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.
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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.
1. Check out the Old Town’s towers
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.
Wasserturm, or Water Tower, is located by the river.
2. Stroll along the River Ill
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.
3. Take in the view from Schattenburg Castle
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.
4. Stop by Monforthaus
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.
5. Linger over a coffee in Marktplatz
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.
6. Take in a free exhibition at St. John’s Church
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.
7. Admire the frescoes of the Rathaus
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.
8. Visit the Old Town’s spiritual heart
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.
9. Get your dose of contemporary art at Galerie Sechzig
If contemporary art is your thing, make a beeline for Galerie Sechzig. Established in 1989, it exhibits emerging international and national artists.
10. Get stamped in Liechtenstein
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
I stayed at this modern 3-star hotel, conveniently located next to the train station. It was very comfortable and served an excellent breakfast.
This family-run hotel is also close to the train station and has a recommended restaurant on site.
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.
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.
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