• Bregenzerwald - Umgang

    A convivial discovery of the Bregenzerwald

    Delicious mountain cheese, stories of strong women and concerts amid rolling meadows: It is definitely very rewarding to take a walk with „Umgang Bregenzerwald“ to dive deeper into the life and history of this valley.

    by Katja Guttmann

    In the Bregenzerwald, people build sustainably with wood and live in harmony with nature. People treat one another and nature with respect and have done so for many centuries. Locals are especially creative, open-minded, and hospitable. If you want to experience this first-hand, “Umgang Bregenzerwald'' is an excellent way to start: Choose from thirteen walks through twelve villages with especially interesting architecture, all selected by a team of architects. Along those walks, information columns that reach to your hip offer details on history, people, and architecture. If you don’t have time to complete all thirteen walks, we have compiled a list of the seven most intriguing highlights from all twelve villages.

    The seven most intriguing highlights

    1. Biohotel Schwanen in Bizau

    Sample the „Wilde Weiber Menü“ (literally translates to Wild Women Menu) and a cuisine that adheres to the culinary teachings of Hildegard von Bingen, the herbalist nun from the Middle Ages. The only ingredients allowed are those sourced from the fields and stables of local organic farmers.

    The Schwanen is also impressive from the outside. The house was built in 1860 and the new, light facade made of moon harvested local white fir fits well into the overall village ambiance. Stop by to have a look, or stay for the night. The opulent breakfast in the dining room suffused with morning light is definitely something to look forward to. 

    Learn more
    Biohotel Schwanen, Bregenzerwald

    2. Bergkäserei in Schoppernau

    Mountain cheese, farmers' cheese, fresh butter: the store at the Bergkäserei smells heavenly! The one-story building is a stylish architectural gem with wood and lots of glass. Farmers who sell their milk to the “mountain dairy” let their cows graze on open pastures only, in summer even in the high Alps; any other feed is frowned upon.

    The social revolutionary Franz Michael Felder founded the dairy in the 19th century as a co-op for farmers, to break the monopoly of the powerful ”cheese barons.”

    Learn more
    Cheese from Bregenzerwald

    3. Bergbrennerei Löwen in Au

    Anyone who loves Gin needs to stop by a tasting event at the Bergbrennerei Löwen. For two to four years, the pure distillates age in earthenware receptacles in the basement of the landmarked inn. Herbal spirits and absinth are also distilled at the Löwen, which accounts for the irresistible aroma that permeates the Tenne.

    With its 120 years, the Löwen features fascinating high ceilings, windows with steeples, and an entrance that is decorated with ornate wood carvings.

    Learn more
    Bergbrennerei und Gasthaus Löwen in Au

    4. Naze’s Hus in Mellau

    The local restaurant is several hundred years old. How old exactly is anyone's guess. What is known is that the house with the traditional shingle facade used to be home to Ignaz (Naze) and his cooper workshop in which he manufactured wooden barrels and basins. Nothing else is known about him, only his name is still alive in the village.

    Painstakingly restored, the old wood beams and historic furniture of the inn offer a glimpse of life in the Bregenzerwald. A delicious menu will delight hungry guests. The adjacent „Geschenkslädele,” or store, offers handmade decorative items, regional delicacies, and more.

    Learn more
    Traditionelles Bregenzerwälder Gasthaus © Adolf Bereuter - Bregenzerwald Tourismus

    5. Frauenmuseum in Hittisau

    Strong women are a part of local lore. It is said that a group of women chased away the Swedish troops at the end of the Thirty Years’ War. Over the past 20 years, the only Frauenmuseum (Women’s Museum) in Austria has been focussing on the female perspective on culture and history and showcasing female art.

    It is located in a very unusual building: The lower part houses the local fire station and the rehearsal room for the local brass band, while the museum seems to hover in a square-shaped wooden structure above. Large, bright windows open towards the village and invite people to explore the inside.

    Learn more
    Women's museum in Hittisau / Vorarlberg, Austria

    6. Metzler Naturhautnah in Egg

    Whey is a byproduct of cheese production. Ingo Metzler uses it for something very unusual: natural cosmetic products for sensitive skin. A visit to the dairy farm also includes a farm shop, the farm including goat pens, a petting zoo and even a class where you can learn to make your own cheese.

    The production facilities alone are worth a visit for fans of architecture: The sides of three cubes are made of concrete containing pebbles from the nearby river. Large forward facing windows appear like telescope lenses trained on the landscape.

    Learn more

    7. The Schubertiade at the Angelika-Kauffmann-Saal in Schwarzenberg

    An evening at the Schubert-Festival which features the best interpreters worldwide is the perfect end to the day. The Angelika-Kauffmann-Saal lies in the center of a gentle landscape of meadows and mountains in the background. Even though the concert hall is made entirely of fir and beech wood, it surprises the audience with excellent acoustics. There are no bad seats here.

    A wide hall and a roofed terrace are the perfect place to linger: arrive ahead of time, to sip a glass of wine and enjoy the view over the alpine meadows.

    Learn more
    Chamber concert in the Angelika Kauffmann Hall in Schwarzenberg

    All Highlights at a Glance

    Back to the main menu


    Also of interest

    • Growing up in the Wood Shingle Paradise Schwarzenberg

      Peter Fetz is a true Schwarzenberg native. He has worked in Paris, London and Vienna. Then he started to miss his beloved mountains and the genuine appreciation of nature and wood.

      Click here to get to the interview
          Umgang Bregenzerwald
    • Painting Prodigy Angelika Kauffmann

      Angelika Kauffmann’s biography has all the elements necessary for a person to achieve cult-status.

      Read more
          Angelika Kauffmann Museum - Bust of Angelika Kauffmann