Mountains, parks and natural monuments
Are you attracted by the open air and countryside, after all these city centre delights? Then Feldkirch is just the place for you, because the city is surrounded by mountains, each with its own particular charm. Steep rocky fissures are interspersed with gentle wooded hills, English gardens and herds of red deer. Nature reserves and natural monuments invite you to enjoy the works of an architect to whom no man can hold a candle.
- Ardetzenberg The Counts of Montfort laid the foundations for Feldkirch’s century-long dominance of the Vorarlberg wine industry. A single sea of grapes stretched along Ardetzenberg, Blasenberg and Amberg, right up to the city gates. Wine connoisseurs even put the popular red wine on a par with Meersburg. In the exceptional year of 1895, the Ardetzenberg vines achieved a whole 93 degrees Oe on the wine scale. Below Schattenburg Castle, on Ardetzenberg and Amberg, there are still small vineyards whose yields taste truly delicious.
- Wildpark Ibex Felix, the first official resident of Feldkirch Wildpark in 1963, is still its emblem. Since then, 160 animals of 18 different species have made it their home, to the delight of its many visitors. You can howl with the wolves, watch the raccoons doing their tiresome housework, or be entranced by the grazing red deer. You can easily stroll around the park in about an hour. A snack bar rounds off the family fun, as does the free admission.
- Margarethenkapf Margarethenkapf Park, rising steeply from the banks of the Ill, has a long history. The unpronounceable Tschitscher-Schlössle, named after Feldkirch’s then leader, has been perched up there ever since 1620. This was later joined by a hermitage and viewing pavilion, where wheezing walkers were robbed of their limited remaining breath by the panoramic view.Thomas Mann wrote about Margarethenkapf in The Magic Mountain. “It was at that time, right after his mother left, that Leo made the acquaintance of Padre Unterpertinger. The sixteen-year-old was sitting alone on a bench in Margarethenkapfpark, a hill to the west of the small city, on the banks of the Ill, from where you could enjoy a sweeping, serene view over the Rhine Valley – sitting there, lost in gloomy, bitter thoughts about his ability and his future, when a member of the teaching staff at the Gesellschaft Jesu boarding school, called ‘Morgenstern’, who was out for a walk, sat down next to him, placed his hat beside him, crossed one leg over the other under his clerical clothing and, after reading some of his Breviary, struck up a conversation, which turned out to be extremely lively and would decide Leo’s fate.”
- But it took a real-life knight to lend the recreation area its splendour. Josef Andreas Ritter von Tschavoll, twice mayor of Feldkirch, purchased the site in 1868 and created a work of art in the style of an English landscape garden with viewing points, a palm house, small animal pens, fountains and stands of rare trees. The estate then lay dormant for many years, until the city acquired it in 2006 and started to redevelop it. Your spirits will soar when you walk along the newly-planted avenue of lime trees and climb up to the “Rädle” pavilion crowned with trees.
- Mariagrüner Ried nature reserve This six-hectare habitat at the edge of the Fellengatter district has been a nature reserve since 1994. Visitors can imagine how the feathery clouds used to be reflected in the small lake of what was then one of Austria’s last hillside wetlands. Feldkirch’s oldest outdoor swimming pool, Felsenau, is just a stone’s throw away from this leafy paradise.
- Bangs-Matschels nature reserve This 450-hectare wetland with its dense network of cycle trails and footpaths is a paradise for nature lovers seeking relaxation. In spring, millions of Siberian irises transform the natural meadows into a sea of lilac. If you’re lucky, the Common Ringlet, one of Vorarlberg’s rarest butterflies, will be fluttering around. Can you hear that? The endangered whinchat is actually singing overhead! You really do need to keep your eyes and ears open here.