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Austria

  • 7 Night Route

    Price From: £910
  • 6 Night Route

    Price From: £805
  • 5 Night Route

    Price From: £710
  • 4 Night Route

    Price From: £640

Lake Constance and the foothills of the Alps

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Schönenbach

Schönenbach

Looking down from Berghaus Kanisfluh

Looking down from Berghaus Kanisfluh

Damüls Church

Damüls Church

An alpine shelter

An alpine shelter

Above Bezau

Above Bezau

Schönenbach's approach

Schönenbach's approach

Goats on a bridge

Goats on a bridge

En route to Mellau

En route to Mellau

Flower meadow

Flower meadow

Near the Uga chairlift

Near the Uga chairlift

Bregenz

Bregenz

Price: £910
(2018 price: £960)
Nights: 7
Grade:
Walk: 3¾ - 5¾ hr/day
Max. party size: 12

Travellers Reviews

The arrangements, scenery and local hospitality were all outstanding

There is nothing that we liked the least - it was really well planned and thoroughly enjoyable.

John Pritchard, Exeter

On Foot always provide just what is sought.

Excellent, well crafted and thought out original confections of walks, hotels, food and people where we hardly ever meet others, making the walks feel independent and fresh. Thank you very much indeed

Mary Reynolds, Los Angeles

Alpine meadows and cow bells- how restful!

We loved the walking and the ski lift. Fabulous views and it was very peaceful. We are seriously addicted to On Foot Holidays and are already beginning to look at our next trip with you.

Jonny Wrench, Glasgow

More independent feedback
About the Route

At a glance

Austria 7-night option (6 days walking). The full route. Extra nights could be added in Bregenz (during the opera season?) and in Damüls, in the high mountains at the end.

How much walking?

Full days: 11-19½ km per day, 3¾ - 5¾ hrs walking.
Using shortening options: Free bus pass to shorten walks occasionally.

Max. Grade:

Green pastures and little mountains

This walk aims to provide a true Austrian experience, but for ordinary walkers rather than the super-fit. The region known as Bregenzerwald is a landscape of meadows, woods and charming villages, some, like famous Schwarzenberg, almost impossibly rich in traditional architecture. Starting by the shores of (normally) placid Lake Constance at Bregenz, it leads quickly into the “Mittelgebirge” or foothills, a countryside of peaceful flower-decked meadows and age-old farming. Judicious use of cable cars (free to our clients) enables not only the exploration of remoter valleys without arduous climbs, but also the final ascent to the “Hochgebirge” of the Damüls bowl, with its 2000m+ peaks for you to bag on your last day (if you wish – it’s your choice) and its breathtaking views. Throughout the walk you will be hosted mainly in authentic family-run inns, and eat traditional, hearty, locally-produced food. Note: Weather conditions may close cable lifts etc and force changes to the itinerary.

Walked by On Foot staff: Simon, Debbie (with Thomas), Fi and Mary.

REVIEWS: For independent walker reviews of this route submitted to the Association of Independent Tour Operators visit AITO.com.

TRAVEL ADVICE: To find the latest travel advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office for UK citizens travelling to Austria, click here. Citizens of other nations will also find it useful, but should always check their appropriate local agency.

Route Highlights

  • Bregenz and Lake Constance
  • Schwarzenberg and its traditional houses
  • Authentic inns in Lingenau and Bezau
  • Two nights at Damüls to try a peak or five
  • Lonely Schönenbach and traditional cheesemakers

We Recommend

Extra days in Bregenz for a trip on a Lake Constance steamer or to go to the opera in July/August, and an extra day at the end to do some free walking in these majestic mountains.

Eating and Drinking

The mountain cuisine of this area (venison and cheese) is hearty enough but our hosts have found a hundred different ways to prepare it.  The Albrecht family at Bezau and the Türtscher family at Damüls are good; but our personal favourite might be Erika at Lingenau, and everywhere you will be served in a dirndl (the waitresses, not you…)

How much Walking?

Full days: 11-19½ km per day, 3¾ - 5¾ hrs walking.
Using shortening options: Free bus pass to shorten walks occasionally.

Medium: Walking mainly on hill paths and tracks.  Highest point on route: 2,100m.

Average CUSs 580m per day (410m-780m)

GPX file available for handheld GPS or smartphone App for complete route.

Important note: Times given for each day are  walking times for an “average” walker and exclude stops.  “CUSs” stands for “Cumulative Uphill Stretches” and measures the aggregated ascents in each day, expressed in metres of climb.  See “Walk Grading” for more information.

When to go?

The best months to walk: July, August, September
Other possible months: June

This part of the Alps is blessed with a warm micro-climate, and could be walked later in the year were it not for the closure of the lifts at the end of the summer. Be prepared to wear lots of sun block as the sun at altitude can be strong. If you can, try to walk as early as possible (the route start dates are defined by the lift opening dates!) to catch the flowers, though they seem to go on for ever.  Occasionally bad weather, even in summer, can close lifts and cable cars, and summer snow (rare, but it happens) can be a problem on Days 6 and 7, restricting the walking.  Schwarzenberg’s ‘Schubertiade’ in the final weeks of June and August limits hotel availability in Bezau, as does the famous open air opera festival in Bregenz from mid-July to mid-August.
Use the calendar below to see in more detail the best times to walk.

Start Dates

Recommended
Possible
Unavailable

Weather Chart

 

Temperature and rainfall chart for Bezau

Itinerary

About the Route

Day 1 - Arrive in Bregenz

Arrive in Bregenz, check into your hotel and wander down to the lakeside, explore the town and find somewhere nice to eat.

Day 2 - Bregenz – Lingenau

After a taxi ride (with your luggage) your walk begins at Oberbildstein), then continues via a majestic waterfall and along the Bregenzerach, finally reaching Lingenau and the promise of an excellent, and well-deserved, 4-course meal. (Easy-medium: 4 hrs, 14 km, CUSs 300m.)  Alternatively, travel all the way to Lingenau with the taxi. There will be no extra charge, but please arrange this the previous evening with City Taxi Bregenz, via your hotel, if you wish.

Day 3 - Lingenau to Bezau

Continuing towards the mountains after passing through the extraordinary geological formation of the “Quelltuff”, today’s walk crosses the “Mittelwald”, with a lunch stopping point at justly famous Schwarzenberg (we recommend the 250-year old Hotel Hirschen), home of the Schubertiade during late June and early September. The day ends at the church at Bezau. (Medium-hard: 5¾ hrs, 18km, CUSs 750m, or medium: 4½ hrs, 14km, CUSs 630m with starting lift or bus to Egg)

Day 4 - Schönenbach Vorsäß

A “Vorsäß” is a spring and autumn meadow, a halfway stage between winter quarters and the high summer pastures. A cable car takes you high above Bezau to begin a gentle walk through remote but still worked meadows to beautiful and unspoilt Schönenbach. Here are a little shop and a pub – where you can wait happily for the last bus back to Bezau. (Easy-medium: 4½ hrs, 12 km, CUSs 370m)

Day 5 - Bezau to Mellau

A wander up the Bizauer valley takes in an Austrian/German speciality – a “Barfussweg” – a barefoot-path, where you can find out how sensitive your feet are to the various surfaces offered… after a short climb, you could stop for lunch at the Berghaus Kanisfluh. (Medium: 4 hrs, 15 km CUSs 490m)

Day 6 - Mellau – Damüls

Mellau – Damüls. The cable car takes you up 650m to start your view-rich walk on the high pastures of the Kanisalpe. Have a look at cheesemaking, maybe climb Kanisfluh (2044m) (optional), then, after lunch in a mountain restaurant, walk to the Uga chairlift, your easy way down to your last two nights’ accommodation in a lovely family run hotel. (Medium-hard: 4¾ hrs, 15km, CUSs 800m).  Poor weather option also available.

Day 7 - Damüls Rundweg

The Damüls “Rundweg Fünf 2000er”. Your crowning achievement – the five 2000m+ peaks around the Damüls valley. The views are tremendous – south to the Aarlberg, north to Lake Constance and the route of your last six days. And despite a chairlift start, the peaks are no mean challenge, though you need not do them all. (Medium-hard: 4½ hrs, 11 km, CUSs 390m (variable)

Departure day

Leave for home – or spend a few more days in the area and do some free walking, or why not return for a day or two by Lake Constance?

Travel Information

ARRIVING BY AIR

The local airport is Memmingen, though there are more flights, including intercontinental, to Zurich airport, which also has some direct trains to Bregenz.

Land by: Memmingen 18:00; Zurich 17:00 for public transport connections to Bregenz (Lingenau for shorter routes)

Return flight earliest: Memmingen 15:00; Zurich 14:00 for connections from Damüls via Bregenz

Land by/ earliest return flight times not applicable if using pre-booked taxi (Memmingen only)

Flight information can change rapidly and not all flights run daily. Please do check directly with the airlines’ websites or Skyscanner (see below) before finalising any booking with us. Do not book your flights until we have confirmed that we have provisionally reserved accommodation for you.

For up-to-date schedules and flights from all airports check Skyscanner.

See “Getting to the start of the walk” below for transfer information

ARRIVING BY TRAIN

Nearest railway station:
Start and finish: 
Bregenz

Typical rail journey from UK via Paris and Zurich:
London: Eurostar to Paris (N), transfer to Paris (E), TGV to Zurich, local trains to Bregenz ~ 9½ hrs.
Bregenz:  As above in reverse ~ 9 hrs.

For the stretch between London/Paris and Zurich, see www.seat61.com/Switzerland.htm. See www.bahn.de for full timetables to and from Bregenz.

 

Getting to the start of the walk

The first hotel is normally in Bregenz, by Lake Constance (Lingenau for shorter routes) and the last high in the Alps at Damüls. Transfer times and methods are suggested for the two best airports below – ask us for information if you are flying to  Friedrichshafen. For train arrival transfers see below.

Note that all clients will be taken by taxi (included) from the final hotel to the bus station at Bezau for onward bus connection to Bregenz bus/train station.

MEMMINGEN AIRPORT:

Outward: By airport shuttle then train with 1-2 changes 2½ – 3 hrs OR Pre-booked taxi transfer from airport to first hotel 1 hr

Return: Taxi (included), then bus to Bregenz, then train (1-2 changes) and airport shuttle to airport 2½ – 3½ hrs OR Pre-booked taxi transfer from final hotel to airport 1½ hrs

ZURICH AIRPORT:

Outward: By train with 0-2 changes 1½ – 2 hrs
Return: Taxi (included), then bus to Bregenz, then train (0-2 changes) to airport 2½ – 3½ hrs

Transfers from Bregenz train station:

Outward:  Local taxi or 10 minutes walk to first hotel (Bregenz), public bus or pre-booked taxi to Lingenau or Bezau (shorter option start points)
Return: Taxi (included) from Damüls to Bezau then bus to station (1½ hrs)

For prices of pre-booked taxis please contact us.

Full transfer advice, including timetables, is provided in your Walkers’ Pack.  Contact us if you would like additional pre-booking information.

Where You'll Stay

Mostly authentic and traditional family run hotels, all including an evening meal except the night in Bregenz.

Bregenz – Hotel Central (B&B)

Night 1

Bregenz – Hotel Central (B&B)

Comfortable hotel in town centre.

Lingenau – Landgasthof Alpenblick (Dinner, B&B)

Night 2

Lingenau – Landgasthof Alpenblick (Dinner, B&B)

Popular friendly roadside hotel on edge of village.

Bezau – Gasthof Hirschen (Dinner, B&B)

Night 3 & 4

Bezau – Gasthof Hirschen (Dinner, B&B)

Traditional gasthof in the village centre next to the church.

Mellau – Hotel Kanisfluh (Dinner, B&B)

Night 5

Mellau – Hotel Kanisfluh (Dinner, B&B)

Modern hotel in the village centre.

Damüls – Hotel Alpenblume (Dinner, B&B)

Night 6 & 7

Damüls – Hotel Alpenblume (Dinner, B&B)

Outstanding family run hotel on village edge.

Prices

Price: £910 (2018 price: £960) for 7 nights

Total 7 nights in double/twin room, all breakfasts, 6 dinners, taxi to the start of the Day 2 walk (if in itinerary) and from Damüls to Bezau bus station at end. Bregenzerwald Guest Card also included, giving free access from Lingenau on, on all bus and ‘ski’-lift services for the duration of your holiday, luggage transfers between all hotels on walking route; full Walkers Pack with route directions, maps, transfer and background information; local telephone support.

All prices are per person unless otherwise indicated (e.g. for taxis), and may vary with exchange rate fluctuations – check with On Foot for your guaranteed price.

Savings and supplements:

Bregenz and other festivals and congress period supplements  – vary – check with On Foot

Single Room Supplement: From £155 (note: limited availability)

Lone Traveller Additional Supplement : From £150

Larger party saving (on identical itinerary) – £85 off pp (except first two)

 

Add Ons

Extra nights in any hotel: Contact us

Taxi to/from Memmingen airport: Contact us

Local bus/taxi/train as required: Arrange locally

Travellers Reviews

The arrangements, scenery and local hospitality were all outstanding

There is nothing that we liked the least - it was really well planned and thoroughly enjoyable.

John Pritchard, Exeter

On Foot always provide just what is sought.

Excellent, well crafted and thought out original confections of walks, hotels, food and people where we hardly ever meet others, making the walks feel independent and fresh. Thank you very much indeed

Mary Reynolds, Los Angeles

Alpine meadows and cow bells- how restful!

We loved the walking and the ski lift. Fabulous views and it was very peaceful. We are seriously addicted to On Foot Holidays and are already beginning to look at our next trip with you.

Jonny Wrench, Glasgow

More independent feedback
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Peter Münch

Route designed by:

Peter Münch

Peter is a practising architect, living in Neuhäusel, in the Rhineland, with his family, in a woodland house he built himself. He is one of nature’s wanderers, never happy unless exploring new countries, new paths, and finding out about new cultures.

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