From traditional village festivals to Schubert concerts and artist-led hiking tours, these cultural events and activities in Austria’s Vorarlberg will connect you with the region’s rich and varied heritage
Over two days in July each year, groups of musicians from Switzerland, Germany, and Austria join forces and place themselves with their Alphörner (curved horn instruments) around Lünersee Lake in the Brandnertal to create a hiking experience with a difference. With this tuneful twist, you can soak up the breathtaking scenery while learning more about traditional alpine music.
On the first day, hiking groups meet at Lünersee mountain station at 10am and head around the lake for two to three hours. At 2pm, all the bands join up at a local restaurant, combining their musical prowess to put on a knee-slapping show all together. The bands re-group again for the event’s second day at Walserensemble in Brand for more spirited renditions. The 2016 events take place on July 9th and 10th. For more information click here.
© Vorarlberg Tourismus / Joachim Negwer
Much more than just a hike, these culture and culinary walks – named Berge.hören – take you through the mountains and valleys around Bludenz and blend walking with music, food, and literature. The tours are led by artists and offer a full sensory experience: you connect with the landscape not only through taking in the spectacular scenery with your eyes, but also through your ears and taste buds to create a meaningful experience.
The tours include a stop-off at a mountain chalet, where you will be able to sample the local cuisine. Your artist guide can answer all your burning questions about alpine culture, and offer valuable insights from an alternative perspective. More information
© Lech Zürs Tourismus
For one day in July each year – July 16th for 2016 – the village of Lech am Arlberg comes alive with its summer festival. The local band kicks off the festivities with lively traditional music, and a brass band takes over through the day to keep spirits high with plenty of oom-pah.
The restaurants around Lech open their doors and spill out onto the streets, offering regional food and drink for you to pick at while you mill around. Many of the locals working at the events dress up in traditional get-up to make you feel like you’ve stepped into a classic alpine postcard.
© Vorarlberg Tourismus / Peter Rigaud
With glass walls and a slick modern design, the Werkraum Haus is worth visiting for its architecture alone. This Werkraum in Bregenzerwald is an association of over 80 craftsmen from the region, and this show room displays their work through changing exhibitions throughout the year. Contemporary furniture and interior design pieces fill the centre so you can understand more about the area’s current marketplace and design scene.
There’s a restaurant at the Werkraum, serving lunch plus coffee and cake, and their shop sells a number of the smaller furniture items plus homewares and other products made by craftsmen from the collective.
© Bregenzerwald Tourismus/ Christoph Lingg
The annual event’s schedule in Vorarlberg’s Bregenzerwald region is packed with music festivals. One of the most renowned is Schubertiade Schwarzenberg, which celebrates the music of Austrian composer Schubert over the 40 events at different times through the year. Around 40,000 people attend the festival, due to be held in 2016 from 18–26 June and 23–31 August, and lectures and masterclasses pack the programme alongside concerts and recitals.
Other musical highlights in and close to Bregenzerwald include the Bregenz Festival, which puts on operas on floating stages and orchestral performances, and Bezau Beatz, a more contemporary festival with musicians from all over the world playing anything from indie folk to experimental.
© Vorarlberg Tourismus / Albrecht Imanuel Schnabel
The village of Hittisau in Vorarlberg boasts the intriguing title of playing host to the only women’s museum in Austria, aptly named the Frauenmuseum. The centre shows up to three exhibitions a year, centred around female issues in the realms of history, art, architecture, and more.
The exhibition held in 2016 until October 26th is named ‘I, on the summit!’ and takes a look at the history of women in the Alps. This dives into the world of female mountain climbers, but also farmers, porters, smugglers, mountain guides, and more. Guided tours of the museum are available
© Vorarlberg Tourismus / Albrecht Imanuel Schnabel
Internationally-renowned painter Angelika Kauffmann is the pride of Vorarlberg’s Schwarzenberg region. The baroque painter’s father was born here so the artist spent time in the area, and her talent for painting took her to Italy and England – she was a founding and first female member of the Royal Academy of Arts.
Established in 2007 in a 16th century building, the Angelika Kauffmann Museum showcases Kauffmann’s work in yearly exhibitions. Between May 1st and October 26th 2016, a collection named ‘Das bin ich’ (‘That’s Me’) will be put on displayed, presenting Kauffmann’s series of children portraits that she created during her time in England.
© Lech Zürs Tourismus / Christoph Schöch
The Arlberg Classic Car Rally has been held at Lech Zürs am Arlberg since 2010 and is a beautiful sight to behold. Over 100 teams participate in the rally, in a range of vehicles made up until the year 1975 that would thrill even a classic car connoisseur.
The participants start and finish in Lech and cruise across hundreds of miles of sweeping mountain scenery. The rally runs from June 30th to July 3rd in 2016, and as well as seeing the cars during the day, the evening festivities should not be missed. A rally part with music is held at Rüfiplatz in Lech to celebrate the end of the lakes and castles route on Friday July 1st, and a gala is thrown on July 2nd after the teams have toured through the Tyrol.
Main image: ©Brandnertal Tourismus
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