Liechtenstein’s borders may not draw past micronation size, but its 160 square kilometers pack everything from an after-work stroll to a three-day cross-country tour. To get a snapshot of what’s in store, look to the principality’s longest panoramic trail. Route 66’s 48 kilometers start from above Malbun. A tiny end-of-the-road mountain resort at 1,600 meters above sea level that hosts outdoor enthusiasts all year round. Take this place down as Liechtenstein’s only ski resort. Though dwarfed by the nearby Austrian and Swiss skiing regions, Malbun’s slopes make for a fun half-day pass that easily fits a budget at its CHF24 students’ rebate.
For criss-crossing the nation’s trails, take the Fürstin-Gina Path. A 12 kilometer hike that rises to Augstenberg, Liechtenstein’s highest peak (just shy of 2,400 meters tall) that is not a border mountain. Past the peak, follow the descent to the Pfälzerhütte, a mountain lodge that otherwise marks a much-praised destination among hikers and mountain bikers starting from Triesen. Continuing through the Naaf Valley, spend your night at the Sücka guest house, or blaze on over the Gratrücken ridge, taking you to Liechenstein’s best-known hiking trail. But be sure to have a head for heights before taking on the Fürstensteig. A rock-on-rock trail that winds alongside the first part of the legendary “Drei Schwestern” massif. Seldom more than a meter wide, it drops off vertically to one side. Up on the mountain ridge, take a picture on its highest point, the Kuhgrat (2,123 meters), with you centered in the middle of the frame. From where you are standing, anything to the East is Austria. End this section with a stop at the Gafadura Hütte, which lets you take in views over the principality, North to South, and Switzerland’s mountain ridges of the St. Gallen and Appenzell cantons.
Be mindful of the descent that follows. After a day’s study or work, there is nothing better but to top off a short and steep climb from Planken with catching a late summer’s evening sun on the Gafadura Hütte’s porch. Planken is the last commune you’ll pass through on your way making for Nendeln. Past Nendeln, expect one last gentle hike over the Eschnerberg, passing either through Schellenberg, strolling alongside vineyards, or taking any of the variant trails that unfold across the mountain’s back like a neural network. Descending from the Eschnerberg, arriving in Ruggell, you’ll have covered a distance spanning the most representative of what is no less than 400 kilometers of signed hiking trails in the principality.
Route 66 surely is the most varied option available. Except for the high ridges, you’ll notice that there is not one way to follow it. Oftentimes, you’ll feel invited to stray from the path, taking any of the other signposted routes. For day-trip inspirations, visit www.wanderwege.llv.li. The Planet Trail, the Triesenberg Philosopher’s Trail, and the Eschnerberg Historic Round Trail are good options for those just getting into day-hikes or MTB trailing. They even have gimmicks built in along the way. Should you ever run out of trails or slopes, just over 30 sublime mountain regions are reachable within an hour’s drive by car.
Blog entry written by Adrian Spiegel