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Vorarlberg - quiet Austria

caliroan

10+ Posts
Vorarlberg - "beyond Arlberg" - a mountainous, prosperous, fascinating part of this beautiful country.

We visit because my brother moved there with his Austrian wife. You should visit because it's quiet, scenic, and relatively unexplored, at least by Yanks and Canadians.

This is the westernmost state of Austria, bordering Germany, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein. Vorarlberg is famous for skiing. Some of the best in the world. Lech, Zurs etc attract global celebrities and royalty in season.

We don't ski. We go in the summer, when many of the ski resorts offer lift rides to their highest peaks, where Alpine restaurants serve schnitzel and beer while you soak in the incredible views.

This area is called "Golm"
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The views are mindboggling. We usually take the lift to the top and then walk down a few km to catch the "alpine coaster."
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The "alpine coaster"is 5km long! Truly a thrilling ride. There's also a zipline for the even more adventurous.
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There are many mid-size cities in Vorarlberg, all of them with their charms and worth visiting.

A bit off the beaten path is Schruns, with the beautiful church of St Jodok. The quaint shopping district has numerous excellent cafes and shops selling authentic Austrian clothing which has become incredibly popular. It's a lovely place to stroll and relax.
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There is a paved path along much of the Litz River in Schruns - great for walking or biking.
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My brother and his family live in Nuziders, which is so small there's not even a cafe.

Luckily it's an easy walk to nearby Bludenz, which has a lively market on Saturday. The cheeses and cured meats are amazing, many of them produced in neighboring Tyrol and even in Sudtirol, in nearby Northern Italy. These markets almost always offer local honey, soaps, and candles that make for great souvenirs.
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The capital of Vorarlberg is Bregenz, which sits on Lake Constance and offers easy boat rides to Lindau and other parts of Germany. It's also home of a famous opera festival, with lavish sets right on the lake. If you've seen the Bond film "Quantum of Solace" - the sequence at the opera was filmed in Bregenz on the set of "Aida."
This picture is from "Turandot" produced in 2015/16.
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Feldkirch, Dornbirn and Rankweil are also worth your time. Most of these towns have a medieval centre that is typically pedestrian only. Great shops and restaurants. It is not unusual to find buildings that date to the 15th Century (or earlier)
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In Feldkirch, visit the Schattenburg Castle and eat at the excellent restaurant which features what may be the biggest weinerschnitzel in the world.
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Another famous restaurant - well off the beaten path - is Fischteich in Au - where you can catch and kill your own fish, which the kitchen then grills up. Talk about putting you in touch with the source of your meal. My German is not good but I'm told the sign urges you to kill the fish with a swift and humane strike using the stick provided. (They will also sell you fish you do not have to kill yourself, which is the option we choose.)
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Finally, it's a local spot, not on the tourist radar at all - but the public pool complex in Nenzing is simply fantastic. We always carve out time to loll by the pool for an entire day. There are three additional pools not shown in this picture, including a diving pool with 1, 3, and 5 meter platforms.
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The people and communities in Vorarlberg have a very special connection to the beautiful part of the world they call home. They take great care of the environment and still celebrate many occasions tied to the rhythms of the seasons. Vienna, Salzburg and Innsbruck are wonderful, but for me, Vorarlberg is what comes to mind when I think of Austria.
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