Things To Do In Mellau, Vorarlberg: A Guide to the Gem of the Alps
This post is in partnership with Captivate (Propel) and Visit Vorarlberg.
Mellau is a hidden gem in the Vorarlberg Alps. It is located in western Austria and is well known for its ski slopes and hiking trails. However, on a recent trip there for the Propel Conference, I discovered that there are many other things to do in Mellau besides skiing and hiking!
In this guide, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about visiting this charming little alpine town.
A Brief History Of Mellau
Mellau has a long and rich history. The first mention of the town dates back to 1148 when it was mentioned in a document from the monastery at Lambach. Mellau was an important stop on the salt trade route between Germany and Italy and played an important role in the region’s economy.
In 1858, the Mellau-Bregenzerwald railway was completed, making it easier for people to travel to and from the town. This led to a period of growth and prosperity for Mellau. The town’s ski slopes were opened in 1937, and have been a popular destination for skiers ever since.
Today, Mellau is a popular tourist destination for people who want to enjoy the peace and beauty of the Austrian Alps.
How To Get To Mellau
Mellau is located in western Austria, about an hour’s drive from Innsbruck or two hours from Zurich, Switzerland. There are several ways to get to Mellau: by car, bus, or train.
🚗 By Car: The easiest way to get to Mellau is by car. There are several highways that lead to the town, and it is well-signposted.
🚌 By Bus: There are regular buses from Innsbruck and other nearby towns that will take you to Mellau.
🚂 By Train: The closest train station to Mellau is in Bezau, about a 20-minute drive from the town. No matter how long your drive is, however, I can promise you the views will be INCREDIBLE. I couldn’t stop looking out the window the whole journey from the airport.
If you’re looking for the best possible route, Rome2Rio is a great site to check out!
When To Visit Mellau
Mellau is a great place to visit all year round, but if you’re looking for the best weather then try and visit during the summer months (May-September). The winter months (November-March) are great for skiing and snowboarding.
My visit to Mellau was at the end of September and it was absolutely beautiful. The leaves were starting to change colour and when the sun was shining, everything looked absolutely beautiful.
Where To Stay In Mellau
There are several options for accommodations in Mellau, including hotels and apartments. The most popular places to stay are near the ski slopes, but there are also plenty of options in the town centre.
If you’re looking for a cosy hotel with incredible views, I recommend Hotel Bären.
I was lucky enough to stay at Hotel Bären in Mellau and I absolutely loved it. The location is perfect, right in the heart of the town and the staff were incredibly friendly and welcoming, always happy to help with anything I needed.
The rooms were incredible and depending on where you were in the hotel, you had either a kitchenette or a balcony. Both rooms were stunning but honestly, you can’t beat that balcony view. Waking up to see the mist in the mountains and enjoying a coffee is the perfect way to wake up! Don’t worry though, if you didn’t have a balcony, the views from the windows were still like something out of a fairytale.
The beds were comfortable and the silence of being in the Alps meant I slept like a baby every. single. night.
Their breakfast was by far the best breakfast I have EVER had at a hotel and the variety in different breakfast options was absolutely huge (plus, it changed every day that we were there!)
Lunch and snacks throughout the Propel Conference were also provided by the Hotel Bären and I couldn’t fault them one bit. I still can’t stop thinking about the marble cake they served on our last day.
You can find out more about Hotel Bären here.
Things To Do In Mellau
Eat Traditional Austrian Dishes at Family Restaurant, Nazes Hus
One of my favourite places to eat was Nazes Hus, a traditional Austrian restaurant serving delicious regional specialities. We had the käsespätzle – an Austrian pasta dish made with cheese and onions – and it was so amazing I couldn’t stop going back for extra helpings!
🧡 Fun fact: käsespätzle is made from mountain cheese, which is a type of cheese that is only made in the Vorarlberg Alps.
Visit The Local Mellau Market
Every Thursday morning, the town centre comes to life with the Mellau local market. There are all sorts of stalls selling fresh produce, meats, cheeses, and other regional specialities. It’s a great place to stock up on supplies for a picnic lunch or dinner. It’s located just outside the Hotel Bären, so you won’t have far to go!
Take A Cable Car Ride To The Top Of The Mountains
If you’re looking for a breathtaking view of the Alps, I recommend taking the Mellaubahn cable car to the top of the mountains. It takes around 10-15 minutes to get to the top and during that time, you get to experience the breathtaking views of Mellau below.
Once you reach the top you can go for a wander, join a guided hike or brave the 2000m hike to the top of Kanisfluh massif. Once a month, if you’re lucky enough to be in the area, there’s also a guided sunset hike to the top.
If you want to enjoy a drink with a view once you reach the top, Restaurant Simma is located right next to Roßstelle mountain station.
Enjoy An Outdoor Swim With A View
If you’re looking for a refreshing dip in the pool, head to Mellau Outdoor Swimming Pool. This outdoor swimming pool is located right next to the river and has incredible views of the surrounding mountains. As it’s only open from May until September it was unfortunately closed during my visit, but it’s going straight to the top of my list for my next trip to Vorarlberg.
Take A Hike In The Woods
Mellau is surrounded by forests, making it the perfect place for a hike. There are a number of trails to choose from, depending on your level of fitness and how much time you have. If you’re looking for an easy-to-do hike, walking to the waterfall is a great option. It’s only a 20-minute walk from the town centre and it’s a beautiful hike through the woods. A Wanderlust For Life has more detailed directions on how to get there, as well as some stunning photos!
Have An Adventure Filled Day And Cycle Through Mellau And The Mountains
If you’re looking for a more adventurous things to do in Mellau, why not cycle through the town? There are a number of bike trails that will take you through the forests and up into the mountains. I honestly wasn’t expecting to see so many bike shops during my visit but it’s an incredibly popular place to hire a bike! You can find more information on the local tourist office website.
Hike In The Summertime
The hiking trails in Mellau are some of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen and although I didn’t get much chance to explore them, from what I saw I can only imagine how incredible they are. There are hikes for all levels, so whether you’re a beginner or an experienced hiker, you’ll find something to suit you.
You can find Mellau’s most popular hikes here.
Explore Umgang in Mellau
Umgang Bregenzerwald is a walk through Mellau that takes you to some of the most beautiful spots in the area, focussing on the unique architecture within the town. During the walk, you get to see the typical, old Bregenzerwald houses in Übermellen and how they are a stark contrast in comparison to the contemporary residential buildings in Oberfeld. It’s around a two-hour walk and it’s definitely worth doing if you have time.
During the walk, you will notice small brown information columns that draw attention to a building. If you take a look inside the column, you’ll learn all about the special features of the cultural landscape.
The tourist office has more information on how to do the walk, as well as maps and photos.
Have A Relaxing Spa Day (You Might Need It After All The Activities You’ll Be Doing!)
If you’re looking to relax and rejuvenate after a day of hiking or cycling, a spa day is exactly what you need. With a number of hotels offering spa facilities (including Hotel Bären) and a number of different treatments to choose from, you’re sure to find the perfect way to relax.
Head To The Nearby Feldkirch For The Day
If you’re looking for an easy day trip from Mellau, Feldkirch is the perfect place to go. With its beautiful old town, an impressive castle and lively atmosphere, there’s plenty to see and do. You can find out more information on what to do in Feldkirch (including a handy 1-day itinerary) from Passports and Plates here.
Finally, Eat Some (More) Traditional Austrian Cuisine
When in Austria, you have to try the traditional cuisine and Mellau is definitely the place to do it. From schnitzel and strudel to Kaiserschmarrn (a shredded pancake with raisins) and Germknödel (dumpling with plum sauce), there’s something for everyone. Of course, you also have to enjoy a Spritz or two!
Your Ultimate Mellau Tool: The Bregenzerwald Card
The Bregenzerwald Card is your ultimate tool for exploring Mellau and the surrounding area. This card gives you free entry to a number of different tourist attractions including swimming pools, cable cars art museums and more. You can also use it on public transport within the region.
These ‘guest cards’ are available to anyone who spends more than three nights in Mellau and is automatically included in your hotel price. With each card, you get a detailed guide, showing you exactly where you can use it (in both Mellau and the surrounding areas).
I had an incredible time in Mellau and I can’t wait to go back! There’s definitely something for everyone in this beautiful town and I’m sure you’ll love it as much as I did. If you have any questions about my trip or Mellau in general, feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to answer them.