Bregenz & Vorarlberg Sightseeing Guide
The tiny province in the very West of Austria is the only region in the country with an Alemannic population. This makes their accent (among other things) barely understandable to the rest of the country. An Austrian cartoonist once said that the people of Vorarlberg unite the bad habits of Austrians, Swabians and Swiss.
However, Vorarlberg has a good reputation for its dramatic mountain scenery, tidy cities and access to Europe′s biggest lake, the beautiful Bodensee or Lake Constance. Bregenz, the capital of Vorarlberg, is a very historical place. The counts of the house of Uldarchinger shaped the city throughout the Middle Ages and many buildings from this period are still preserved.
It became part of the Habsburg′s rapidly growing portfolio of territorial real estate possessions around 1500. Many visitors of Austria consider Vorarlberg the province with the most dramatic and most scenic landscape.
Top-10: Best Attractions of Vorarlberg
1.) Hohenems: Medieval Town with Jewish Heritage
2.) Lake Constance or Bodensee: Cruise recommended
3.) Brgenz Town Centre: The Capital of Vorarlberg
4.) Arlberg Area: Skiing Paradise, good for hiking in summer
5.) Montafon area, Schruns-Tschagunns & Silvretta Reservoir
6.) Bregenzerwald Forest
7.) Kleinwalsertal Valley
8.) Schwarzenberg: Quintessential Bregenzerwald Village
9.) Bregenz Seebühne and Festival
10.) Modern architecture - Vorarlberg is known for it!
More Scenery than Cities
Bregenz is a market town with a population of around 27,000. In terms of sightseeing, it offers a range of nice medieval and early modern buildings. The Martinsturm Tower has a Roman core, there is the Gothic Church of St. Gall and a variety of smaller buildings. Bregenz also makes a good base for excursions to the Bregenzer Wald Forest, which is said to be among the most scenic in Austria. The centre of the forest is Bezau. There is also a small monastery nearby.
A short panorama view on some mountains in Vorarlberg near Bregenz gives an idea of how high these things really are.
In the summer, the Bregenz Festival is organised - a festival of classical music and opera, performed on a stage that is built directly on the surface of Lake Bodensee. It is famous for its extravagant stage settings and the beauty of the scenery with the lake and mountains framing the performance.
For a day-trip from Bregenz, try to get to the historic towns of Feldkirch, Dornbirn or Hohenems, Lustenau, Bludenz, Schrunz-Tschagguns in the Montafon area with the Silvretta Hochalpenstraße or the village of Schwarzenberg. Very popular with domestic tourists is Mittelberg im Kleinwalsertal (note also the Großes Walsertal). The surroundings of Bregenz towards Mount Arlberg offer some of Austria's best slopes for skiing with famous ski resort communities such as Klösterle, Lech, Zürs or Stuben. See also my list of communities in Vorarlberg and the Bregenz Webcams, as well as my article on festivals and events of Vorarlberg. Note also my advice on "Vorarlberg with Children".
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