Traveling to Liechtenstein
Liechtenstein: An Overview
Liechtenstein, officially the Principality of Liechtenstein, is a microstate in Central Europe with a population of less than 40,000 residents. Shaped like an elegant 25 km long glove and nested between Switzerland and Austria, this principality is known for dramatic alpine landscapes dotted with villages linked by trails, majestic castles and cathedrals, a mighty river (Rhine), and steep snow-capped peaks. This peaceful principality virtually stops each day at noon for the official lunchbreak. Liechtenstein is a tax-friendly and business-friendly, in fact it is home to more than 4000 registered businesses. Liechtenstein signed the Schengen Agreement in 2008 and officially became a member of the Schengen Zone in 2011. Less than 1 million tourists visit this diminutive state each year and many are day-trippers.
Your passport must be valid for at least three months beyond your planned date of departure from the Schengen area. You must have at least one blank page for stamps in your passport. If your stay is beyond 90 days, you will need a Travel Visa. If you are a citizen of and ETIAS-eligible country, you will need an approved ETIAS to travel to Liechtenstein beginning in 2021. Learn more about the application process and sign up for ETIAS alerts to get the latest news.
Be sure to make photo copies of all your travel documents to take with you on your trip. It also makes sense to leave copies with a family member or friend back home.
Where to Go
The capitol Vaduz is one of 11 villages in Liechtenstein. Home to just 5000 people, it is compact and easy to explore. A tour on the Citytrain is cool way to see the city’s contemporary architecture and visitors can hop off to peruse the many galleries and outdoor sculptures the laced throughout the city. Wine enthusiasts and can plan a tour and tasting of Hans-Adams II, Prince of Liechtenstein’s winery, Herawingert, which is part of the Rhine Valley, a highly acclaimed European wine region. Unlike many monarchies and principalities, Liechtenstein does not open the Prince’s castle to the public, though visitors are welcome to climb the hill to enjoy the view from outside the grand 13th century castle. With a top-notch dining, Vaduz is home to a plethora of renowned restaurants. For an Insta-perfect experience choose a dinner spot nestled next to a winery or with a view of the famed Vaduz Castle. Accommodations in and close to Vaduz range from small and city-chic to 5-star luxury.
The Mountains and Valleys
The Mountains ascend to a dazzling height of 2000 meters. They are a magnet for visitors for breathtaking oohs and ahhs, hiking, alpine skiing, or après ski festivities, the mountain regions are magical to behold. For alpine scenery lovers The Princes’ Way is a challenging 6 km trail that winds through the Rätikon Mountains and affords scenic vistas from just below Helwangs Peak before meandering down to Bärgalla Saddle. Malbun, tucked into a ridge near the spectacular Saminatal Valley, offers premier skiing on some of the best snow in Central Europe. Nature lovers delight in the intimate experience at the Galina Falconry Center. The falcons are released for daily flights and the center offers German-narrated educational presentation. The Rhine River Valley village of Balzers is home to Gutenberg Castle, perhaps the most famous landmark in Lichtenstein. Perched atop a terraced hill with a snow-laced mountain backdrop this 12th century castle is captivating. With an afternoon to spend in the village you can trip through trendy shops, sip in local pubs, hike the hills, or picnic by the Rhine.
Liechtenstein is literally surround by Switzerland and Austria. The three countries are members of the Schengen Area. Liechtenstein and its larger neighbor countries will require ETIAS approval to be eligible for visa-free travel beginning in January of 2021.
Electrical outlets and Adapters for US products
Liechtenstein uses C, & F Plugs. You will need an adapter and maybe a transformer to use products made for the US electrical grid. Liechtenstein runs on a 230 (220) volts, 50 hertz AC current, while US runs on 120 (110) volts and a frequency of 60 Hz AC current. Many American products are able to run on 230 (220) volts, 50 hertz AC current. You need to check your electrical product to make sure it is labeled "dual voltage" before you plug it in, otherwise you may burn out the components rendering it useless. Learn more about the different European plugs and currents here.
Pickpockets and theft
Nearly all crimes suffered by tourists in Liechtenstein are nonviolent and avoidable, however you should be prepared for pickpockets. Europe’s transit systems are notorious for pickpockets.
- Being vigilant is your best friend when you are in high theft areas: train stations, trains, city buses, subways and open air shopping areas.
- Store important documents, money and phones in zippered or buttoned pockets, specialized travel day bags or a money belt.
- You should never leave your bags unattended! Make sure you can see them at all times. Better yet, you should keep in physical contact with your bags in public places.
First, be sure to check that your phone will work in Liechtenstein. The easiest way to find out is to check with your mobile phone service provider. You can also find out if your service provider offers international plans for Liechtenstein. We recommend signing up for an international plan if you plan on using your smart phone to connect to the internet or use the travel apps you may have installed on your phone. If you decide not to sign up for an international calling and data plan, costs can add up very quickly!
Free WI-FI can be easy to access, but can be very slow or not available in the countryside. Sign up for a Virtual Private Network (VPN) services to secure your phone, tablet or computer when using public Wi-Fi networks. This prevents hackers from accessing your device when using free Wi-Fi.
Liechtenstein Taxis, Buses
- Taxis - A good rule of thumb is use a prominent taxi service, one that has a company logo and a telephone number on the car. Avoid using taxis that just have a taxi light on the top of the car. Make sure the taxi driver is using the correct rate for the time of the day and day of the week. Nighttime and weekends have higher rates. When taking a taxi that has a set fare, for example to a Liechtenstein airport, make sure you establish the price before you leave.
- Buses and subways - Most European cities have a great public transportation system. The cost of a transit pass for the entire time of your stay can equal the cost of one or two taxi rides. Check out the ticket options that are offered at bus terminals and train stations. Get a transit map or download a transit app to your smart phone. Google maps have transit maps for most Liechtenstein cities.
Exchanging Currency in Liechtenstein
The most important thing you should understand is how exchange rates work. The Liechtenstein's Swiss franc is usually has a higher exchange rate compared to the US dollar. So if you want to get 100 euros and the exchange rate is $1.10 for one Swiss franc, it will cost you 110 dollars to get 100Swiss franc. There are many currency conversion apps you can down load to your smart phone to get up-to-date exchange rates.
Many people like to get Swiss francs through their bank before they leave for their trip. Check out what fees the bank charges for this service. Different banks have different fees. These fees can be expensive, so it pays to shop around.
When in Liechtenstein avoid using currency exchange companies or booths. These companies can charge up to 15% to 20% of the amount you are exchanging. Liechtenstein banks can also charge high fees to exchange money. You best bet is to use your ATM card with an established bank to get local currency.
Debit Cards and ATMs
First, make sure that your ATM card can be used internationally. Second, see what your bank charges for international ATM fees. Third, see what is the maximum amount you can withdraw each day. While there are fees associated with using an ATM card, they are usually much less than the fees charged by Liechtenstein banks and currency exchange companies. ATM fees are a flat fee not a percentage. So when you are withdrawing money using your ATM card, take out the maximum amount to reduce amount of ATM fees you will incur. Also it is a good idea to use bank ATMs instead of third party ATMs, which can charge higher fees.
Cash vs Credit Cards
Using local cash is key for the European tourist. Some businesses do not accept credit cards and many businesses charge a higher price when using a credit card due to the credit card fee they pay to the credit card company. Many businesses will take US dollars, but then you will need to figure out the exchange rate to ensure you are being charged the correct amount and receiving the correct change. Having smaller bills is better than large bills. Also remember to keep your cash secure in pickpocket proof pockets or a money belt.
US credit cards are widely accepted across Liechtenstein. Just in case, check with bank to be sure your credit card will work in Liechtenstein. Before you leave on your trip, sign up for a credit card that has no foreign transaction fees. If you don’t, you may be in for a surprise when you get your credit card statement that contains lots of foreign transactions and currency conversion fees.
It makes sense to use a credit card for hotels, car rentals, Eurail pass, upscale businesses and restaurants. Limit the number of credit cards you take with you. Bring one back up credit card in addition to the main card you intend to use. Be sure to contact your credit card company and let them know the dates you will be traveling abroad.
Tipping in Liechtenstein
Generally speaking, if someone in the service industry provides great service for you, a tip of a couple of euros is acceptable, but not required.
- Restaurants - 5% to 10%, with 10% being for over the top service. Be sure to check to see if service has already been included in the bill
- Taxis - round up to the nearest Euro, for example, if the fare is 5 euro give them 6
- Hotel porters - one euro for every bag
Country of Liechtenstein
Liechtenstein - US Embassy
Use the Switzerland US Embassy when you are in Liechtenstein.
CH-3007 Bern, Switzerland
Tel: 031 357 70 11
Fax: 031 357 73 20