When you enter the Bregenzerwald in the Austrian region of Vorarlberg, you notice there’s something different about this place. You can’t really put your finger to it, but you feel like the buildings here look a little different, even though they still have that typical Austrian feel.
There’s a mix of modernity with tradition that works remarkably well and while also present in other regions, the Bregenzerwald is the best example of how an open mindset and respect for tradition can go hand in hand to create wonderful things.
Nature: hiking the moorland of Krumbach
It was only 6 a.m. when we met our guide to go for a walk through the Moorlands of Krumbach. Early, yes, but the rising sun quickly became our coffee alternative as we admired its first rays of the day.
We weren’t just there to watch, though. As we made our way 5.2 kilometers through the grass and the forest, our guide kept pointing at plants typical for the moors, telling us what they could be used for.
He told us how people used to use the turf growing in the moor’s puddles for heating and how what’s now still a little pond will be wetland to walk over in a few years time, if we let nature run its course and turf take over.
In the past, people did step in though. Lots of moorland in Krumbach was “filled up” to create gardens and other “usable land”. Luckily, at one point someone mentioned what a shame it would be if the town would lose its typical landscape and it was agreed that what remained of the moors would be preserved.
Now, the people of the are proud of the moors and use them to create products that can only be found in Krumbach. You can book a moor walk with a guide, drink lemonade made with herbs from the moor, eat moor pig meat and drink moor schnapps. There are even four official moor restaurants where the chefs cook using herbs and plants from the moorlands.
One of them is the Gasthof Adler in Krumbach (Dorf 5), where we enjoyed a lovely breakfast after our walk.
Participation in a guided moor walk costs €8. It’s free for children younger than 14 years old. Walks are organized on different dates throughout the summer and you should call ahead if you want to join.
For all information: 0043 (0) 5513 8157/
Architecture: mixing practicality and art with BUS:STOP Krumbach
With a population of just 1,000 people, you wouldn’t expect the mountain village of Krumbach to be a creative hub and yet in some way, it is.
The close-knittedness of the community and the engagement of its members to make Krumbach a great place to live, is what allowed necessary infrastructural works to turn into works of art.
When Krumbach needed to renovate a number of its bus shelters, it did much more than just that. One of the locals saw this need as an opportunity to showcase the region’s building culture and craftmanship to the world.
The idea caught fire and the town managed to get Dietmar Steiner, the director of the Architekturzentrum in Vienna on board. He got in touch with the renowned Vorarlberger Architektur Institut and together they selected seven unconventional international architects who weren’t big stars yet, but all stood out in their own way.
Much to everyone’s surprise, all seven architects agreed to work with the village and design one bus shelter. Their fee? A one-week holiday in the region.
Not just the architects worked for free, though. They were paired with volunteering local architects who supervised the works on-site and worked together with craftsmen from throughout the region who employed their skills to make the designs a reality. Sponsors bore the costs for the materials.
None of this happened without the involvement of the villagers. When the architects had sent in their designs, these were elaborately discussed by residents, local business owners and associations. Not only was it important that the designs fit the local materials and building techniques, they also needed to make sure that people waiting for the bus were sheltered from the elements and could see the bus coming without stepping outside the bus shelter.
There’s only one BUS:STOP shelter that doesn’t protect against rain and wind and that’s the Japanese one. People loved the design so much, though, that it was accepted anyway. It represents a forest and was one of my favorites.
Three of the shelters are located on the L6. The name of the street is also “Krumbach”, so that isn’t very helpful, but you can enter “Gasthaus Kressbad” into Google Maps as that hotel is located on the L6.
Three others are located on the street that starts as the Unterkrumbach and later becomes the Ladau and the Zwing. Two of them are located opposite each other, the third lies a bit further down the road.
The last BUS:STOP shelter lies on the 205.
The easiest way to get to all of them is to drive to Gasthof Adler, which I mentioned before, as that Gasthof lies on the intersection of the three streets on which you can find the bus stops.
The clash: hiking the Georunde Rindberg
In 1999, architecture and nature did clash in the Bregenzerwald. The mountain land beneath the town of Sibratsgfäll started to slide and left behind a trail of devastation. While they were struck hard by the force of nature, the villagers here too saw a way of turning what happened into something positive.
The Georunde Rindberg is an easy 2.1-kilometer round-hike along which different structures show visitors what happened in the area.
The easiest way to get to the Georunde Rindberg is by using Google Maps and setting it to take you to the Gasthaus Alpenrose. The Gasthaus is the last of the eight stations along the route and has its own parking. There’s also a small parking space a little before you reach the Gasthaus. You won’t miss it as there’s a sign that says “Georunde Rindberg” just before you get to it.
Park at either the parking space or the Gasthaus and then walk back 100 meters or so along the road. To your right you’ll see the first station of the walk, “Felbers shiefes Haus” or “the crooked house of Felber” with an information panel and a road leading upward into the mountains. This is where the trail starts.
You only need an hour or so to complete it.
Where to stay in the Bregenzerwald
I spent a night at the Gasthaus Kröne in Hittisau and enjoyed a wonderful dinner at its restaurant. The Gasthaus is just a short drive from both Krumbach and the Georunde Rindberg. Housed in a traditional building, the rooms are bright, with light wood creating tight lines and a sense of quiet. There’s ample parking space in the back and on the square in front of the hotel.
Here’s a tour of my room:
A day in Kleinwalsertal: a hike, a unique garden and the end of the world
Gypsum holes and herbs: nature in Lech, Austria
The Gauertaler AlpkulTour: not just another hike
A hike at 1,970m above sea level: around the Lunersee
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I was invited to explore the region by Vorarlberg Tourism. As always when partnering up with destinations, I was free to write what I wanted. Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you buy anything through them, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. If you’d like to support the site, this is a great way of doing so. Thanks!