Liechtenstein Driving Guide

Liechtenstein Driving Guide

Liechtenstein Driving Guide

Liechtenstein is a unique beautiful country. Explore all of it by driving when you get your International Driving Permit

ਅੱਪਡੇਟ ਕੀਤਾ ਅਪ੍ਰੈਲ 9, 2021·9 ਮਿੰਟ ਪੜ੍ਹਿਆ

If you’re looking for a peaceful and relaxing off-the-beaten-path place in Europe, you should look at tiny Liechtenstein. The country is so small you could walk the length of the country in about six hours. It’s small, but it is a charming, postcard-perfect place, complete with a straight-out-of-fairy-tale castle perched on the side of a mountain overlooking the capital, Vaduz.

How Can This Guide Help You?

The best way to explore Liechtenstein is to drive your own car. This guide help will walk you through some of the essential driving do’s and don’ts, including getting an International Driving Permit, the most important road rules, driving etiquette, renting a car, and tips on how to get to the different recommended destinations.

General Information

About the same size as Staten Island in New York, Liechtenstein is the world’s sixth smallest country. Nestled in the Alps between Austria and Switzerland, it is also only one of two countries - the other is Uzbekistan in Central Asia - that is double landlocked, which means that the surrounding countries are also landlocked.

The Principality has a temperate, alpine climate, with warm, wet summers and mild winters. Average temperatures range from -1°C in January to 21°C in July. The average annual precipitation is about 1,000 mm and is quite evenly distributed over the entire year. Some lightweight and mediumweight clothing is advised during summer. Warmer, heavy clothing is worn in winter.

Geographic Location

Liechtenstein is located in the Upper Rhine Valley in Central Europe, between Austria in the east and Switzerland in the west. Since it is in the Alps, the country is mountainous and has great hiking trails. It is also a winter sports destination.

The country has close ties with Switzerland and is often represented by the Swiss in diplomatic matters since Liechtenstein has only five embassies and one consulate worldwide. Liechtenstein also adopted the Swiss franc (CHF) as its currency.

Languages Spoken

The official language of Liechtenstein is German. Liechtensteiners also use two different German dialects in their day-to-day affairs. The Liechtenstein version of standard German is similar to the standard German spoken in the Austrian province of Vorarlberg. However, most people in Liechtenstein can also speak English, especially its younger citizens. English is the most popular second language in Liechtenstein.

Land Area

Liechtenstein has a land area of 160 square kilometers (62 square miles). Liechtenstein, the sixth smallest country in the world, is also the fourth smallest in Europe. It is 24.8 km at its longest distance and 12.4 km at its widest distance. It is divided into 11 municipalities, with a total population of just under 40,000. Its capital and largest city, Vaduz, is home to less than 6,000 people.

History

In the early 18th century, Liechtenstein started as a member of the Holy Roman Empire. It then became part of the German Confederation from 1815 – 1866. The country gained its independence in 1866, making Liechtenstein one of the smallest countries to be granted sovereignty early on.

At present, around 66% of the population is native-born Liechtensteiners, while around 20% of those living in the country are from other German-speaking countries, like Austria, Switzerland, and Germany. The rest are from other countries.

Interestingly, the number of employed people in Liechtenstein outnumber the country’s population. More than half of its workers commute out of the country – the majority to Switzerland, and a smaller percentage to Austria and Germany. There are also more registered companies in the Principality than citizens.

Government

Liechtenstein’s form of government is a hereditary monarchy; the Head of State is a monarch (Prince Hans-Adam II), representing the country in international relations. The Government, a collegial body with five members, is the highest executive authority. It is composed of the Prime Minister (Adrian Hassler, since 2013) and four ministers. The Government reports to both the Parliament, whose members are elected by the people and the Prince.

Liechtenstein is one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Its GDP per capita is among the highest, which makes Liechtensteiners also among the world’s richest people. This was due to the country being a tax haven – unfortunately, loose banking laws also attracted people whose wealth came from questionable sources.

After international pressure, the Principality made adjustments to its financial policies. As a result, Liechtenstein was removed from a blacklist of uncooperative tax haven countries. The country, however, still has a reputation for being secretive about its banking laws.

Tourism

Travelers on a road trip across Europe often overlook this tiny jewel in the Alps, but Liechtenstein is definitely worth a stop. There are two Michelin-starred restaurants in Vaduz; its hiking trails go through some of the most spectacular sceneries in Europe. The people of Liechtenstein, the Liechtensteiners, speak English (besides German, the official language), so the language barrier isn’t a problem.

If you are a tourist who is looking for some peaceful and idyllic mountain hideaway, you should try Liechtenstein. The country isn’t clogged with tourists; it’s fine to go for a visit almost any season. If you visit in the winter, you can go skiing on its mountain slopes. Liechtenstein has several world-class ski resorts that are not overrun by tourists.

In the summer, you can visit the hiking rails and be treated to some of Europe’s most breath-taking Alpine mountain trails. You can stay at four-star hotels, or you can rent one of the mountain cottages and purr with contentment, knowing that you are – literally – away from it all. Besides, it’s fun to say that you’ve driven the length of an entire country in under thirty minutes.

IDP FAQs

So, you’re planning on a road trip across Europe? You should also plan on getting an international driving permit. Your road trip would probably go through a few European countries, especially if you are going to the Liechtenstein area. The international driving permit is intended to overcome the difficulties drivers might encounter while driving in other countries that have different licensing requirements.

The international driving permit (IDP) is a special license authorized by international conventions in 1926, 1949, and 1968. Nearly 180 countries are signatories. The IDP is printed in several languages and is valid in all signatory countries. Moreover, many countries that did not sign the treaty recognize the permit and accept it in their territories.

Can I Use My Driver’s License in Liechtenstein?

If you are a holder of an EU driver’s license, you can use your license in Liechtenstein, or any other EU country, for that matter. EU driver’s license holders have the option to voluntarily convert their driving license to a local one, considering that they have been a resident of their origin country for at least two (2) years. Conversion of driving licenses only becomes mandatory in another EU country if:


  • Your license is lost, stolen, or damaged
  • After two years of residence, if you have a driver’s license with an indefinite validity period or;
  • You committed a traffic offense

If you are a non-EU driver, you should get an International Driving Permit. Remember, an International Driving Permit serves as a translation of the driver’s license from your home country and you will also need this when you have to convert your non-EU driver’s license after 12 months of moving to Lichtenstein. To convert a non-EU license to a Liechtenstein license, the requirements are:

  • A completed form from the appropriate office
  • An eye test
  • A German translation of the non-EU/EEA driving license (driving licenses from Andorra, Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, Korea, Croatia, Morocco, Monaco, New Zealand, Singapore, Tunisia, and the USA are accepted - driving in Liechtenstein with a US license is permitted).

Does an IDP Replace a Local Driver’s License?

No. An IDP serves as a translation of your original license to allow the holder to drive a private motor vehicle in any country or jurisdiction that recognizes the document. It is a legal requirement to enable you to drive in other countries. Don’t forget, your IDP is not valid if you don’t have your original driver’s license with you.

An IDP is valid for up to three years. You can, however, choose an option in your application whether you want an IDP with a one-year, two-year, or three-year validity. By law, an IDP’s validity is up to three years only. However, the validity of an IDP cannot exceed the validity of your original driver’s license.

If you frequently go abroad, it’s best to get a three-year IDP. Otherwise, if the trip you will be taking is a one-off and you would not be going abroad for the next three years, a one-year IDP is more practical.

Who Can Apply for an IDP?

A traveler who intends to make road trips needs an international driver’s permit, especially if you will be driving through multiple countries like in the Liechtenstein region. Even in countries where it isn't required, the International Driving Permit is worth having just to make sure that your driver's license is accepted by local car-rental agencies and traffic police.

Holders of valid driver’s licenses and are at least 18 years old can apply for an IDP. If you have a provisional driver’s license, it’s best to secure a valid license first. Remember, an IDP is a proof that you are a holder of a valid driver’s license from your country of origin. Go to the International Driver’s Association (IDA) application page, fill out the forms, and apply for an IDP online.

Typically, an applicant for an IDP needs the following:

  • be at least 18 years of age
  • have two passport photos
  • have a valid government-issued driver’s license

Renting a Car in Liechtenstein

Driving laws in Liechtenstein isn’t that much different from their neighbors. But keep an eye on your speed, as they take speed limits seriously. Speed traps are frequent, and fines can be steep. Switzerland’s E43 highway runs along the Principality’s western border and has a few crossing points into Vaduz, Liechtenstein’s capital.

Car Rental Companies

There are several websites where you can book a car for rent in Lichtenstein. You’ll have a choice of different pick-up and drop-off points, and you can compare which company or type of car fits your budget. There are also car rental companies inside Liechtenstein, or in nearby areas, like Switzerland, Austria, and Germany. Here are a few rental car companies in and around Liechtenstein:

  • Avis
  • Europcar
  • Sixt
  • Enterprise Rent-A-Car
  • Hertz
  • AMAG Buchs
  • Mobility Carsharing

Documents Required

Renting a car is easy. However, all those different insurance and conditions can be quite confusing. That’s why planning ahead can make all the difference. If you just show up at a random car rental, you might not know if you’re getting a good deal. Plan so you can work out the total cost, including extras. You can also compare prices and terms between suppliers. Plus, there are numerous options to choose from if you book a car online that might save you money.

After booking a car online and a reservation is completed, you will receive a confirmation voucher through email. When picking up your car, you need to provide the following documents: a confirmation voucher, driving license, an international driving permit, and a valid credit card. The final payment is normally made at the pick-up point. Don’t forget to check your car for defects!

If you have additional drivers, they should also present their driver’s license and international driver’s permit at the counter. And don’t forget – follow driving safety rules in Liechtenstein. They are very strict when it comes to following rules.

Vehicle Types

Your decision on which car type to drive would be affected by which season you will be traveling. If you’re driving to Liechtenstein during winter, you’d be better off driving a 4WD. There are narrow, winding mountain roads in the country, and with the snow, you’d be required to have snow chains.

For the rest of the year, you can rent any type of car, depending on your taste, budget, or the size of your group. You can pretty much hire any type of car you fancy in Liechtenstein: sedan, hatchback, jeep, cabriolet, coupe, minivan, and minibus.

Car Rental Cost

The cost of renting a car in Liechtenstein depends on several factors: the type of cars, the duration, insurance, and other extras. Here are a few extras that affect the cost of renting a car:

  • It would cost you extra if you plan to take the car you hired in Liechtenstein outside its borders. Cross-border travels mean additional fees.
  • Renting a car on weekdays will be cheaper.
  • Booking a car, at least a week early could save you money.
  • A one-way deal (picking your car up in one location then dropping it off in another location) is more expensive than a round trip.
  • Using a full-to-full fuel option is cheaper.
  • Baby seats will cost extra.
  • You will also pay for additional driver/s.

Taxes are normally included. Considering all factors, the average cost of renting a car in Liechtenstein would be somewhere around 70 CHF (Swiss Francs) a day. Check the terms and conditions carefully before signing on the dotted line.

Age Requirements

You have to be 21 to hire a car on your own. There is also a young driver surcharge for drivers below 25. Moreover, when renting a car, some companies require that your driving license should have been issued to you for at least a year.

Car Insurance Cost

It is always prudent to take out travel insurance if you are traveling to any country. If you want peace of mind, full insurance when renting a car is the way to go to avoid further expenses. You can purchase insurance during pick-up at the car rental company. Full insurance can also be “assembled” from several types of coverage.

You also have the option to buy individual covers, though. And again, the rates depend on the insurance company. Examples of covers offered by the Rental Cover Company include:


  • Super Collision Damage Waiver: €25.15 - €37.73 per day
  • Personal Accident Insurance: €8.38 - €12.58 per day
  • Roadside Assistance Cover: €8.38 - €12.58 per day

Car Insurance Policy

You can purchase insurance that will protect your car from damage and theft. This type limits your liability to the excess amount in case of damage and/or theft. Usually, though, these types of insurance are included in the rates of rental car companies. There is also the insurance package that reimburses you for medical expenses incurred by the driver or passenger/s.

Another insurance is the one that cancels your liability in case of property damage or personal injury caused to third parties. Car rental companies also include breakdown assistance should the renter require it. You can also purchase insurance to reduce the excess on the whole vehicle for added protection.

Other Facts

Liechtenstein is only about 25 kilometers long and 12 kilometers wide, and with much of its land in the Alps mountain region, your driving range might not be that extensive. Roads are few in tiny landlocked Liechtenstein, so driving should be a relaxed, laid-back affair.

Can You Drive to Liechtenstein?

The Principality of Liechtenstein has no airports. The closest airport is about an hour and a half’s drive away – in Zurich, Switzerland. You can also fly to Friedrichshafen, Germany. With this, to enter the country, you’ll have to drive to Germany, Switzerland, or Austria. European drivers can use their EU driver’s license to drive through these countries, but non-Europeans driving through the Liechtenstein area will need international driving permits with their driver’s licenses from their home country. Remember, though, that the international driving permit isn’t a stand-alone document. You should have a valid driver’s license from your home country with you.

If you’re going on a European jaunt, make sure to include Liechtenstein on your itinerary. With this guide, it will show you things like what items you are required to have in your car, recommended items to have with you, and general tips regarding driving safety rules in Liechtenstein and renting a car. This driving guide will help you plan your perfect little getaway to perfect little Liechtenstein.

How Far Do I Need to Drive From Other Countries?

If you are driving from Zurich, the distance is about 125 kilometers to Liechtenstein. You can drive on the excellent Swiss motorway system, and depending on the traffic, it would take you from one-and-a-half to two hours to reach the Principality.

From Feldkirch, Austria, the driving distance is about 12 kilometers. You can input your destination to your GPS app, and you’ll find the area easily. Below is a list of European cities near Liechtenstein with their driving distances and approximate duration:


  • Munich, Germany to Liechtenstein – 243 kilometers (3 hours) via A96
  • Milan, Italy to Liechtenstein – 270 kilometers (3 hours 40 minutes) via A13
  • Innsbruck, Austria to Liechtenstein – 173 kilometers (2 hours 25 minutes) via A12 and S16
  • Bern, Switzerland to Liechtenstein – 242 kilometers (2 hours 45 minutes) via A1 and A3
  • Stuttgart, Germany to Liechtenstein – 269 kilometers (3 hours 10 minutes) via A8

Road Rules in Liechtenstein

Economically, Liechtenstein is Swiss. Culturally, the country is German through and through. They possess the Germans’ penchant for neatness, order, and discipline. “Ordnung muss sein,” as the popular expression goes (There must be order).

The streets of Liechtenstein reflect this. Here, the streets are impeccably clean. There is order. Chaos has no place in this neat and tidy country. As a visitor, you are expected to adhere to all the rules and driving etiquette in Liechtenstein. Don’t call them Germans, though – they are proud Liechtensteiners.

Important Regulations

A network of excellent roads connects Liechtenstein to its neighbors. The roads in the Principality are well-maintained, and bike lanes are common. Mountain roads are sometimes narrow, but otherwise in excellent condition. To help maintain peace in the country’s streets, here are some of the most important rules to follow.

Drunk-Driving

Drunk-driving is heavily discouraged wherever you travel to. It does not only put your life at risk, but it can also put the lives of other people in danger. In Liechtenstein, the police may request any driver to undergo a breath test or a drug test. The limit for blood alcohol content is .05% and if you are caught exceeding the limit, you will be liable to a fine.

Seatbelt Laws

Wearing a seatbelt is an absolute must for all passengers in the front and the rear. Children under seven years old are not allowed to sit in the front seat. Children under 12 years and less than 150 cm must be in child car seats.

Parking Laws

Parking is not a problem in Vaduz, the capital. It has a large parking space located under the Kunstmuseum. Parking in non-designated parking areas is highly discouraged, especially that the roads in the country are narrow. When you do park in official parking areas, make sure that you follow the correct parking position as indicated by the line separators. If you park in an enclosed space, you’ll mostly have to do angle parking.

General Standards

Liechtenstein vehicles plates are indicated with FL, the coat of arms symbol, and five (5) digits printed in white. Plates are often black; that’s why the characters are white. The font used in license plates also used the same font style as the one used in Swiss license plates.

If you are renting a car, you should also bring along your rental documents. The car rental company will most likely only give you a photocopy of the V5 registration, so you’ll need the rental documents to support you in case the authorities inspect your car.

Speed Limits

In urban areas, Liechtenstein’s speed limit is 50 kilometers per hour. On rural roads, the speed limit is 80 kilometers per hour; on motorways, it’s 120 kph. Take extra care when driving on those narrow mountain roads. Driving on this type of road is always dangerous; besides, speed traps are everywhere. And that is a good thing – high speed on these roads is dangerous.

Driving Directions

Roads in this Alpine country are largely laid out in a north-south pattern that follows the valley. The north main roads lead to the border with Austria. To the south is the entry to Switzerland, as well as the bridges that cross the river Rhine in the west. Most of the eastern border with Austria is very mountainous and is not passable. The border here is only accessible on foot.

Traffic Road Signs

Road signs in Liechtenstein generally conform to the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals. Liechtenstein, although not a member of the EU, largely follows the European standard concerning the use of shape and color of road signs to indicate their function. Standard traffic signs used all over Europe fall under different classes: danger/warning signs; priority road signs; mandatory signs; prohibitive or restrictive signs; information, facility, and service signs; direction, position, and indication signs, and; special regulation signs

  • Danger/warning signs are either diamond or equilateral triangles in shape, with a white or yellow background and red or black border. These are seen as you go near a narrowing road, a train crossing without a barrier, or a pedestrian zone. Proceed with caution whenever you encounter these signs.
  • Priority road signs may differ in shape, color, and border, depending on the sign’s purpose. An inverted equilateral triangle with a yellow or white background and red border is for areas that require giving way or yielding to oncoming traffic.
  • Mandatory signs are circular, with a blue or white background. These signs are seen on roads that allow only certain types of vehicles, roads that require equipment, or signs that point the way around road work or traffic islands.
  • Prohibitive or restrictive signs are circular with a white, yellow, or blue background. These signs indicate speed limits, no entry, no parking zones, and cases where certain types of vehicles aren’t allowed. These signs could also signify restrictions to driving, like no overtaking and no-entry one-way streets.
  • Signs for information, facility, and service are usually blue or green, with no border specified. They signify upcoming gasoline stations, parking areas, restrooms, restaurants, hospitals, or point to the location of tourism offices.
  • Direction, position, and indication signs are usually rectangular, with varied colors. These signs help as added information for navigation.
  • Special regulation signs In Liechtenstein have a blue background with white text. An example of this type of sign: signs that indicate the types of vehicles allowed in certain areas, like “bus lane” or “taxis only.”

Right of Way

Liechtenstein is a signatory of the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic, which, among other things, stipulates “Priority to the right,” a right-of-way system in which the driver of a vehicle is required to give way to vehicles approaching from the right at intersections. This stipulation applies to countries where traffic keeps to the right, except when overridden by priority signs.

Legal Driving Age

The legal driving age in Liechtenstein is 18 years old. If you come from a country that has a younger legal driving age, you’ll still have to be at least 18 years old to drive in the country. Otherwise, if you are still 16 or 17, you’ll not be allowed to drive even if you already have a full driving license from your home country.

Laws on Overtaking

In Liechtenstein, as in Europe, the usual guidelines on overtaking apply: be bold, but careful. Make sure you have a clear view of oncoming traffic. Signal your intentions to the other drivers. And, of course, do not exceed the speed limit.

On narrower, winding mountain roads, look for turn-signal indications by the driver ahead. Drivers may also sometimes use their indicators to alert the faster driver behind when there is a safe overtaking opportunity. It is mandatory to signal before moving back into the right-hand lane when overtaking.

Driving Side

Cars drive on the right side of the road. This means that the driver’s seat is on the left side of the car. If you haven’t tried driving on the right-hand side of the road, it will be easy to master this in Liechtenstein, especially because there are plenty of narrow roads to practice in.

Other Road Rules

In Liechtenstein, the streets are spotless; if you drop a piece of litter, you’ll get a fine. Traveling by car, you have to ensure that you have a warning triangle and safety vest with you in the car in case you need them – not in the car’s trunk: they should be inside the car within easy reach. In winter, snow tires are not compulsory. Be careful, though – vehicles not equipped to travel through snow that impeded traffic are liable to get a fine.

What Are Other Things to Remember When Driving in Liechtenstein?

Snow chains should be on every vehicle during winter. They should be used when indicated and must be fitted on at least two drive wheels. If you are caught in violation of any of Liechtenstein’s driving laws, you can be fined heavily or even imprisoned. Also, radar detectors are not allowed in Liechtenstein, whether in use or not.

Driving Etiquette in Liechtenstein

Perhaps one of the most important things to remember when driving in Liechtenstein is that they enforce driving laws rigorously. On-the-spot- fines can be a little steep. Before getting behind the wheel and going driving in the Liechtenstein area, there are other things you should know besides the driving laws.

Car Breakdown

One of the most frustrating things to happen on a road trip is your car breaking down. Relax – this is where the insurance you have taken out for your vehicle will earn its keep. If you can, pull over to a safe place, like in an emergency lane. Use the warning triangle and the safety vest you have with you in your car. Call any of these numbers:

  • Police: 117
  • Emergency: 112
  • Fire department: 118
  • Ambulance: 144
  • Air Rescue: 1414

You are only permitted to tow to the next exit. In the event of an accident, all drivers involved must write a report on the incident and sign it for insurance purposes. Call the police if there is a question of who is to blame, if there are any injuries sustained, or if there are alcohol or drugs involved. Exchange information with all the drivers involved.

Police Stops

Liechtenstein, being a tiny country, has one of the lowest crime rates in the world. It is regarded as one of the safest countries. The police, however, are serious about enforcing traffic rules. If you are stopped by the police, do not panic. Pullover immediately and come to a complete stop in a safe place.

Remember to keep your hands on the steering wheel. Turn on your hazard lights. If asked, give necessary documents like passport, driver’s license, and IDP. Wait for the police’s instruction. The police will inform you of your violation/s, and if you are at fault, will ask you to pay the fine, which would probably be hefty. On-the-spot fines are substantial in Liechtenstein.

Asking Directions

If you are in one of Liechtenstein’s cities, you have nothing to worry about. The locals are only too willing to help a visitor who needs help. Although the official language is German, English is a popular second language. The locals would have no problem conversing with you. Act friendly and be polite, and you’ll soon be friends with the locals. Liechtenstein, after all, is one of the safest countries in the world.

Besides, getting lost in a country as small as Liechtenstein would be extremely difficult – unless you got lost in the mountains. This would be unlikely, though - trails are well-marked, and for sure, you have your phone with GPS with you.

Checkpoints

If you are coming from Switzerland, there wouldn’t be any checkpoints on the border. You wouldn’t even notice you had crossed the border. If you cross from the Austrian side, you will find a manned checkpoint, but visitors are often just waved through. No stamping of passports, no asking for papers. You can, however, go to the tourism office in Vaduz and have your passport stamped, just for the sheer novelty of it. It’ll cost you about 3 Euros.

The reason for this apparent loose policy regarding border control is the Schengen Agreement. The Schengen Agreement is a treaty signed on June 14, 1985, by many European countries to abolish their national borders. The area in Europe is known as the Schengen Area, an area of Europe without national borders. But keep in mind that police can still do spot checks on travelers.

Travelers from the Schengen Area can move freely in this part of Europe. Non-Europeans who hold a Schengen visa mean they can travel to 26 European countries without going through passport controls. The list of European countries that are part of the Schengen Area is as follows:



  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Switzerland
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Germany
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Greece
  • Spain
  • Finland
  • France
  • Croatia
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Iceland
  • Italy
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Latvia
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Sweden
  • Slovenia
  • Slovakia
  • United Kingdom

Other Tips

Liechtenstein, although not formally a member of the European Union, is a signatory to the Schengen Agreement, which means that all countries who signed this agreement do not have border controls among them. The countries around Liechtenstein – Austria and Switzerland – are part of the “Schengen Zone,” so a visa granted for any Schengen country is valid in all other Schengen countries.

Any Other Things I Should Know About Driving in Liechtenstein?

You should always follow driving safety rules when driving in another country. While we are familiar with the most obvious ones, it doesn’t hurt to have a checklist ready on what to do and what not to do when driving in a foreign country. After all, you wouldn’t want to be put in an uncomfortable situation, would you?

  • Dipping your headlights is obligatory when driving through tunnels
  • When driving, the use of mobile phones is banned; you can only use your phone hands-free
  • Third-party insurance is mandatory.
  • Honking at night is verboten
  • Drivers who wear glasses or contact lenses should have a spare in the vehicle
  • You are not allowed to drive if your windscreen is obscured by frost
  • During winter, you should have snow chains in the car with you, in case you come across roads that require them
  • You should have spare bulbs for your car’s external lights, a fire extinguisher, and a first aid kit in your car
  • Hitch-hiking isn’t allowed on motorways and other major roads
  • During the day, sound your horn when you are approaching a sharp bend with limited visibility; flash your headlights instead during nighttime
  • You should have your driver’s license and international driving license with you, as well as insurance details, car registration documents, and an emission test certificate.
  • Unlimited time-free parking places are marked as “White Zones.
  • “White Zone Pay & Display” are pay-parking zones with time limitations. Drivers should display on dashboards tickets purchased at a meter
  • “Blue Zones” are for vehicles with blue parking discs, which are available at police stations, tourist offices, and banks. (Disc parking is a system of allowing time-restricted free parking through the display of a parking disc or clock disc that shows the time on which the vehicle was parked.) Blue Zones are also used for disabled parking
  • “Yellow Zones” are no parking zones
  • There are no toll roads in Liechtenstein, but remember that toll roads exist in Austria and Switzerland. So, if your road trip will pass through these countries, you will have to buy road tax stickers (vignettes) for these countries and display them on your windshield
  • You must switch off your engine when stopped at a traffic light or road crossing

Driving Conditions in Liechtenstein

Road conditions and safety standards in Liechtenstein are excellent, as well as its public transportation. The capital, Vaduz, is connected to an extensive bus network with the bus and railway stations in Sargans and Buchs, Switzerland, and Feldkirch, Austria. Nevertheless, increased traffic during the winter holidays, Easter break, and Whitsunday weekend (late spring), make driving a risk.

Accident Statistics

The country’s road network is around 130 kilometers of state roads and over 500 kilometers of local community roads. The public transport system depends mostly on buses, which connect the eleven municipalities. Along with the railway networks in Austria and Switzerland, this system had proven to be efficient. Motorization in Liechtenstein is among the highest in the world: there were 780 passenger cars per 1000 inhabitants in the country in 2018.

Road traffic accidents in Liechtenstein are among the lowest in the world. In 2017, there were 436 road accidents; the number of injured was 87; there were two fatalities. Overall, driving in Liechtenstein is safe. Traffic police in this tiny country rigorously enforce their driving safety rules.

Common Vehicles

The most popular car in Liechtenstein is still the Volkswagen, followed by the other three of the big four of German cars – BMW, Audi, and Mercedes Benz. The type of car most popular in the rental category is the standard car, the family car roomy enough for five passengers, a bigger engine, big luggage space, and great fuel economy.

Toll Roads

There are no toll roads in the country, but if you are using motorways in either Austria or Switzerland, you should have an appropriate vignette (road tax) sticker on your windscreen, or you’ll face a large on-the-spot fine in these countries. You can buy Austrian and Swiss vignettes online. Hired cars often have vignettes included.

Vignettes are also available at gas stations, border crossings, post offices, or tourism offices. If you are driving from Switzerland to Liechtenstein, you won’t be needing a vignette, though. But you will need one once you exit Liechtenstein into Austria.

Road Situations

You probably would not find potholes in the streets of Liechtenstein. With their thoroughness, damages to their roads are immediately repaired. The streets in the Principality’s capital are tidy and well-paved. Roads, even those roads high up in the mountains, are well-maintained and in excellent condition. Just be careful on those narrow, winding mountain roads, especially during the winter. If you come across a sign advising motorists to put on snow chains, you should comply immediately.

Driving standards here are excellent, even in rural areas. Vaduz has one quiet main road, which leads northeast to the Austrian border. The road from Zurich in Switzerland is first-rate, with tolerable traffic levels.

Driving Culture

Judging by the very low number of accidents in this country, it is safe to say that Liechtensteiners are very careful drivers. Traffic rules are also strictly implemented, and on-the-spot fines are expensive. Moreover, overall crime rates are one of the lowest in the world. Probably the riskiest time to drive in Liechtenstein is during winter in the mountains.

Also, there are fenced-off areas in the vicinity of the resort town of Malbun; if you stopped and strayed over the fence and picked some flowers, you’ll get slapped by a five-hundred-Swiss franc fine.

Other Tips

This tiny Principality is classified as mostly rural, yet its economy is highly industrialized. Despite being an economic powerhouse (GDP per capita is among the highest in the world), it still possesses its charm and quaintness, with snow-capped mountains and castles looking over what seems to be a sleepy town. Despite its charm, however, Liechtenstein is still the 13th least visited country in the world and the 2nd least visited country in Europe.

What Are the Units of Measurement Used in Liechtenstein?

Liechtenstein has used the Metric System since 1871; thus, the country measures distances by meters and kilometers, the temperature by Celsius, weight by the kilo, etc. Another thing to remember is that the standard voltage in Liechtenstein is 230v. If you have personal electric appliances that use 220-240v, you can use them here. Otherwise, you would need a converter.

When packing for a trip, you should also consider bringing along an adaptor for your electrical appliances. In Liechtenstein, electrical outlets use two plug types – type C and type J. Type C is the plug with two round pins, while type J is the plug with three round pins. Make sure to have a power plug adapter with you.

How Do You Drive on Liechtenstein’s Mountain Roads Safely?

If you are driving uphill on a narrow mountain road, you have the priority. The downhill driver is expected to back-up if there is no sufficient passing room unless there is room nearer to you. You also shouldn’t use your breaks on steep roads. This can cause your brakes to overheat and stop working. You should pull over in a safe place and turn the car engine off for a few minutes to cool your brakes.

On mountain roads, keep in mind that trucks and buses have priority over cars, but buses have priority over trucks. During winter, drivers must use snow chains and snow tires where appropriate. For an added precaution, bring a shovel and a hot drink with you. Roads can be closed at short notice because of winter hazards. If you find yourself driving on a mountain road slower than the other drivers, it is an unwritten courtesy in these places to pull over and let them safely overtake you.

Things to Do in Liechtenstein

Seasoned travelers would be delighted to know that the place is not overrun by tourists – an irresistible attraction in itself. But what if you are planning to stay a little bit longer, maybe look for a job? After all, the country has workers that are 70% commuters from neighboring countries. More than half of Liechtenstein’s workers do not live there.

Drive as a Tourist

Before deciding that you want to pursue work in Liechtenstein, we would recommend that you get to know the country a little bit more without the demands of work. Besides, if ever you are interested in working as a driver or travel guide, having ample knowledge about the country and the different routes is crucial to being accepted in the job.

Work as a Driver

You can stay in the country and work as a driver. Do remember that work permits for third-country nationals would be hard to obtain. If you are neither from EEA or the EU, the best chance you have for a job is to find a company willing to employ you. Once they offer you a job, they will help you through the procedure. Once you get your work sorted out, you would probably be a cross-border worker.

Work as a Travel Guide

If you want to explore a career in the tourism industry, you can also consider working in Liechtenstein as a travel guide. As mentioned, securing a work permit may not be that easy so expect to find a temporary residence in its neighboring countries.

Citizens of the EU and EEA who want to work in Liechtenstein or employed by a Liechtenstein company must live in a neighboring country and commute across the border daily. These workers need a cross-border commuter permit. Swiss workers, however, are exempt from this. Workers from other EEA countries are not. EEA nationals, however, would still have a much easier time landing a job in Liechtenstein than third-country nationals.

Apply for Residency

One of the reasons for the large number of international commuters is the country’s immigration policy, which is restrictive. Foreign nationals employed in Liechtenstein are generally not allowed to live in the country. To live here, you have to have a residence permit. However, being granted a residence permit is extremely difficult because they have a quota. Residence permits are difficult to obtain even for European Economic Area (EEA) citizens.

Seventy-two residence permits are granted to EEA citizens each year. Fifty-six for those who work in Liechtenstein and 16 for those who are not employed in the country. Half of these permits are awarded through a lottery; the other half is awarded directly by the government. Restrictions are also tight even for Swiss nationals. Only 17 residence permits are awarded each to Swiss nationals: twelve to those employed in the country and five to persons who are not.

The Top Destinations in Liechtenstein

If you are looking for wild and crazy nights in the city, Liechtenstein might not be the country for you. But despite not being known for its nightlife, the country has many fine bars and nightclubs that feature live DJs and live bands that cater to locals, visitors, and its thousands of workers. Probably not as vibrant as the nightlife in other cosmopolitan cities in larger countries, but they’re there.

Relaxation, hiking, fine dining, winter sports, museums – that’s what Liechtenstein is all about. Since Liechtenstein is small, a road trip here would probably just mean a short drive. That is if your trip started from Liechtenstein itself. A lot of travelers, however, start their journeys from other parts of Europe and swing by little Liechtenstein.

Vaduz

Liechtenstein’s capital is about 17.3 square kilometers and is located, like the whole country, in the Rhine Valley in the Alps. Towering over the city is the 900-year-old Vaduz Castle, home to the reigning Prince and his family. The city has a population of less than 6,000. Vaduz is linguistically and culturally German, with its neat-as-a-pin appearance, perfect streets, and its architecture. Don’t call them Germans, though - they are proud Liechtensteiners.

Driving Directions

The nearest airport to Vaduz is the Zurich International Airport in Switzerland. The fastest route will take about an hour and a half drive by private car. Remember that you’ll be crossing a country border, so make sure to prepare all your immigration documents.

From the Zurich, Switzerland:

  1. Exit Zurich Airport via A51.
  2. At the interchange 64-Dreieck Zurich-Ost, stay on the right lane.
  3. Continue onto A1L (toll road).
  4. Turn left onto Wasserwerkstrasse.
  5. Turn right onto Lux Guyer-Weg.
  6. Stay on the right lane to turn right onto Walchebrucke.
  7. Continue onto Bahnhofquai.
  8. Continue onto Gessnerallee.
  9. Turn right onto Route 3.
  10. Continue along Route 3.
  11. At the interchange, follow the lane towards A13/E43.
  12. Turn right onto Sevelen.
  13. Stay on Sevelen/Zollstrasse.
  14. Turn right onto Lettstrasse.

Things To Do

Arriving in Vaduz, parking won’t be much of a problem. There are several parkplatz near the town center. Find one, and then you can roam the city on foot – don’t worry, everything in the city is within walking distance. While in the city center, you can visit the following:


1. Do A Walking Tour at Städtle

A pedestrian-only street in the city center, here you can find the beautiful Government House, the Liechtenstein Parliament, and the Vaduz City Hall, with the statues of two horses in front. There are also a few museums in the street, like the Postage Stamp Museum and the Kunstmuseum. You’ll also see numerous sculptures by world-famous artists displayed outside, making the street a sort of open-air museum.

And if you want to have your passport stamped, you can go to the Tourist Information Center, also located here, and you can get a Liechtenstein visa stamped on your passport for 3 Euros as a souvenir. Their currency is the Swiss Franc, but some shops will accept Euros.

2. Visit The St. Florin Cathedral

A neo-gothic church built in 1874 is just a stone’s throw away. The street is lined with upscale shops, bars, restaurants, and outdoor cafes. And if you look up, you’ll get an imposing view of Schloss Vaduz looming over the city center.

3. Schloss Vaduz

The castle is about 2 kilometers away from the city center, and if you take your car to drive up there, no one will blame you. It’s uphill, after all. As it’s also the Royal Family’s official residence, the castle is not open to the public.

But you can walk around and take pictures. The view from up there is breath-taking. The Schloss is perched on top of a hill with snow-capped mountains in the background, and it would be a wasted trip indeed if you miss standing here and not take it all in.

4. Visit the Wine Cellars of the Prince of Liechtenstein

A kilometer away from the city center is the Hofkellerei des Fursten von Liechtenstein, or the Wine Cellars of the Prince of Liechtenstein. It turns out that this part of the Rhine Valley has soil and a climate conducive to wine-growing, which is further helped along by the warm foehn wind, also known in the region as the “grape cooker.” Winemakers love this wind, as this wind is excellent for growing fruits, including grapes.

You can arrange a visit to the Prince’s wine cellar, learn about the whole processing of wine-making, and taste its wines. The guided tour and the wine-tasting last between 30 to 60 minutes, and you can enjoy up to four kinds of wines for the price. The wines from the wine cellar aren't available anywhere else, except in a few specialty shops in Switzerland. So, it would be a good idea to bring home a bottle or two with you – or a case, if you are so inclined.

The Liechtenstein Trail

The Liechtenstein Trail is a 75-kilometer hiking trail designed to commemorate the Principality’s 300th year in 2019. The trail kicks off in Vaduz Castle; from there, the trail will go through all 11 of the country’s municipalities, traveling through vineyards and pastures (where you can ogle at cows who do have bells on their necks).

Driving Directions

Vaduz Castle is also just an hour and a half away from Zurich Airport. You’ll be passing through the main town of Vaduz to get to the castle.

  1. Exit Zurich Airport via A51.
  2. At the interchange 64-Dreieck Zurich-Ost, stay on the right lane.
  3. Continue onto A1L (toll road).
  4. Turn left onto Wasserwerkstrasse.
  5. Turn right onto Lux Guyer-Weg.
  6. Stay on the right lane to turn right onto Walchebrucke.
  7. Continue onto Bahnhofquai.
  8. Continue onto Gessnerallee.
  9. Turn right onto Route 3.
  10. Continue along Route 3.
  11. At the interchange, follow the lane towards A13/E43.
  12. Turn right onto Sevelen.
  13. Stay on Sevelen/Zollstrasse.
  14. Turn right onto Lettstrasse.
  15. At the roundabout, take the 3rd exit onto 28.
  16. Then turn right onto Feldstrasse.
  17. Then another right to Furst-Franz-Josef-Strasse.
  18. You should find Vaduz Castle to your right.

Things To Do

The Liechtenstein trail also goes along the banks of the Rhine, over moors and mountains. All in all, you’ll see along the trail 147 historical sites, events, and points of interest, and here are a few recommended activities.


1. Explore Castle Ruins

Along the way, you can also explore castle ruins, such as the Schellenberg and the turreted Gutenberg in Balzers (for a more immersive and educational experience, download the LIstory App.

2. See Liechtenstein’s Wildlife On their Natural Environment

There are also the peatlands of the Ruggeler Riet, an area teeming with wildlife, and the mountain ridge of the Eschnerberg that looks down on the Rhine Valley.

3. Hike The Entire 75-km Trail

You can complete the hike in several stages – in small, bite-sized pieces if you want. And as this is the Alps, it is guaranteed that the view along this trail will be so magnificent you’d probably make a lot of stops just to breathe it all in.

The hike is intended for hikers at all levels of experience, and if you get tired, do not worry. You can take a break anytime – this is Liechtenstein after all, where everything is within reach. This 75-kilometer hike can be comfortably walked in five to six days. Below are additional details about the route:

  • Lowest altitude is 429m/ highest is 1,103m
  • The estimated overall walking time is 21 hours
  • You can traverse the trail from north to south or south to north
  • Parts of the route are accessible for people with limited mobility

You will need a good pair of sturdy hiking boots for this trail. Make sure you have the proper hiking equipment, as some parts of the trail are rugged and have steep routes. You can download the route layout, Liechtenstein Trail (2.5MB). You can also download free of charge the Panorama map. Together with the LIstory app, you can have the hiking experience of a lifetime.

Malbun

The Malbun Ski Resort is located at an elevation of 1,600 meters to 2,000 meters. Twenty-three kilometers of slopes are available to skiers and snowboarders. You can access the slopes by ski lifts - there are seven of them.

Driving Directions

Malbun, in the municipality of Triesenberg, zip code 9497, is about 15 kilometers from Vaduz, about 15 minutes drive via Landstrasse. If you drive directly from the Zurich Airport, it will take about two (2) hours or less to reach Malbun.

From Zurich Airport:

  1. Drive towards A1.
  2. Continue onto A13.
  3. Take the 9-Sevelen exit towards Vaduz.
  4. At the roundabout, take the 1st exit to stay on Zollstrasse.
  5. Take the 1st exit again towards 28/Austrasse.
  6. Turn left onto Meierhofstrasse.
  7. Continue onto Landstrasse.
  8. Turn right onto Bergstrasse.
  9. Turn right oto Rizlina Strasse.
  10. Continue onto Tunnel Gnalp-Steg.
  11. Continue onto Malbunstrasse.

Things To Do

The resort has been awarded the Families Welcome Award by the Swiss Tourism Board because of its family-friendly facilities. So better make sure to experience everything that the resort offers.

  1. Ride Across the Snow

Malbun has snow-making facilities to guarantee snow cover. The slopes range from easy beginner’s slopes to challenging descents. You can also have a mountain guide if you want to go on a ski tour. Freestyle skiers and snowboarders of all levels can try out the snow park’s obstacles and rails.

2. Enjoy Some Delicious, Hot Fondue

Fondue is a Swiss delight of melted, gooey, mouthwatering cheese. In other parts of the world, it is already used as a sauce for various meat and vegetable dishes. However, in traditional Liechtenstein culture, it is only consumed with bread.

3. Visit Steg

Steg is a nearby village about three minutes away. The cross-country trail is considered one of the most beautiful in the region. Winter hikes are also available from the village center. There is also an exciting toboggan run from the mountain in Sücka, a village eight minutes away from Malbun.

There are also many excellent hotels and restaurants in Malbun, as well as available homes for rent to fully enjoy your winter holiday. Parking in Malbun is no problem; adequate parking spots are assured. Parking is free, too. Just above the parking lot is a ski path that you can use to return to your car. Additional parking spaces are also available in neighboring Steg; a shuttle bus ferries the guests from there to the ski resort.

References:

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