Photo: RossHelen/Shutterstock

The Fourth-Smallest Country in Europe Has a Ski Resort and Is Ruled by a Prince

Insider Guides
by Morgane Croissant Jun 27, 2023

The smallest European countries may be tiny in size, but they all have some big record-breaking attributes that make them stand out and compete with the biggest nations out there. The Vatican, the smallest country in Europe (and the world), is home to the world’s largest church and ruled by the most well known of all Catholics: the Pope. Monaco, the second-smallest country in Europe has the highest population density on the continent and is the richest in the world (GDP per capita). San Marino, the third-smallest country in the world is believed to be the world’s oldest surviving republic. The fourth-smallest country in the world is a mysterious landlocked nation whose name most of us can’t pronounce — or spell — properly: Liechtenstein.

Where is Liechtenstein?

Liechtenstein is a small, landlocked country in Western Europe. More precisely, it is located between Switzerland and Austria, the only two countries that it borders.

How to get to Liechtenstein?

Liechtenstein does not have an airport, or a railway network; however, there are train stations and airports in the neighboring countries of Switzerland and Austria from where you can drive or take a bus into Liechtenstein.

The closest international airport is St. Gallen-Altenrhein Airport, only 30 miles away, but flight routes to this airport are limited to a few European cities. If you’re coming from further afield, Zürich-Kloten in Switzerland is your best bet. It’s 71 miles away from the border with Liechtenstein.

The closest train stations are Sargans train station in Switzerland (11 miles away), Buchs train station in Switzerland (5.2 miles away), or Feldkirch train station in Austria (9.3 miles away). From those train stations, you can take a LIEmobil bus into Liechtenstein.

Is Liechtenstein a country?

Yes, Liechtenstein is a country. It is the fourth-smallest country in Europe and the sixth-smallest country in the world. More precisely, it is a principality — its head of state is Prince Hans-Adam II.

What is the flag of Liechtenstein?

The national flag of the Principality of Liechtenstein in front of the Parliament building in Vaduz.

The national flag of the Principality of Liechtenstein in front of the Parliament building in Vaduz.. Photo: Taljat David/Shutterstock

Liechtenstein has its own flag which is divided horizontally into two stripes of color: one blue at the top and one red at the bottom. In the top-left corner of the flag is a golden crown. Originally, the flag did not feature a crown; it was added in 1937 after it was noticed during the 1936 Summer Olympic Games that the flag of Haiti bore similar colors.

What is the currency in Liechtenstein?

Liechtenstein uses the Swiss Franc, the official currency of Switzerland. The Euro is also accepted.

Is Liechtenstein in the European Union?

Liechtenstein is not part of the European Union, but it is part of the border-free Schengen area.

How big is Liechtenstein?

The Principality is only around 62 square miles.

How many people live in Liechtenstein?

View of the town of Balzers in Liechtenstein

Photo: username/Shutterstock

There are around 40,000 people living in Lichtenstein, 67 percent of which are immigrants.

What is the capital of Liechtenstein?

The capital city is Vaduz, where around 5,000 people live. Vaduz is where the Landtagsgebäude or Parliamentary Building is located.

What language do people speak in Liechtenstein?

The official language is German, but day to day, most Liechtensteiners speak two Alemannic dialects (derived from German).

Does Liechtenstein have a royal family?

Liechtenstein is a constitutional hereditary monarchy whose head of state is Prince Hans-Adam II. Prince Hans-Adam II is the reigning prince of the House of Liechtenstein who has a total of 122 members. Since 2004, Prince Hans-Adam II’s first-born son, Prince Alois, is in charge of the running of the country and will eventually succeed his father to the throne.

Is Liechtenstein the richest country in the world?

According to a report by USA today from March 2023, Liechtenstein is the second-richest country in the world (when calculating GDP per capita.)

Monaco is the richest country in the world when measured by GDP per capita and Luxembourg is the third-richest.

How do you pronounce “Liechtenstein”?

It is pronounced [lik-tun-stain].

Six facts about Liechtenstein

Hiking trail and views in Liechtenstein

Photo: Mario Krpan/Shutterstock

  • Because the principality is landlocked and surrounded by two landlocked countries (Switzerland and Austria), it is described as doubly landlocked. The only other doubly landlocked country in the world is Uzbekistan.
  • Liechtenstein was the last country in Europe to give women the right to vote. It was granted by referendum in 1984.
  • 600 000 people visit every year.
  • 40 percent of the country is covered in forests.
  • There are only 25 seat in the parliament.
  • The country’s national holiday is on August 15.
  • The principality is home to people to around 40,000 people who are from 108 different countries.
  • Prince Hans-Adam II lives in Vaduz Castle, a 13th-century structure that sits on top of a hill above the capital city.

When was Liechtenstein founded and why?

The principality of Liechtenstein was founded in 1719 by the Princely House of Liechtenstein (originally from Austria) after it purchased the County of Vaduz in 1699 and the lands of Schellenberg in 1712 and merged the two territories to form one independent country.

What to do in Liechtenstein?

The one thing you’ll want to do in the principality is to check out Vaduz Castle. While its interior is closed to visitors, you should still walk up to it and take a close look at the Prince’s residence. It’s a steep 20 to 30-minute walk from the center of the capital city.

There are plenty of museums in this small country, but if you’re in Vaduz, go check out the Liechtenstein National Museum to learn more about this unusual nation. The museum is housed in a 15th-century building. The Postal Museum is a bit niche (it tells the history of the country’s postal service), but is a good place for those who like stamps.

Being located in the Alps, Liechtenstein, specifically the area around the resort of Malbun, is a great place for outdoor activities like hiking and mountain biking in the summer, and skiing and snowboarding in the winter.

The principality is home to several vineyards, so make sure to give the local wine a try — alongside some of the country’s traditional cuisine like fondue, ribel (a cornmeal-based dish) , Käsknöpfle (pasta and cheese dish), and more.

The best hotels in Liechtenstein

We hope you love the spaces and stays we recommend! Just so you know, Matador may collect a small commission from the links on this page if you decide to book a stay.

Parkhotel Sonnenhof

Photo: Expedia
Photo: Expedia
Photo: Expedia

See more photos

This four-star property is one of most highly-rated hotels in the country. With only 29 individually decorated and furnished rooms and suites, it is the perfect place for an intimate stay. While it’s only a 15-minute walk (0.6 miles) from the center of Vaduz, the Parkhotel Sonnenhof feels removed from the city and offers views over the surrounding forest, the castle, and the mountains of the Alps in the background. Enjoy exquisite cuisine from the on-site restaurant Marée while sitting in the Eagle’s Nest, a unique terrace and the hotel’s coolest spot. There’s a spa with an indoor pool, sauna, and a variety of treatments on offer. Breakfast at the Parkhotel Sonnenhof is included.

Book Now


Photo: Expedia
Photo: Expedia
Photo: Expedia

See more photos

Located in Malbun, the country’s most famous and biggest ski resort, the Hotel Turna is a three-star hotel that’s located next door to the ski lifts. The simply decorated, yet very elegant hotel, has rooms for every type of guests, even families. There’s a wellness area with a sauna, steam room, indoor pool, and outdoor jacuzzi. The on-site restaurant is a local favorite. Breakfast is included. (Note that Malbun is only around eight miles away from Vaduz, the capital of the country.)

Book Now

Hotel Oberland

Photo: Expedia
Photo: Expedia
Photo: Expedia

See more photos

Located in the town of Triesenberg, only 10-minute by car to the center of Vaduz, Hotel Oberland is an affordable and modern three-star property that offers self-check-in and breakfast. There’s a small wellness area with a sauna, but the best part of this hotel is that it’s the highest in the country, thus offering magnificent views of the natural surroundings.

Book Now

Discover Matador

Save Bookmark

We use cookies for analytics tracking and advertising from our partners.

For more information read our privacy policy.