10 Adventurous Things To Do In Montafon, Vorarlberg – Austria’s Best Kept Secret

Montafon, Vorarlberg is a mountainous region in Austria perfect for adventurous travelers. From hiking and biking to climbing and skiing, there are a lot of adventurous things to do in Montafon. Have a look at my pick of the best activities that I’ve tried in Montafon, Vorarlberg. 

 

You probably know how much of an outdoor adventure lover I am. From hiking volcanoes in Uganda to trying ice climbing and via Ferrata in Norway or horse riding in Kyrgyzstan, I am always up for the adventure.

When the local tourism board in Vorarlberg invited me and other bloggers as a part of Propel conference post-press trip to try outdoor activities in Montafon, Vorarlberg, the adventure region in Austria, I knew it would be an interesting trip. And I wasn’t wrong.

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Table of Contents

Vorarlberg, Austria
Vorarlberg, Austria

MONTAFON, VORARLBERG, AUSTRIA

MONTAFON – THE FACTS

Have you ever heard of Montafon before? Or Vorarlberg? To be honest with you, I haven’t. The region has so much to offer, but it’s popular mainly with German-speaking tourists and with travelers from neighboring countries. 

Real mountains. Real experiences. That’s what Montafon is. The very special place where Verwall, Silvretta and Ratikon mountain ranges meet. A 39-km long valley consisting of 11 charming towns and villages, surrounded by towering mountains. The highest point is Piz Buin at 3,312m (the mountain is famous not only for its spectacular hiking, skiing, and glacier walking opportunities but also for the sunscreen of the same name). If you’re into adventure and the mountains, visit Montafon now, before it gets more and more popular (because it will!).

Montafon, Vorarlberg
Montafon, Vorarlberg

Montafon region is located in western Austria, in the Vorarlberg area, bordering Switzerland, and close to Germany, Liechtenstein, and Italy. Since it shares some of the mountain landscapes with the Swiss nation, it’s a cheaper alternative to its more expensive neighbor, which is good when you travel on a budget!

While Montafon is more of a winter destination with a focus on skiing, it also offers a wide range of activities at any other time of the year.  This is where we spent a few days at the end of summer/beginning of autumn in September after coming from another mountain town of Mellau, Vorarlberg. It was a perfect time to visit. The weather was nice and sunny, the air was clean and crisp and the leaves and bushes started to get warm autumny colors of red, orange, and yellow.

Autumn in Montafon, Vorarlberg
Autumn in Montafon, Vorarlberg
Autumn colors in the mountains of Montafon, Vorarlberg
Autumn colors in the mountains of Montafon, Vorarlberg

Read more: Things to do in Mellau, Vorarlberg – a mountain town in Austria


WHERE TO STAY IN MONTAFON

Montafon, Vorarlberg offers a wide range of different types of accommodation.

During my trip, I stayed in Sportshotel Grandau in Sankt Gallenkirch, and WOW, what a nice place that was! 

The hotel has a quirky and stylish design, involving a lot of wooden elements, funny paintings, and statues. There is an outdoor area, several bars (one very atmospheric, make sure to visit it when you are there), a huge dining area, and a big spa. When we arrived at the hotel, we were greeted by the owner’s dog, Adam, absolutely adorable. 

Staying in Sportshotel Grandau gives you free access to the spa, which has a pool and five different types of saunas, as well as a relaxing area and massages (paid extra).

But my favorite part (ok, one of two favorite parts) of staying in Sportshotel Grandau was breakfast. Big buffet with an insane selection of cheese (I had every type of cheese during my stay in Vorarlberg, it’s a cheese kingdom!), hot and cold dishes, fresh orange juice, and even champagne to make your morning mimosas. You can eat your breakfast in a glass conservatory with a view of the surrounding mountains.

My second favorite item was the rooms. I had a tree in the room. AN ACTUAL TREE (ok, a part of it). The room design was very atmospheric and made me feel very relaxed. The wooden accents, comfortable chairs, salt lamp, and a big balcony overlooking the forest and the mountains made my stay incredible. I can certainly recommend Sportshotel Grandau to anyone staying in Montafon. Check prices and availability here.

HOW TO GET TO MONTAFON

There are plenty of ways of safely getting you to Montafon. You can drive to the region from any place in central Europe. There is a local bus network that connects small villages and makes it easy to get around.  Check the schedule here.

There is also a very good train connection of Montafon and Vorarlberg, with ÖBB – Austrian Train Network, DB – German Train Network, and SBB – Swiss Train Network.
The closest international airports are Innsbruck airport (140 km – 1.5 hours), Zurich-Kloten airport (150 km – 2 hours), and Munich airport (280 km – 2.5 hours). 

Horses in Montafon, Vorarlberg
Horses in Montafon, Vorarlberg

THINGS TO DO IN MONTAFON, VORARLBERG

SUMMER ACTIVITIES IN MONTAFON

#1 Hiking

There are 1,160 kilometers of hiking trails in Montafon, including the Montafon chalet route, a long-distance hiking route with 13 stages. You can be sure to find a trail that suits your needs, from easy to difficult. And the best part? After or during your hike, you can stop by one of the 40 rustic chalets and mountain restaurants to refill your energy with delicious local produce.

We had a chance to try two hikes in the Montafon region and I loved them both. 

Mountains chalets in Montafon, Vorarlberg.
Mountains chalets in Montafon, Vorarlberg.
Hiking in Montafon, Vorarlberg.
Hiking in Montafon, Vorarlberg.

Silvrettasee – A Hike around Lake Silvretta

This easy hike runs around Silvretta Lake – a turquoise lake surrounded by snow-capped high mountains. The trail is 6,3km long and takes 2 hours to complete (provided you don’t stop every 5 minutes for photos as we did!). The views are magnificent! You can walk in any direction you want. We started from the right side.

First, we stopped on the viewing platform overlooking a dam that we would be climbing on later on. After crossing the bridge over the dam, we were at the gravel path leading us around the lake. On the way, we also passed by the tunnel with light and sound installation.

Silvrettasee, Montafon, Vorarlberg
Silvrettasee, Montafon, Vorarlberg
Hike around Silvrettasee, Montafon, Vorarlberg
Hike around Silvrettasee, Montafon, Vorarlberg

The path was gently going up and down, crossing streams gushing with water and overlooking tall mountains in front of us, including a famous Piz Buin. The turquoise color of the glacier lake was out of this world, and the peaks reflecting in it added to the beauty. Somehow, for most of the hike, we were almost by ourselves so we could enjoy the tranquility of the area. 

On the hike, you can also spot an interesting installation The Bielback, which marks the border between Vorarlberg and Tyrol.

To get to Lake Silvretta we took a bus 85 in front of Sportshotel Grandau.

After the hike, I highly recommend grabbing lunch in a local Silvretta-Haus Restaurant. We enjoyed there a local Austrian cuisine with a view of the lake.

Flowers on the hike around Silvrettasee, Montafon, Vorarlberg
Flowers on the hike around Silvrettasee, Montafon, Vorarlberg

Muttjöchle Hike

Another hike in Montafon, I can recommend, is a Muttjöchle hike on Kristberg mountain. This hike is harder, longer, and steeper than the Silvrettasee, but as a reward, you get an amazing 360 degrees view of all the mountains around. The hike starts from the upper station of Kristbergbahn and usually takes around 4 hours to complete.

The first part of the hike goes through the forest and after some inclines, you can see the mountains emerging in front of you. From here, the view only gets better and better.

After you climb above the forest, the vast view opens up and you can see the views of Silvretta, Ratikon, and Verfall mountain ranges. Once you reach the top of the 2,074-meter-high Muttjöchle mountain, you can take a photo with a huge cross and admire 360-degrees views. We also, of course, had a picnic with cheese, including famous sour cheese (Sura Kees).

Our hike was full of local insights from our guide Monica. If you’d like to try some of the guided hikes in Montafon, check out their BergePLUS program for sporty nature lovers.

I highly recommend doing a Muttjöchle hike in autumn, when the berry leaves, trees, and grass turn into warm shades of orange and red. It reminded me of mountains in autumn in Norway.

A perfect after-hike treat is a meal near the cable car top station before you go down. We enjoyed local food, with more cheese at Panoramagasthof Kristberg

#2 Via Ferrata

There are 24 ferratas located in Montafon. From challenging to easy, from located on the high-alpine peaks, on the mountain edges, or on a dam – you have a lot to choose from.

You guys should know that I fell in love with Via Ferrata in Norway – I climbed Trolltunga via Ferrata and famous Loen via Ferrata, plus some other ones. So when I’ve heard that we would try via Ferrata while in Montafon, I got very excited!

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Via ferrata Silvrettasee

The Silvrettasee Via Ferrata is mounted on a dam of the lake, located over 2000 meters above sea level. It’s 320 meters long and classified with difficulty A and B (easy). Even though it’s not very technically difficult, it’s still very exposed and gives a good adrenaline kick. The steps and handles in via Ferrata are made of stones taken from the Silvretta lake, and the path goes up, down, sideways, through hanging rope bridges, vertical ladders, swinging ropes, and more. It is an extraordinary experience to climb directly on the dam.

We had a professional guide from Bergfuehrer-Montafon helping us with the climb. Even if you don’t have any previous Ferrata experience, but you love adventure, you can try the via Ferrata routes in Montafon. 

Via Ferrata Silvrettasee is free to use if you have your own climbing equipment and experience, but if you don’t, I recommend going with a guide from Bergfuehrer-Montafon, they are very professional and know their stuff. I loved the adventure!

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#3 Biking

With 260 kilometers of cycling and (e-)mountain bike trails there is plenty of space to go if you would like to try summiting the mountains with a bicycle in Montafon. You can also join any of more than 60 organized bike tours – ranging from easy to challenging.

If you feel like biking up the hill is a bit too much for you, but you don’t want to let go of the fun of cycling down, you can do e-biking instead. Montafon region has several places where you can rent a bike, as well as charging stations on the way. The electric bikes allow you to see more of the mountains than hiking allow, so if you are short on time, but still want to see more, that’s an option for you!

#4 Climbing

Apart from 24 via Ferrata in Ratikon, Verwall, and Silvretta mountain ranges in Montafon, there are many climbing routes you can do in the region. There are also two climbing gardens, indoor climbing halls, and a bouldering area for rainy days. Bergfuehrer-Montafon also offers multiple climbing and mountain experiences to give you this extra kick of adventure.

WINTER IN MONTAFON

Winter in Montafon is the season of joy. This is what the region is known for as a European skiing destination. There is a wide range of winter activities to do in Montafon, Vorarlberg. I wasn’t able to try them myself yet, but I put them on my list for next winter.

#1 Skiing, ski touring, snowboarding

Whether you want to ski, do some ski touring, or snowboarding, you can find a perfect place for that in Montafon. There is 295 km of marked descents and ski routes of varying degrees of difficulty, perfect snow conditions, untouched terrain, and best-prepared slopes. The conditions for winter sports in Montafon are excellent.

Skiing in the Tatra Mountains - Things to do in Zakopane in winter

#2 Ice climbing

I fell in love with ice climbing in Norway, and I can recommend this fun activity to everyone! You can find a newly built ice climbing garden on the Silvretta in Montafon, where you can practice climbing on ice. The garden is up to 25 m high and about 35 m wide. 

#3 Snowshoeing

If you like hiking and don’t want to skip it even in winter, I highly recommend snow-shoeing. I do it regularly in winter in Norway and it’s so much fun. You can walk even in deep snow and explore pristine winter landscapes that others don’t have access to. There are plenty of trails to try snowshoeing in winter in Montafon. 

ANY SEASON THINGS TO DO IN MONTAFON

#1 Relax in a spa

Spending some time in a spa or a sauna is a must after a long hike or the whole day of skiing. In fact, it’s a tradition in Austria to use a sauna after outdoor activities. There are multiple excellent hotels in the area, where you can find spa facilities included with your stay. I recommend Sportshotel Grandau.

Spa in Sportshotel Grandau, Montafon.
Spa in Sportshotel Grandau, Montafon.

#2 Indulge in delicious food

There isn’t a shortage of delicious food in Austria. In fact, I was surprised by how fresh, local, organic and delicious the food was! My favorite was of course the different types of cheese, but I loved all the other special dishes too.

Make sure to try Austrian-style macaroni and cheese, called Käsespätzle, served with crispy onions on top. Another specialty is Montafon Sura Kees – a sour cheese. It stands for one of the oldest cheese traditions of the Alpine pastures. The cheese is made from skimmed milk, it has low fat and cholesterol content with high protein, which makes it a perfect after-hike snack. Initially, it’s fresh, savory, and aromatic in flavor and it matures into sour and slightly salty, but mild. Highly recommend it!

Cheese in Montafon, Vorarlberg, Austria.
Cheese in Montafon, Vorarlberg, Austria.
Meat stew with Käsespätzle, Montafon, Austria.
Meat stew with Käsespätzle, Montafon, Austria.

#3 Take a cablecar for the views

If at any point of your holiday you feel like you need a break from hiking, you can just take a cable car and admire the views with no effort. With 79 cable cars located in the Montafon region, you can be sure to find breathtaking panoramas wherever you go.

Disclaimer: I was hosted on my trip to Montafon by Montafon Tourism Board, Vorarlberg Tourism Board, and Sportshotel Grandau as a part of Propel conference press trip. All opinions are my own and were not influenced in any way. 


Have you ever been to Montafon, Vorarlberg? Let me know what you did there!


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