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Liechtenstein: Fürstensteig

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Fürstensteig | Liechtenstein | Europe

[Visited: July 2017]

The lady at the information office in Vaduz looks at me, tries to guess my age and ability, and tells me that while being one of the most beautiful hikes in the country, and probably the most famous, the Fürstensteig is probably too much for me. She indicates it is less than a metre wide, has loose stones, and deep ravines, definitely not for someone who suffers vertigo. My mind is set: I cannot wait to hike the Fürstensteig! After exploring the south and east of the country, I get to Gaflei where I had hiked up to the first day from Vaduz, but this time, it is the starting point for my last hike in Liechtenstein. The trail climbs through the trees, and soon enough, there is a road sign warning against falling stones, indicating the beginning of the famous Fürstensteig. I am all ready for it!

Picture of Fürstensteig (Liechtenstein): Start of the Fürstensteig

Soon, the mountain is all rocks: there is no more tree to be seen. The path is still easy to hike on, and the views are spectacular. The River Rhine is just below, and on the other side, Switzerland can be seen. The drop-off is getting deeper the higher I get. Going up the Fürstensteig is indeed turning out to be spectacular! Sometimes, the trail seems to lead straight to the sky, but after every turn, I can see more bare rocky mountain slopes ahead. There are a few wooden bridges, but mostly, the trail is just hewn out of the steep cliffs. There are switchbacks, there are parts with a handrail, there are outcrops, there are deeper dropoffs, and there are continuous views straight into the void below. What a hike; after the ones I did elsewhere in Liechtenstein, this is surely the most thrilling.

Picture of Fürstensteig (Liechtenstein): The trail at a lower elevation of Fürstensteig

After yet another turn, I come to a saddle: I have reached the end of the Fürstensteig. Ahead, I see the Kuhgrat, but there is no time left for that. I turn right, hike down, and up again, to reach Kumin, a gap in the mountain. From here, I take a trail over roots to the summit of Alpspitz, just under 2000 metres. Not only does it reward me with sweeping views of the north of Liechtenstein, and into Switzerland and Austria, I also see the southern mountain range of Liechtenstein, which has the highest peaks of the country. One of them is Naafkopf, which is where I started the day. The Valüna river is a silver stream through a green valley on the other side of this Alpine country. From here, the hike down is easy, passes Bargella, the centre of Liechtenstein, and then it is a short hike back to Gaflei.

Picture of Fürstensteig (Liechtenstein): Rocky slopes of the Fürstensteig
Picture of Fürstensteig (Liechtenstein): Stony trail on the way up the Fürstensteig
Picture of Fürstensteig (Liechtenstein): Fürstensteig at higher elevation with rocky outcrop
Picture of Fürstensteig (Liechtenstein): Rock formations next to Fürstensteig
Picture of Fürstensteig (Liechtenstein): Climb to Kamin below Alpspitz
Picture of Fürstensteig (Liechtenstein): View towards Kuhgrat through boulders at Kamin
Picture of Fürstensteig (Liechtenstein): Naafkopf mountain and Valüna valley seen from Alpspitz
Picture of Fürstensteig (Liechtenstein): Fürstensteig on the rocky mountains
Picture of Fürstensteig (Liechtenstein): Mountain view of Helwangspitz from a mountain pass at the end of Fürstensteig
Picture of Fürstensteig (Liechtenstein): Fürstensteig clinging to the rocky slopes of the mountains
Picture of Fürstensteig (Liechtenstein): The bare rocks of Fürstensteig
Picture of Fürstensteig (Liechtenstein): Gafleispitz and Kuhgrat seen from the southeast
Picture of Fürstensteig (Liechtenstein): Alpspitz with Switzerland in the background

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