A gem in the heart of the Montafon valley
With its tall Baroque churches and houses adorned with flowers, the village of St. Gallenkirch is distinguished by the architecture typical of the Montafon region.
Surrounding the village are countless so-called “Maisäße” pastures, the highest number in the Montafon region. The picturesque, authentically traditional little mountain settlements take you back to a time where the hectic pace and modern technology of today were unknown. Here you can enjoy freshly-made dairy products which are still produced using traditional methods.
When you stay in Appart Gastauer, you can experience first hand the typical customs and traditions of rural village life, from the “Almabtrieb” – the ceremonial driving down of cattle from the mountain pastures into the valley in the autumn – to Easter processions and the art of carving wooden nativity scenes. Many well-signposted walking and hiking paths lead directly from the village itself to breathtakingly beautiful scenic spots.
…yet just round the corner
There are several places in the area surrounding the Montafon valley that are well worth a visit:
For the culture lovers among Appart Gastauer guests, the “Bregenzer Festspiele” music festival is an event not to be missed. The extravagantly staged, open-air performances set against the dramatic backdrop of Lake Constance offer an unforgettable experience for all the senses.
The Silvretta High Alpine Road ranks among Europe’s most scenic mountain roads. Covering a distance of around 25 km, it twists and turns along countless hairpin bends up to an altitude of over 2,000 metres above sea level rewarding those who travel along it with magnificent views of the Tyrol and Vorarlberg.
Gentle slopes, rugged rocks
What makes the Montafon region so unique are its mountains. In the North West the jagged limestone peaks of the Rätikon range rise spectacularly towards the sky. The Verwall group in the North East offers less rugged, forested mountain slopes.
The region, most of which is a dedicated nature conservation area, is one of the most authentic and untouched mountain regions in the province of Vorarlberg. The South is bordered by the famous Silvretta range. The mountains, parts of which are covered by glaciers, are, above all, a Mecca for sports enthusiasts during the winter months. In summer too, however, the high-alpine terrain and ice-covered rock faces are a magnet for alpine sport devotees. A particular highlight for guests young and old is the Bielerhöhe pass which offers an easy-going circular walking path around the picturesque reservoir.
Culture and TraditionsTradition a way of life
The customs and traditions that form a firmly established part of life in the Montafon valley follow the cycle of farming life.
The so-called “Almabtrieb” is considered the highlight of the working year. The festive celebration has remained virtually unchanged for 400 years. The cows of the Montafon farmers still spend the summer months grazing the lush grass rich in wild herbs on the high mountain pastures. In the autumn, they return to the valley adorned with flowers and ribbons. Handicrafts that have been passed down from generation to generation for centuries are still practiced in the Montafon region – the main material was, and still is, the wood from the surrounding forests. In summer the craftsmen and women are happy to let visitors watch them at their work and show them what their ancestors created using this amazingly versatile material – everything from water pipes to intricate nativity scene figures.
The most famous piece of work made from wood here, however, is the Montafon table. Cabinet maker Markus Neher from Vandans is a master of this age-old art. Crafted for the most part by hand, the particularly robust tables are made from local woods. The use of inlays of various wood sorts including pear, cherry, oak and maple which have been air-dried for several years, results in beautiful patterns. Embedded in the centre of the table is a slab of slate on which the hot cooking pot was placed in days gone by. Apropos food: a culinary tradition here in the Montafon region is “Sura Kees”, literally “sour cheese”, a low-fat, low-cholesterol cheese with a mild, aromatic flavour.