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As a nature and adventure lover, Montafon Austria provides everything I could ever want: scenic hiking and biking trails, breathtaking mountain views, fast ski runs, and some of the tastiest cheese I’ve ever eaten.
It may not be the first destination that comes to mind when you think of Austria, but you’ll want to add it to your list after learning about all the fun things you can do in Montafon.
Why visit Montafon, Austria?
Montafon is a 39 km long valley made up of 11 little towns or villages.
While the region is most well-known for being a premier ski destination in Europe, visiting during the other seasons should not be overlooked.
We spent two days exploring Montafon in late September. The weather was perfect – clear blue skies with crisp fall air, fresh blueberries to be picked, and stunning shades of red as the leaves began to change color.
I made my first ever Youtube video thanks to the sessions at Propel about our time in Montafon. So if you’d rather watch than read, check it out!
Getting to Montafon Austria
Since there’s no international airport here, Getting to Montafon is a little more work than other parts of the country, but that makes it more special.
Montafon is in Vorarlberg, Austria, which sits on the border with Germany, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein. So if you’re flying internationally, the easiest way to get here is to fly into Munich International Airport in Germany or Zurich Airport in Switzerland and take a short train ride.
I came here on a two-hour bus from Mellau in Austria, and we got the train back to Zurich, which took less than two hours. The scenery was gorgeous on both drives!
Like the rest of Vorarlberg, the public transportation in Montafon works very well, and you can visit many attractions using the local buses.
Where to stay in Montafon
We stayed at Sporthotel Grandau, which was a wonderful experience. Hotels in Austria are fantastic!
As soon as we got there we were greeted by an old dog named Adam, which delighted everyone.
The rooms are warmly decorated with wooden paneling and reading nooks, which immediately gave me a comforting feeling of being at home. In addition, it had a balcony overlooking the mountains, a dream place to start the day with a morning coffee.
The decor throughout the hotel is quirky. They have cartoon images of animals all over and a bar full of interesting knick-knacks.
The best part about staying here is that you get access to their spa downstairs, which boasts four saunas, a pool, an outdoor and indoor relaxation area, a steam room, and a massage therapist you can book sessions with.
Breakfast is buffet-style everything you need to start the day full of energy, including fruits, cold cuts, eggs, cereals, pastries, and fresh orange juice (along with champagne if you feel like celebrating).
They also serve a delicious four-course dinner here with a different type of cuisine each night.
What to do in Montafon Austria
Visiting Montafon is all about enjoying the outdoors and the breathtaking scenery that Austria offers.
Hiking in Montafon
Lake Silvretta (6km, two hours, easy)
If you’re looking for an easy day hike in the area, look no further than Lake Silvretta. This glacial lake has a gorgeous turquoise blue color, with magnificent views of the surrounding mountains and glaciers reflected in it.
The drive to Lake Silvretta is a scenic windy road up a mountain. We couldn’t stop taking photos on all sides, but sit near the front if you’re prone to getting car sick!
If you don’t have a car, you can get bus number 85 from St. Gallenkirch (we got it just outside of Hotel Grandau).
Once you arrive at the parking lot for the lake, there’s a cafe to get coffee and a beautiful viewpoint overlooking the mountains.
From there, you walk across the bridge above the dam wall, with the lake on one side and mountains on the other. At the end, there’s a tunnel which you can walk inside. There’s peaceful music playing and a light display; it’s very cool to walkthrough!
The trail continues from there around the lake. It took us about two hours to walk in total, stopping for lots of photos along the way. The best spot for photos is actually at the end as this is where you can see the mountains reflecting.
At the end of the hike, you can see an interesting installation called am Bielbach, which marks the border between Vorarlberg and Tyrol.
The Bielbach, which flows from the Tyrolean side, is channeled through a tunnel into the Silvretta reservoir, with the water cascading into the lake. The water comes through a hose into an arc over the lake, creating a neat rainbow effect. There’s also a waterfall on the other side!
The trail is 2000m in elevation but relatively flat, so it’s easy to walk along. And even close to the parking lot, you can get stunning views if you don’t have time to do the whole hike.
At Lake Silvretta, there are several restaurants where you can enjoy delicious Austrian cuisine while overlooking the lake.
We ate lunch at Silvretta-Haus Restaurant, which had a nice view of the lake and food just as good to go with it. I enjoyed pasta with an Austrian strudel desert, and ice cream served in a Pingu cup. It took me back to my childhood!
For a more challenging but rewarding day hike, take the cable car up to the Kristbergbahn mountain area from the lower station.
The views at the top cable car station are beautiful, even without going further! There, you’ll see a sign pointing in the direction of various hikes.
Austria uses a simple trail marking system to identify its difficulty. Yellow-white is easy (suitable for children), white-red-white is intermediate, and white-blue-white is expert. For the last two, you’ll want sturdy hiking shoes.
We did the Muttjochle hike, which took about six hours (about four actually walking).
The trail takes you along the Kristberg pleasure mountain through a natural mountain forest in the direction of Muttjochle, which is the “vantage point for lovers of life.”
We started the ascent up through the forest with lots of breaks, as it’s almost all straight up. After about an hour, you get the first glimpse of the mountain ranges through the forest trees!
The next part of the trail gets more scenic with every step as the forest opens up, and you get incredible views of Ratikon, Verfall, and Silvretta.
We had a perfect day of weather for it, clear blue skies, and some of the prettiest fall colors in Europe.
For that reason, fall is one of the best times to do this hike. Plus, in late September, you can still pick blueberries to keep you fueled up along the way.
The view at the top is unbelievable; you’ll see 360- mountains all around.
The best way to enjoy it is to pack a picnic and hang out for a while enjoying the views, which we saw many locals doing.
Since I don’t eat meat, I was given an entire block of cheese for my picnic, which made me extremely happy.
There’s a cross marking the top of the mountain, along with a guest book you can sign.
I could have spent hours here just soaking in the views, but eventually, we had to hike back down. The way down was much faster, and at the bottom, we celebrated with a delicious meal full of more cheese. Because can you ever have enough?
As we took the cable car back down, the sun was setting over the mountains—a perfect ending to a perfect day.
Via Ferratas in Montafon
Montafon is famous for its via ferratas, with over 20 to try. Honestly, I didn’t know what a via Ferrata was until this trip! Essentially, they are the bridge between scrambling and climbing. They are most commonly found in the alps and translate directly to “iron path” in English.
We did the Via Ferrata Silvretassee, a 320-meter-long via ferrata that takes you along the impressive dam wall of Lake Silvretta.
We met our guide from Bergfuhrer Montafon, a certified mountaineering guide, and he gave us the necessary equipment before walking down to the base of the dam wall.
Looking up, I was starting to get nervous! He explained how to clip on using the equipment, and we started our ascent up the wall.
Full disclosure, I got about halfway up the wall and then realized this was not for me. Not a good place to find out you are terrified of heights! Luckily at this point, I could still abseil down the wall (which was so fun).
Three of the other girls from my group continued the ferrata, which then went sideways and involved walking along a wire. I watched them from above and felt grateful to be on my two feet. That said, if you’re an adrenaline seeker, you’ll love this experience – half of my group did!
Even if you’re not partaking, it’s worth checking out the climbers from above if you’re hiking around Lake Silvretta. The views are so cool, and what’s neat about this via ferrata is that it’s free for the public to use. However, I recommend going with a guide if you aren’t experienced in using the equipment.
The entire experience takes about two and a half hours, but you’ll only be on the wall for about 45 minutes.
At the end of the experience, we all celebrated with a well-deserved beer after a day full of adventure!
Other Things do in Montafon
While I didn’t get the chance to try these activities due to seasonality and time restrictions, here are some other adventure activities you can look into if you’re visiting Montafon:
Winter activities in Montafon
Skiing and snowboarding: During the winter season, Montafon becomes one of the best places in Europe for skiing. It’s home to the longest valley ski run in Vorarlberg, the HochjochTotale near Schruns, which even offers a sunrise ski once a week. What a way to start your day! Or you can cross the border into Switzerland on the Madrisa Rundtour.
Other winter activities include winter hiking, snowshoe hiking, tobogganing, and ice climbing.
Ride an electric bike through the mountains. An electric bike is an excellent option if you want to see more of the mountains than hiking would allow! They get speeds up to 25 km/h, and the extra push is welcome on the strenuous mountain passages.
Montafon has numerous professional electric bike outlets that offer rentals, and an extensive electric bike network with numerous “service stations” where you can charge up.
Paragliding. For a truly unforgettable experience, go paragliding over the Silvretta on this epic tour. You’ll get a birds-eye view of the dreamy mountain scenery from 1,700m above. No worries if you are new to paragliding, as you’ll be on a tandem flight with an experienced paragliding pilot.
Fuel up on cheese (and other delicious Austrian food)
It’s hard to go wrong eating in Austria. I wasn’t expecting it to be such a food paradise, but it surprised me! Here are some places I recommend eating in Montafon:
At the top of the cable car station is Panoramagasthof Kristberg, one of my favorite places we ate in Austria.
They serve the famous Vorarlberg Käsespätzle, which is Austria-style mac and cheese. After a day of hiking, there is nothing so comforting!
We shared a huge platter with a variety of cheeses and meats – because can you ever have too much cheese?
I also loved the breakfast and dinners we ate at Hotel Grandau. Each night is themed to a different type of cuisine with four courses and what felt like an endless supply of wine.
Relax your muscles at the spa
After a day of adventure in the alps, there’s nothing like a spa to relax your muscles. I loved making use of the spa at Hotel Graundau both nights we were there.
They have a pool, steam room, three saunas, and several relaxation rooms, including one outside that overlooks the mountains.
You can also book an appointment with the massage therapist. I highly recommend doing this if you’re muscles are sore after hiking or want to relax – she was fantastic.
If you want to enjoy the best of Austria’s outdoor scenery and adventure opportunities, head to Montafon for your next vacation! I felt so at peace after spending a few days there. Just one of the few benefits of spending time outdoors in the mountains.
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