The largest town in the Rhine valley is considered a shopping town, and the hustle and bustle around the market square and the Church of St Martin, with its many small shops and businesses, certainly supports this reputation. It is not without good reason that boutiques flourish alongside well-known chains and cafés, since the centre is an extremely popular destination for shopping trips.
However, Dornbirn has much more to offer than just that. Along the banks of the Ach, you reach the spectacular Rappenlochschlucht, a recommended outing which certainly impresses guests. In Gütle, the industrial history meets a spectacle of nature. From here, paths take you to the unique vantage point above the Rhine Valley, the Karren and into hidden Ebnit, only a stone’s throw from beautiful mountain landscapes. The industrialisation of Vorarlberg was particularly successful in Dornbin. The mid-19th century saw numerous companies setting out on what would become a success story which has left behind urban traces. This has not changed – the competitiveness of the companies continues to leave its mark on the architecture and the lifestyle of the people even today. You must not miss the site of the closed-down Rüschwerke in the town park which have mutated into a cultural hotspot. Adapted with a great deal of sensitivity and stellar architecture, the old fabric of the former factory buildings form a lovely contrast to the modern art in the Kunstraum Dornbirn and the interactive inatura nature show which are both at home here.
Do you think you know Dornbirn already? Really? Do you agree with the crowned prince of German writers Goethe, that one has only really been to a place once one has hiked there by foot, or perhaps it is better to say ‘walked’. The word ‘hiked’ conjures up images of special equipment and measurable success, calculated in metres of elevation and mountain summits - at least that is what our guide Armin Malojer might say. We simply want to get out in the fresh air and encourage you to do the same.
The so-called functions of existence, ‘ living’, ‘working’, ‘providing for oneself ’, ‘educating oneself ’, ‘maintaining health’, ‘ living in a community’, ‘participating in society’, ‘disposal of waste’ and ‘participating in communication’, are incorporated in the urban environment and in the world that we construct around us. How we can participate and in which functions, makes the status of civil society clear. There is always potential for development.
The number 38 regional bus leaves every half hour and takes the rather curvaceous Landstraße past the exclusive residential area of Watzenegg and up onto the Bödele mountain. As we travel around the mighty curves, views of the Rhine valley and Lake Constance open up before us. The ‘Berghof Fetz’, with its inviting coffee terrace with views over Lake Constance, is located directly at the bus stop. From here we embark on a gentle stroll to the ‘Meierei’, a walk which would also be friendly for prams and even in Hölzlern (Bregenzerwälder clogs, worn all year round). After a brief pause in the ‘Dornbirner Hütte’ and a generous portion of spicy Kässpätzle, we continue up to the Hochälpele, pausing once again to say hello to Petra and Werner at the ‘Hochälpelehütte’ and a schnapps to wash down the food. Shame we were no longer hungry! The spinach dumpling soup, Kässpätzle and home-made cakes are legendary here. Instead we enjoy the breathtaking views in all directions. We proceed over the mountain to the Lustenauer Hütte and then along Spechtweg to Losenpass and back to where we started from. A very simple walk with hardly any change in elevation leads from Losenpass through the Fohramoos, a nature preservation area with natural moorland, rare plant species and, in winter, an exceptional cross-country ski track.