The newest episode of our series on microadventures takes us to Vorarlberg, the westernmost state of Austria. We introduce you to six little adventures in the ‘Ländle’ that help you break out of everyday life for a short time: from architecture, art, and culture to culinary journeys of discovery, to exciting nature experiences, everything is included!
Vorarlberg Architecture Trails
Vorarlberg is not only known for its cheese, but also for its architecture: this is where contemporary architecture meets traditional buildings, wood meets concrete, art meets nature. In the 1960s, the “Vorarlberger Baukünstler” formed and aimed to establish modern architecture in the state – and they did! It’s not just about large buildings such as the Kunsthaus Bregenz by Swiss architect Peter Zumthor, which almost looks like a light fixture with its facade made of glass panels, but also private houses that stand out due to their eye-catching designs. Public buildings or exhibition halls can be seen from the inside during opening hours, but this is of course not possible with private houses – so please don’t knock on the doors and ask to be admitted! Nevertheless, they are also worth a visit to be marveled at from the outside. There are several architectural walking routes that highlight different topics and provide interesting background information about the buildings.
Speed-Hiking up to the ‘Karren’ in Record Time
This microadventure in Vorarlberg is a sporty one! Anyone in Dornbirn or nearby probably already knows it – the Karren, a mountain that can be reached by cable car and offers a spectacular panoramic view. You can also hike up to the summit, and if you have sporting ambitions, you can measure your time free of charge. Get your starting ticket from the machine installed at the valley station and scan it again when you reach the mountain station, where you will receive an official receipt for your time. Don’t be disappointed if you are not that fast, after all, it’s a good 500 meters difference in altitude! But maybe you fancy a spring challenge that will make you fit in no time: walk or run this path regularly, like every weekend, and compare your times. A sneaky tip: you can also go up by cable car and only measure your time downhill 😉. From above you can expect a great view of Dornbirn, and during the so-called romantic opening hours, the cable car runs until midnight in summer so you can enjoy the view of the illuminated city at night!
Visit an Extraordinary Museum – The Women’s Museum in Hittisau
While writing this article, the situation concerning Corona is quite relaxed in Vorarlberg and museums as well as restaurants and cafés are open again. But as we have seen in the past year, the situation can change quickly. In any case, it never hurts to visit some amazing museums – do it while you can! There are many exciting museums and exhibition halls in the country, which thematically range from modern art to nature and technology to rural life. How about, for example, a trip to Hittisau to the first and only women’s museum in Austria? Exciting exhibitions offer a new perspective on areas of life that seldom gain public attention, such as the current exhibition “birth culture. giving birth and being born”. The building is also – how could it be otherwise – architecturally particularly interesting. Planned by cukrowicz.nachbaur architects, it has received several awards since its completion in 2000. So let’s go to Hittisau!
Cheese, Cheese, and Cheese Again
Those who say Vorarlberg also often say Vorarlberg mountain cheese. It is particularly intense and thus ideal for ‘Kasknöpfle’ (a kind of spaetzle with cheese), fondue or, quite simply, for a great cheese sandwich. But there are many other types of cheese that Vorarlbergers have mastered – the state is an Eldorado for cheese fans! If you really want to eat your way through, you should visit the KäseStrasse (Cheese Route) in the Bregenzerwald, where you can find dairy after dairy. In the cheese cellar of the Genusswelt in Lingenau you can marvel at the ripening cheese and stock up on all kinds of it: mountain cheese, alpine cheese, brewery cheese and many more in different stages of maturity and refined in different ways. Or you can visit tiny alpine dairies, discover small farm shops or stop at a ‘KäseWirt’, restaurants or pubs offering special cheese dishes, on a hike!
Learn Survival Techniques and How Not to Die in the Wild
For most people, survival training means having to leave their comfort zone, so this might not just be a microadventure but a real one! Have you ever made a fire yourself, without matches or a lighter? Do you know which plants or animals you could eat in an emergency? And what would you do if you unexpectedly had to spend the night in the wild? You can learn this and a lot more in various survival courses – they range from individual workshops to courses lasting several days, in which you are only equipped with the bare essentials and learn how not to die outdoors 😉. But there are also exciting options for those who are not that die-hard – now that it’s slowly getting warmer, you could, for example, attend a one-day course with Samuel Wüthrich from Survival Vorarlberg. There you will learn the basics in order not to be eaten by wild animals immediately … at least that’s the plan!
Try to Understand and Speak Vorarlberg’s Dialects
Have you moved to Vorarlberg and have trouble understanding the so-called ‘Gsiberger’ (people from Vorarlberg)? Or would you like to go there and know a few typical words and expressions? Then learn Vorarlberg’s dialects or at least try to – they are not easy to understand, even for German natives who have not been born or raised in Vorarlberg! This is because the dialects spoken there are of Allemanic descent, whereas the others used in the rest of Austria are Bavarian dialects. It might be almost impossible to learn Vorarlbergian without learning German first though … Here you can find a list of words and expressions translated to English so you can at least throw in one or a few of these in a conversation – the people in Vorarlberg will love it!
We hope you have enjoyed our tips for Vorarlberg and are inspired for your next microadventures!