Looking for a mountain activity holiday for all the family? Want excitement and adventure in a beautiful destination? Then check out this review of Brandnertal multi activity family holiday in Vorarlberg, as it could be exactly what you are looking for.
For our main summer holiday we decided to try something very different to your typical beach break. Instead of sun, sea and sand we took our three and six year old sons to the Austrian Alps for an adventure holiday. We got stuck in, trying everything from hiking to horse riding to a husky experience.
I will get onto the activities shortly, but I will begin this review of Brandnertal multi activity family holiday in Vorarlberg by talking about the accommodation. We stayed in the family friendly Sport Hotel Beck.
It is set back from the road through town in a tranquil spot surrounded by trees and meadows and backing onto river. There is a small swimming lake right next door which reflects the backdrop of stunning mountains on it’s mirrored surface. It is a beautiful location and a very relaxing setting.
There were two bedrooms in our large apartment that could sleep up to six people plus a further two beds under the eaves in the large lounge. The lounge also featured sofas, TV and a dining table. For a family of four there was more than enough space.
As always in Austria the food was excellent. Breakfast included a few cooked options including made to order omelettes. There was plenty of continental options including a huge fruit and cereal selection, meaning the kids were very happy during this multi activity family holiday in Vorarlberg.
Each afternoon there were bread, meats, cheese and cakes to snack on. Plus help yourself soft drinks.
The five course dinner was excellent. Each evening there was a choice of local specialities, Austrian favourites and different vegetarian, fish or meat dishes. The salads, starters and soups catered to all dietary needs and were delicious – you could easily be full before the main course let alone the indulgent desserts.
During this review of Brandnertal multi activity family holiday the kids were also well catered for at the Sport Hotel Beck. There were special kids dishes every evening with a lot of variety and plenty of healthy options that children like. Also there was self service ice cream so they were very happy!
Having tried a huge range of activities during our trip I think the best way to present this multi activity family holiday in Vorarlberg is in day to day format. So here is what we did in Brandnertal last summer…
We arrived in Brand not long after lunch and had a bite to eat. The sun was shining and it was very warm so we put our swimming stuff on and walked through the lovely hotel gardens to the swimming lake.
The water was rather cold, if anything colder than the sea in the UK in May (which I recently swam in). But many people were enjoying the sunshine and playing in the water.
Kids being kids the boys were desperate to get in the water, and we enjoyed playing in the shallow children’s area. There is also a deeper section where older kids and adults were swimming around and is deep enough to jump or dive into.
Thankfully boys didn’t last long in the water and the strong sunshine soon warmed us up. Nearby there are some streams, small pools and water sluices to play in, which the kids enjoyed. We built a dam which is always a winner!
On day two of this review of Brandnertal multi activity family holiday in Vorarlberg, we headed to Bürserberg to meet Husky Toni and his beautiful dogs. In the winter he runs dogsledding experiences in the Brandnertal area, the wider Alps and Scandinavia. In the summer he runs groups for disadvantaged and special needs children to meet the dogs.
The summer experience is also open to tourists, although be sure to book as it is very popular. You start with meeting the dogs, and then you go for a walk. Wearing a harness around your waist you are strapped to a dog who pulls you around the mountain trails.
We had the two boys and an adult strapped to one dog. Their strength is amazing – you can just lean back and keep moving your feet to go uphill with minimal effort. The huskies are very well trained but full of energy and very excited, so it’s not an ideal experience for anyone who is nervous around dogs. But we all loved the experience.
I was amazed at how far our three year old walked. We were hiking around mountainous terrain for around ninety minutes and it was only the last twenty minutes that he got tired and had to go on my shoulders.
At the end of the experience there is a slide show of all the good work Huski Toni does in the community, plus showcasing the dogsledding he offers. This was an incredible family experience so well recommended.
In the afternoon rain was forecast and it arrived pretty exactly when expected. Fortunately we were back at the hotel, so we went to have a look at the childcare facilities in the kids club. There is a lovely room in the downstairs area for the kids to play in, however the real draw is the huge play area above the equestrian centre.
There are lots of soft blocks to build your own camp. Loads of toys, a tyre swing, stuff to climb on and much more. Our kids loved it and played a little with the other children despite not speaking German. We also popped into the pool for some family swimming.
During this review of Brandnertal multi activity family holiday in Vorarlberg one of the most memorable experiences was without the kids. It is always lovely on a family trip to get a day or two of adult time, so the boys went to the kids club at the Sport Hotel Beck and we went hiking.
We met our guide – Wilma Kessler from BergAktiv – at the hotel and she drove us a short distance to the start of the trail at Brand Innertal near the Palud Bahn lift. We didn’t take the lift but took a path below it heading up towards Untere Brüggele Alpe.
There was an easy trail and a tougher route beside a cascading stream. We took the tougher trail which also proved to be spectacularly pretty. The path was slippery in places and fairly rough in spots so the hiking poles we had been provided were very useful.
After about an hour of fairly steep climbing we came out of the trees to a meadowed valley with views of the peaks around us. It is a beautiful spot, and with the trail now less steep it was a much easier hike up to Untere Brüggele Alpe. We stopped in a hut for a tasty lunch of local meats, cheese and bread.
We could have hiked higher but the weather forecast was for a wet afternoon. The trail above is also exposed and fairly technical so we decided to head back down. We returned via a slightly different route and again I was pleased to have the hiking poles as they help take pressure off the knees when heading down steep sections.
As forecast in the afternoon it rained hard. So before collecting the kids from the childcare my wife and I took advantage of the lovely spa facilities for a spot of childfree relaxation in the hotels wellness centre. Later in the afternoon we took the kids to the swimming pool again for a far less relaxing – but just as fun – use of the facilities.
For this review of Brandnertal multi activity family holiday in Vorarlberg we needed to get out hiking with the kids. We are a fairly active family walking a lot at home, but obviously a three year olds little legs meant we would be restricted!
We decided to do the Natursprünge-Weg (which translates as ‘Nature jumps path’), which is a trail with 11 different stations teaching you all about the local environment. It covers everything from geology and topography to plants and animals.
To get to the trail we took the Dorfbahn cable-car from Brand. At the top collected a wagon – which can be hired for a few Euros – which would save me carrying our youngest once he inevitably got tired. We then hopped on the Panoramabahn cable car which takes you to the start of the trail.
The weather was not great and light rain was forecast on and off all morning. Visibility was not very good either, we could see the path and where we were going, but the stunning views were lost in banks of cloud. Still we had a lot of fun following the trail, collecting different coloured stones and pretty much having the mountains to ourselves.
We stopped at all of the stations to learn more about the mountains. Although the information was all in German every station has audio in English and other languages. The audio is of children telling you the main information – the boys loved it and it’s a great touch on this family hiking trail.
As expected, towards the end the boys got tired so we popped them in the wagon. At the trail is mostly flat and slightly downhill it was easy pulling them and they had great fun. With rain starting to fall they looked lovely and snug cuddled up with blankets over them.
Once back at the Dorfbahn cable-car we returned the wagon and descended back into Brand. We were all quite tired, cold and wet by now so we returned to the hotel and warmed ourselves up over a late lunch.
We had pony riding booked for the kids in the afternoon and fortunately the rain stopped just in time. None of us are horse people. So I was surprised when after a brief introduction we were sent off up a path along the edge of the river guiding the ponies our boys were riding.
We were warned not to let the ponies eat any grass or other plants but they were very naughty, very strong and very persistent! It made taking the kids for a pony ride very difficult and it was not the most relaxing of experiences. The boys enjoyed it but not as much as other things they tried on this multi activity family holiday in Vorarlberg.
On the fifth day of this review of Brandnertal multi activity family holiday it was all about me. I love mountain biking, but the kids are too young and my wife is not a bike person so I had a day set aside to ride.
I started out by riding a normal hardtail bike to Bikepark Brandnertal where I picked up a downhill rig and all the armour and protection at the Wallride store. It was here the I met my guide Irian from MTB Tours and Trails.
Unfortunately, it was raining and very muddy, but being from the UK if I let the weather put me off mountain biking I would rarely get out on my bike. So I went into the riding full of enthusiasm with the expectation of having fun and getting dirty.
I succeeded in both aspects having one of the best days of bikepark riding of my life – I normally ride natural single track so it was a little different. Having a guide who was giving me instruction really helped to improve my riding and I had an amazing time and learnt new skills.
If you want to know more about the MTB read my detailed review of Brandnertal bikepark.
On the final full day of this review of Brandnertal multi activity family holiday in Vorarlberg we bit off slightly more than we could chew. Lake Lunersee is known as one of the most beautiful spots in Vorarlberg so we had to visit.
The hike around Lake Lunersee is just 6.1km so fine for us adults but possibly a bit much for our six and three year olds. I had always planned to put our youngest on my shoulders at some point, but I was not quite prepared for it to be so soon into the hike. Our eldest also struggled after halfway.
We planned to stop for lunch at a hut halfway around, but unfortunately it was closed. The weather was wet and it was cold for August. So despite having snacks we couldn’t really stop for a prolonged rest as ‘I’m hungry’ was quickly replaced with ‘I’m cold’. ‘I’m too tired’ also became an issue for the last couple of kilometres.
That said it was a beautiful hike. The mountains all around are stunning and the lake is magnificent. Although there is nothing particularly difficult about the hike there are points were the trail feels quite exposed. There are fences when the drops are sheer but at points there are steep unprotected scree slopes down to the lake next to the path.
There are also a few points when you have to hop across a small stream. The kids loved this and it felt like an adventure. Overall Lake Lunersee is a great hike, it is fine for kids from around six that already walk a lot, and for older children it would not be a problem.
Overall it took us nearly three hours – small legs walk slowly! We made it back to the cafe at the top of the Lunersee cable car with time to grab a very tasty late lunch before descending to catch the bus back to Brand. Be careful the buses run roughly every two hours but not at regular times so you could be in for a long wait if you get it wrong.
We were due to leave Brand late morning so we got up and out early to enjoy one last walk. The weather was lovely, so we followed the path by the river for a lazy stroll through the trees. With sunny weather the views were beautiful and it was the perfect was to end our wonderful multi activity family holiday in Vorarlberg.
Brandnertal is in the south west of Vorarlberg, Austria’s western most state not far from the border with Germany, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. We flew from Gatwick to Zurich Airport and took the train to Bludenz which took just over two hours.
With a three and six year old we expected the train to be difficult, but unlike British trains it was a pleasant experience. The hotel picked us up from the station and it was then just a fifteen minute drive to the pretty mountain resort of Brand where we were staying in Brandnertal.
You can reach Brandnertal by flying to either Friedrichshafen (95 km) or Memmingen (135km) in Germany. Alternatively, you can fly into Innsbruck (140km) in the neighbouring Austrian region of Tirol. For this review of Brandnertal multi activity family holiday in Vorarlberg we flew into Zurich, which is around 160km away.
As a family destination Brandnertal offers many interesting activities to keep all ages entertained. Also the Sport Beck Hotel is about at family friendly as accommodation can be, with kids club, toys in the bar, a big trampoline and loads to do. It also caters well for adults with great food, a lovely spa and a good bar with reasonably priced drinks.
Both the biking and the hiking in the area is excellent and I would have loved to have been able to do more. We were a little unlucky with the weather, but we still got to try many mountain activities and had a great time. Unlike in the UK the weather forecast was accurate to the hour, so you can plan your time accordingly.
To conclude this review of Brandnertal multi activity family holiday in Vorarlberg I’d say it suits any adventurous families who want a mountain break with kids. Brandnertal is safe, friendly and beautiful, offering plenty of active adventures for all the family.
I hope you found this review of Brandnertal multi activity family holiday in Vorarlberg interesting and useful. If you would like to book a trip check out the Vorarlberg and Brandnertal website for more information: www.vorarlberg-alpenregion.at/en/brandnertal