The Bregenzerwald (Bregenz Forest) is a region in the far west of Austria. It is known not only for its magnificent mountain landscape and delicious cheese, but also for its modern architecture and sophisticated craftsmanship. While walking through small villages, you will see the beautiful form and materials used in the buildings in the region. Here, old and new come together. What better way to explore the region’s wonderful buildings than on the Architecture Trail?
The Austrian province of Vorarlberg is considered a model region in terms of architecture and craftsmanship. In the 1960s a group of young architects got together to spread their idea of simple, resource-saving and affordable buildings. Since then, many public buildings and private houses in Vorarlberg have been thoughtfully planned or modernised. Wood, the regional building material, as well as clear design are defining features of the local architecture. The people of Vorarlberg, and in particular the Bregenzerwald, are proud of their wood.
This Collection brings you closer to both the nature and the architecture of this region. Over 4 days and a total of 32 miles (52 km), you will hike from Hittisau to Lingenau, Schwarzenberg, Bezau, and finally to Au. The respective stages are not particularly long - leaving you plenty of time to enjoy the stops en route, such as museums, restaurants and vantage points. With 3,600 feet (1,100 m) of altitude difference. At the end of each stage, you spend the night in a typical Bregenzerwald village where tradition and modernity meet. Despite being a rural region, you will find excellent restaurants and hotels.
The starting point in Hittisau can be reached from Bregenz with bus 25 or from Dornbirn with bus 41. From the endpoint in Au/Argeneau, you can take the bus 40 to Dornbirn. This makes it easy to enjoy Bregenzerwald’s wonderful landscapes with public transport. You can easily plan your arrival and departure here: fahrplan.vmobil.at.
Your varied long-distance hike starts in Hittisau. If you want to arrive the day before, an overnight stay in one of the excellent hotels in Hittisau, such as the Hotel Krone or the Romantikhotel Das Schiff, is recommended. You can make the first stop on this stage in the Hittisau Women's Museum. It is the only one of its kind in Austria and is located in an interesting, wood-clad building.Not far from the women's museum and the church is another excellent example of Vorarlberg architecture: the so-called tower house is a private single-family house that nestles narrowly and high on the slope. Right in the center of Hittisau you will discover centuries-old houses clad in wooden shingles and striking buildings such as the charity house, which houses a world shop.From the village center, head west, where you walk through the romantic Engenlochschlucht. The path leads over a suspension bridge to the other bank of the Bolgenach and to the next architectural highlight in this area, the loft in the barn. After crossing Bolgenach again, you climb to Rotenberg. On the forest educational trail you hike back down to the valley and reach the tranquil Lingenau, your destination today. In Lingenau you will find a good selection of restaurants and accommodation.
After a relaxing night you start sleeping well from Lingenau to the southeast. You will pass the woods pharmacy, which is located in a clearly structured building by Baumschlager Eberle, one of the best-known architecture firms in Austria. After just a few meters you will meet the striking St. Anna chapel with its pointed roof and artistic altar. At the chapel, turn left and you will come to the natural nature trail. You walk over wooden walkways and steps through this Vorarlberg natural monument, which is characterized by surreal, petrified plants.On a wire rope bridge you cross the rushing Subersach and continue on to Egg. There are also many architectural gems to discover in this pretty place: my tour takes you to the social center Egg, a certified passive house with a clear design language. Right next to it is the kindergarten, the upper floor of which seems to float above the glazed ground floor. Just a few steps further you walk past the high school, which stands out due to its dark facade panels and continuous window strips.From the center of Eggs, follow the Steinbuch forest path and stock up on Vorarlberg delicacies in the modern Metzler farm shop. Then the path runs along the road to Schwarzenberg. Before you move into today's quarters, a visit to the Angelika Kauffmann Museum on the outskirts is worthwhile.
Get recommendations on the best single tracks, peaks, & plenty of other exciting outdoor places.
This stage is the longest of the architectural path through the Bregenzerwald and will reward you with fantastic views. From Schwarzenberg you hike through the Blosarwold to the banks of the Bregenz Ach. Past the equalization basin, you will go to Andelsbuch, where you can visit the workroom house of Swiss architect Peter Zumthor, which opened in 2013. The hall-like building serves as an exhibition space, meeting place and showcase for the sophisticated craft culture of the Bregenzerwald.You then climb up along the Andelsbuch mountain railway to the picturesque Vordere Niedere Alpe. Once there, you can enjoy a fantastic view and a tasty lunch at the Berggasthof Niedere. Just a few meters from the inn you will find the wooden Theodul chapel, a modern building with a unique interior.The architecture path leads you to the mountain station Baumgarten on promising alpine paths and you take the cable car down to the valley. You can find more information about the timetables at seilbahn-bezau.at. From the valley station you hike into the center of Bezau. At Hotel Post you can let yourself be pampered in the spa and spend the night in one of the modern rooms.
After a hearty breakfast in Bezau you hike through the forest to the Känzele viewpoint. From the upper edge of the vertically sloping stone wall you can enjoy a wonderful view of Bezau and the surrounding area. Back in the valley you come to the banks of the Bizauer Bach and follow its course to Bizau. In this small village you will also find unusual and well thought-out buildings such as the elementary school, the town hall and some private houses.From Bizau it goes south and you walk along the curved barefoot path along the stream Ulve. You can take a break at the listed Wendelink chapel or walk a few meters further to the Berggasthof Kanisfluh. The rustic inn, covered with wooden shingles, spoils you with regional delicacies and you can put your feet up on the sun terrace.The route zigzags you down into the Bregenzer Ach valley and stroll along the crystal-clear water to Au. The architecture path through the Bregenzerwald ends here - you can take the bus to Bregenz or Dornbirn or spend another night in the idyllic location. You can find more information about the timetables at au-schoppernau.at/de/info/anreise/anreise-mit-dem-bus.