Lush forested hills and crystal clear lakes cowl Vorarlberg, the westernmost area of Austria alongside the Switzerland border. Right here you’ll discover cities and cities which might be directly medieval and fashionable: sustainable inexperienced roofs overlook centuries-old clocktowers, cobblestone streets and fashionable structure stay in concord alongside fairytale-esque castles. And past the aesthetic enchantment, you’ll discover a charming tradition with a slower lifestyle, scrumptious regional specialties, and great individuals who can’t wait to point out you what makes their house so particular.
When you might not have heard a lot about Vorarlberg or the charming cities and cities which might be the center of this area, you’ll be able to anticipate finding loads of historical past, artwork, tradition, pleasant locals, and unimaginable meals. Though this area is totally under-discovered by most vacationers, right here’s why Vorarlberg is Austria’s greatest stored secret!
Psst: Planning a go to to Austria? Take a look at a few of our different posts that will help you plan your journey!
However this 12 months, Lia spoke on the convention nearly (as a result of she was knocked up and tremendous nauseous), whereas I, Richie Goff—the Editor-in-Chief of Practical Wanderlust—went in her place! Discuss a dream job, proper??
Fact be informed, after I heard I’d be going to Vorarlberg, Austria I used to be like… “the place?” However despite the fact that I solely had a number of weeks to arrange, I knew I’d be consuming heavenly cheese (so much delicious cheese!) and wandering round villages a lot older than something I used to be going to seek out in my hometown of Louisville, Kentucky.
Quick ahead three weeks and I discovered myself amongst flower markets on cobblestone streets, hanging out on mountains with different journey bloggers, and having the time of my life.
I didn’t understand Austria had magic behind each flip and nook, ya’ll!
Every part about my journey to Vorarlberg shocked me, and never simply because I didn’t even have time to do any preparation or analysis earlier than I packed my baggage and left (in my protection, the complete journey was totally and expertly deliberate by the great Go to Vorarlberg tourism board).
Like, I didn’t know that Vorarlberg’s capital is Bregenz, which sits on a transparent blue, 207-square-mile lake that additionally borders Germany and Switzerland and offers ingesting water for 5 million folks.
Or that there are Umgang Bregenzerwald, aka “Village Walks”, round 13 native villages the place you’ll be able to find out about native historical past and tradition by strolling round and peering into rust-colored metal columns that dispense attention-grabbing native tibits and information.
I returned from Vorarlberg the place I hung out in Mellau, Feldkirch, Dornbirn, and Bregenz with roughly a zillion images, and located myself overwhelmed by the duty of paring down my experiences into our standard 10-15 images.
So I … er, procrastinated for about 3 months… after which set to work. And I ended up with so many gorgeous, colourful, vibrant images of lovely Vorarlberg that I made a decision to throw all of them into one submit. You’re welcome.
Vorarlberg Journey Ideas & FAQ’s
Let’s begin with a number of of the essential issues to learn about visiting the Vorarlberg area! Listed here are all of the specifics you’ll want for those who’re planning a visit to Vorarlberg.
- When to go to Vorarlberg: The most effective time of the 12 months to go to Vorarlberg is between June and August, when the excessive temperatue is within the low 70s and there’s little rainfall, and the well-known Bregenzer Festspiele is occurring on the lake. And since Vorarlberg isn’t a significant vacationer vacation spot like each different metropolis in Europe you’ve ever heard of, it’s quiet and never crowded in any respect. So subsequent time you’re reserving a summer time getaway to Vienna or Salzburg, hop a prepare to Vorarlberg as an alternative to flee the crowds! The opposite greatest time to go to is throughout the Christmas Market season, in early December. You will discover two Christmas markets in Bregenz, and one in Dornbirn and Feldkirch. Would possibly we advise including Vorarlberg to your subsequent Christmas journey together with Vienna & Hallstatt?
- How you can get to Vorarlberg: When you might imagine Vienna can be the main metropolis to fly into to succeed in Vorarlberg, it’s actually on the other aspect of the nation and eight hours away by prepare. Nevertheless, Bregenz, Vorarlberg is just 2 hours by prepare from Zurich, Switzerland by way of lush, attractive countryside! I like to recommend your prepare choices on Rome2Rio.
- The place to remain in Vorarlberg: I cut up my week in Vorarlberg between two inns, one in Mellau and one in Dornbirn. In Mellau, I stayed within the glamorous and opulent Hotel Hubertus Mellau; whereas in Dornbirn I stayed within the beautiful boutique Hotel Katharinenhof COMFORT, situated a couple of 10 minutes’ stroll away from the Dornbin Market Sq.. I like to recommend both!
- Do I want a automotive? You completely don’t want a automotive inside Vorarlberg! Bregenz, Dornbirn, and Feldkirch are all accessible by prepare, and you’ll simply get between the three. The one outlier is Mellau, which is extra rural for those who’re searching for countryside vibes. You may take an hour bus experience from Bregenz, nonetheless, and may verify availability on Rome2Rio.
Mellau is a kind of little cities that sits between rolling hills, the place cows roam in open fields and a river runs by way of the city giving it that good, pastoral centerpiece.
Within the first jiffy of arrival, you might be instantly overcome with a way of serenity – there is no such thing as a visitors, no tall buildings, and barely any folks – there are solely 1300 residents within the tiny city!
Whereas the city turns into busier within the winter for ski season and fills its 1500 resort beds (that means there are extra visiting skiiers than the precise inhabitants!), coming in the summertime lets you decelerate, drink within the nature, and study that the folks of Mellau choose high quality over amount of life.
Mellau’s declare to fame is the Umgang Bregenzerwald, or “Village Walks”, which takes you round 13 native villages the place you’ll be able to find out about native historical past and tradition. Mellau is a part of this route, and alongside the best way you peer right into a rust-colored metal column that lights up and provides you a truth a couple of explicit constructing, a pure function, or one thing particular concerning the space.
The trail takes you on a loop across the village, over their babbling river and previous rolling hills. Stops alongside the best way embrace Naze’s Hus, a restaurant which is a whole bunch of years previous and has conventional Austrian shingles. What was as soon as a copper workshop belonging to a person named Naze, is now a conventional Austrian restaurant the place you’ll be able to see previous wooden beams and historic furnishings and eat conventional meals.
Käsespätzle is a specialty, which is comprised of pasta, cheese, potatoes, and fried onions. Mainly Austrian Mac n Cheese! I imply, how might that be unhealthy? I most likely ate it 4 instances on my Austria journey and it was by no means not precisely what I wanted!
And although lots of its residents stay in farmhouses which were transformed into dwelling areas for prolonged households, there’s loads of streamlined, fashionable structure dotting this historic village as effectively.
You’ll discover fashionable structure in locations like Temple 74, a glossy and trendy award-winning condo advanced, that marries the standard small shingle facade with a minimal but luxurious inside.
And within the middle of city stands the Community Hall of Mellau, the place the Propel Convention occurred. Gentle-colored spruce and floor-to-ceiling home windows make this area the proper place to attend a convention, the place you are feeling directly sheltered and linked with nature.
Whereas in Mellau, you should definitely try the Mellaubahn Cable Car, which takes you up into the rolling hills surrounding Mellau on a 6-minute scenic experience.
From the highest, you’ll be able to hike up the Kanisfluh massif, a crag-like mountain that’s a landmark within the Bregenz Forest, or just benefit from the views of Mellau under or seize a bit to eat or a beer at Restaurant Simma.
All-in-all, Mellau, very similar to the identify sounds, is a mellow and great spot to unplug your mind and simply take pleasure in nature as it’s supposed to be.
Nowhere to hurry right here, simply benefit from the greenery, the flowers, and feeling your toes tread alongside unspoiled wilderness.
For extra Mellau eye sweet, try Kirsten Alana’s photo post about Mellau!
Feldkirch is a fantastic Medieval city that has been splendidly preserved, and strolling across the cobblestone streets actually takes you again to 1218 when it was first chartered (although it was talked about in writing early as 830!).
Although Feldkirch appears small, it’s the second-largest metropolis in Vorarlberg with 34,192 residents – however it doesn’t appear so populous strolling across the historic metropolis middle.
Strolling down the town sq., you’ll be able to anticipate finding a flower market overflowing with sunflowers, dahlias, and birds of paradise, with an vintage water fountain and loads of buildings painted in pastels or with medieval themes. Markets have been held right here Tuesdays and Saturdays for the reason that thirteenth century!
Right here, folks sit at road cafes chatting, and the slower tempo of life appears simply as alive right here as in Mellau. Er, except there’s a spy mission afoot, anyway: this spot seems within the 2008 James Bond film “Quantum of Solace,” the place he drives down this same market square at night!
As soon as midday comes round, the town streets fill with residents on their lunch break, and you’ll see what I might name “Austrian babushkas” – grandmothers with scarves on their heads chatting in little teams. The day I used to be there they have been little doubt speaking about all of the unusual English-speaking journey bloggers, with cameras in hand posing for images in every scenic spot.
When visiting a Medieval city, it’s essential to have a really educated tour information, and we have been fortunate to have Felkirch’s very personal Countess Mechthild present us round! Don’t know who Countess Mechthild is? I didn’t both! However I used to be excited to be assembly an actual Countess. And he or she was an actual countess… at the least, within the center ages.
The themed tour was led by a really educated actress in full costume posing because the medieval countess, guiding us down hidden alleyways and mentioning historic landmarks.
We realized about Depend Hugo I, who established the city and constructed Schattenburg (Shadow Fort) in 1265, which nonetheless stands at the moment and serves as a museum which you could tour digitally here (or in individual, if you’re, you realize, there).
Although Feldkirch appears idyllic at the moment, it does have a gritty historical past. The final witch trial was held right here in 1649, the place the church discovered a lady named Martha Lochbüchlerin responsible of witchcraft after brutal torture and sentenced her to loss of life.
Fortunately for her, she died in jail earlier than the general public execution. In order that’s… cheery.
We additionally visited a large bell tower, constructed across the 12 months 500, which is without doubt one of the most recognizable icons of Feldkirch. Katzenturm, or “Cats Tower”, bought its identify for as soon as housing cannons that includes the form of a cat, for some motive. As you’ll be able to think about, I used to be sorely disenchanted that the tower wasn’t full of precise cats.
Katzenturm additionally has one of many largest bells within the area weighing 8.5 tons, which chimes out at 3pm each Friday, which I’m positive both delights residents or scares the dwelling daylights out of them.
Not that Feldkirch is all attractive market locations, rustic towers, and precise castles (although it truthfully largely is, not that I’m complaining).
Our convention periods in Feldkirch have been held on theMontforthaus Feldkirch, a type of space-age convention middle that even received a sustainability award in 2017. I think about this has one thing to do with their gorgeous inexperienced roof that overlooks the town, the place we had wine within the night after our tour.
Feldkirch is the proper place to discover for those who love previous issues, actually previous issues. And beautiful buildings, and historical past. Actually, simply come right here and inform me how a lot you find it irresistible, okay?
After the three days of conferencing about journey weblog stuff, we broke into post-tour journey teams to discover completely different components of Vorarlberg, and I headed off to see Bodensee.
Bregenz is the capital of Vorarlberg, and although it has a smaller inhabitants than Feldkirch, it feels barely extra metropolitan and city-like with greater markets, a bustling city-center, and barely greater buildings.
Not that it’s missing in appeal! Nooooo, Vorarlberg merely received’t stand for anyplace that isn’t merely lovable.
Bregenz is most identified for its big lake which the town stands on, which is known as the “soul of Europe”.
Bodensee, or Lake Constance because it’s known as in English, isa transparent blue, 207-square-mile lake that additionally borders Germany and Switzerland and offers ingesting water for 5 million folks. Nobody nation “owns” the lake, and it’s loved by residents on either side.
Lake Constance appears like the center of the town, with a harbor, eating places, and lengthy promenades stretching alongside its banks. There’s even a bit gazebo bar the place you will get a drink over the water!
Alongside the shore, you’ll be able to rent little electric or paddle boats and head out on the stunningly clear blue water to get a brand new perspective of the town.
In the summertime, you’ll be able to deal with your self to milkshakes from a mushroom-shaped stand that actually “stands out” towards the shoreline (sorry for that horrible pun).
One in every of Bregenz’s largest claims to fame is their Bregenzer Festspiele, the place elaborate productions (typically Opera) are carried out on a floating stage with essentially the most intense, large-scale units you’ve ever seen.
As an example, a large mechanical (terrifying) clown head that moved all through the manufacturing of Rigoletto, to three giant dragons and a crystal turtle for The Magic Flute, and even a giant, rotating eye for his or her manufacturing of Tosca (which can be seen within the 2008 James Bond film “Quantum of Solace”).
They are saying Vienna is the classical music capital of Europe, however frankly, Bregenz is bringing operatic drama and I’m right here for it.
The productions are completely extraordinary, and the units are so monumental and costly the present runs July-August for 2 successive years.
Although the reveals are so elaborate, they nonetheless have cheap seats in the direction of the again so that everybody is ready to have entry to the humanities.
If you’re on the town throughout this time, YOU MUST GO, even when opera isn’t your factor! It is a world-class expertise.
Outdated City Bregenz is a medieval city, established round 1250, and is simply as charming as Feldkirch with quaint cobblestone streets, colourful buildings, and many charming architectural options.
Alongside our self-guided walking tour, we strolled throughout an previous medieval wall the place you could possibly see Deuring schlössle, which I used to be satisfied was a fortress with an epic historical past. In actuality, some fabulously wealthy individual on the finish of the fourteenth or early fifteenth century constructed it, after which a rich timber service provider named Johann Albert von Deuring purchased it in 1660 and expanded it, including its very iconic “onion cap” – the higher for wanting down on the plebes in type, I suppose. It’s undoubtedly some of the noticeable landmarks in previous city, and undoubtedly provides a fairy story essence to the town!
One of the vital weirdly lovable issues we noticed was a water function exterior of theWeinstube Kinz Restaurant of a peeing man. We have been all like “What the hell is that?!“. Our beautiful information Katja with Bodensee Vorarlberg Tourism thought our response was hysterical, and identified his pee puddle is definitely within the form of Lake Constance. I suppose that’s what we name “Artwork“!
Aspect observe: why are peeing statues a factor in Europe? There are THREE of them in Brussels. I discover this so weird. Am I only a prudish American!?
For one thing a bit extra modern, try the Kunsthaus Bregenz, which is a up to date museum that enables one artist to take over the complete constructing and create their very own large-scale exhibit.
Previous artists have put in carpets of real grass and nature (together with bugs that bought trapped within the constructing – for nature realness, I suppose) and someone even flooded the place! You by no means know fairly what can be in retailer right here.
Sadly (or not), after I visited, the exhibit didn’t function bugs or flooding. I did see a music box-like mechanism that seemed like what I think about you’ll hear earlier than being murdered, a large projection of a person taking part in the violin with a snail riding back and forth on his bow, and a whole ground that was empty apart from what appeared to be quiet elevator music.
Did I believe I used to be dropping my thoughts? Positively. Was it artwork? Effectively, that’s what they inform me.
If empty rooms and snail violins aren’t your factor, you’re in luck as a result of the reveals change on a regular basis (and the exhibit is already completely different now). Positively a spot to go to for a wild expertise!
Dornbirn is simply north of Bregenz, and is well accessible by a ten-minute prepare experience. It appears like an extension of Bregenz each due to its proximity and vibe. Each cities exist within the sprawling valley by the lake, and each have that medieval appeal I’ve come to anticipate from all over the place in Vorarlberg.
Whereas in Dornbirn I stayed within the beautiful boutique Hotel Katharinenhof COMFORT, situated a couple of 10 minutes’ stroll away from the Dornbirn Market Sq.. It’s such a comfortable and fashionable resort – I want I might simply transfer right into a resort like they do in previous motion pictures and simply keep in Austria perpetually!
The principle star of Dornbirn, as we have now realized is the case in so many Austrian cities, is the market square.
The historical past of the Dornbirn space started in 719 when the monastery of St. Gallen was based by Otmar von St. Gallen, and the “fashionable market sq.” started with the Red House, erected in 1639 by a husband and spouse for use as a residence, inn and dance venue.
The remainder of the market sq. sprung from this iconic constructing, and at the moment it’s a restaurant serving conventional Austrian meals, and an ice cream parlor!
One of the vital thrilling issues to do in Dornbirn is to take the Karren Cable Car as much as the highest of Karren Mountain, the place you get sweeping views of Dornbirn and Bregenz on Lake Constance.
On the high, you’ll be able to stroll onto an overlook with a see-through metallic grate, providing you with a glimpse down 3,202 toes under (eek!).
Although this will not be for the faint of coronary heart, there are additionally loads of mountain climbing trails and even a panoramic restaurant on the highest of the mountain.
Climbing Karren Mountain is a giant factor right here too, because it’s not terribly tall or very rugged. On the cable automotive station you’ll discover a machine the place you’ll be able to print out a ticket after which hike to the highest of Karren Mountain and see how rapidly you are able to do it!
The full journey is a 3.4-mile loop for those who’re feeling athletic – or simply take within the gorgeous views from the cable automotive!
Exploring Dornbirn is an efficient alternative to strive some extra conventional Austrian meals, as a result of for those who’re something like me, your lust for cheese and wine won’t ever be satiated.
Gasthaus Gemsle has an virtually 100-year historical past in Dornbirn, and the comfy wood decor and hearty Austrian dishes mirror that.
Käsespätzle, a scrumptious cheese, potato, fried onion, and macaroni concoction, is a should eat whereas in Vorarlberg. And did I point out, käsespätzle normally comes with a aspect of apple sauce? I don’t know why, and our Austrian host mainly simply stated “as a result of it does!”. I suppose it’s to stability the richness of the cheese with a pop of sweetness. It offers it a little bit of a child-like vibe, such as you’re ordering off the child’s menu, solely it’s far more decedent and culinary than a field of Kraft mac n cheese.
Why Was I in Vorarlberg, Once more?
Lia was invited to talk on the second annual Propel Conference for journey bloggers! Then she bought pregnant, and despatched me as an alternative, darn.
The Propel Conference consisted of a small and punctiliously chosen group of gifted journey bloggers, plus an unimaginable panel of educated, gifted audio system and veteran business leaders…. and likewise Lia! Simply kidding, she was a distant speaker this 12 months and did an unimaginable job.
I used to be fortunate sufficient to fulfill many wonderful journey bloggers on the convention, all of which have particular areas of experience and abilities. Although the journey media business is fairly small, and the journey running a blog sector is even smaller, journey bloggers are at all times unfold out over the world on their very own adventures – and one thing actually magical occurs once you deliver all of them collectively. Concepts are shared, connections are made, and the business turns into much less about competitors and extra about up-lifting.
We spent 3 days studying, discussing, and training superior journey running a blog strategies. We bought into some actually attractive stuff, like Search Engine Optimization and Lengthy-Time period Model Partnerships and Passive Earnings Methods – that final one was Lia’s speak.
Oh, by the best way~ for those who’re questioning how on earth journey blogs generate profits, we’ve bought a complete guide to travel blog monetization!
For extra skilled journey blogger insights, learn 25 Things No One Tells You About Being a Full Time Travel Blogger or simply browse all of our blogging posts.
Extra Vorarlberg Assets & Journey Guides
Contemplating a visit to Vorarlberg now that you just’ve seen how completely gorgeous it’s? Or simply cravingkäsespätzle? There are a bunch of incredible weblog posts revealed by the contributors within the Propel Journey Convention! Listed here are a few of my favourite assets that may aid you plan a visit to Graz.
Able to pack your baggage and take off on a visit to Vorarlberg? Had you ever heard of Vorarlberg earlier than? Did our images make you wish to go to? Drop us a remark under!
Psst: Planning a go to to Austria? Take a look at a few of our different posts that will help you plan your journey!
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Disclaimer: We have been invited to go to Vorarlberg by the Propel Convention, and our total journey was organized & hosted by Go to Vorarlberg. We’re deeply grateful to them, in addition to the numerous native companies who helped help us throughout our go to! As at all times, all opinions, unhealthy jokes, and implications thatkäsespätzle is Austria’s solely meals are 100% my very own and fully not their fault.