The silver-grey Theodul chapel is clearly visible from the valley and from the mountain station of the Bezau cable car. Built just a few years ago, it is situated at 1,600 metres elevation on a ridgeline of the Niedere mountain.
The history of the chapel can be traced back to a tragic event: Having lost their child, a family promised to build a chapel upon the birth of a healthy child. Though the family soon welcomed a daughter, the chapel took some time to be built. After more than 20 years had passed, the family finally announced an architectural competition to have the chapel constructed. The remuneration: three loaves of cheese from their own Alpine dairy.
Following a design competition, plans by Vorarlberg architectural firm Cukrowicz Nachbaur were selected. The quiet chapel room was constructed of spruce wood and a slit of glass in the altar wall welcomes light inside. In addition to the door, there are but two openings to the outside: the ornamental filter above the entrance door and the cross in the altar wall. The chapel is dedicated to St. Theodul, the patron saint of the Walser people, an ethnic group that populated parts of Vorarlberg in the 14th century. He is also revered as the saint of bells, weather and cattle.
A popular mountain for hiking, the Niedere is located in the Bregenzerwald between Andelsbuch and Bezau. Countless sensational panoramic views can be admired from its long mountain ridge. Keen hikers can enjoy, e.g. the one and a half hour long, leisurely panoramic hike featuring views of the surrounding mountains and Lake Constance in addition to the many paragliders. Thanks to good thermals the year round, paragliders flock to the Niedere in all seasons to float back into the valley below.
The Niedere is accessible from Andelsbuch and Bezau via cable car. From the mountain station, the Theodul chapel is just an approx. 15-min walk. Though paragliders oftentimes assemble around the wooden building before takeoff, it’s mostly peaceful here.
A panorama restaurant with a gorgeous sun terrace is located right next to the mountain station of the Bezau cable car. Alternatively, there’s the Niedere mountain restaurant near the Theodul chapel featuring superlative views of Lake Constance from its terrace.
Bezau and Andelsbuch are accessible by bus from Bregenz, Dornbirn and towns in the Bregenzerwald.
The Panoramaweg trail to the chapel is accessible all year round.