1 Via Alpina
1 Via Alpina

Hiking

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Via Alpina

Stage 1, Vaduz (Gaflei, FL)–Sargans

Route report
46 photos

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Via Alpina

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.
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.
27 km
460 m | 1600 m
7 h 10 min
easy (hiking trail) | difficult

Arrival | return travel

Arrival / return travel Gaflei
SBB Timetable Show stop and route on map
Arrival / return travel Vaduz, Post
SBB Timetable Show stop and route on map

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Hint
Rail/bus/boat: long section, please note bus recommendation No. 388Gaflei–Vaduz
Via Alpina hiking pass
With the Via Alpina hiking passbook, you collect 38 stamps with memories to cherish. The stamp stations are located at each stage start and finish. More information about the hiking passbook.
Overview map of all stamp stations

Arrival | return travel

Arrival / return travel Sargans
SBB Timetable Show stop and route on map

Contact

Gestione della segnaletica
La segnaletica è gestita dall'associazione cantonale per i sentieri escursionistici su incarico del cantone. Aiuta anche tu! Diventa socio nel tuo cantone.
Associati
Schweizer Wanderwege
Monbijoustrasse 61
3000 Bern 23

Services

Accommodation

Jugendherberge Schaan-Vaduz
Jugendherberge Schaan-Vaduz
Schaan
BnB Treffpunkt Heuwiese
BnB Treffpunkt Heuwiese
Weite
Catherine’s Loft BnB
Catherine’s Loft BnB
Mels
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Bookable offers

1 Via Alpina Eastern Switzerland
1 Via Alpina Eastern Switzerland
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Places

Gaflei (FL)
Gaflei (FL)
Vaduz
Vaduz
Sargans
Sargans
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Places of interest

Liechtenstein art museum
Liechtenstein art museum
Liechtenstein state museum
Liechtenstein state museum
Prince of Liechtenstein's royal winery
Prince of Liechtenstein's royal winery
Schloss Vaduz
Schloss Vaduz
Vaduz Citytrain
Vaduz Citytrain
Wooden bridge and Rhein at Sevelen
Wooden bridge and Rhein at Sevelen
Gonzen mine
Gonzen mine
Schloss Sargans
Schloss Sargans
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Signalization

Signalization
For hiking, follow the logo indicated on the yellow signposts. Take a printout of our web map on your hike for safety's sake.
Signalization