Travelling alone for the first time can be daunting. There’s so many fears about safety, getting lost, and not being able to speak the language. And with so many places to go, it can become overwhelming trying to choose the best place to go it alone.
Having just finished a wonderful trip to Liechtenstein it struck me as the perfect place to travel solo if you’ve never done it before. Here’s some reasons why:
It’s really safe
Not only does it feel safe, it actually is safe. With one of the lowest crime rates in the world, you can completely relax whilst walking around, chatting to locals and asking for help with directions. This is a place that still has honesty boxes everywhere, you can jump on and off the buses without anyone checking your ticket, and there’s a tiny public library where you can help yourself to books and just promise you’ll return them later. It’s literally just a little cupboard full of books that opens into the street.
Liechtenstein is a teenie-tiny country with only a handful of towns. In fact, it’s so small that when I popped into the bathroom on the train I missed my stop and accidentally ended up in Austria! Even the capital city Vaduz is really just a big village. So you can cover the entire country in just a few days. It’s perfect for a bite size travel experience and a good way to dip your toes into solo travel before taking the plunge for a longer time.
It’s easy to travel around
There are regular and easy to use buses that connect all the towns and run pretty regularly. And there’s a train service that crosses the whole country from Switzerland to Austria, although that constitutes only three stops so buses are much more practical. If you buy a multi-day tourist card you can just hop on and off the buses as you please. As an added bonus, you get to pass through a village called ‘Pinnochio’ and wait at some of the prettiest bus stops in the world!
You can get by with English
Although the official language is German there are plenty of people who speak enough English to make you feel comfortable. It’s a good place to try out a foreign language without ever panicking that you’re completely out of your depth. All the signs, museum information and menus are in German but there’s usually someone around who speaks enough English to help.
Everywhere you go there’s the gorgeous backdrop of the Alps. And when the sun sets you can swoon over the dramatic silhouette of tall peaks against a burning sky. In Malbun a highlight is taking the chairlift up into the mountains for stunning views, while in every village pretty little churches dot the landscape. It makes for lovely photos and you can easily while away the time just taking in the country’s scenery.
There’s hardly any tourists
Lichtenstein is not only the 6th smallest country in the world, but it’s also one of the least visited. So you can get a feel for local life without having to compete with hundreds of other people. You can really get a sense of being somewhere authentic and unspoiled without feeling overwhelmed. Most of the time I was the only one in the museums. And sometimes I would stumble upon a quaint church and just let myself in. There was no one anywhere. I had the place completely to myself.
There’s something for everyone
For outdoors enthusiasts, Liechtenstein is a paradise. There’s hiking and cycling galore plus a cross-country archery course. And theres a public swimming pool in every village. If you like art, there’s sculptures all around the capital Vaduz and a surprisingly good quality modern art gallery. If you like cute houses & churches there’s plenty scattered around. If you like quirky stuff you can go llama trekking or stay in a teepee. And if you like wine, there’s a vineyard owned by the Prince himself where you can do wine tasting and wander through the vineyards.
Know before you go
The only downside is that Lichtenstein is expensive. But you can save money by doing a little planning and preparation before you go. You can also visit as a day trip from Austria or Switzerland so keep that in mind if you’re on a budget.
Credits: Title Photo by Henrique Ferreira on Unsplash
Nice post Mel.
It made me want to book a flight.
And the title sounded like a title for a Roy Lichtenstein canvas!