Time: 7.5h. Up: 850m. Down: 1820m.
Distance: 14.5km. Difficulty: hard/medium.

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Stage 20: Gafadurahütte (1428m) to Vaduz (455m)

Click and drag on map above to see area around trail. Click here for large zoomable map.

Today's spectacular ridge hike is a more than satisfactory reward for the roads you had to walk along in the previous stage. At times challenging, with ladders and chains, it bags two peaks and provides dramatic views to the north over Feldkirch, and to the west into the valley of the Rhine. You then finish the day with a long descent into Vaduz, capital of the tiny Principality of Liechtenstein.

This is the last stretch of the H2H that goes through Austria, and it is perhaps worth noting that although you have spent most of the last ten days hiking through Tirol, you have hardly scratched the surface of the Austrian Alps, many of which, especially further south towards the border with Italy, are far higher and more imposing than anything passed so far. But the H2H continues west into Switzerland, and the rest of Austria will have to wait for other years.

Liechtenstein, your goal for the day, is an improbably small country. In a continent that has seen so many wars of conquest, how has it survived as an independent state -- albeit administratively linked to Switzerland -- to the present day? You might want to ask your hosts at your accommodation or restaurant in the evening... the answer is fascinating and reveals a surprising source for the name of the country.

Today's hike takes the same trails as the Via Alpina until the Garsällisattel, and rejoins it at Gaflei. From the Gafadurahütte go back up to the Sarojasattel (1628m) and then climb south along the ridge via the Drei Schwestern (2052m), Garsellakopf (2105m) and Kuehgrat (2123m). The route is vertiginous at times, with steep drop-offs on both sides, but it is well-secured with cables and ladders. You then descend, still going along the ridge, via the Gafleispitz (2000m) to the Garsällisattel, where you take the Fürstensteig to the right via Gaflei (1483m) and the Wildschloss down to Vaduz.

Alternative: if you want to avoid the path along the ridge, or if the weather is bad, then descend from the Gafadurahütte to Vaduz via Planken (total for this route is 3h, -920m, 9km).
Map: K21 Feldkirch - Vaduz.

The House to House blog... stage 20.

<A couple of representative photos from this stage will be added here after the hike>
In the meantime, click here to go to all of the H2H photos on Flickr.

GPS Track
<To be added during or after hike>

Room and Board Options
Lunch: picnic.
Dinner and overnight: there are many excellent restaurants and places stay in Vaduz (for a complete list, see here).

Getting There and Back
Gafadurahütte: Nendeln in Liechtenstein has the closest bus stop and railway station (for both bus and train schedule information, see the SBB), and from there you can climb via Planken to the Gafadurahütte (4h, +970m, 6km).
Vaduz: there is a railway station here.
ViaMichelin Road Map and Driving Directions: centered on Nendeln, centered on Vaduz.

Background Information and Links
Many and various...

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