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We traveled to the Montafon Valley in northwestern Austria over the week of the US 4th of July holiday. It was magnificent! The valley encompasses eight villages in the Alps and is a great summer destination as each town has their own gondola which takes you up to the top of the mountain areas where you will find dining options, hiking trails and usually playgrounds for the little ones! We used the local site – http://www.montafon.at/en which was incredibly helpful in planning what we would be able to do once we arrived.

Landal Hochmontafon from Gondola

Landal Hochmontafon from Gondola

Some benefits of this location – there are many restaurants and guest houses to choose from. We never had an issue finding a place to dine, whether it was a more formal dinner or lunch we were looking for or a quick very casual meal to accommodate our toddler. One of our favorites was the Käse Haus Montafon. It was an honor system for the buffet lunch which was amazing, you just take your food and drink and fill out a form and pay later. The chef himself was there to explain about the food if there were questions and the food was of extremely high quality (and I hate buffets typically). It was a ton of food and included both hot items as well as a beautiful cheese presentation with spreads and veggies and fruits. All of this for about 9 Euros!

Käse Haus Montafon

Käse Haus Montafon

During our stay in the valley we hit several sites – our favorites, besides hiking in the Montafon Valley, were visiting Lichtenstein which you can read about here: https://dc2ktown.wordpress.com/2014/07/01/liechtenstein-day-trip/ and also the Silvretta Alpinstraße which you can read about in more detail here: https://dc2ktown.wordpress.com/2014/07/01/the-austrian-silvretta-alpine-road/

The gondola that we found to be the best in the valley for our needs was actually the one right by our hotel, the Landal Hochmontafon, which was called the Gargellen Bergbahnen. It was an eight person gondola which meant we had it to ourselves with our kinderwagen (jogging stroller) and it takes you way up – above the tree line. At the top is a great restaurant and playground as well as beautiful views.

Beginning of our favorite trail

Beginning of our favorite trail

I have to say I’m spoiled, once you hike above the tree line in the Alps, you really can’t go back. The trail guides and brochures in the area have listings of which trails are kinderwagen friendly and we found that the Schmuggiluggi Trail at the top of Bergbahnen Gargellen was perfect for us. It was 2.8k and had fantastic views the entire way as well as a visit to a small Alpine Lake and views of another beautiful lake. The water is really the most green/blue you will find, I call it Windex colored.

Lake on Schmuggiluggi Trail

Lake on Schmuggiluggi Trail – Gargellen

We tried several other gondolas and our reviews are as follows for those of you visiting the area:

Gaschurn: Nice, smaller and only seats 6 so it was tight with our large jogging stroller. It has two sections to it but you can just stay onboard to get all the way up which was very convenient. This gondola takes you above the tree line with 360 degree views and a nice big playground and restaurant. We didn’t do any hiking here as it was late in the day when we went up but there were several nice looking trails leaving from there and magnificent views of the valley towns and mountains as well.

Schruns: The Hochjoch Bahn: Not our favorite. It is a large seilbahn car with approximately maybe 50 people allowed. We had an issue with winds picking up while we were at the top and it actually shut down leaving us and about 60 of our closest friends stranded for about an hour. On the way down they were controlling the speed so it was very warm as it took us more than twice the normal time to descend. The other issue is that there is a large amount of construction on the mountain. We were warned of this but didn’t quite understand. They are using helicopters to bring in large items to build what we think is another gondola and they also drained the alpine lake at the top so there really isn’t anything to see. The restaurant is a buffet but there is another small milk and cheese place that was fantastic. For their sake, I hope the construction ends soon!

From Silberpfad Tral

From Silberpfad Trail

Gondola Station in Gaschurn

Gondola Station in Gaschurn

Silbertal: Kristburgbahn: Another larger gondola that holds about maybe 25 to 30 people. It runs about every half hour but they don’t seem to stick to the schedule posted and run more frequently at times. This does not go as high up the mountain because the mountain there is not as tall so you are hiking in the forest at the top, not above the tree line. As I said before, once you hike above the tree line it just really spoils you! We did a quick circle of the 2.3k Silberpfad trail here which is relatively flat and through pine trees mostly and headed down.

You can purchase the Montafon Silvretta card for your specified number of days from any one of these locations and it also covers the tolls on the Silvretta Alpinstraße so we found it to be quite valuable so that we could try all the different locations we wanted to without worrying about the pricing.

Overall, we found the Montafon easy to get around, wonderfully family friendly and with plenty to do and see. Another bonus were the very detailed websites the area attractions and the valley itself have. This is a rarity in some areas of Europe we have found but the ability to really see what we were getting into before arrival was fantastic!

One of many mountain top playgrounds

One of many mountain top playgrounds

 

 

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