Top 10 Things to Do in Feldkirch: An Austrian Medieval Gem

I’m a sucker for a medieval town and if that town is under the tourist radar, so much the better. Feldkirch in the Vorarlberg region of Austria is one of those towns.

Although I chose to visit Feldkirch as a jumping-off point for Liechtenstein, I rapidly discovered that this charming old town was a destination in its own right. Make the most of your time there with my guide to the best things to do in Feldkirch.

a long narrow medieval market square in feldkirch austria with ornate fountain

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Best Things to Do in Feldkirch Old Town & Beyond

You can easily explore Feldkirch in one day with a second day reserved for visiting Liechtenstein. The number of must-see sights is modest and as they are concentrated in and around the Old Town, Feldkirch is very walkable.

If you find it helpful, you can peel away the layers of the town’s history on a Feldkirch self-guided walking tour. Here’s a map to get you on your way. Click here or on the image for walking directions or to send the map to your phone.

map of the best things to do in feldkirch austria
Best things to see in Feldkirch, Austria. Map data @ Google 2023

Although only fragments of Feldkirch’s medieval town walls remain, you can follow their path along the well-restored towers.

Katzenturm (Cats’ Tower) is the grandest of these. It is home to Pummerin, a thunderous bell that rings every Friday at 3 pm.

tall cylindrical stone tower against blue sky

Wasserturm, or Water Tower, is located by the river.

ancient stone tower
aqua green river lined with old buildings with bridge in distance

The River Ill is a tributary of the mighty Rhine. It separates Feldkirch Old Town from the Art Nouveau Landesgericht Vorarlberg District Court and the former Jesuit Stella Matutina College, now the Stella Vorarlberg Conservatory.

Take a short stroll along the pretty riverside path from Wasserturm to Pulverturm (Powder Tower) which guarded the southern corner of the Old Town walls.

old stone tower with pointed roof
exterior of feldkirch schattenberg castle with towers and flag flying

A symbol of the town, Schattenburg Castle keeps watch over Feldkirch from its lofty outcrop. It’s a steep 10-minute uphill walk from the town centre to get there.

Work started on the castle in 1265 and it was the ancestral seat of the Counts of Montfort during the Middle Ages. Count Friedrich VII of Toggenburg added three wings at the start of the 15th Century, giving us the castle we see today.

Schattenburg Castle houses a museum chronicling the history of the castle. Taking in the views is free.

view over the rooftops of feldkirch with cathedral spire and snow covered mountains in distance
curved modern concrete and glass exterior offeldkirch montforthaus

If your architectural tastes lean towards the modern, don’t miss Montforthaus, Feldkirch’s cultural centre. This curvaceous beauty opened in 2015 and has won multiple awards.

If the weather is kind, try out its terrace restaurant, E3 Restaurant & Bar which offers fabulous views of Schattengerg Castle.

a long narrow medieval market square in feldkirch austria with ornate fountain

Marktplatz has been Feldkirch’s beating heart since the Middle Ages. This long, rectangular square is lined with arcades and many of its buildings have large bay windows and frescoed façades.

My passion for Austrian coffee and cake was cemented by spending Christmas in Vienna. Do as I did and settle down with a cuppa on the terrace of one of the cafes, gazing at the timeless panorama captured in stone.

art intallation inside the ruined st johns church in feldkirch austria

As you sip your coffee, you’ll spot a small white church at the end of Marktplatz. This is Johanniterchurch (St. John’s Church), which Hugo I presented to the Order of St. John in 1218.

Now deconsecrated, it is used to house temporary exhibitions.

medieval murals of 3 men above the doorway of the rathaus in feldkirch

Feldkirch Rathaus (Town Hall) first opened its doors in 1493, selling grain on the ground floor and fabrics upstairs. In 1697, it was a victim of the biggest fire in the town’s history and was rebuilt, becoming the seat of the local administration.

The frescoes decorating the building’s façade were painted by Florus Scheel in 1936 and depict the history of Feldkirch.

whitewashed exterior of st nicholas cathedral in feldkirch austria

St. Nicholas Cathedral (Domkirche Sant Nikolaus or Dom St. Nikolaus) was originally built in the Romanesque style in the 13th Century but was badly damaged by fires in 1348, 1396 and 1460. The master builder Hans Stern was tasked with rebuilding in 1478, resulting in the Gothic style we see today.

If contemporary art is your thing, make a beeline for Galerie Sechzig. Established in 1989, it exhibits emerging international and national artists.

shrine set into the wall with an alpine valley in background

Taking a day trip to Liechtenstein was my primary reason for visiting Feldkirch. Everything else was a lovely bonus.

Frequent buses to Vaduz leave from outside the train station. The journey time is around 30 minutes.

How to get to Feldkirch

I travelled to Feldkirch by train from Zurich, a 90-minute journey. From Innsbruck, it’s less than two hours by train. If you travel from Munich, the fastest route will get you to Feldkirch in under three hours.  

The closest major international airports are Zurich and Innsbruck.

Recommended Feldkirch Hotels

NIGHT INN Hotel Bahnhofcity Feldkirch

bedroom atnight inn bahnhof city feldkirch with grey palette and bed dressed in white linen

I stayed at this modern 3-star hotel, conveniently located next to the train station. It was very comfortable and served an excellent breakfast.

Hotel Bären

This family-run hotel is also close to the train station and has a recommended restaurant on site.

Gutwinski Hotel

For a bit of a splurge, look at this gorgeous family-run hotel, close to the Old Town. This former 16th-century townhouse has all mod cons and is within easy walking distance of the train station.

Is Feldkirch Worth Visiting?

Feldkirch is 100% worth visiting, and not just because it is a convenient base for day trips to Liechtenstein. It is packed with history and its beautiful Old Town, featuring cobblestoned streets and a square lined with medieval gabled buildings, is a delight to stroll around.

porticoed 2-storey medieval buildings in street in feldkirch with snow capped mountains in distance
bridget coleman the flashpacker 2

About Bridget

Bridget Coleman has been a passionate traveller for more than 30 years. She has visited 70+ countries, most as a solo traveller.

Articles on this site reflect her first-hand experiences.

To get in touch, email her at hello@theflashpacker.net or follow her on social media.

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