The principality of Liechtenstein is the world’s fourth-smallest country, only slightly larger than Manhatten. It does not have an international airport, access from Switzerland is by local bus. But don’t make the mistake of thinking you’ve arrived in Switzerland, even though the Swiss franc is legal currency and all travel documents are valid! Liechtenstein even has its own royal family, they live in the castle above Vaduz, the country’s capitol and seat of government. Vaduz castle is not open to the public, but it’s worth climbing up the hill; at the top, there are magnificent vistas! Although Liechtenstein shares the Swiss postal system, it issues its own postage stamps and they are highly collectable. The small Postage Stamp Museum (at Städle 37 in Vaduz) contains 300 frames of national stamps issued since 1912. Schaan, the village just 3 km from Vaduz, is an ideal place to start on hiking and cycling tours. Liechtenstein has some 400 km of hiking trails through Alpine scenery (ask at the tourist office for the Liechtenstein hiking map). But also skating on the Rheindamm and biking are very popular. The friendly people from the tourist office or at your hostel will help you with route suggestions and excursion tips. An exciting experience is a visit in the Galina falconry in Malbun. Never again will you get as close to eagles, hawks, falcons and eagle-owls. Daily at 3 pm (except on Mondays), a professional falconer and his birds of prey put on a unique flight show; entry costs CHF 6.- (buses from Vaduz to Malbun run hourly and take 36 minutes).
How to get there: the nearest airport to Liechtenstein is Zurich. Regular post buses run to Schaan and Vaduz from Sargans and Buchs, both of them on the main Swiss train line between St. Gallen and Chur. There are usually at least 3 buses an hour from the Swiss border towns of Buchs and Sargans that stop in Schaan/Vaduz. To Sargans it takes from Zurich 55 minutes, from Chur 18 minutes, from St. Gallen 1 hour 8 minutes; to Buchs it takes from Zurich 1 hour 10 minutes, from Chur 37 minutes and from St. Gallen 55 minutes.
Tourist offices: : in Vaduz is at Städtle 37 (+423 239 63 00), in Schaan at Landstrasse 94 (+423 232 35 65).
Schaan-Vaduz Youth Hostel, untere Rüttigasse 6 (00423 23 250 22, closed after Oct 27th ) (from Sargans or Buchs take the post bus and get off at “Mühleholz” stop, from there it’s just 5 minutes to walk).