This year we decided to do hiking holidays with our kids in Bregenzerwald, Vorarlberg in Austria. There are plenty of images which I can conjure when I think of Austria. Nearly all of them are skiing related with the exception watching the footsteps of the legendary von Trapp family. … “Do Re Mi” – but with a young kids we were recently given a unique opportunity to explore the Bregenzerwald in Vorarlberg Region during the summer and had a fantastic time!
In the west of Austria is located the Vorarlberg region. One of the first things which is apparent when you speak to the locals you can instantly see how proud they are of the region’s architecture & design. It reminded me of Copenhagen with it many striking timber construction. Their buildings are simple, traditional and in tune in with nature.
The other thing which you notice, is the lack of British or American tourist. At the hotel breakfast bar we found lots of Germans, Dutch and a few French tourists. I’m certainly not complaining about, it is just proof that we were discovering a region which was not dominated by fellow Brits! Always a bonus.
DAY 1 – ARRIVING TO ZURICH AND VISITING BREGENZ
After arriving in Zurich, it only took us about 1hr30 to get Bregenz the capital of Vorarlberg region.
We’d just missed the Bregenz Festival which was apparently an incredible performing arts festival held every July and August. Each year they build the world’s largest floating stage right on Lake Constance. They were just de-rigging it, but even so it had the WOW factor for our children.
After a quick lunch, we then took a cable way up to Pfänder mountain, where we were treated to the magnificent view across the whole of Lake Constance. At the top, we discovered more activities than we could actually fit into our 1/2 day visit. Apparently if the weather permits, from the top you can see the peaks of 240 mountains belonging to the Alps.Kids immediately found great playground (which was going to be a common feature of most Austrian summits). Our kids also loved walking around an Alpine Wildlife Park too. There was great selection of pygmy goats, rabbits, deers, alpine ibex and wild boars. Plan at least half an hour for taking a walk around it. After returning down to the town, we strolled down through the promenade and docks of Bregenz. The footpath makes a perfect spot for strolling and enjoying the breeze from the lake. Beautiful spot to stop and enjoy the Lake Constance as it is one of the most beautiful lakes in the world.
WHERE TO STAY?
In the evening, we then drove deep into the Bregenzerwald region and checked into the Alpen Hotel Post www.alpenhotel-post.com/en We highly recommend this hotel as it is very family focused. There are several toy station in the reception and dining area, so our kids could freely play while we were finishing our meals. Meals are delivered at extremely high standard and there is kids menu available too. Additionally there is indoor play room, outdoor playground, tricycles, swings, etc. Apartments are spacious with 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and living room which was perfect setup for our family of 4.
DAY 2 – DIEDAMSKOPF CABLE CAR
The next morning and fuelled by a great Austrian breakfast we decided to discover the area by renting the e-bikes. We were lucky enough that our hotel was providing rental option (Simplon bikes which use newest technology and are original from Vorarlberg). However there are several points within the Bregenzerwald. You can easily rent bikes hourly or up to 24hours. You can find more information here.
After picking up our e-bikes and trailers, we decided to take a scenic route, from Au to Schoppernau. The cycle path runs through meadows, fields along the banks of Bregenzerach river. We passed as well endless amount of wooden huts, cows, sheeps and goats that grazed on the hills. It was around 3km, but with e-bikes and trailers the journey was very pleasant. We then left our bikes to catch cable car from Diedamskopf cable station and got to the top to admire the breathtaking views. We had one of the most pleasant weathers we could wish for. It was cold and cloudy at the bottom, so as soon as we jumped into the cable car, we quickly were above the clouds. It was one of the most incredible views we have seen during our entire trip. While on the top, there are several options for short or longer hikes. There is a carriage of mountain bikes as far as middle station available too if you feel more adventures and you want to bike down.
We decided to do the short hike to the top of Platearundweg to admire the spectacular panorama. We then took the cable car back down to the middle station where we found another really impressive playground and some stunning views. If you are feeling for more adventures, you could do a short hike down to the Alpe Unterdiedams (around 25minutes walk from the middle station). This area is full of great family spots. You could do a short tour around the Nature Experience at Holdamoos, visit typical regional playground in Schoppernau or outdoor swimming pool in Au (just make sure to have a change as cards are often not accepted).
You can receive your very own Guest Card, if you decide to stay at least 3 nights in the Bregenzerwald. It is valid from the day of your arrival until the day of your departure. You just need to complete the registration form at your accommodation. The card allows you to use public buses, cable cards and swimming pools. Find more information here
DAY 3 – WALDERBAHNLE STEAM TRAIN
The following day we took Wälderbähnle which is a historical steam train that runs between Schwarzenberg and Bezau stations.The train puffed away as it pulled through the very scenic valley & was surely very nostalgic for anyone who previously rode one of these train or a great experience of first timers like ourselves. It was definitely most relaxing activity we did while travelling in Bregenzerwald with kids. The train is extremely popular attraction, so it might be worth to purchase the tickets in advance.
It was perfect time to grab some lunch, so we decided to head to Cafe-Restaurant Katrina
Then it was time to drive to our next location which was village Brand and check-in to the Sporthotel Beck.
To read PART TWO of this trip where we visited Brandnertal region, please follow this link.
Check as well our other posts, like ‘5 Kids friendly hikes around Pyrenees Orientales’ and ‘Iceland with toddlers in campervan’
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