Feldkirch is at the very western tip of Austria in the state of Vorarlberg. It is a small town around the corner from Liechtenstein and our initial destination when going to visit the small mountain principality. It has a castle on the hill and a fast running mountain river. The medieval feel is still there in places as well. The town is really worth visiting especially if you are in the area for Liechtenstein.
The train station is on a mainline between Austria and Switzerland. We caught a Railjet train in Zurich that was heading to Innsbruck, so I imagine the reverse run must exist as well. The run through the mountains and valley was beautiful. Coming from Zurich the train goes through a wide valley and by several lakes. It also stops at a few of the smaller towns that border Liechtenstein which have bus links to the principality. The Railjet was nice as it had TVs showing the map of where we were.
Feldkirch is also worth it as an entry point into Liechtenstein, better than the smaller towns on the Swiss side in my opinion. There are three bus lines that run down into the principality, although only one runs on the weekend. Feldkirch is in Austria, so they are on the Euro. This means, coming from Germany, we wouldn’t have to change money. This made things cheaper as well. The Swiss franc, also used in Liechtenstein, has skyrocketed lately.
The train station is a bit of a walk from the main part of town but not bad. The buses leave from a plaza near the tourist office.
Stuff to See
Ali and I didn’t really know what to expect coming to Feldkirch. We figured it would be another country to see together and a cheaper place to spend the night as we were arriving fairly late on a Friday night. What we found was a neat little alpine town. It has a castle on a hill and an attractive old town. There is a fast moving river and several towers remaining of the old fortifications as well. This was a perfect first night and Saturday for our weekend.
Market and Old Town
The first thing we did waking up on Saturday was walk around town and look for breakfast. The old town is small so easily walkable. One street in the pedestrian area is the market and had a number of stalls selling fruits and vegetables as expected. One stand claimed to be selling anything sheep, from milk to cheese to meat.
It was raining and cold the weekend we visited, even though it was in the middle of summer. The day was kind of gray, but there were plenty of people out. So dodging the umbrellas in the crowded market was something of a trick. I am fairly tall, so they are often held at eye-height to me. Luckily I also wear glasses, so I am not so worried of losing an eye.
We finally settled at a table under the portico at a bakery for breakfast. I had a frosted nut swirl which was sweet and delicious. Austrians know their pastries. Ali had a spicy chicken wrap. Sitting there in amidst the hustle of the market watching people go by I remembered why I like Europe so much. There is just something cool about being out on a day like that despite the rain.
Thankfully the rain finally let up. We headed to the tourist office and bus stop to get schedules for the bus down into Liechtenstein. The bus ran regularly, so we took time to walk up to the castle. The town straddles one of the main passes along the alps between Austria and Switzerland. To make things more interesting, the German border isn’t very far north either. So this town and its trade route was guarded by castle that watched over the small walled city.
The castle is reachable by road or stairs. We decided to walk up the road, that while steep wasn’t stairs. The stairs though were a nice way down. The castle is in pretty good shape and houses two restaurants and a museum. We aren’t really museum people so just took some pictures of the castle and the views of the town. A friend of mine who remembered going to the museum years ago did recommend it as having some neat things. So if you are in Feldkirch and like museums, by all means check it out.