Vaduz, Liechtenstein

It was a cold rainy day and I got up early to get over to Vaduz for the day. The first museums opened at 10:00am and I wanted to be there as soon as they opened to spend as much time there as possible. The buses were full with what I’m assuming were commuters heading from Buchs to Schaan in Liechtenstein. From there, I switched to the bus that took me to the capital, Vaduz.

The first stop was the Liechtenstein Postage Stamp Museum. It was small, but interesting.  Places like Liechtenstein and Andorra starting in the mid part of the 20th Century made lots of stamps. Stamp collectors buy them and don’t use them to send mail, so aside from the printing costs, it’s all profit. It’s a good source of income for small countries, probably not as lucrative as it was when more people collected stamps, but still good money.

Right next door to the stamp museum is Treasure Chamber of the National Museum. You have to get a token from the people at the stamp museum to gain entrance. It has a mixture of old paintings, prints, many jeweled Easter eggs, old guns, knives, and moon rocks.

The main part of the day was spent at the Liechtenstein National Museum. For such a small country, they have put together a great museum. It covers the entire history of humans in the area that would become the principality. It even has a wing devoted to the natural history of the area with exhibits on the geology and flora and fauna. There is also nice sections on how the principality came into being, as well as on the current and past Princes of Liechtenstein.

I grabbed some lunch at a place and then decided to visit the The Princely Wine Cellars of the Prince of Liechtenstein in Vaduz.  It was winter, cold, and raining so I had the place to myself. They offer a tasting of the three wines produced there and I enjoyed all three (that’s not a really high bar as I am a fan of almost all wines). I purchased two small bottles to take back home. I had purchased a larger bottle at the COOP store in town.

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After the winery, I headed by bus back to Buchs to grab my dinner and get ready for the train the next day for Vienna.

Zürich to Buchs

When I first started planning this trip, I was pretty sure that I would not spend the whole of it in Switzerland. It would be very easy to spend 10 or more days in the country and see plenty, but since I was in the area of lots of countries I had not visited, I figured I would jump at the chance to see some of them.

The Principality of Liechtenstein has been a place I have always been interested in. In the pre-internet days, it was a very hard place to get any info about. Your best sources would be almanacs and books about stamps. The information age has not ruined the attraction for me; it just confirmed that there was much to see there.

I did a bit of research and found the hotels in Liechtenstein to be a bit pricey for my tastes, and when I found on that would work for me in Werdenburg, just across the border in Switzerland, I figured I’d take the bus and save about 50 Swiss francs a night. You could even walk there (well, YOU could, I’d only walk as far as Buchs to catch the bus over).

I took two trains from Zürich to arrive at Buchs and the ride was short but very scenic. It went along the shore of Lake Zürich and then along Lake Walensee with mountains all around it. Postcard quality scenery! As we were approaching Buchs, I spied a castle up on a mountain that looked very familiar. It was Vaduz Castle the home of Prince Hans-Adam II.

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I arrived in Buchs around noon and found a bus that would take me the short distance to where I was staying. The room was ready early so I dropped my stuff off and decided to head over to Liechtenstein to pick up a museum/bus pass I found out about online. Well, that’s a half-truth. I sent them an email requesting info and figured they would reply via email. Instead, they mailed me a lovely info packet that gave me all the details!

One of the best deals they have is for 25 CHF (CHF is code for Swiss francs) you can get a Liechtenstein Museum Pass the pass also doubles as a bus pass. With a return trip to Buchs being 7 CHF and entrance to the national museum 10 CHF you only have to find 8 more CHF in discounts to make it pay and that is pretty easy to do. They can be purchased at the tourist info office in the center of town. After getting mine and buying some postcards and souvenirs, I took the bus back to Buchs and plotted my full day in Vaduz.