Distance 27 km
Duration 7 h 10 min
Ascent 460 m
From Gaflei observation tower on a wooded descent to Vaduz, capital of Liechtenstein. The River Rhine and border is crossed at Sevelen. The trail then leads along the foot of the Gonzen through woodlands and meadows, with views over the Rhine Valley.
Via Alpina is a 390 km long-distance hiking trail crossing 14 Alpine passes. It starts just above the village of Gaflei, once the first health resort in the Principality of Liechtenstein. The sanatorium is long gone, but the view of the mountains of Eastern Switzerland from the sunny plateau is as dazzling as ever. Passing gnarled evergreens, meadows and bright green ferns and grass, the hiking trail melts into a dense forest and leads downward through some zigzags. At the ruins of Schalun castle, built in the late 12th century, you’re at 860 m and half of the downhill elevation change is already behind you.
Continue further down the valley, on a wide gravel road now, to reach the castle of Vaduz in about an hour. Liechtenstein’s landmark is perched on a rock terrace high above the capital. The roots of the castle are probably dated somewhere in the 12th century. It has served as the residence for Liechtenstein’s first family since 1938. Through the lovely town and past the Rheinpark stadium you reach the border crossing on the Rhine. The old Rhine bridge (Alte Rheinbrücke) is 135 m long and connects Vaduz with the village of Sevelen in the Canton St. Gallen. It is the last surviving bridge across the Alpine Rhine. Out of 15 wooden bridges in the St.Gallen Rhine Valley, it is the only one that has withstood all floods and fires. On the next section to Sevelen the route follows the main road. Past the ruins of Procha castle and through the villages of Fontnas and Azmoos it takes roughly two more hours to get to Trübbach.
Beautiful forest roads and a path take you to the old iron ore mine of Gonzen. The mining resulted in a labyrinth of tunnels and galleries of just under 90 km. In the 15th century the ore was used by the old confederates to make the dreaded cut and thrust weapons. Some of the traffic noise can be heard even on the forest paths. Continue through well-tended residential neighbourhoods with views across the Rhine Valley and the Sargans region until you get to the Sargans castle a short while later. The structure was purchased by the community of Sargans in the late 19th century to save it from crumbling. Just a few more minutes and you’ll arrive at the Sargans train station, the destination of this first, long stage of the Via Alpina, but the first Alpine pass has yet to be crossed.
An enjoyable tour includes the careful planning of the same. Please inform yourself in advance at the local information center about the route and weather conditions. Depending on the season and weather conditions, this route may be blocked or interrupted
Vaduz (Gaflei, FL)
7 h 10 min
8 h 15 min
March - October
With panoramic view