Exploring Mt. Pfänder in Austria

posted in: Austria, Hiking | 21

A top place to get away from it all at any time of the year has to be Mt. Pfänder which overlooks the Bodensee (Lake of Constance) and Bregenz. When I first started traveling to Europe over a decade ago, one of the first hiking places I came across was this beautiful mountain which lies on the Austrian-Germany border. Since my first visit, I have come here on numerous occasions at various points of the year to check out the amazing views and of course, to go for a hike.

Exploring Mt. Pfänder in Bregenz, Austria
The main centre of Bregenz

To get to Mt. Pfänder, one has to get to the town of Bregenz which lies on the eastern shoreline of the Bodensee. It lies on the main road between Germany and Switzerland, has a train connection to St Margrethen in Switzerland and Friedrichshafen in Germany and also boat connections to other towns on the lake. The nearest airport is Friedrichshafen otherwise the main ‘large’ international airport is Zurich.

Exploring Mt. Pfänder in Bregenz, Austria
Mt Pfänder on a snowy winter day

There are two ways of getting up the mountain. First is the hike and this can take up to a couple of hours as the mountain is 1,022 meters above sea level. To save time however, there is a cable car known as the ‘Pfänderbahn’ which takes visitors up the mountain in a matter of minutes.

Exploring Mt. Pfänder in Bregenz, Austria
Part of the Pfänderbahn and a view overlooking Bregenz and the Bodensee.

Once at the upper station it is time to hike and there are various hiking trails for all abilities. My favourite hike was during the middle of winter with my best buddy Ollie. It had it all, a good workout, fantastic photography was to be had, some drama when Ollie nearly slipped down the cliff edge and taking in all the amazing views. This one I will never forget.

Exploring Mt. Pfänder in Bregenz, Austria
Just getting a cool down as one does.
Exploring Mt. Pfänder in Bregenz, Austria
A view to the east from Pfänder
Exploring Mt. Pfänder in Bregenz, Austria
A view into deepest Austria (to the east that is!)

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Exploring Mt. Pfänder in Bregenz, Austria
Pfänder
Exploring Mt. Pfänder in Bregenz, Austria
Taking it all in
Exploring Mt. Pfänder in Bregenz, Austria
Hiking on Pfänder
Exploring Mt. Pfänder in Bregenz, Austria
Fun times can be had up on the summit
Exploring Mt. Pfänder in Bregenz, Austria
Hiking on Pfänder
Exploring Mt. Pfänder in Bregenz, Austria
Another amazing view, this time to the south-east of Pfänder
Exploring Mt. Pfänder in Bregenz, Austria
Hiking on Pfänder
Exploring Mt. Pfänder in Bregenz, Austria
Sunset over Pfänder
Exploring Mt. Pfänder in Bregenz, Austria
I love this snowy landscape – a view from Pfänder
Exploring Mt. Pfänder in Bregenz, Austria
I think in some places it became difficult to hike around here.
Exploring Mt. Pfänder in Bregenz, Austria
Best bud Ollie got into trouble whilst on the hike and landed up on a cliff edge
Exploring Mt. Pfänder in Bregenz, Austria
Best bud Ollie got into trouble whilst on the hike and landed up on a cliff edge

On the western side of Mt. Pfänder, this is the best place to check out the views of Bodensee. Looking out to the lake, right down below is Bregenz. To the left is beautiful Switzerland and on the right hand side, the towns of Friedrichshafen and Lindau in Germany can be seen. In the summer months I would sit here for hours checking out the beautiful views.

Exploring Mt. Pfänder in Bregenz, Austria
A view looking north towards Lindau in Germany
Exploring Mt. Pfänder in Bregenz, Austria
There is also a ski resort up here. We had to walk underneath the chair lifts to get back to the Pfänderbahn upper station.
Exploring Mt. Pfänder in Bregenz, Austria
After the long hike, rest is needed.

Near the upper station there is a restaurant (which isn’t cheap) where good meals are served (mostly meat). The number one thing for children to do is to visit the Alpenwildpark (which is free) and lots of ibexes (mountain goats), wild boar and red deer to be seen.

Exploring Mt. Pfänder in Bregenz, Austria
The restaurant buried under a couple of feet of snow.

This trip can be done in a day, a short hike, a visit to the wildlife park and to grab a meal whilst taking a ride up and down on the cable car. For the experienced hikers, just keep heading eastwards right into the heart of the Austrian Alps where many more beautiful trails and views are to be had. When I need peace and quiet, to get away from the craziness of London urban life, I always come here to relax. This post is the reason I wrote this, to show the world where I go to get away from it all and I wanted to share it with you. However, if you are not a big fan of mountains and hiking, Austria also has some fantastic cities to check out. See our favourites here.

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Exploring Mt. Pfänder in Bregenz, Austria

21 Responses

  1. Danila Caputo

    Me and husband were thinking of a road trip in Austria, avoiding the crowded Vienna. We might definitely visit the area surrounding Mt Pfander, it sounds like there’s lots to do! Going in summer we’d hike to the top!

  2. The timing is perfect for me to see this post. We are just planning our detailed itinerary for Austria in May. It looks like you had so much fun playing in the snow. It sounds like you have visited at other times of the year. Is the snow gone in May? I would not want to hike all the way up!

  3. oh. oh my! This is like a fairy tale land for me – i have never experienced snow like that! AND I WANT TO! <3 I think somewhere is very solidly on my to do list <3

  4. Oh Oh ! With that much snow, it looks quite a task to hike to the top. Probably easy in summer time. I can see you guys had fun along the way. I especially liked the cooling down with your face dug into the snow. 🙂

  5. What lovely pictures. I was in Austria in winter this year and it was my first time with so much snow and I absolutely loved it! I didn’t visit Mt Pfander but a lot of other places that I went to were gorgeous too. There are so many hidden gems such as Mt Pfander that I have not even heard of, Austria is lovely in so many parts! Your pictures took me back <3

  6. I have never seen snow & hiking right in it must be just another experience altogether. Mt. Pfander looks so beautiful covered in snow. Looks like you had a great time there! 😀

  7. We visited this place 3 years ago when we explored this fantastic country, Austria! How many memories… Winter here is something special, lots of snow and fresh air.
    Love your photos!!

  8. This does look like a magical place to retreat from the rest of the world. I can imagine how beautiful it is in the summer when you visit too. I would love to visit here, since I love Germany, Austria and northern Italy. So I’m sure this would be just as wonderful.

  9. So many wonderful places to discover in this great big world of ours. Mt Pfander is a new one I have learnt about, thank you. The hiking looks wonderful, I will admit I have never thought of hiking in snowy regions before when there is snow. But it all looks so tranquil and gorgeous.

  10. Austria looks amazing and besides your friend almost falling off of a cliff ledge it looks very peaceful as well! Something about the quiet stillness of the snow and the beautiful scenery that is good for the soul! 🙂

  11. Pfänder looks absolutely incredible! Your photos really capture the scope and essence of the place – so tranquil and majestic! That face plant in the snow sure looks refreshing 🙂

  12. I love the way you do cool downs my man. I’m waiting for the next snow storm here so I can practice. Lol. I really need to get back to Austria. When I was there I hung out in Vienna. I took a train past Bregenz on my way to Vienna from Budapest I believe. I love all that white snow. I would have a field day there. It would definately bring out the kid in me…Wait the kid never left. 😉

  13. Seems like your friends were a bit unlucky on that trip 🙂 but I am glad there safe. Mt. Pfänder looks so wonderful! I love looking at the photos of big pale of snow from my cozy and warm house 🙂 But it does looks magical, real winter wonderland! Those mountains are so beautiful during the summer and winter and I also could image myself sitting there with a book during the summer! Great post!

  14. Even though I’m not a fan of hiking (I’m lazy, but I do it while traveling anyway), the views there look so worth it. I’ve never seen such a snowy landscape in person and its making me want to see Austria for myself.

  15. My oh my just absolutely incredible views everywhere you look. I remember taking in some nice views as I took a train from Zurich to Munich. That part of the world is incredibly beautiful. It is incredible when you can see more than one country in a photo.

  16. Austria is just like the magical Iceland. I agree with you that Mt. Pfänder Austria will be the perfect destination for retrieving one’s peace. And it’s more interesting to go with someone, at least, in case of a fall. And those views? They are gorgeous! Thanks for sharing this.

  17. I loved the naming and shaming AND photographing of Ollie and his stumble!

    I’ve never been to Austria or hiked a snowy trail, this looks perfect! Thank you for the clear tips, they make all the difference!

  18. What a great hiking experience! I love the idea of taking the cable car up and then hiking the trails up there! The views look fantastic! Looks like your friend Ollie was having a blast! It doesn’t look like a very tough hike but the snow probably doesn’t make it easy either!

  19. This place seems so awesome. I’ve never thought about visiting Austria before but this place looks really inviting. Not sure how I would manage the mountain with the kiddies, but maybe I could visit with my husband when the kids are a little older.

  20. Mt. Pfander looks like a white wonderland. The views look spectacular, to say the least. It looks like a great place to hike, though daresay if one did not have a proper guide or knowledge of the paths one may get stranded on a cliff! The pictures are lovely and capture the beautiful ethos of the mountain very well.

  21. Carol Colborn

    I have never been to Austria but plan a trip to Salzburg. This is about 3 hours from our timeshare. I suppose the trip can be done in a day and have a short hike, a visit to the wildlife park and a meal, especially if I use the cable car!

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