Liechtenstein overland travel guide

Ok, to be honest it’s a bit of a stretch for me to say I’ve visited Liechtenstein – I really just transited the country on a train ride en route from Austria to Switzerland. But unlike transiting through an airport, when you see only the airport, the train crossed the entire country from east to west and I watched it through the window from border to border (which took all of 20 minutes)… so, I’ve kind of been to Liechtenstein, but would like to go back and visit properly some day. Anyway, here’s how to get there:

Distant view of the castle in Liechtenstein

Photo credit: see below

Travel to, from, and within Liechtenstein overland

There is no airport in Liechtenstein – unless you have helicopter access, overland is the only way to go! The eastern portion of the country along the Austrian border is mountainous and the only international road and rail connections in that direction are to the Austrian town of Feldkirch, while the western portion along the Rhine is connected by various road bridges and a rail bridge to Switzerland across the river. Liechtenstein’s single railway line only has four stations, and apart from that transportation is by road. The railway is actually part of the Austrian rail system, and if you have an Interrail / Eurail pass valid for Austria then it’s also valid for Liechtenstein.

The train I was on was from Innsbruck to Zurich, so if you do that train you’ll pass through Liechtenstein as I did. However if you intend to visit Liechtenstein for more than 20 minutes, it’s apparently (thanks Wikitravel) usually faster to take a train to Feldkirch (Austria) or Sargans (Switzerland) and then switch to a bus.

Liechtenstein is part of Schengen, as are its two neighbours. This means that you don’t have to go through any immigration procedures when travelling between the three of them, although police do sometimes board trains to spot-check IDs and check that passengers do have the legal right to be there – this actually happened on the train I travelled on. Also be aware that Liechtenstein and Switzerland are not full EU members, while Austria is; this means that you may be subject to customs checks when crossing the border with Austria (but not the Swiss border, as Switzerland and Liechtenstein are in their own customs union together).

Things to do in Liechtenstein

As I only passed through the country on the train and saw it through the window, I can’t recommend anything in Liechtenstein through personal experience. It does have a famous castle, and it also has a ski resort which I intend to check out and review at some point! But really, just the very act of visiting this European microstate should be an intriguing enough prospect for most overlanders.

Resources and Useful Links for Visiting Liechtenstein

Official website for the Interrail pass

Official website for the Eurail pass

World Nomads offer flexible travel insurance you can buy even if already overseas (most travel insurance companies won’t cover you if you’ve already left your country, and this can be a crucial point as I once found out the hard way in Thailand)

Lonely Planet: Europe on a Shoestring

Seat 61’s Switzerland page also has details on London to Liechtenstein

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(Photo Credit: Ben Sutherland, Flickr. Used under Creative Commons license)