HOW’S LIECHTENSTEIN GOING? Very nicely, danke.

It sort of tells the story - spectacular mountains and commerce in the bottom right hand corner.

It sort of tells the story – spectacular mountains and commerce in the bottom right hand corner.

I feel vaguely guilty about liking this country. It’s got it far too good, in my opinion.

Liechtenstein is the richest part of the German-speaking world, with a part-time parliament that can be vetoed by a prince. The princely family owns vineyards that make fine wine, and the Liechtensteiners drink nearly all of it themselves. They have the highest GDP per capita in the world.

The country is surrounded by spectacular mountains with hiking and biking trails snaking all over them.

They even have decent coffee.

The prison population is eight, all male. The average annual road toll swings between two and zero. They have no army. That means effectively no crime, no traffic accidents and no wars.

Construction is booming. Unemployment is 1.5%. Seventeen thousand people cross the border to work here each day, swelling the population by nearly half. (There are 37,000 residents.)

Shame about the weather, at least on the days we spent there.

No such thing as bad weather, only bad cycling clothing. But I'm glad this isn't me.

No such thing as bad weather, only bad cycling clothing. But I’m glad this isn’t me.

Vaduz must look spectacular on a good day.

Vaduz must look spectacular on a good day.

Public art outside the Rathaus.

Public art outside the Rathaus. Possibly representing a man in a poncho escaping the rain in a bus shelter.

I'd love to go hiking here, but not today.

I’d love to go hiking here, but not today.

The Kapelle St Memerta, built 1446, renovated 1967-68.

The Kapelle St Memerta, built 1446, renovated 1967-68.

Peter Demmel's signature on his specialty coffee.

Peter Demmel’s signature on his excellent specialty coffee in the town of Schaan.

Here's to Liechtenstein. Still half a bottle left, I'm pleased to see.

Here’s to Liechtenstein. Still half a bottle left, I’m pleased to see.

Getting there: Liechtenstein is just over an hour’s drive from Konstanz. There is no airport or direct train service, but bus connections can be made from Buchs, over the Swiss border.

Staying there: Residence Hotel in Vaduz has deluxe rooms from SFR260 a double. See: http://www.residence.li/EN/Default.asp

For more information on visiting Liechtenstein, see www.liechtenstein.li.

Oh, and for three Swiss francs (the currency of Liechtenstein) the tourist office will put a stamp in your passport to say you’ve visited another country.

The writer was the guest of Internationale Bodensee Tourismus.

16 Comments

Filed under Travel- Europe

16 responses to “HOW’S LIECHTENSTEIN GOING? Very nicely, danke.

  1. Highest GDP in the world! I learned something new today. Thank you.

  2. Carla Baas

    Great story! and what was the taste of the wine? The wine label looks great. I love to go to Liechtenstein. Is the castle open for public?

  3. So the high GDP probably isn’t to do with wine exports so it be a convenient place for international corporations and less-than-honest individuals and cartels to park their money be anything to do with this otherwise pristine country’s financial success? Just asking.

    • I wondered, too, Duncan. But surely money laundering alone wouldn’t employ quite so many people. (Unless the money were really dirty.)

      Industry is surprisingly big, with companies like Hilti employing thousands of workers. There are 37,000 jobs and less than 37,000 residents, hence all the commuters hopping over the border from Switzerland and Austria each day.

  4. Liechtenstein seems quite discreet, we don’t hear from it often. Thanks for sharing!

  5. What weather! I read that there are serious flood warnings in central Europe. I thought that the only disappointing thing about Liechtenstein was Vaduz – terribly dull. I stayed in Triesenberg in the mountains. Another interesting pub quiz fact is that It is one of only two countries in the world that are double landlocked – the other is Uzbekistan.

  6. Wow! So much I learned from this post, wonder what the population of expats is.

  7. This post was really good 🙂 I can see why you felt bad for liking it, I guess in the same sort of way I’d feel bad about liking cheap vodka. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Definitely an educational post – learned a lot about Liechtenstein! Thank you, Richard!

  9. We drank there very expensive coffee. I’ll remember it always. I enjoyed Your photos.

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