Vorarlberg

Overview

Introduction

Vorarlberg is Austria's westernmost province (bordering on Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Germany and 280 mi/450 km west of Vienna) and is often overlooked by travelers.

Narrow valleys mark the landscape: Passes are often closed in winter, and spring avalanches are notorious. The best introduction to the area is a drive from the slopes of the Arlberg down through the sweeping valley below to Feldkirche (you can even pop on over to Liechtenstein) and then up to Bregenz, the capital.

Bregenz, on Lake Constance (Bodensee), offers the pleasures of both a lakeside and a mountain resort (swimming, boat tours, hiking, skiing). Sights to see include a Zeppelin museum that showcases a replica of the interior of the infamous Hindenburg zeppelin, and Mainau, a flower island.

You can also visit Martinsturm (St. Martin's tower) and its church, built in 1599 and located at the center of the city. Then, stroll down the lakeside promenade to the port. If you visit in July or August, take part in the Bregenz Festival—operas and classical music performed on a floating stage on the edge of Lake Constance.

Hohenems (to the south) also has a Renaissance palace. Nearby is the Bregenzwald, a scenic area of little traditional villages and rolling hills. Farther south is Feldkirch, where the 12th-century Schattenburg castle and museum resides. The resorts of Zurs and Lech provide the area's best skiing.

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