Feldkirch

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Schattenburg Castle

Feldkirch is a historic city in Vorarlberg, Austria. It is conveniently located on the border to Liechtenstein and can easily be visited in an afternoon. It is nestled in a picturesque place where three valleys meet and includes a well preserved old town and the dominating edifice of the ancient Schattenburg Castle. While small in size, it is the most well preserved and scenic of Vorarlberg's cities. Many people make the mistake and pass through Feldkirch on their way to Liechtenstein or Innsbruck without even exploring its wonderful charm. Don't make this mistake!

Understand[edit]

  •    Stadtmarketing und Tourismus FeldkirchSchlossergasse 8 (Palais Liechtenstein, near the Katzenturm),  +43 5522/73467, e-mail: . M-F 09:00-17:30, Sa 09:00-12:00. Can offer advice on sightseeing, helps arrange accommodation, and sells tickets to special events and concerts. They have a good free map of the inner city, which is also available outside the office when it is closed.

Get in[edit]

Feldkirch lies in the Rhein Valley bordering Liechtenstein to the south and Switzerland to the west.

By plane[edit]

The closest international airports are in Friedrichshafen (46km), Zurich (124km), Innsbruck (154km), and Munich (223km).

By train[edit]

By car[edit]

From Germany and Bavaria you will take the Rheintal Autobahn and cross at Lindau and continue southward. From Liechtenstein you simply head north. From Switzerland you have to cross east over the Rhein. From Tyrol and Innsbruck you will have to pass through the Arlberg Tunnel (toll) an incredibly scenic drive that takes you through the stunning Walgau Valley. The Arlberg Pass offers a free alternative but is only open in the warm weather months.

Get around[edit]

By foot[edit]

The old town centre is small, and easy to walk around. Most of the streets are pedestrianised. There is lots of parking available just outside the centre.

By bus[edit]

  •    Citybus (Stadtbus), Herrengasse 14 (near the Katzenturm and Tourist Information office),  +43 5522 83951fax: +43 5522 73973, e-mail: . Office: M-F 07:30-18:00, Sa 09:00-12:00. 8 daytime and 4 nighttime routes provide good coverage for most of the city and beyond. Schedules for all route can be downloaded here (in German); a route map is available here. Unfortunately the buses cannot accommodate bicycles. Single trip: €1.30 (adults), €1 (concessions); day ticket: €2.40; week ticket: €8; month ticket: €20; night buses: €5 (adults), €4 (concessions).
  • YOYO Sammeltaxi +43 676/70 999 70. S-Th 20:00-03:00, F-Sa 20:00-05:00; requests taken starting at 19:00. An on-call nighttime 'maxi-taxi' service is available. Call at least 30 min beforehand. Fare calculated by route and distance.

Taxi[edit]

See[edit]

Churer Tor
Wasserturm and the Ill River
  •    Schattenburg CastleBurggasse 1 +43 5522 71982fax: +43 5522 71982-10, e-mail: . Jan-Mar T-F 13:30-16:00, Sa Su and holidays 11:00-16:00; Apr-Oct M-F 09:00-12:00, 13:30-17:00, Sa Su and hoilidays 10:00-17:00; Nov-Dec Sa Su and holidays 11:00-16:00. A 13th-century castle, on a hill to the east of the town and impossible to miss. It was once the seat of the Earls of Montfort. Today there is a local history museum and some restaurants inside. €6 (adults), €4.50 (concessions), €2.50 (children 6-11).
  •    St. Nikolaus Cathedral (Dom St. Nikolaus), Domplatz 6. The foundations of the church date to the 13th century. After suffering severe damage following serious fires, it was rebuilt in the Gothic style in 1478; it considered to be the most significant Gothic church in Vorarlberg.
  • City gates and towers. City gates and defensive towers of the medieval city fortifications have been largely preserved, and are well-worth seeing. The city walls were demolished at the beginning of the 19th century.
    •    Churer Tor. Built in 1491 as part of the old city wall. This is also called the 'Salt Gate' (Salztor), as until the turn of the last century salt was stored here.
    •    Katzenturm (Cats' Tower), Hirschgraben (Opposite tourist office). This defensive tower, built in 1507, was once part of the town's fortifications. It is believed to be named after the canons (Katzen) which were kept in the tower, as the targeting devices were shaped like lions' heads. In the early 17th century the building was converted into a bell tower; the current bell was poured in the 19th century and is the largest bell in Vorarlberg. The bell is rung on major holidays and on Fridays at 15:00 (Todesstunde Christi: believed to be the hour of Christ's death).
    •    Diebsturm (Thieves' Tower), Hirschgraben 18. Built in the 15th century, this was once, as the name suggests, a prison. The city walls which once connected it to the other towers were demolished several decades ago.
    •    Pulverturm (Powder Tower), Mühletorplatz. The Pulverturm was built in 1460 and is the oldest of the city's four towers. As the name suggests, gunpowder was stored here. Today the tower is used as a meeting place by a local association.
    •    Mühletor (Mill Tower), Mühletorplatz (next to the Pulverturm).
    •    Wasserturm (Water Tower), Montfortgasse 17. This tower was built in 1482, and once had an entrance to the Ill River. This tower now also serves as a meeting place for a local club.
  •    Tosters Castle ruins (Ruine Tosters), Tostner Burgweg. 24hrs. Built in about 1260 by the Counts of Montfort, the castle has been abandoned since 1616. The ruins of the primary defensive tower (Bergfried) as well as parts of the palace are still standing, and are a favourite destination for hikers. Free.
  •    Church of St Cornelius (Alte Pfarrkirche St. Corneli) (near Tosters Castle). A 12th-century Romanesque church, with foundations dating to the 11th century. By the northern wall of the cemetery is a thousand-year-old year tree – the oldest tree in Vorarlberg and one of the oldest in Austria, with a circumference of 5 metres. The tree figures in a number of local legends, and was believed to have healing properties.
  •    Johanniterkirche (Johanneskirche), Marktgasse 1, e-mail: . T-F 10:00-12:00, 15:00-18:00; Sa 10:00-14:00. This former church, originally built in the 13th century and modified in the 17th century, is now used as a venue for contemporary art installation pieces. Free.
  •    Kunst.VorarlbergBahnhofstraße 6 (Villa Claudia),  +43 680 246 77 05, e-mail: . F 16:00-18:00; Sa 15:00-18:00; Su 10:00-12:00, 15:00-18:00. This former villa serves as a venue for exhibiting the work of a collective of regional artists. Currently about 40 artists participate. Free.

Do[edit]

Freedom stupa at the Letzehof Buddhist Monastery
View from the hiking trail on Stadtschrofen
  •    Letzehof Buddhist Monastery (Buddhistisches Kloster Letzehof), Im Buchholz 26, Frastanz (Stadtbus 7, or by foot from Liechtensteiner Straße and Duxgasse),  +43 5522/706111, e-mail: . Prayer/meditation rooms, stupa: anytime; tour by appt. This Buddhist monastery was founded in 1982 by Geshe Rabten Rinpotsche, on the site of a former dairy. Resident monks include Tibetans, Mongolians, and Europeans. The monks hold regular seminars and evening lectures about meditation, and operate a small bookshop (daily 15:00-17:00). Several guest rooms are available for those interested in a meditation retreat. Donation appreciated; lectures €10.
  •    poolbar-FestivalAltes Hallenbad im Reichenfeldpark (near the Music Conservatory),  +43 5522 73467, e-mail: . Jul – mid-Aug. For six weeks every summer this festival offers numerous concerts, including Sunday morning Jazz concerts as well as such big name acts as Calexico, Heather Nova, Tocotronic, Shout Out Louds, dEUS, Kosheen, Coldcut, and others. Additional highlights include cinema, short films, cabaret performances, poetry slams, quiz programs, fashion shows, and discussion panels.
The venues are completely rebuilt every year; designers are selected via an international architecture competition. Art and fashion competitions also enrich the festival. General admission is free (does not include large concerts).
  •    Schwimmbad Felsenau (Felsenau Public Pool), Fellengattner Straße, Frastanz (Stadtbus 7/73),  +43 5522 72221. May-Sep daily 09:00-20:00 (depending on weather). Built in 1903, this is the oldest continuously-operating public pool in Vorarlberg. €4.20 (adults), €3.30 (seniors), €3.10 (youths), €2 (children 6-15), free (children under 6).
  • Hiking. The area around Feldkirch offers numerous hiking opportunities, with trails ranging in difficulty from short and easy to challenging full-day treks. Many of the trail heads can be reached by public bus. Some of the more popular routes include the Ardetzenberg, Stadtschrofen, and the Hohes and Niederes Känzele. The tourist office has excellent free hiking maps and can make additional suggestions.

Buy[edit]

Marktgasse
  •    Frastanz Brewery (Brauerei Frastanz), Bahnhofstraße 22, Frastanz +43 5522 51701-0fax: +43 5522 51701-11, e-mail: . M-F 09:00-12:00, 14:00-18:00; Sa 09:00-13:00. Located in a historic building, this is where the popular Vorarlberg beer is produced. Brewery tours (in German) are available on request.
  •    Marktgasse (Market Street). This street is a proper medieval German street, with its arches and covered walkways, and has been used as the town's central market area since the Middle Ages. A number of shops and cafés are located here, which also have outdoor seating during pleasant weather.
    • Weekly Market (Wochenmarkt), Marktgasse. T Sa 08:00-12:00. Well worth visiting. Vendors offer fresh produce, cheese, and flowers, as well as a large selection of food items imported from Italy and France.
    • Farmers' Market (Bauernmarkt), Marktgasse. Apr-Nov: every 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month. Only local products are sold.

Eat[edit]

Rauch Café-Bar
  •    New TomCatLeonhardsplatz 4 +43 5522/71998, e-mail: . M-F 07:00-24:00, Sa 08:00-24:00; Su 14:00-19:00 (in winter; summer opening dependent on weather). Offers a range of innovative and creative dishes, with many vegetarian options. Outside seating.
  • Schlosswirtschaft SchattenburgBurggasse 1 (Schattenburg Castle),  +43 5522 72444fax: +43 5522 72444-18, e-mail: . Sep-Jun T-Sa 11:00-14:00, 15:00-22:00, Su and holidays 11:00-14:00, 15:00-21:00, closed M; Jul-Aug also open on M. One of the best-known restaurants in Feldkirch, well-known for their giant Schnitzel as well as other traditional dishes.
  •    Verona DueSchmiedgasse 4 (near St. Nikolaus Cathedral),  +43 5522 81790. Really delicious and great value pasta and pizza, in a cosy restaurant. Outdoor seating available in the summer. about €10.

Drink[edit]

In the last few years a number of pleasant cafés have been established, inviting the visitor to linger awhile.

  •    Espresso Bar UnterbergerMarktplatz 23 (on the corner of Schmiedgasse),  +43 5522 85280. M-Sa 08:00-01:00, Su 16:00-24:00.

Sleep[edit]

Hostel Feldkirch
  •    Hotel BüchelSägerstrasse 20 +43 5522 73306fax: +43 5522 7330633, e-mail: . Check-in: 16:00, check-out: 11:00. Also has a good restaurant offering regional specialties. €41 (w/breakfast), €51 (half room and board), €60 (full room and board).
  •    Hostel Feldkirch-Levis (Jugendherberge Feldkirch-Levis), Reichsstraße 111 +43 5522 73181fax: +43 5522 79399, e-mail: . The 700-year-old building is a former infirmary and has been recently renovated. Open year round, reception 07:00-23:00, no curfew, free wi-fi. €15+.

Connect[edit]

Go next[edit]

Basilika Rankweil
  • Rankweil. Just 10km to the north and worth a visit, easily accessible by car, bus, or train.
    •    Basilika Rankweil (Liebfrauenbergkirche), Liebfrauenberg 10 +43 5522 44224fax: +43 5522 44224-4, e-mail: . This church is particularly noteworthy, and was founded as a fortified church in the 8th century; portions of the defensive walls still remain. It is now a pilgrimage destination.
    •    Freilichtmuseum Römervilla (Villa Rustica Freilichtmuseum), Kirchstraße 25, Brederis. Daylight hours. A unique open air museum with the remains of a Roman estate dating from the 1st-5th centuries BCE. An online brochure (in German) outlines the history of the site. Free.

Liechtenstein, one of the smallest countries in the world, is only a few kilometres away.

Routes through Feldkirch
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