Diary Entry

I’m currently on a personal expedition through the Alps in autumn 2023. It’s wonderfully warm, even though it’s already October. I have already driven through Lucerne, Ticino, Alpine Italy, the Engadine and Graubünden with my Tiger. Now I’m leaving Switzerland on the way to the principality, which is autonomous but militarily part of Switzerland.

Many years ago I was in Liechtenstein with my family, but I didn’t remember much. Casinos, stamp shops and the prince’s fortress above the small capital Vaduz. This is my vague memory of Liechtenstein.

What does it look like from the eyes of an adult traveling alone?

After crossing the Kunkelspass I reached the small but pretty town of Bad Ragaz. From here I just have to jump over the still crystal clear Rhine to get to Maienfeld and the border with the Principality of Liechtenstein.

Behind Maienfeld there is a decent contingent of the Swiss military.

Near St. Luzisteig, right on the border, there is a large fortress, a tank hall, barracks and training areas. It’s no wonder that surprise “invasions” by Switzerland on its tiny neighboring country happen every now and then, like in 1985 and 2007.

Swiss “invasions” in Liechtenstein


The Swiss army accidentally entered Liechtenstein during a nighttime exercise. The bad weather conditions during the night exercise caused the commander and his troops to become disoriented in the Alps. A military spokesman confirmed this on Friday. Around 170 armed soldiers left their route on Thursday night and penetrated several kilometers deep into Liechtenstein’s territory. A soldier told the Swiss newspaper “Blick” that it was simply too dark.


During an artillery exercise by the Swiss Army in the winter of 1985, an unfortunate incident occurred: a severe thunderstorm caused several Swiss rockets to hit Liechtenstein, starting a large-scale forest fire. The rocket fired missed its target and landed in the middle of a Liechtenstein protective forest near Balzers. Due to the windy weather conditions, the fire got even worse. As a consequence, Switzerland had to pay several million francs in “reparations” to Liechtenstein

Source: Die Welt

Nothing reminds me of the “terrible events” of 2007 and 1985 anymore. I should find a resident and ask if the people suffered any trauma. The people of Liechtenstein should definitely seek safety whenever Switzerland is planning a military exercise and the weather turns bad.

First I reach Balzers. A Swiss rocket hit here in 2007. The people were lucky that it didn’t hit the castle or a residential building. I thought the castle was the prince’s seat, but I was wrong. I didn’t realize that there were other places within Liechtenstein’s borders besides Vaduz.

On the list of the smallest countries in the world, Liechtenstein is in sixth place with just under 160 square kilometers and almost 40,000 inhabitants. There are many fun facts about Liechtenstein. It’s amusing to me that I can just look over this country. That on the left is Switzerland, that on the back are the mountains of Austria.

It’s a small world in Liechtenstein.

I reach the tiny city center of tiny Vaduz and am amazed at how modern it looks. It doesn’t seem to have been long since it was renovated.

Hordes of Asian tourists stroll through the pedestrian zone. There are Rolex shops and the Casino, in front of which a golden cat waves. Asians seem to be popular and wealthy visitors to the country.

The rest of the city center is dominated by souvenir shops. What do the country’s residents do when their land is converted into such an attraction? At least Vaduz city center could also have been built in Europa Park.

What is typically Liechtenstein for Liechtensteiners?

At least the other small towns of Balzers and Schaan seem to be untouched by tourist tours. It is terribly boring these small places. In Balzers I search in vain for a city center, while Schaan, on the other hand, seems to be primarily the thoroughfare to Austria. At least there is the Liechtenstein brewery here, which supplies its principality residents with vital beer.

Shortly behind Schaan there is a real border. While at Balzers there are only a few flags in the wind announcing the border crossing, there is a permanent customs station here.

No wonder Liechtenstein is only ever attacked by the Swiss side. But okay, I’m entering the European Union again, of which Liechtenstein is not a part. Now I cross the westernmost tip of Austria and reach Dornbirn.

Hello, Österreich!

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