It makes a strange kind of sense: when travelling with your mini-me, where better to go than a miniature country? And happily Liechtenstein, the tiny principality nestled between Austria and Switzerland, has much more to offer than its novelty size. It is scenic, safe and the perfect destination to travel with children. With Alpine trails, year-round sports and some of the cheeriest adventure parks around, Liechtenstein packs a wealth of attractions into its tiny borders, all while retaining its breezy, spacious charm.
Banish boring walks
You can already hear the outcry as your plan for “another boring walk” is met
with rebellion. Fortunately a good number of Liechtenstein’s stunning mountain
trails are easy for parents with prams and many are themed to keep children
interested. For wannabe knights and princesses, try the Walser Legends Trail,
with signposted stories and entertaining mythical carvings. Or if there is a
budding astronaut in your brood, the Planet Trail maps out
the solar system with silver orbs and signposts, so you can watch as your
children race towards Jupiter. And there are plenty of picnic and barbecue
spots along the way.
The littlest adventure park
With its high-adrenaline name, the diminutive, Wild West-themed playland Neuguthof Adventure World may be overselling
itself a little. There is no Disney razzle-dazzle or rollercoasters, but the
park’s tiniest residents have an entire miniature town, Rabbit City, to lollop
around, including a rabbit saloon and rabbit jail. Should your children manage
to tear their eyes away, they will also be able to stare down the park’s
absurdly cute pygmy goats, enjoy a mini safari and run you ragged in the
fiendishly difficult corn maze.
Games with a mountain view
In winter, take to the slopes in the town of Malbun, a tiny ski resort boasting
shorter queues than other Alpine destinations. There are frequently some good
offers for kids to ski free. Malbi-Park, a pint-sized
(and fully supervised) snow park, lets littler skiers try out the snow without
being unleashed onto grown-up slopes. In the summer months, even the mini-golf courses have a stunning Swiss Alps backdrop.
Throw in pristine swimming pools, falconry shows
and lungfuls of fresh mountain air, and the kids should be out like a light
Sightsee on the miniature train
The adorable miniature CityTrain weaves through the quaintest streets of
Vaduz, the capital, on a leisurely 35-minute journey, pausing by vineyards and passing
show-stopping views of Liechtenstein’s crowning glory, Vaduz Castle (with a few
jolly tales of Liechtenstein's well-loved prince along the way). Warning: this
pleasant distraction is almost guaranteed to have your brood singing the
maddeningly catchy Liechtenstein CityTrain theme song well into the afternoon.
Something for the parents
The family-friendly hotels in Liechtenstein have bonus treats for tired
parents. Hotel Turna has a daycare centre and a children’s
playroom, and the Gorfion offers children’s swimming classes, a supervised
children’s restaurant (allowing you the occasional romantic dinner for two),
and a “sleep in service” where the hotel will entertain your kids from 7am to 11am.
Making the trip
It’s easy to enter Liechtenstein by car or bus from
Switzerland and Germany (the closest airports being Zürich and
Friedrichshafen). Another easy alternative is taking the number 12 bus from
Sargans station in Switzerland, a few minutes’ train ride from Zürich. It’s a
smooth journey, with connecting buses every 15 minutes, and the mountain views
should keep you and your flock well entertained. The capital, Vaduz, is as
easily navigable on foot as you’d expect from this petite country, and most
city attractions are within walking distance. Easy bus rides connect Vaduz to
Malbun and the rest of the country.
The article 'Why your kids will love Lichtenstein' was published in partnership with Lonely Planet.