Seat of government: VaduzThe Principality of Liechtenstein is an independent state in the Alpine region between Switzerland and Austria. It extends from the western slopes of the Rätikon ridge to the Rhine. The most densely populated part of the country and the main agricultural area is the Rhine plain; the hillsides are mainly covered with forest, and in the high valleys Alpine meadows predominate.
Tourotel (Kuhgrat - Drei Schwestern)
About 2.5km/1.5mi beyond Masescha (12km/7mi from Vaduz) the road comes to the parking lot of the Tourotel Gaflei (1,483 m/4,866ft), situated amid Alpine meadows, with extensive views. From here a footpath (the Fürstensteig or "Prince's Path") leads up in 2.25-2.5 hours to the Kuhgrat (2,124 m/6,969ft; magnificent views), the highest peak in the Drei Schwestern (Three Sisters) massif.
From Vaduz a hill road winds its way, with steep bends and extensive views, into the Samina valley (14km/9mi to Malbun), going either via the beautifully situated village of Triesenberg (884 m/2,900ft; Walser Museum), 6km/4mi from Vaduz, or via Rotenboden (1,000 m/3,281ft), also 6km/ 4mi from Vaduz, to a road junction at Gnalp (8.5km/5mi from Vaduz); left to Gaflei, right to Malbun.1km/0.5mi past the above-mentioned junction, on the road to Gaflei, is the old Walser settlement of Masescha (1,235 m/4,053ft; oldest Walser church, 14th C.; inn).The little towns and villages on the hills and in the Upper Samina valley are popular both with summer visitors and winter sports enthusiasts.
5km/3mi northeast of Schaan on road 16 is Nendeln. This little town and Eschen, a few kilometers west, are the principal places in the lowland part of Liechtenstein. In both towns remains of the past have been found (in Nendeln the foundations of a Roman villa). The main features of interest are the Pfrundhaus (prebend house), the Holy Cross chapel on the Rotenberg (formerly a place of execution and of assembly) and the chapels of St Sebastian and St Roch in Nendeln. There is also an interesting model pottery here.
3km/2mi north of Vaduz, at the foot of the Drei Schwestern massif, is Schaan (450-500 m/1,477-1,641ft; pop. 4,700), a busy little industrial town with the foundations of a Roman fort. Idyllically situated above the town is the pilgrimage church Maria zum Trost ("Dux"; 18th C.). Various Roman remains have been excavated in the surrounding area of Schaan. From here a good minor road runs northeast to the village of Planken.
To the west of Eschen, on the western slopes of the Eschnerberg, lies the village of Gamprin-Bendern, from which the interesting "Eschnerberg History Trail" (Historischer Höhenweg Eschnerberg) runs to Schellenberg, with the ruined castle of Neu-Schellenberg.
Balzers - Gutenberg Castle
Kulm (Steg, Malbun)
The road to Malbun runs under the Kulm pass (1,459 m/4,787ft) in a tunnel 850 m/2,789ft long to Steg (1,312 m/4,305ft) in the Upper Samina valley, and continues along a side valley to Malbun, 14km/9mi from Vaduz (1,650 m/5,414ft).
Planken (800 m/2625ft) is situated on a beautiful natural terrace, with good views of the Rhine valley and the Swiss Alps beyond. Planken is an excellent base for walks and climbs in the Drei Schwestern area.
At Ruggell, west of Schellenberg in the Rhine valley, is the Ruggeller Riet nature reserve, with interesting flora and fauna.
Sareiser Joch (Schönberg)
From Maldun a chairlift 850 m/2,789ft long ascends to the Sareiser Joch (2,014 m/6,608ft), and the Schönberg (2,104 m/6,903ft) can be climbed in 2.5 hours.