Friday, December 30, 2016

Liechtenstein by Public Transport

The beautiful Liechtenstein buses
Liechtenstein is one of the cutest countries in the world, which also is happened to be doubly-landlocked. Going there from a far away country needs some planning since it does not have its own airport. Zurich airport is the closest and most convenient. From there, you have at least two options: Either to i) take a train to Feldkirch, Austria and a bus from there to Vaduz, Post, Liechtenstein, or ii) a train to Sargans, Switzerland, and a bus from there to Vaduz, Liechtenstein. Vaduz is the capital of Liechtenstein and the royal family still lives there in the castle.

The Liechtenstein bus 11 run between Sargans and Feldkirch via Schaan (the most populous city of Liechtenstein) and Vaduz. 12E, a faster (lesser stops) bus runs between Vaduz and Sargans too. So you may reach Schaan or Vaduz either from north from Feldkirch or from south from Sargans. The route from Sargans is the shortest and cheapest. The bus traverses the little doubly-landlocked country with magnificent views. So you may do what we did: Go from Feldkirch, and return through Sargans, hence avoiding going through the same route twice.

It is also possible to go to Buchs, Switzerland by train from Zurich and take bus 12 from there to reach Vaduz, Post from the west. In this option, 12 goes till Triesen via Vaduz. So if your destination is Triesen instead of Vaduz, this option will be the best. There may also be connections between the villages of Liechtenstein and other towns of Switzerland and Austria. However, given our option of taking the train from Zurich and having Vaduz as the destination, these 3 (Sargans, Buchs, and Feldkirch) are the only options that I have identified.

The beautiful Malbun!
Sargans -> Zurich train second class costs 33 CHF and 1 hour (euro accepted with a decent conversion rate in the train stations). Zurich -> Feldkirch second class costs 48 CHF and 1 hour 30 minutes. The bus each way costs around 6 CHF. If you would like to go to other villages, you have to get down at either Schaan or Vaduz and take another bus. The buses are frequent - runs once in 30 minutes, and the journey takes around 30 minutes too.

We also went to Malbun, a beautiful ski resort and mountainous village, from Vaduz, by bus! The Liechtenstein buses are frequent and timely. You may plan your trip with the help of Google Maps, which is up to date with the trip times.

In Vaduz, you may hike (or drive or ride a bicycle) up to the castle. The castle itself is not open to public. But you will witness frozen streams in the winter and a bird's eye view to the city. It is an alternating climb between two lanes Haldenweg and Schlossweg. Though this is a bit confusing, you will be just fine, following the crowds or by following the visible castle up there!

The people of Liechtenstein speak German. However, all who interacted with me (including the drivers and restaurant waitresses) spoke perfect English. I must warn that it is an expensive country (just like Zurich)! Worth a visit in winter to the snowy mountains!

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