Lush forested hills and crystal clear lakes cowl Vorarlberg, the westernmost area of Austria alongside the Switzerland border. Right here you will see cities and cities which can be directly medieval and fashionable: sustainable inexperienced roofs overlook centuries-old clocktowers, cobblestone streets and fashionable structure dwell in concord alongside fairytale-esque castles. And past the aesthetic attraction, you’ll discover a charming tradition with a slower lifestyle, scrumptious regional specialties, and great individuals who can’t wait to indicate you what makes their dwelling so particular.
Whilst you might not have heard a lot about Vorarlberg or the charming cities and cities which can be the center of this area, you possibly can 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 finest stored secret!
Psst: Planning a go to to Austria? Try a few of our different posts that will help you plan your journey!
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43 Images That Will Make You Wish to E book a Journey to Lovely Graz, Austria
Lia visited Austria again in 2019 to talk on the first-everPropel Convention in lovely Graz, Austria’s 2nd largest metropolis – check out her picture information to Graz, Austria from that journey!
However this 12 months, Lia spoke on the convention just about (as a result of she was knocked up and tremendous nauseous), whereas I, Richie Goff—the Editor-in-Chief of Sensible Wanderlust—went in her place! Speak about 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 just a few weeks to arrange, I knew I’d be consuming heavenly cheese (a lot scrumptious cheese!) and wandering round villages a lot older than something I used to be going to search 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 notice Austria had magic behind each flip and nook, ya’ll!
Every thing 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 absolutely 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 individuals.
Or that there are Umgang Bregenzerwald, aka “Village Walks”, round 13 native villages the place you possibly can 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 details.
I returned from Vorarlberg the place I frolicked in Mellau, Feldkirch, Dornbirn, and Bregenz with roughly a zillion photographs, and located myself overwhelmed by the duty of paring down my experiences into our normal 10-15 photographs.
So I … er, procrastinated for about 3 months… after which set to work. And I ended up with so many gorgeous, colourful, vibrant photographs 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 just a few of the essential issues to find out about visiting the Vorarlberg area! Listed here are all of the specifics you’ll want in case you’re planning a visit to Vorarlberg.
- When to go to Vorarlberg: The perfect 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 season getaway to Vienna or Salzburg, hop a prepare to Vorarlberg as an alternative to flee the crowds! The opposite finest time to go to is in the course of the Christmas Market season, in early December. Yow will discover two Christmas markets in Bregenz, and one in Dornbirn and Feldkirch. May we advise including Vorarlberg to your subsequent Christmas journey together with Vienna & Hallstatt?
- The way to get to Vorarlberg: Whilst you might imagine Vienna could be the most important metropolis to fly into to succeed in Vorarlberg, it’s actually on the alternative aspect of the nation and eight hours away by prepare. Nonetheless, Bregenz, Vorarlberg is just 2 hours by prepare from Zurich, Switzerland by means of lush, attractive countryside! I like to recommend your prepare choices on Rome2Rio.
- The place to remain in Vorarlberg: I break up my week in Vorarlberg between two lodges, one in Mellau and one in Dornbirn. In Mellau, I stayed within the glamorous and opulent Lodge Hubertus Mellau; whereas in Dornbirn I stayed within the pretty boutique Lodge Katharinenhof COMFORT, situated a couple of 10 minutes’ stroll away from the Dornbin Market Sq.. I like to recommend both!
- Do I would like a automobile? You completely don’t want a automobile inside Vorarlberg! Bregenz, Dornbirn, and Feldkirch are all accessible by prepare, and you may simply get between the three. The one outlier is Mellau, which is extra rural in case you’re on the lookout for countryside vibes. You possibly can take an hour bus experience from Bregenz, nevertheless, and might examine availability on Rome2Rio.
Mellau is a type of little cities that sits between rolling hills, the place cows roam in open fields and a river runs by means of the city giving it that good, pastoral centerpiece.
Within the first jiffy of arrival, you’re instantly overcome with a way of serenity – there is no such thing as a site visitors, no tall buildings, and barely any individuals – 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 permits you to decelerate, drink within the nature, and be taught that the individuals of Mellau favor 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 possibly can 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 offers you a reality a couple of explicit constructing, a pure characteristic, 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 tons of of years outdated 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 possibly can see outdated wooden beams and historic furnishings and eat conventional meals.
Käsespätzle is a specialty, which is made out of pasta, cheese, potatoes, and fried onions. Mainly Austrian Mac n Cheese! I imply, how may that be unhealthy? I most likely ate it 4 occasions on my Austria journey and it was by no means not precisely what I wanted!
And although a lot of its residents dwell 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 classy award-winning condominium complicated, that marries the standard small shingle facade with a minimal but luxurious inside.
And within the heart of city stands the Neighborhood Corridor of Mellau, the place the Propel Convention happened. Gentle-colored spruce and floor-to-ceiling home windows make this area the proper place to attend a convention, the place you’re feeling directly sheltered and linked with nature.
Whereas in Mellau, be sure you take a look at the Mellaubahn Cable Automotive, which takes you up into the rolling hills surrounding Mellau on a 6-minute scenic experience.
From the highest, you possibly can 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 like the title sounds, is a mellow and good 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 ft tread alongside unspoiled wilderness.
For extra Mellau eye sweet, take a look at Kirsten Alana’s picture submit about Mellau!
Feldkirch is a phenomenal 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 – nevertheless it doesn’t appear so populous strolling across the historic metropolis heart.
Strolling down the town sq., you possibly can 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 because the thirteenth century!
Right here, individuals 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 similar market sq. at evening!
As soon as midday comes round, the town streets fill with residents on their lunch break, and you may 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 question speaking about all of the unusual English-speaking journey bloggers, with cameras in hand posing for photographs 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 very 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 stating historic landmarks.
We discovered about Depend Hugo I, who established the city and constructed Schattenburg (Shadow Fortress) in 1265, which nonetheless stands in the present day and serves as a museum that you would be able to tour digitally right here (or in particular person, in case you are, you understand, there).
Although Feldkirch appears idyllic in the present day, 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 demise.
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”, acquired its title for as soon as housing cannons that includes the form of a cat, for some cause. As you possibly can think about, I used to be sorely disillusioned 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 principally is, not that I’m complaining).
Our convention periods in Feldkirch have been held on theMontforthaus Feldkirch, a kind of space-age convention heart 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 in case you love outdated issues, actually outdated issues. And lovely buildings, and historical past. Actually, simply come right here and inform me how a lot you adore it, okay?
After the three days of conferencing about journey weblog stuff, we broke into post-tour journey teams to discover totally different components of Vorarlberg, and I headed off to see Bodensee.
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Bregenz is the capital of Vorarlberg, and although it has a smaller inhabitants than Feldkirch, it feels barely extra metropolitan and city-like with larger markets, a bustling city-center, and barely larger buildings.
Not that it’s missing in appeal! Nooooo, Vorarlberg merely received’t stand for wherever that isn’t merely cute.
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 individuals. Nobody nation “owns” the lake, and it’s loved by residents on all sides.
Lake Constance looks like the center of the town, with a harbor, eating places, and lengthy promenades stretching alongside its banks. There’s even a little bit gazebo bar the place you may get a drink over the water!
Alongside the shore, you possibly can lease little electrical 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 possibly can deal with your self to milkshakes from a mushroom-shaped stand that basically “stands out” in opposition to the shoreline (sorry for that horrible pun).
One in all Bregenz’s largest claims to fame is their Bregenzer Festspiele, the place elaborate productions (usually Opera) are carried out on a floating stage with probably the most intense, large-scale units you’ve ever seen.
As an illustration, a large mechanical (terrifying) clown head that moved all through the manufacturing of Rigoletto, to a few big dragons and a crystal turtle for The Magic Flute, and even a large, rotating eye for his or her manufacturing of Tosca (which will 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 huge and costly the present runs July-August for 2 successive years.
Although the reveals are so elaborate, they nonetheless have cheap seats in 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! This can be 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 plenty of charming architectural options.
Alongside our self-guided strolling tour, we strolled throughout an outdated medieval wall the place you might see Deuring schlössle, which I used to be satisfied was a fort with an epic historical past. In actuality, some fabulously wealthy particular person 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 fashion, I suppose. It’s positively one of the vital noticeable landmarks in outdated city, and positively provides a fairy story essence to the town!
One of the crucial weirdly cute issues we noticed was a water characteristic outdoors of theWeinstube Kinz Restaurant of a peeing man. We have been all like “What the hell is that?!“. Our pretty 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 assume that’s what we name “Artwork“!
Aspect word: 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 little bit extra up to date, take a look at the Kunsthaus Bregenz, which is a recent 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 actual grass and nature (together with bugs that acquired trapped within the constructing – for nature realness, I assume) and somebody even flooded the place! You by no means know fairly what shall be in retailer right here.
Sadly (or not), after I visited, the exhibit didn’t characteristic bugs or flooding. I did see a music box-like mechanism that appeared like what I think about you’d hear earlier than being murdered, a large projection of a person taking part in the violin with a snail using backwards and forwards on his bow, and a whole ground that was empty aside from what gave the impression to be quiet elevator music.
Did I believe I used to be dropping my thoughts? Undoubtedly. 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 displays change on a regular basis (and the exhibit is already totally different now). Undoubtedly a spot to go to for a wild expertise!
Dornbirn is simply north of Bregenz, and is definitely accessible by a ten-minute prepare experience. It looks 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 count on from in all places in Vorarlberg.
Whereas in Dornbirn I stayed within the pretty boutique Lodge Katharinenhof COMFORT, situated a couple of 10 minutes’ stroll away from the Dornbirn Market Sq.. It’s such a comfy and fashionable resort – I want I may simply transfer right into a resort like they do in outdated motion pictures and simply keep in Austria eternally!
The primary star of Dornbirn, as we have now discovered is the case in so many Austrian cities, is the market sq..
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 Pink Home, 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 in the present day it’s a restaurant serving conventional Austrian meals, and an ice cream parlor!
One of the crucial thrilling issues to do in Dornbirn is to take the Karren Cable Automotive 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 possibly can stroll onto an overlook with a see-through metallic grate, supplying you with a glimpse down 3,202 ft under (eek!).
Although this will not be for the faint of coronary heart, there are additionally loads of mountaineering trails and even a panoramic restaurant on the highest of the mountain.
Mountaineering Karren Mountain is a giant factor right here too, because it’s not terribly tall or very rugged. On the cable automobile station you’ll discover a machine the place you possibly can print out a ticket after which hike to the highest of Karren Mountain and see how shortly you are able to do it!
The full journey is a 3.4-mile loop in case you’re feeling athletic – or simply take within the gorgeous views from the cable automobile!
Exploring Dornbirn is an efficient alternative to attempt some extra conventional Austrian meals, as a result of in case you’re something like me, your lust for cheese and wine won’t ever be satiated.
Gasthaus Gemsle has an nearly 100-year historical past in Dornbirn, and the comfortable 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 often comes with a aspect of apple sauce? I don’t know why, and our Austrian host mainly simply mentioned “as a result of it does!”. I assume 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.
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Why Was I in Vorarlberg, Once more?
Lia was invited to talk on the second annual Propel Convention for journey bloggers! Then she acquired pregnant, and despatched me as an alternative, darn.
The Propel Convention consisted of a small and punctiliously chosen group of proficient journey bloggers, plus an unimaginable panel of educated, proficient audio system and veteran trade 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 superb journey bloggers on the convention, all of which have particular areas of experience and skills. Although the journey media trade 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 convey all of them collectively. Concepts are shared, connections are made, and the trade turns into much less about competitors and extra about up-lifting.
We spent 3 days studying, discussing, and training superior journey running a blog methods. We acquired 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~ in case you’re questioning how on earth journey blogs become profitable, we’ve acquired a complete information to journey weblog monetization!
For extra skilled journey blogger insights, learn 25 Issues No One Tells You About Being a Full Time Journey Blogger or simply browse all of our running a blog posts.
Extra Vorarlberg Sources & Journey Guides
Contemplating a visit to Vorarlberg now that you just’ve seen how totally gorgeous it’s? Or simply cravingkäsespätzle? There are a bunch of implausible weblog posts revealed by the contributors within the Propel Journey Convention! Listed here are a few of my favourite sources that can assist you to 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 photographs make you need to go to? Drop us a remark under!
Psst: Planning a go to to Austria? Try 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 assist 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 completely not their fault.