The first thing you notice when you arrive in Montafon
are the colours. The vast, natural ‘half-pipe’ of the valley decked out in audacious green, the impossibly white peaks of the Alps, and the crisp, electric blue sky overhead. But, as your eyes adjust, you start to see small paths zig-zagging through the trees in all directions – as if some giant hand has scribbled over the hillsides. There are more than 500km of walking trails
in this valley, so whether you’re a hardened hiker or casual stroller, choose the route that best suits your interest and ability.
Hiking – A Cultural and Culinary ExperienceGuided hikes
are great starting points to help you familiarise yourself with both the terrain and surrounding area. Led by a knowledgeable local guide, a relatively gentle walking tour up the highest mountain in Vorarlberg
, Montafon’s 3,312m Piz Buin
, offers a superb view from the top. Or, take a wander 1000 years into the past on a panoramic, 6-hour guided excursion in Silbertal / Bartholomäberg
- an extensive playground that is perfect for outdoor activities. A cable car takes you up Kristberg mountain, from where your guide will take you along the Silber pathway where you’ll learn the story of early settlement in the area including some important archaeological research and finds. Uncover a true cultural landscape along this high alpine path on your way to the historic mine and famous baroque church at Bartholomäberg. And, the early bird may catch the worm, but the early walker catches the thrill of nature awakening all around. Get your circulation flowing on this light, scenic 2-hour walk on which your guide will share insight on the region and its people. To top things off, enjoy a mountain breakfast
at the end. In fact, there are many hikes celebrating the tasty region:
cheese-tasting walks, hut-to-hut culinary tours where the walking is interspersed with delicious local dishes, and even routes where guides introduce you to edible local plant life (really, it’s delicious).
Step by Step
The most unique route up is almost certainly the Europatreppe 4000
, a giant 4000-step ‘stairway to heaven’
that takes you from the valley floor at Partenen all the way to the top. By the time you reach the summit you’ll have buns of steel – and a jaw-dropping view of Montafon
stretched below. Many football teams and marathon runners, as well as the Austrian Ladies National ski team, integrate it into their training regime, which just shows the extent of its benefits.
On your Bikes – Ready, Steady, Go!
As with anywhere that has landscape of this scale, the mountain biking
is pretty epic too. Combined, there’s a whopping 500 miles of off-road trails
, divided up into 30 sections that are graded similar to slope designations – blue for cruising, red for a challenge and black for hard-core adrenaline junkies – ensuring that you don’t unwittingly end up on that extreme downhill section. They’re handily signposted
, too, so there shouldn’t be any mid-mountain ‘discussions’ about whether you should have turned left back there. The handy thing about mountain biking here is that you don’t even need to bring your own bike. The Activpark Montafon leisure centre has a fleet of more than 60 bikes, and, as there are depots throughout the area, simply drop it off at the nearest one at the end of your ride. Free guidebooks
detailing altitude, difficulty level and even the nature of the sub-soil, are available from several tourist offices throughout the valley.
New Heights of Family Fun
Kids not in the mood to conquer a new peak today? Head instead to Aktivclub Montafon
, Vorarlberg’s largest in- and outdoor recreational sports park. The little ones will love spending the afternoon perfecting their go-karting skills, whizzing down the waterslides, or bouncing about on oversized trampolines. Another family-friendly option in Montafon is the Silbertal Forest School
where a guide will take you all on a relaxed-pace, three-hour walk in the woods to get up-close and personal with the local wildlife and some of the area’s other hidden treasures. Or, for quick thrills, head over to the Alpine Coaster Golm
(part toboggan, part roller-coaster) and strap in for a 1.6 mile ride down the mountainside!