A Winter Guide to Malbun

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I had just returned from a month of more than 30-degree temperatures in Thailand and, while I had mostly adjusted to the idea of spring being well on its way, I wanted to try to squeeze in one more snowy mountain weekend for the season.

And so, when I reached out to the Hotel Turna for a collaboration long weekend in order to experience the best their hotel, Malbun and Liechtenstein had to offer, I was thrilled to be able to pack my skis up for one more time on the slopes.

Funnily enough though, whenever I told someone I was planning on visiting Liechtenstein this year, the tiny little principality - the sixth smallest country in the world - tucked in between Switzerland and Austria in central Europe, most of them would respond with "why?"


WHY LIECHTENSTEIN?

I don't blame them - before I arrived in Liechtenstein, I admittedly didn't know much about this small country either. It's not part of the EU, it's not featured in "European must-dos" and it's not even a member of UNESCO (because it has not yet ratified the UNESCO Convention against Discrimination in Education). The country is just 25km long, home to fewer than 40,000 inhabitants.

But, it's also the only country in the world that can say it is entirely based in the Alps. The little capital of Vaduz (or, the largest city in the country) is home to about 6000 people and the seat of the Prince of Liechtenstein, Schloss Vaduz, built in the 12th century standing proudly on the hillside overlooking the city. The language officially is German, with the majority of Liechtensteinians also speaking Alemmanic, a dialect of German. And, get this, it also just so happens to be the second-richest country per capita in the entire world, second only to Monaco.

While we're on the topic of Liechtenstein's economy, apparently the nation has almost zero debt and the country's only billionare, a former dental products CEO, makes up a whopping half of Liechtenstein's entire GDP. Most of the fortune made in this country seems to be based manufacturing. They haven't even had an army since the late 80s, although apparently they occasionally get invaded by the Swiss army when they accidentally cross the border during their training exercises in the woods.

All that to say...there's definitely something to be uncovered here. And so, in my mission to see every country in the world, I planned a long weekend escape to Liechtenstein to see what exactly there was to be discovered.

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Vaduz


HOW TO GET TO MALBUN

I was joined by one of my best friends Janna for part of the trip and together we drove out of Salzburg and headed west and into the Alps.

There aren't a lot of border crossings into Liechtenstein, given that much of the country is surrounded by high mountains. We entered from the north, through Feldkirch in Austria. Crossing the border to arriving in Vaduz, the capital city, located about halfway down the country, took us about fifteen minutes (so another fifteen and you'd be about to exit again!). We spent the first afternoon wandering around a very sunny and flower-filled Vaduz before getting back into the car and driving up into the mountains.

BY CAR: We drove from Salzburg to Vaduz, and then up the mountain road to Malbun. From Salzburg, the drive took us 4.5 hours, with the portion from Vaduz taking the final half hour.

BY PUBLIC TRANSPORT: The closest train station is in Feldkirch, Austria from where you can catch trains either directly or with layovers in all directions. I took a four-hour direct train from Feldkirch to Salzburg on the way back. A bus runs hourly between Vaduz and Malbun, stopping right outside Hotel Turna in Malbun. Bus 11 runs direct between Vaduz and Feldkirch station, making public transport a very easy option to get to Liechtenstein!

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The road up from Vaduz

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jana meerman malbun liechtenstein-212

Gänglesee

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Where to Stay in Malbun

I spent four nights in Liechtenstein, based in Malbun as a guest of Hotel Turna. This peaceful and understated family-run hotel probably lays claim to the best location in the entire village, being next door to the ski lift and offering unparalleled views across the valley from the outdoor jacuzzi on one of their terraces. Comfortable beds, wonderfully kind staff, delicious locally sourced food and on-site wellness facilities make this the perfect choice for a long weekend getaway to the mountains of Liechtenstein.

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jana meerman malbun liechtenstein-hotel turna (2)
jana meerman malbun liechtenstein-hotel turna (2)

The view from Hotel Turna's gorgeous terrace

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jana meerman malbun liechtenstein-hotel turna (2)
jana meerman malbun liechtenstein-hotel turna (2)
jana meerman malbun liechtenstein-hotel turna (2)
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jana meerman malbun liechtenstein-hotel turna (2)
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Snow day

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Sunset over the ski lift

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Nighttime snow

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Fresh regional products define Hotel Turna's menu

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The view from the restaurant

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Buffet breakfast

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Daily soup

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Part of the five-course dinner

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Every night, a grand finale


Best Things to Do in Malbun in Winter

Get in the hot tub!

The jacuzzi on the terrace at Hotel Turna offers unparalleled views of the mountains surrounding Malbun. I can especially recommend this after a day of skiing.

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jana meerman malbun liechtenstein-hotel turna (2)
jana meerman malbun liechtenstein-hotel turna (2)
jana meerman malbun liechtenstein-hotel turna (2)
jana meerman malbun liechtenstein-hotel turna (2)
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Go skiing!

With the high elevation, and with Liechtenstein being entirely within the Alps, the ski season lasts much longer here. And, I actually found the powder here to be some of the best and funnest I've had. It's a small hill with just three chairs, but because it's a quieter destination, you'll basically feel like it's your own private ski hill.

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jana meerman malbun liechtenstein-118
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jana meerman malbun liechtenstein-118
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The ski room at Hotel Turna


Go for a walk!

Malbun is a tiny little mountain village and the best way to get around truly is on foot. Go for a wander along the idyllic streets, soaking in the stunning views all around.

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jana meerman malbun liechtenstein-153
jana meerman malbun liechtenstein-153

A local farmers market, vending machine style

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jana meerman malbun liechtenstein-153
jana meerman malbun liechtenstein-153

And on a sunny day

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jana meerman malbun liechtenstein-153
jana meerman malbun liechtenstein-153
jana meerman malbun liechtenstein-153
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jana meerman malbun liechtenstein-153

Visit the little chapel!

On a hill above the village, you can visit the sweet little Friedenskapelle, which also has beautiful views down to Malbun. Every Saturday afternoon there's a church service. It was built in 1950, designed by architect Johannes Hugentobler.

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And, if you're here in the summer, the hiking would be outstanding. In fact, I want to come back in the summer months to hike the 75-kilometre Liechtenstein Trail, which passes through all 11 of the country's municipalities.


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I visited Malbun as a guest of Hotel Turna. All opinions and ideas, as always, are completely my own.

Jana Meerman

Hi! I’m Jana, a British-Dutch-Canadian with a dream of seeing every country in the world. I am a storyteller, photographer and adventurer passionate about documenting and sharing my travels.

Find me on: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

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