Some 30,000 people live in the Bregenzerwald, spread among 22 villages. The “Foresters”, as they are known, have gained a reputation for being self-confident, self-reliant, proud of their roots and open-minded. Together with their carefully considered outlook on life, this combination produces harmony, surprise and an aversion to fleeting trends.
Local architecture and artisanry clearly illustrate the successful and indeed bold interaction of tradition and modernity. These two tightly interwoven disciplines symbolise what the people of the Bregenzerwald are particularly good at doing: creating artistic, aesthetically beautiful and pleasurable products and experiences which have been carefully thought through and are meaningful at the same time. This interplay of factors can be seen and felt in many places. They include the choice of accommodation, since many hotels, guesthouses and farms also combine the old and the new, or have been completely rebuilt with great sensitivity over recent years. Particularly beautiful are the new spa centres which are suffused in warm light and offer wonderful views of the natural surroundings.
The cuisine in the many excellent inns and restaurants is based on locally sourced ingredients which are then creatively refined. Bregenzerwald dairy farmers are true masters in the field of cheese production, particularly with regard to mountain cheese. The “Cheese Route” in the Bregenzerwald features many informative and pleasurable stops dedicated to the art of cheese making. The schedule of cultural events unites classicism and modernity against the background with local natural surroundings always playing a role. An annual highlight is the “Schubertiade” series of concerts held at the Angelika Kauffmann Hall in the little village of Schwarzenberg. Here, too, the music is complemented by views of the surrounding fields and woodland.
Above all, it is the local farmers who are responsible for preserving and maintaining the man-made rural environment. A characteristic feature of the Bregenzerwald is the 3-stage model used in farming the pastures (lower valley – medium altitude pasture (Vorsäss) – upper alpine pasture). Visitors wishing to gain a deeper understanding of the Bregenzerwald way of life and cultural idiosyncrasies of the region will be drawn to the attractive series of events hosted in most villages throughout the summer, some of which will appeal specifically to families.
The majority of winter visitors to the Bregenzerwald come to enjoy the delights of skiing. There’s a choice of challenging and family-friendly ski resorts. Conditions are ideal since the Bregenzerwald receives above-average snowfall due to its excellent location on the northern edge of the Alps.
Visitors wishing to gain a deeper understanding of the Bregenzerwald way of life and cultural idiosyncrasies of the region will be drawn to the attractive series of events hosted in most villages throughout the summer, some of which will appeal specifically to families.
The abundance of snow also benefits backcountry skiers and all those who like nothing more than to explore the thrills of off-piste skiing. The Bregenzerwald offer superb conditions in both cases.
There’s also plenty of choice if you prefer to spend winter away from the slopes. Winter hiking trails take you across picturesque countryside to beautiful lookout points. The trails hug river courses, cut through woods and take you across snowy plains. What’s more, you can tramp your way through the wintry valleys on snowshoes. There are lots of tobogganing runs as well as an amazing choice of things to do for families with children. The feelgood hotels offer swimming pools, massages and all kinds of pampering, even for day visitors.