Lush forested hills and crystal clear lakes cowl Vorarlberg, the westernmost area of Austria alongside the Switzerland border. Right here you can find cities and cities which can be without delay medieval and fashionable: sustainable inexperienced roofs overlook centuries-old clocktowers, cobblestone streets and fashionable structure reside 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 fantastic individuals who can’t wait to indicate you what makes their residence so particular.
Whilst you might not have heard a lot about Vorarlberg or the charming cities and cities which can be the guts 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 completely under-discovered by most vacationers, right here’s why Vorarlberg is Austria’s greatest 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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Lia visited Austria again in 2019 to talk on the first-everPropel Convention in stunning Graz, Austria’s 2nd largest metropolis – check out her picture information to Graz, Austria from that journey!
However this yr, 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 Sensible Wanderlust—went in her place! Discuss a dream job, proper??
Fact be instructed, after I heard I’d be going to Vorarlberg, Austria I used to be like… “the place?” However regardless 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 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 notice Austria had magic behind each flip and nook, ya’ll!
The whole lot 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 fantastic 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 gives 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 study 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 hung out in Mellau, Feldkirch, Dornbirn, and Bregenz with roughly a zillion pictures, and located myself overwhelmed by the duty of paring down my experiences into our normal 10-15 pictures.
So I … er, procrastinated for about 3 months… after which started working. And I ended up with so many beautiful, colourful, vibrant pictures of gorgeous Vorarlberg that I made a decision to throw all of them into one put up. You’re welcome.
Vorarlberg Journey Suggestions & FAQ’s
Let’s begin with just a few of the necessary 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 yr 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 practice 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’ll find two Christmas markets in Bregenz, and one in Dornbirn and Feldkirch. Would possibly we propose 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 key metropolis to fly into to achieve Vorarlberg, it’s actually on the other aspect of the nation and eight hours away by practice. Nonetheless, Bregenz, Vorarlberg is simply 2 hours by practice from Zurich, Switzerland by way of lush, attractive countryside! I like to recommend taking a look at your practice 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 splendid Resort Hubertus Mellau; whereas in Dornbirn I stayed within the beautiful boutique Resort Katharinenhof COMFORT, positioned a couple of 10 minutes’ stroll away from the Dornbin Market Sq.. I like to recommend both!
- Do I want a automobile? You completely don’t want a automobile inside Vorarlberg! Bregenz, Dornbirn, and Feldkirch are all accessible by practice, 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 might test 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 excellent, pastoral centerpiece.
Within the first couple of minutes of arrival, you might be instantly overcome with a way of serenity – there is no such thing as a site 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 (which 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 study native historical past and tradition. Mellau is a part of this route, and alongside the way in which you peer right into a rust-colored metal column that lights up and provides you a truth a couple of specific constructing, a pure characteristic, or one thing particular in regards to the space.
The trail takes you on a loop across the village, over their babbling river and previous rolling hills. Stops alongside the way in which 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 standard 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. Principally Austrian Mac n Cheese! I imply, how may that be dangerous? 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 reside in farmhouses which have been transformed into residing areas for prolonged households, there’s loads of streamlined, fashionable structure dotting this historic village as properly.
You’ll discover fashionable structure in locations like Temple 74, a modern and trendy award-winning condominium complicated, that marries the standard small shingle facade with a minimal but luxurious inside.
And within the middle of city stands the Neighborhood Corridor of Mellau, the place the Propel Convention came about. Mild-colored spruce and floor-to-ceiling home windows make this area the proper place to attend a convention, the place you’re feeling without delay sheltered and related with nature.
Whereas in Mellau, make sure to try the Mellaubahn Cable Automobile, 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 like the identify sounds, is a mellow and excellent spot to unplug your mind and simply get pleasure from nature as it’s meant 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, try Kirsten Alana’s picture put up 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 – 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 avenue 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 identical market sq. at evening!
As soon as midday comes round, the town streets fill with residents on their lunch break, and you’ll see what I’d 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 pictures in every scenic spot.
When visiting a Medieval city, it’s necessary 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 she or he 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 declaring historic landmarks.
We discovered about Rely Hugo I, who established the city and constructed Schattenburg (Shadow Fort) in 1265, which nonetheless stands immediately and serves as a museum that you may tour digitally right here (or in particular person, in case you are, , there).
Although Feldkirch appears idyllic immediately, it does have a gritty historical past. The final witch trial was held right here in 1649, the place the church discovered a girl 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 yr 500, which is without doubt one of the most recognizable icons of Feldkirch. Katzenturm, or “Cats Tower”, acquired its identify for as soon as housing cannons that includes the form of a cat, for some cause. As you’ll be able to think about, I used to be sorely dissatisfied that the tower wasn’t stuffed with precise cats.
Katzenturm additionally has one of many greatest 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 residing 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 classes in Feldkirch have been held on theMontforthaus Feldkirch, a form of space-age convention middle that even gained a sustainability award in 2017. I think about this has one thing to do with their beautiful 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 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 completely different elements 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 gained’t stand for anyplace that isn’t merely lovable.
Bregenz is most identified for its large 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 gives 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 guts 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 will get a drink over the water!
Alongside the shore, you’ll be able to 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’ll be able to 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 greatest 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 illustration, a large mechanical (terrifying) clown head that moved all through the manufacturing of Rigoletto, to three large 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 monumental and costly the present runs July-August for 2 successive years.
Although the exhibits 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! 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 many charming architectural options.
Alongside our self-guided strolling tour, we strolled throughout an previous medieval wall the place you might see Deuring schlössle, which I used to be satisfied was a fortress 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 undoubtedly probably the most noticeable landmarks in previous city, and undoubtedly provides a fairy story essence to the town!
Probably the most weirdly lovable issues we noticed was a water characteristic 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 assume that’s what we name “Artwork“!
Facet 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 little bit extra up to date, try 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 can 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 seemed like what I think about you’d hear earlier than being murdered, a large projection of a person enjoying the violin with a snail using backwards and forwards on his bow, and a complete flooring that was empty aside from what appeared to be quiet elevator music.
Did I feel 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 displays 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 practice 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 count on from all over the place in Vorarlberg.
Whereas in Dornbirn I stayed within the beautiful boutique Resort Katharinenhof COMFORT, positioned 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 previous films and simply keep in Austria without end!
The principle star of Dornbirn, as we now have 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 Crimson 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 immediately it’s a restaurant serving conventional Austrian meals, and an ice cream parlor!
Probably the most thrilling issues to do in Dornbirn is to take the Karren Cable Automobile as much as the highest of Karren Mountain, the place you get sweeping views of Dornbirn and Bregenz on Lake Constance.
On the prime, you’ll be able to stroll onto an overlook with a see-through steel grate, providing you with a glimpse down 3,202 ft under (eek!).
Although this is probably not for the faint of coronary heart, there are additionally loads of mountaineering trails and even a panoramic restaurant on the highest of the mountain.
Mountain climbing Karren Mountain is an enormous 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’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 whole journey is a 3.4-mile loop for those who’re feeling athletic – or simply take within the beautiful views from the cable automobile!
Exploring Dornbirn is an efficient alternative to attempt 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 nearly 100-year historical past in Dornbirn, and the comfortable picket decor and hearty Austrian dishes replicate 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 stated “as a result of it does!”. I assume it’s to steadiness the richness of the cheese with a pop of sweetness. It provides 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 in addition Lia! Simply kidding, she was a distant speaker this yr and did an unimaginable job.
I used to be fortunate sufficient to satisfy 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 whenever you carry 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 strategies. We acquired into some actually horny stuff, like Search Engine Optimization and Lengthy-Time period Model Partnerships and Passive Revenue Methods – that final one was Lia’s discuss.
Oh, by the way in which~ for those who’re questioning how on earth journey blogs make cash, we’ve acquired an entire 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 Assets & Journey Guides
Contemplating a visit to Vorarlberg now that you simply’ve seen how totally beautiful it’s? Or simply cravingkäsespätzle? There are a bunch of incredible weblog posts revealed by the individuals within the Propel Journey Convention! Listed here are a few of my favourite assets that may enable 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 pictures make you wish 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 whole 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, dangerous jokes, and implications thatkäsespätzle is Austria’s solely meals are 100% my very own and completely not their fault.