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Vorarlberg | Adventure Travel Guide

Looking for a summery mountain destination? You'll love the Austrian region of Vorarlberg.

If you’re all about hiking, mountain biking, or simply looking at cool architecture; you’re going to love what Vorarlberg has to offer as a summer destination. Located at the westernmost point of Austria, the region of Vorarlberg borders the countries of Germany, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein. It also shares a border with the Austrian state of Tirol.

Vorarlberg has a very different vibe to other parts of Austria. For example, Vorarlberg is unique in that it’s the only state in Austria where the dialect is not German; with locals instead opting to use an Alemannic dialect. Vorarlberg is Austria’s second smallest region by size, but what it lacks in square kilometre quantity it more than makes up for with the sheer amount of adventure on offer here.

Why Go?

Photo via. Brandnertal Vorarlberg.

Right, first and foremost. Vorarlberg is almost completely mountainous. Why is this a good reason to go? Well, we love mountains. You love mountains. Everyone loves mountains.  Mountains are fun. Mountains are awesome. Mountains. Mountains. Mountains. More nice mountains here than you’ll know what to do with. Mountains. Fans of epic scenery and getting active in the upper echelons of big Alpine hills will lap up every second of their time spent in this beautiful Austrian region. Oh, and we’d be remiss if we failed to mention the brilliant and beautifully blue Bodensee (aka Lake Constance).

Whether you’re hitting Lech Zürs am Arlberg, Brandnertal, Bregenzerwald or some other nice corner of Vorarlberg; this rad little pocket of the world is bound to steal your heart with its jaw-dropping nature and postcard-perfect layout.

Take the tucked away magnificence of the Kesselfall waterfall near Brandnertal, for example. It’s hidden in the woods like some sort of HQ for Robin Hood and is so pretty, when you find it, that you’ll end up pinching yourself just to make sure you haven’t drifted off into a Disney Pixar style dreamworld.

“There’s trails aplenty here for beginner, expert, and advanced mountain bikers…”

If looking at idyllic waterfalls sounds a bit too much like peace and quiet for you’re liking, you could always head to the Bikepark Brandnertal and really get your gnar on. There’s trails aplenty here for beginner, expert, and advanced mountain bikers and a wealthy reserve of adrenaline-injecting turns, jumps, and wooden wallrides primed and ready to be tapped.

Alternatively, why not check out the eye-popping bus stops on show in village Krumbach in the Bregenzerwald? Yes, we said bus stops. Bus. Stops. It’ll sound like a weird thing to get excited about but these bus stops are like no other bus stop you’ve seen before. Trust us. Designed by some world class architects from across the globe, including countries as far away as Japan, China, and Chile, these small artistic masterpieces will get you hyped on bus stops to an extent you didn’t think was possible. Our personal favourite is the bizarre Bränden bus stop by Sou Fujimoto.

Visitors to Bregenzerwald, and Vorarlberg in general, should make walking around the Baumgarten Panorama Trail an essential part of their travel itinerary. On a clear day up here, you can see for miles.

Photo: Jack Clayton.

Hikers taking in the sights and sounds of Vorarlberg absolutely need to take a stroll on up the Rote Wand to Lake Formarin (near Lech). It’s widely considered to be one of Austria’s most beautiful spots, and with good reason. On a blue sky day in summer, the lake reflects the area around it in a super lovely way. Cameras at the ready because one snap uploaded from here is sure to melt Instagram. Other potential hiking activities to do in Vorarlberg include the Natursprunge Trail in Brandnertal, and the culinary hiking tour in Bregenzerwald.

For more Instagram opps in the Lech Zürs part of Vorarlberg be sure to take a ride in the Rüfikopf cable car. The views of the mountains on the ride up, and the ride down for that matter, are something else.

One particularly cool thing that summer visitors to Vorarlberg should take note of is the region’s inclusive cards. If you stay for three nights or more in Bregenzerwald, for example, you’re entitled to a very useful Bregenzerwald Guest Card which gives you free (yes, free) access to the mountains via cable cars and buses. The card also gives you access to public outdoor swimming pools. It’s valid between the 1st of May and the 31st of October, and is included in the price of your accommodation. Take note. Similar deals are available throughout the region.

Where To Stay?

Photo via. Hotel der Berghof.

Of course picking a place to stay in Vorarlberg comes down, in large part, to what the main focus of your trip is going to be. If you’re all about shredding it on a mountain bike, for example, then you’re ideally going to want to be based somewhere where bike-shredding possibilities are literally sitting on the doorstep. Step forward: Hotel Dunza, which can be found by the finishing line for Bikepark Brandnertal.

Vorarlberg visitors who find themselves in Lech, and who want to treat themselves to a very tidy slice of luxury accommodation, might want check-in to the Hotel Der Berghof. The Hotel Der Berghof is situated perfectly for summery mountain adventures, and will make you feel like a regular VIP. It’s by no means the cheapest option on the market, but it is one of the nicest.

Another potential hotel option in Vorarlberg is the Hotel Engel. Situated in the heart of Mellau, in the Bregenzerwald, this three star accommodation is ideally located and well worth a look.

Where To Eat?

Photo via. Hotel Baren/Cafe Deli.

Restaurant Frööd and the dining room at Hotel Sarotla are two excellent foodie options if you wind up feeling peckish while exploring the Brandnertal area of Vorarlberg.

The Cafe Olympia in Lech serves an excellent risotto, as well as a wide and varied selection of other delicious meals. Be sure to stop for something to eat here if you’re passing through.

If you’re up and at it in the Bregenzerwald, and looking for tasty food in a cool environment, the Cafe Deli at the Hotel Baren is an absolute must. Their breakfast buffet, in particular, will have you all-set for a summer’s day in the Austrian mountains.

Where To Drink?

Alpe Rona in the Vorarlberg region of Austria. Photo: Riccarda Loretz.

The Eis Bar (Ice Bar) at the Hotel Tannbergerhof in Lech is one of the area’s most popular après-ski bars. Obviously, in summer you won’t be doing much skiing/après-skiing. But don’t despair, as the outside bar at the hotel is open throughout the summer making the terrace here the perfect place to watch the world go by with a drink in your hand. Especially if the sun is shining.

One highly thought of, and very Austrian place to have a beer in Bregenzerwald is the Jöslar in the village Andelsbuch. Amazing garden, nice ambience, and charming little shop; this is a great spot to quench your thirst.

If you’re in the Brandnertal area, and in need of some liquid refreshment, be sure to pay a visit to the Alpe Rona. Not only is this a really idyllic place to grab a drink, there’s also a cheese factory on-site where you can watch master cheesemakers craft their product.

For further information on the region, visit one of the following websites:

Vorarlberg, Bregenzerwald, Lech Zuers or Brandnertal

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