Großes Walsertal, Vorarlberg
The Großes Walsertal is a valley in Vorarlberg and one of the finest skiing areas in Austria. It is a side-valley of the Walgau and extends in a north-south direction. In its north, you will find the Bregenzerwald, another of Vorarlberg′s most important tourist destinations. There are several municipalities in the Großes Walsertal: Thüringerberg, St. Gerold. Blons, Sonntag, Buchboden, Fontanella and Raggal. The latter one is the only municipality of the Großes Walsertal that lies east of the Lutz, the river that runs through the valley. "Groß" means "big" in German - as you might have guessed, there is also a "Kleines (small) Walsertal" in Vorarlberg.
The Großes Walsertal is a nature reserve and claims to be a biosphere park - however, I don′t know to what extent this claim is accompanied by the requirements that need to be met to be internationally recognised as a biosphere park by IUNC. The Großes Walsertal is part of the Northern Calciferous Alps, which extend all along the northern edge of the Austrian Alps. Speaking of IUNC: There are two national parks in Austria that hold parts of the Northern Calciferous Alps, namely the National Park Hohe Tauern and the National Park Kalkalpen.
A Bit of History of the Großes Walsertal & Tourism Events
The Großes Walsertal was populated by people from the Wals (in modern Switzerland, essentially Wallis and Graubünden, as well as Liechtenstein) in the 14th century. Today, the valley is known for its modern skiing facilities. Tourism is the main source of income for the Großes Walsertal and its currently 3,500-odd residents. By far the most important season is the winter, when skiing is big. During the summer and even more so in between the main seasons, many hotels close down. This is also a good time for hunting for bargains if you prefer to come to the Großes Walsertal anti-seasonally for hiking.
Since 2004, the Großes Walsertal organises a biannual festival in autumn, the Kulturfestival Walserherbst. During the three weeks of the festival, contemporary artists present work from literature, film, music and theatre in events, workshops and exhibitions. Festivals like this are typical for Vorarlberg and its strange combination of rural, traditional life and progressive, contemporary ambitions.
Getting there by public means of transport is easy, but for touring the area you might want to secure yourself a car. The Faschinastraße is a wide road that runs through most of the Großes Walsertal down to the Faschinajoch, where it connects the valley with Damüls and Au in the Bregenzerwald. Attractions nearby are the Kleines Walsertal (surprise) with Mittelberg; the Bregenzerwald with Scharzenberg and other nice towns; and the traffic links to the Arlberg area.
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