Inspiring, vibrant and open to the world: that is the feel of life in Vorarlberg. Supremely located in Austria’s very west, between Lake Constance and the high alps at up to 3,000 metres, Vorarlberg shares borders with Germany, Switzerland and the principality of Liechtenstein.
Vorarlberg - excursions
If you have ever taken a ride on a ski lift or cable car, anywhere in the world, you will probably have come across a product made in Vorarlberg. Firstly, Vorarlberg is a pioneer of alpine skiing, and secondly, Doppelmayr, the world market leader in ropeway construction, is headquartered here. Though small in size, Vorarlberg is an economic powerhouse and home to companies such as Wolford (bodywear), Rauch and Pfanner fruit-juice manufacturers, Blum GmbH (fittings), Alpla (plastic packagings) and Zumtobel (light design). Vorarlberg is famous also for innovative architecture and crafts, original festivals, first-rate skiing resorts and excellent hospitality.
“Ever so beautiful“. That is how Vorarlberg has been described by its 383,000 inhabitants and visitors alike. The quality of living and the recreational amenities are superb: Vorarlberg boasts great scenic diversity within a relatively small area. From the beautifully landscaped shores of Lake Constance it is just an hour’s drive to the towering mountain peaks. Along the way, verdant meadows, forests and lovely mountain vistas catch the eye. Many sites around the international Lake Constance in Germany and in Switzerland are simply waiting to be discovered. From the Vorarlberg capital of Bregenz, vessels and cruise boats head for the major destinations.
Vorarlberg owes its beauty largely to its building culture. In the towns and villages, the blend of traditional and modern architecture is simply striking. Timber has been favoured as a building material since bygone times and used as cladding for old as well as many new buildings. Glass, concrete and uncluttered lines span a bridge to contemporary design. Vorarlberg’s architects possess a genuine mastery when it comes to fitting new buildings into existing surroundings. Vorarlberg is also a trailblazer of sustainable construction and a sparing use of natural resources.
Artisanry is a happy marriage of ancient craftsmanship and modern design. In many hotels and restaurants, timber furniture, wool and loden fabrics, and stone or leather-designed objects, all regionally manufactured, create a most pleasant ambience.
All year round, you can listen to music of all styles being played in Vorarlberg. Each summer, the floating stage on Lake Constance forms the spectacular backdrop for great opera performed open air at the Bregenz Festival, the largest of its kind. The star-studded concerts at the Schubertiade festival pay tribute to the music of Franz Schubert and his contemporaries. Large and small stages all over the country host jazz, pop and modern folk music events.
Museums and exhibition halls open new horizons. Kunsthaus Bregenz exhibits contemporary art. The building itself, a cube-like structure of glass, is a must-see and worth a visit. It was designed by the renowned Swiss architect Peter Zumthor. Another Zumthor-designed building stands in the Bregenzerwald: the Werkraum building, a show-case of modern crafts. Just a stone’s throw away from Kunsthaus Bregenz, the eye-catching façade of the vorarlberg museum is adorned by more than 16,000 flowers which, in fact, are imprints of PET bottles. The exhibitions hosted in the museum are dedicated to this particular region, its past and present. A special tip is the viewing room up on the 4th floor. Through floor-to-ceiling windows you can marvel at what is going on at Lake Constance. inatura, the interactive nature museum with a science centre, and the Rolls Royce museum, both in Dornbirn, as well as the Jewish Museum in Hohenems all merit a visit.
Whether you are staying at a hotel, guesthouse or holiday apartment: attentive hosts create a cosy feel of home. Most businesses are family-run, often for many generations. In the inns and restaurants, the chefs expertly treat their guests to fresh seasonal fare. Cheese, mainly the spicy mountain cheese, is Vorarlberg’s best-known speciality. At dairy farms you can take a hands-on look at how milk is made into cheese.
Spoilt for choice
Visitors keen on physical activity are spoilt for choice, all year round. There are myriads of hiking trails in wonderful natural scenery that take you to panoramic lookouts. If you are in a more leisurely vein, you can always take a cable-car up to a summit. Cyclists and mountain bikers will find plenty of opportunities to explore the valleys and the mountains. And in winter, skiers happily take to the slopes.
Six different holiday regions invite visitors for an inspiring stay:
- The Bodensee-Vorarlberg region, with Bregenz, Dornbirn, Hohenems and Feldkirch as major towns.
- The Bregenzerwald with its 22 picture-pretty villages and the Bregenzerwald Cheese Route, known for its interesting architecture and innovative crafts.
- Alpenregion Vorarlberg featuring the Brandnertal and Klostertal valleys, the Grosses Walsertal biosphere park and Alpenstadt Bludenz, which is highly popular among families.
- The Kleinwalsertal, a high-alpine valley that is lined by mountains, an ideal place to re-energize in the great outdoors.
- The Montafon with Schruns as the main village, a rallying point for hikers and mountain bikers in summer, where skiers and freeriders flock to the slopes and runs in winter.
- Lech-Zürs am Arlberg, the cradle of alpine skiing and one of the most legendary ski resorts of the world. In summer, you can hike across blooming pastures and meadows and enjoy utter peace and tranquillity.
Further information: www.vorarlberg.travel