Recommended by a local
I was in Liechtenstein, speaking with a tiny old lady about the best things to do in her country, and after she told me about all the great parts of Liechtenstein, she said that I absolutely MUST take bus #11 to a tiny town in Austria called Feldkirch – so I did!
Feldkirch, Österreich (Austria)
Feldkirch is a medieval town that sits on the border of Switzerland and Liechtenstein, about 45 minutes from the Buchs AG train station. Feldkirch dates back to 1218, and the city’s appearance hasn’t changed much since the 1500s. It has cobblestone streets, cozy cafés and nice people. Also, it’s reeeeeeeal pretty.
The Ride There
The mountains and greenery are endless in this part of Europe, and that includes the journey from Liechtenstein into Feldkirch. It is so peaceful and charming in the middle of Europe. There are quaint little houses, bright flowers and rolling hills straight out of The Sound of Music. The skyline is breathtaking.
I saw the cutest small church, a group of badass Austrian bikers having a beer in front of a restaurant with a mounted moose head, and a giant tractor pull up to an ATM so that the driver could get cash. There were also big-eyed paper mâché figures comically plopped in the windows of a roadside kindergarten.
What to see first
When you get off the bus, you are greeted by a GIANT tower on the main road, as well as an immediate submersion into the Austrian culture – bustling cafés, trickling fountains and old, fresco-covered buildings. The town used to be surrounded by walls with four main entrance gates, but currently the walls are gone and only two of the gates remain.
Walking down the main street
I strolled through center of town during the tail end of the afternoon market. The vendors sold everything from woven baskets to bouquets of flowers to soft pretzels and beer. The people were so kind and cheery, and everyone knew each other. Neighbors were chatting, the wind was blowing and the sun was shining. Perfect much?
Explore the side streets
I walked along the quiet alleyways and back pathways, enjoying the town (almost) all to myself with the most magnificent views of the Alps. As a solo female traveller, I am hyper vigilant about safety and always use caution, but in a city like Feldkirch, it felt great to be able to relax and let my walls down a bit more than I would in a large city. I never felt even the least bit nervous.
There were a few small churches (hence the town’s name, which translates to “Field Church”), a popular square where families played together and chatted about their weekend, and a lovely view right next to the main square, looking over a cluster of red and green and white houses at the Alps. The town is so peaceful and small, such a change from living in a major city.
Grab a bite
Take a break from exploring and have a bratwurst and a beer at one of Feldkirch’s many traditional outdoor cafés. This isn’t an option when the snow falls, but if you’re in town when the weather is nice, sit back, relax and listen to the locals quietly chattering in German.
No German? No Problem!
You don’t have to speak German to visit Feldkirch. Austrian children take English classes from the age of five, and many younger people have an impeccable accent. The older generation may struggle a bit, but they are usually more than willing to point you toward someone who speaks English well. Already speak German? Great, you’re set! Be prepared to tackle a heavily accented version of Hochdeutsch, however. It’s a struggle in the beginning, but keep at it! The more you listen, the more your ears grow accustomed to this dialect of German.
Having lived in both Austria and Germany, it warmed my heart to hear the Austrian accent again, smell the beer and pretzels and see the medieval Austrian architecture.
I only had a short visit in Feldkirch, but what a BEAUTIFUL town! I am ever so grateful to the little lady from Liechtenstein who recommended that I head over to Feldkirch, and that I was able to visit this lovely little place. I wholeheartedly encourage you all to pop by for a day or two, the city is so charming.
Have you been here? Tell us in the comments below!
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