In the Summer, there are around 2,000 km/1,242 miles of signposted, marked, hiking and bike trails in the Bregenzerwald and Vorarlberg region. Vorarlberg (also encompasses Bregenzerwald) boasts over 5,600 km/3,479 miles of newly marked trails, a distance equal from the North Cape down to Egypt and less than New York City to Los Angeles. Even Forrest Gump would have a hard time running that distance.
Every little Bregenzerwald village has amazing “I” (Information) Tourist Offices (Tourismus) stocked with enough brochures to give you a hernia. Well-marked trails and bicycle paths (both level and mountain bike trails), what to see and do, bus schedules, free internet, etc.
There are 22 completely charming villages/towns in this region and everyone is entitled to a free guest card with a three-night stay. Once again, the guest card entitles you to the following:
– Free use of all the mountain chair lifts
– Free admission to the outdoor swimming pools in Au, Bezau, Egg, Hittisau, Mellau, Schoppernau and Schwarzenberg (villages scatter throughout this region)
– Free use of all Bregenzerwald public bus lines
Do you have any idea what a savings this is when buses and lifts are free? An incredible amount of money. For example, an average round trip lift costs around 10.80 Euro and a round trip bus is 6 Euros. Spread over 10 days, the cost would have been (approximately) 60 Euros ($82 U.S.) for bus/person and 100 Euros ($138 U.S.) for lifts/person. That’s an impressive savings. Many other areas in Austria and Switzerland have also started including these freebies to draw more Summer business.
In the Winter, the bus and chairlift/gondola systems are only included if you purchase a ski pass, typical of all ski areas.
Where to stay? We loved Au, Austria in the Bregenzerwald. It was situated almost directly in the middle of the 22 villages which made it geographically desirable on the bus routes. It was never too far from one end of the valley to the other. Bregenz at one end and Lech at the other.
There are hotels and pensions ranging from Five stars down to no stars. Choosing a hotel/pension is usually the second most agonizing part of planning a trip for me. Where to stay! Will the pictures of the room live up to the brochure/website? How close is it to transportation? What will the food be like? The hotel states “known for our cuisine” but is that really true? Hotel Tannahof was perfect. A very large room, and excellent cuisine but you’ll have to make your own agonizing decisions unless the answers to these questions aren’t important to you.
It’s never too soon to start thinking about next summer and I say…go for it…
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