The number of European heads of state who still live in actual castles is vanishingly small—much like the principality of Liechtenstein itself.
This tiny country, about 62 square miles, the same size as Washington D.C., is ruled over by the Prince of Liechtenstein, whose family has lived in Vaduz Castle off and on—currently on—for roughly 400 years. The schloss (German for “castle”) sits on an alpine hillside above the town of Vaduz, the country’s capital and largest city, and can be seen from every location in town.
While the interior is closed to visitors, it’s easy to walk around the castle, and admire the ancient construction and stunning mountain views. If you’re curious about what the inside looks like, a short film shown in the Princely Theatre (Altes Kino) in the town below the castle hosts an impressive tour through the interior of the schloss, hosted by His Serene Highness the Prince himself.
The castle itself has a long history. It was originally built in the early 1200s as a fort. Living quarters were added in 1287, and it was first mentioned in documents in 1322.
Know Before You Go
The castle sits along a winding road above the town of Vaduz. It's easy to park along the side of the road and walk up to the castle. An additional 15-20 minute drive up the road brings you to the small town of Malbun, which hosts Liechtenstein's only ski resort. A cheap (10 franc) and quick ride up the chairlift provides an incredible view of the small alpine country and the surrounding mountains. A nice lodge is at the top of the lift, perfect for refreshment.