On the Route 66 through Liechtenstein

On Route 66 once across the country – this is not only possible in America, but also in the middle of Europe. Hiking in Liechtenstein. We followed the panoramic route through the tiny alpine country: on wild paths, through romantic valleys and picturesque hamlets. Ideal for a short trip over the weekend.

Malbun – Sareis – Princess Gina Trail

We start on the Furstin-Gina-Weg in Malbun. A real hiking dream as a prelude! The resort is well known to skiers, but also a worthwhile destination in summer. With the chair lift we could save 45 minutes and 400 meters of altitude difference and go directly up to Sareis – or walk from the valley village. Since we started a bit late, we choose the comfortable option.

But for the time being we leave the mountain inn at the mountain railroad to the left and follow the signs of Route 66 to the Furstin Gina trail. The leads along the ridge and offers a panorama to kneel down on both sides. On the left side, above a Maiensäss, cattle are grazing, their cowbell concert accompanies us for a long time. Wonderful. Only in early summer it is probably even more beautiful, when the alpine meadows are in bloom.

Princess Gina Trail Princess Gina Trail, Liechtenstein Mountain station Sareis

Up to the first summit cross the path is almost flat, but even later it never gets unpleasantly steep on this hike. The Augstenberg, highest point of our tour, is reached after about 90 minutes. From there it's a varied hike on to Bettleralp and Pfälzerhutte, one of two DAV huts in Liechtenstein where you can spend the night.

Since we live in Triesen, we hike from the hut back to the valley and continue our tour on Via Alpina/Route 66 the next day.

Advantage: more time for an extensive rest in the mountain inn Sareis. With Black Burger with alpine cheese and coleslaw and Capuns with dried meat (mangold wraps in cheese sauce) it is wonderful to stay here for a while. Lying in the comfortable pallet lounge furniture on the terrace, the afternoon goes by much too fast.

Vesper on the mountain pasture

Hike through the Valuna valley to the Sucka Alp

Dream weather also on day two. From Steg we hike to Valuna-Alp upstream in the valley, which is still lush green in August. During the week we are almost alone on the road, accompanied only by the murmur of water.

Already after half an hour we come to the alpine pasture. butter and cheese are homemade, you can watch them being made. We are not hungry yet, but we do not say no to the buttermilk. Immensely refreshing.

Valuna valley

We are not in a hurry and enjoy the idyll. The path runs parallel to the stream for a short distance, then the only significant ascent of our hike follows on the right in the direction of Rappenstein.

Several switchbacks later we meet Route 66 again. In between small delights along the way: troll flowers, gentian (up to 800 alpine plants are said to be native here) and marmots whose whistles echo through the mountains.

Which in Liechtenstein are not as high as you might think given the Swiss neighbors. The highest mountain of the principality, the Grauspitz, measures 2.599 meters. Nevertheless, it is sometimes crisply upward, if the way must overcome the height difference on short distance.

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With the ringing of bells as the soundtrack, the remaining kilometers on Route 66 just fly by until we reach Sucka Alp – always with a view of the valley. Except for a group of donkeys, we encounter nobody. The smallest of them all comes up to us, nestles and lets us cuddle him. As we walk on, he looks so crestfallen that we have to laugh.

At the Sucka Alp, the innkeepers sit down at the table with their guests and tell us about everyday life on the mountain pastures. Unfortunately in a dialect that is difficult to understand for us. No big deal, what counts is the atmosphere – and it couldn't be more authentic. With a piece of cheese in our luggage we hike past a turquoise blue reservoir down to the village of Steg.

Donkey on the Route 66 Footbridge Chapel in Steg Valuna valley

A hamlet with a few handfuls of houses, traditionally built of wood and beautifully decorated with flowers.

The Walser museum in Triesenberg tells the story of the settlers in the area and gives an insight into the hard life on an alp including an original furnished parlor (a whole dwelling house with farm garden can be visited in Schellenberg). Today Triesenberg is the largest of the eleven municipalities in Liechtenstein. Most people no longer live from the alpine dairy as they used to, but work in Vaduz.

Cows on the pasture House in Steg Walser museum in Triesenberg

Bench in the Valuna valley

One of the most demanding but also most beautiful hikes in Liechtenstein leads along the Furstensteig and then further along the Kuhgrat to the Three Sisters – with magnificent views of the Rätikon, the Swiss and Vorarlberg mountains. However, you should be free of giddiness and also bring along some physical condition.

The Furstensteig has existed since 1898. In order to attract guests who bring some money into the region, one had the idea to build a high-altitude trail. The prince contributed the necessary guilders and as a thank you the path carved into the rock was named after him.

Hiking on Route 66 through Liechtenstein

Unfortunately we had to give up the alpine stage of our Route 66 tour. Due to extensive rain a few days earlier, there was rockfall damage as well as some slippery spots. So we only walked up to the Sucka Alp and instead did a Liechtenstein tour on the third day.

The ruins of Schellenberg are worth seeing and in Ruggell, the lowest point in Liechtenstein and the end of Route 66, a visit to the Bangshof is worthwhile. Tip: In summer you can have brunch under the fruit trees in the garden on Sundays.

For the main town of Vaduz, you should plan at least half a day – and if possible, stop at the Restaurant Marée (3 toques). Our second restaurant tip is the mountain inn Masescha above Triesenberg with Austrian-influenced regional cuisine (awarded with a hood since 2018).

The entire Route 66 is 46 kilometers long and can be done in three daily stages. Detailed tour information and maps are available on the web portal of Switzerland Mobile. Starting in 2019, another hiking trail will crisscross the country: the Liechtenstein Trail connects all eleven municipalities and, with numerous interactive information panels along the way, conveys interesting facts about the alpine country.


Farmhouse museum View from the Masescha mountain inn into the Rhine valley Parlor in the Masescha mountain inn Bangshof in Ruggell

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