Rhode Island almost 20 times. Or, to further blow your mind, the city of Los Angeles is about 8x larger than Liechtenstein.
I am the king of taking advantage of a 4-day weekend. Thanks to the U.S. military’s family day and federal holiday combos, I’ve been able to visit Athens, Rome, Ischgl, Nice, Barcelona, and other countries with the right amount of planning and patience. Sometimes though, you just have a regular-ole-weekend to make some memories.
“It was a Friday night when I pointed my compass south and made my way to an Airbnb in Liechtenstein. Did I drive right by it on my first attempt? You bet I did.”
With my gear unpacked and the sun well on the other side of the world, I was ready to hit the hay, with an awesome day of exploring soon to follow.
So, what’s there to do here?
If you Google, “what to do in Liechtenstein”, you’ll be returned the following results: Vaduz Castle, Vaduz Cathedral and The Liechtenstein National Museum in, guess where? Vaduz.
By that logic, you could argue that Vaduz is the only thing to do in Liechtenstein. I wholeheartedly disagree. I was determined to find something to do in Liechtenstein other than checking out its capital city, Vaduz.
With the weather being absolutely perfect, I decided that, if the country is almost 50% mountainous, then there must be some incredible hiking to be found. So, I opened my All-Trails app, found a nearby trailhead, and began moving toward the town of Malbun. Along the steep and curvy road to Malbun, I passed by Vaduz Castle, one of the five things worth visiting in Liechtenstein according to the internet. I parked my car and hopped out to explore for a moment.
Upon first approaching the castle, I felt my mind slowly slipping back in time to when knights and archers would have occupied the grounds. In my mind I could see them standing guard along the tops of the castle towers, searching for adversaries along the ridgeline.
As I began circling the castle, traversing along the immaculate landscape, I fell in love with the beautiful location upon which it rested. The trees had begun giving way to the fall temperatures and were on the verge of turning bright yellow, the grass still a deep green. Smells of decaying leaves and pine needles filled the air, enhanced by the sound of rolling thunder and the occasional flash of lightning.
The cold, cloudy weather that loomed over the valley only aided my imagination. The lack of cars driving along the nearby cobblestone road gave way to the natural ambience of birds in the trees and horses pulling up grass with their dull, yet powerful, teeth.
I could’ve easily enjoyed the moment for at least an hour but, mother nature had other plans and began sprinkling me with a light, yet soon-to-be powerful, thunderstorm. I strolled along the wooden fence for a few hundred meters before reaching my car and continuing on to my long-awaited hiking trailhead. Even from a distance, it’s clear that this is a place steeped in history, a symbol of power and strength from a bygone era.
The town of Malbun
As I pulled into the town of Malbun, I was surprised to learn that Malbun is actually a small ski town! Now, don’t get your expectations too high about skiing in Liechtenstein; there are only five ski lifts and 23km of on-piste skiing. Nonetheless, skiing or riding in Liechtenstein is a thing.
Fun fact, in 1968 (the same year as my first car if you can believe it), Malbun’s ski resort was accidentally struck by five Swiss artillery shells, damaging a few of the chairs!
The cloudy sky that had socked itself into the valley between Liechtenstein and Switzerland had given way to a welcomed partly cloudy sky, and I was overjoyed.
So, I parked my car at the Parkhaus Malbun, rode the zipline at the Kinderspielplatz (twice), snapped a few photos of the Friedenskapelle chapel, and began making my way along the Fürstin Gina Weg trail.
If you really want to see a side of Liechtenstein that most people don’t, visit Malbun in the winter, and do a romantic ski trip for you and your partner. Not a large resort at all, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in charm.
You should visit Liechtenstein if you want a change of pace from your busy lifestyle. Day after day, we become bombarded with e-mails, taskers, social media, and other fabricated stressors that take a toll on our physical and mental health.
There are many ways to visit Liechtenstein, and I recommend a car or something you can drive yourself. If you take the train, you’re restricted to visiting the areas serviced by public transportation.
Liechtenstein offers you a chance to stroll along a dirt trail and breathe in fresh air while the leaves rustle from a breeze rolling down the mountainsides all around you. It affords you the space to think, and hear those thoughts, about life; where you’re at, and where you’re going.