Mountain summer travel options in Montafon, Vorarlberg

I’m stuck. Somewhere in the Montafon, near the border with Switzerland. Not stuck by car, if that’s what you’re thinking. Thanks to the excellent public transport connections here, I don’t even need one. I’m stuck hooked into a rope, my feet resting directly on the rock on little treads. My guide says, “Let go, relax, sink backwards away from the rock, and just keep on climbing.” My intuition says, panting wildly, “What the hell is he talking about! Anything but that! Let’s get out of here! Let’s not get out of here! Aaah!” So actually, what I do is this … I take a deep breath, because the feeling of neither moving forward nor backward is not exactly pleasant. Very well. Forwards, because backwards everything looks even worse than forwards. A few metres ahead of me, a group of children whoops and screams, as if this were an amusement park and we were on a harmless roller coaster. They find it all completely normal and “fun” – this via ferrata along naked, slightly overhanging rock faces and once with a vertical, uphill climb. “It was level A to B+,” our climbing guide tells me – on a scale from A to E. So I take it the Röbi Gorge in Gargellen in the Montafon is well suited for beginners to moderately advanced climbers. As even I did it!

In between though, as a via ferrata novice, I admit to having had the jitters! But strength, focus and deep breathing helped me to master it all very well. Check this out.

Beim Einstieg in den Klettersteig in der Röbi-Schlucht nahe Gargellen ...

Entering the Röbi Gorge on our via ferrata climbing experience …

 

... sieht alles irgendwie noch easy cheesy aus, dienen die Seile und Karabiner mehr der Sicherung entlang eines dünn gewordenen Wanderpfades. Doch dann, wie Ihr hier seht, geht es (auch) direkt an der nackten Felswand entlang ...

… was all good to start with. But then, the trail lead along a sheer, mighty rock face …

 

... erfahrene Kletterer werden lachen und sagen, "Was hast Du denn erwartet?" Ich muss zugeben: Ich hab' mich einfach auf das Abenteuer Klettersteig eingelassen ...!

… and of course, you might say, “well what were you expecting from a via ferrata?” But anyway. The pride in having done it, and in having succeeded, remains 😀

 

Auch der komplett senkrechte Aufstieg kurz vor dem Schluss sah erst mal ein wenig furchterregend aus - war dann aber ganz ehrlich gesagt gar nicht mehr so schlimm!

It did look a bit crazy for doing this the first time!

 

Zeit zur Entspannung blieb auf alle Fälle. Die Wanderung zurück zur Basis, der Seilbahnstation in Gargellen, beschenkte uns mit diesen zauberhaften Bergpanorama.

But hey, the panorama on our way back to the valley floor did greet us with these amazing mountain vistas.

 

If peace and relaxation is rather what you are looking for, then I can recommend mountain yoga in the same place, Gargellen in the Montafon. Because of the light rain, however, our small group had to move into a closed room instead of doing outdoor yoga. The rooms was completely made of glass on three sides, though. So we were still able to enjoy the mountain panorama during the one-hour yoga session.

Yoga am Berg: Auch dieses Angebot findet direkt im Bergdorf Gargellen statt, auf rund 1.400 Metern Seehöhe.

Mountain yoga: Why not enjoy a typical yoga session at 1.400 metres above sea level?

 

Zur Stärkung im Anschluss, davor oder einfach zwischendurch kann ich das Café-Restaurant Ronna empfehlen: Hier gibt es diese wirklich guten Montafon-Burger, von denen Franziska und ich jeweils einen bestellt haben. Mahlzeit!

As for culinary pleasures, head over to Gasthof-Restaurant Ronna in Gargellen. They serve very tasty Montafon burgers here, which Franziska and I ordered in unison.

 

Climbing, mountain yoga, historic settlement trails: The so-called BergePLUS programme offers something to suit everyone’s tastes.

It’s really interesting how diverse a single valley or mountain region can be. The Montafon in Vorarlberg is also very diverse from a historical point of view, because “first the original Stone Age peoples settled here, thousands of years ago. Then came the Romans, who brought with them, among other things, Rhaeto-Romanic as a language and many other skills and building methods. And last but not least, the Welsh settled here, literally taking ‘any free space they could get’!” Monika Vonier, our hiking guide & herbal educator tells us as part of our walk along the historical settlement trail on the Bartholomaeberg.

We meet Monika in the late morning at the appointed time directly at the Bartholomäkirche. This iconic church is both clearly visible from the valley floor, and also opens up spectacular views of the entire Montafon at our feet. Its cemetery is also the region’s “sun balcony”! You will understand what I mean when you stand up here yourself one day.

Etwas geschummelt (denn das Foto ist von weiter oben am Berg, die Bartholomäkirche hier mit sichtbar) aber Ihr seht, was ich meine, wenn ich von traumhaften Ausblicken vom Bartholomäberg im Montafon spreche.

The view here includes the church, but speaks of the same view: Beautiful panorama off the Bartholomaeberg over the Montafon mountain region in Vorarlberg.

 

Unterwegs mit einer kleinen, aber feinen Gruppe Siedlungsgeschichte-Wanderer ...

This colourful group are my hiking companions for the day …

 

... begeben wir uns auf die Spuren des historisch gewachsenen Bodens: Hier erklärt uns Monika,

… and thanks to our guide Monika, we learn to look at the landscape with fresh eyes: All these little bumps are evidence of early mining activities here.

 

Die Eingänge in sämtliche Bergwerksstollen sind mittlerweile jedoch fest versiegelt ...

Today, virtually all mines are closed for work and to the public, as looking for rare minerals such as silver is no longer worthwhile …

 

 

Blick auf unsere Jausenstation am Berg: Die knapp dreistündige Wanderung führt nur leichte Höhenmeter und ist wirklich empfehlenswert - auch für Familien mit Kindern und mit Hund!

Every now and then, a typical mountain hut comes up along the way, too!

 

Guided hiking tour from Hochjoch to Innerkapell: Learn more about the local mountain cheese varieties.

As with the activities described above, you can also book this hike through the BergePLUS programme in the Montafon. I found that all meeting points, such as this time at the valley station of the Zamang cable car, are easy to reach by public transport or on foot. I had no car in the Montafon and managed to reach well everywhere I needed to go using the local buses. What also happens is that solo travellers like myself are sometimes offered a lift by the locals!

Meine Wanderführer für den Tag am Hochjoch: Schneeschuh- und Wanderführerin Elisabeth Mangard und ihr Mann, der uns spontan begleitet.

My hiking guides up at the Hochjoch mountain top, Elisabeth and her husband, who joins us for the day. After completing the tour, they offer to take me back to the town of Schruns. Very nice indeed.

 

The so-called Hochjoch, by the way, lies right “opposite” the Bartholomaeberg. From there, too, you have really good views of the mountains and valleys around Schruns. At the very top, you can even see the Tilisuna Hut on the opposite mountain, a hut we went to on the occasion of the Austrian Travel Bloggers’ Meeting in Montafon last year. It was a day that had it all, combining e-mountainbiking and hiking … definitely recommendable!

On the way to our lunch stop, the Alpe Innerkapell, which is known for its excellent mountain cheese, we first hike along interestingly designed theme stations. They provide information about water and wind, handicrafts and culture, or simply serve as entertainment. Not only interesting for children!

Themenwanderung am Hochjoch: Von der Bergstation der Zamang-Bahn ist diese leichte Wanderung gut zu erreichen ...

Theme trail up at the Hochjoch mountain …

 

... wer mag, geht darüber hinaus noch weiter in hochalpines Gelände: "Moorblumen" ...

… if you care to venture a little further, you may find these beautiful “fur flowers” of the high alpine moor here …

 

... Wildrosen ...

… alpine roses, even …

 

... und überhaupt eine traumhaft blühende Bergkulisse erfreuen das Auge ...

… and a wonderful mountain meadow that any cow would love …

 

... auf diesem Abstieg in Richtung der Alpe Innerkapell. Seht Ihr sie ganz unten liegen?

… see the hut where we are headed to for lunch?

 

Hier begrüßen uns die freundlichen Inhaber, auch "Älpler" genannt - wenn Ihr das Glück habt und an einem Tisch mit Einheimischen sitzt, die "ein bisschen übersetzen" können ...!

The so-called “Alpe Innerkapell” has all that you would expect from a typical mountain hut in the Montafon.

 

Mahlzeit mit dieser überaus köstlichen Älpler-Jause für drei ... wir haben sie nicht ganz geschafft!!

Cheese and other tasty, local delights (order an “Älpler Platte”, it carries all that your heart desires, and more ..!) …

 

Auf der Alpe Innerkapell dürft Ihr Euch gerne auch ein wenig umsehen ...

… opportunities to look around and to inform yourself about the local milk and cheese production …

 

... und während wir uns noch über Leben und Alltag hier unterhalten ...

… meeting the local heroes, the cows obviously …

 

... wunderschön hier, die Alpe Innerkapell als Ausflugsziel vom Hochjoch.

… and just enjoying the atmosphere.

 

Kurz bevor der Regen kommt, gelingt mir noch dieses Stimmungsbild im Wetterwechsel ...

Ahead of a little rain, I take this look back and catch a really scenic view of the Alpe Innerkapell mountain hut …

 

... auch Hansi der Esel der zur Alpe gehört wird mir in Erinnerung bleiben!

… their donkey Hansi and I became friends, too!

 

Last but not least, I can recommend Gasthof Auhof as a cosy little home base for your stay in Montafon. I spent three nights here and really enjoyed the hospitality of the team, especially Gabi, the owner. The salad buffet is really good and is doubly invigorating after a day spent in the fresh air. The menu (breakfast and dinner) is tasty all along.

Mahlzeit bei abendlicher Stärkung ...

Do enjoy typical Montafon (and Austrian) delights while staying at the Auhof in Schruns …

 

... vom Hotel Auhof sind es knapp 10 Minuten Fußmarsch ins Zentrum von Schruns ...

… from the hotel, it is a ten-minutes walk to the city centre of Schruns …

 

... hier habe ich für meinen kleinen Sohn noch schnell ein sogenanntes "Wimmelbuch" mit lustigen Charakteren aus dem Montafon gekauft, das er liebt!

… where I bought this cute little Montafon book for my son before leaving: He loves it!

 

Check out even more pictures about my trip through the Montafon (Bartholomäberg, Hochjoch & Gargellen) here:

 

Disclaimer: I have been invited by the Montafon tourism board on this trip to Vorarlberg. All opinions are my own.

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2 comments

Javaid Dar 7 September 2021 - 18:04

So phenomenal landscape. Love it.

Reply
Elena 8 September 2021 - 08:08

Thank you Javaid Dar. You should travel to Montafon, and Vorarlberg once you get the chance! It’s a very beautiful destination here in Austria.

All the best!

Reply

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