We eventually climbed back into the forest and descended into Schaan, Liechtenstein’s largest city with 6,300 people.We stopped near the bus stop for a well-deserved beer.
I stood on the edge of the border town in the shadow of a 12th-century castle high on a hill. “I hope that the anniversary will help the world get to know Liechtenstein better.”Every summer, Prince Alois, 50, the eldest son of Prince Hans-Adam II, and the rest of the royal family give a party for the local townspeople at Vaduz Castle, the family’s official residence. 23, the date in 1719 when the communities of Vaduz and Schellenberg were purchased by Hans-Adam I and combined into the principality of Liechtenstein. Wedged between Switzerland and Austria like a linchpin, Liechtenstein has no airport or military.
I was sandwiched between the craggy peaks of 7,600-foot mountains in front of me, and 7,200-foot peaks behind me. The rural village road I was standing on had nary a car. Telling friends beforehand, I couldn’t help suppress a sheepish smile. It has two train stations, one hospital, one TV station and one radio station.“Historically, this is the most important event in my life,” said Leander Schädler, 61, a Liechtensteiner historian and hiking guide, referring to the tricentennial. I’m an experienced hiker, and I’ve backpacked trails from the Himalayas to the Andes.
It’s well worth the trip for the mountain setting alone.
The hotel features an outdoor hot tub, a sauna, steam room and indoor pool.
Our base was the Hotel Turna in Malbun, Liechtenstein’s lone ski resort.
It’s located in Liechtenstein’s southeast corner, only a 20-minute bus ride uphill from the capital of Vaduz.If a 12th-century castle can be unassuming, this one is.We passed the castle and dropped into downtown Vaduz, a small-town capital with a pedestrian mall lined with restaurants and shops that basically close down every night at 8. A middle-aged person with a long-expired gym membership could walk across it in two days. As part of its yearlong festivities, the principality created a 46.6-mile trail traversing the country, crisscrossing through all 11 of its towns — count ‘em, 11 — partly on village roads but mostly on twisting and mountainous trails.download an app that shepherds them along the route and also describes 133 points of interest. This year marks Liechtenstein’s 300-year anniversary, and it is using its tricentennial to reintroduce itself to the world.We walked on quiet streets then followed the Rhine until Triesen, Vaduz’s “suburb” to the south. The trail to Triesenberg reaches an elevation of 2,952 feet and then passes beautiful green meadows; the dairy cows wear clanging bells.