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Min Weag-Etappe 10, Arlberg, Kleinwalsertal, Bergerlebnis (c) Peter Mathis / Vorarlberg Tourismus

Give your thoughts free reign

The “Min Weag” hiking path crosses several of the most beautiful landscapes to be found in Vorarlberg.

Min Weag

Circuit around Vorarlberg

Experience report of Min Weag Vorarlberg

The “Min Weag” hiking path crosses several of the most beautiful landscapes to be found in Vorarlberg. Comprising 31 stages,
it is as long as a whole summer month, presenting you with the chance to take an enjoyable break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Get out and about and see the tranquil sensations which only Mother Nature can forge.


It was a summer’s evening, and we were watching football in the Berghotel Körbersee over a glass of Zweigelt, occasionally looking out of the window, where we still couldn’t see anything. It had come over cloudy at some point during the afternoon: the clouds had snuck up on us, and now they were hovering just above the ground, occluding the world. They were lovely clouds – white as snow, like candy floss, weightless. They floated delicately above the lake as if they didn’t dare get too close to the cold water. And then: it’s a goal! The Italians cheered, and the goal was repeated in slow motion a few times. We ordered another round of Zweigelt and, when we looked out the window again, the clouds had gone. All of them. Not a trace of them in sight!

There are few things in the mountains more fascinating than a sudden change in the weather. When a picture-book panorama suddenly appears behind an impenetrable wall of fog – as if the clouds had been nothing but part of the scenery that someone has just pushed aside. We all went straight out to the lake, into the sun. We spun around in every direction, photographing the cows, skimming flat stones across the lake. Then we returned to the hotel to fetch our wine glasses. The signpost indicating the valley glistened as if it were coated with silver.

Min Weag-Etappe 9 © Peter Mathis / Vorarlberg Tourismus
Min Weag-Etappe 9 © Peter Mathis / Vorarlberg Tourismus
Min Weag-Etappe 9 © Peter Mathis / Vorarlberg Tourismus

Up on the pass it was so quiet, you would have thought that someone had turned the sound off

“Min Weag”: this is the name of the hiking trail which criss-crosses Vorarlberg in 31 stages. Some of the stages are shorter and some of them are longer, some of them are gentle, then again some are tough going, flat, precipitous, steep – there’s a bit of everything. The name of the hiking trail is in the local Vorarlberg dialect and, translated, means “My path”. It goes through valleys and tranquil mountain villages and towns, crosses Toscana-like rolling hills and spirals upwards to peaks, it meanders around mountain lakes and across rugged crests. In other words: it is as varied as the federal state of Vorarlberg itself. The best thing about it? You can join the trail anywhere you want, hike for one single day, or for two – or for as many as you want! And if you undertake one stage every day, then you are on the trail for precisely one summer month.

Min Weag-Etappe 9 (c) Peter Mathis / Vorarlberg Tourismus
Min Weag-Etappe 10 © Peter Mathis / Vorarlberg Tourismus

This journey is the destination: weaving your way along wavy lines is highly desirable here

The Berghotel Körbersee is located between stages 9 and 10 of the “Min Weag” hiking trail. We set off early in the morning from the Kleinwalsertal, whose name givers – an Alemannic ethnic group – arrived here around 700 years ago on the search for a new home. The Walsers made use of the inhospitable valley by working with nature instead of against it, and the rulers of the time granted the new settlers exemption from tax in return. And so they decided to stay, and are still there. The culture and the language of the Walsers are still alive and kicking. Setting off from Mittelberg early in the morning, it is as if you are seeing the valley with the eyes of those medieval wanderers: how the tops of the fir trees are trapped by the morning mist. How the ibexes and chamois try to keep their footing on the precipices. How the silvery white waterfall ribbons crash down over the flank of the Bärenkopf.

You are accompanied by water on this stage – everywhere you go, it bangs, crashes and flows. In the Bärgunttal you can see how rocks and tree trunks change its course, how the stream dams up, produces white foam, crashes against the nearest rock, foams again, dams up again, over and again, on and on. Many small waterfalls suspended from the mountain peaks like liquid threads ensure fresh supplies. All that together combines to create a roaring sound which permeates the valley right down to its nooks and crannies and, seemingly, the whole world.

Up on the pass it was so quiet, you would have thought that someone had turned the sound off. A bird chirped somewhere. Otherwise, peace reigned. You couldn’t even hear the wind: it was busy high above us, stirring up the clouds, which then began accumulating behind us. There is frequently something magical about clouds when you are hiking. Sometimes you can see them coming towards you, thick, white, compact, and you wonder what will happen when they catch you up. Once they are there and you are surrounded by them, you no longer notice them. The view clouds over, your glasses mist up, and that is it really! A minute later, the cloud has continued on its way and once again looks impenetrable. Then, however, the next one comes along. And then the next one… And at some point you decide that the weather is bad. And you start to look forward to your hotel.

Restful: simply the bubbling of the water of a stream as lively as this one manages to lift the spirits

The next morning only gradually stole its way into the world of the summits and valleys – gingerly, carefully, as if it didn’t dare. It was bright and glistening – the sun painted golden varnish on the mountain sides. We walked around Körbersee, and then we came to a standstill: right behind the water, we were met with one of those impressive mountain panoramas which never fails to take your breath away – just two or three steps earlier it seemed hard to imagine the dramatic extent to which the valley would be revealed. It felt like you could see the whole world this morning, as depicted on a “The loveliest mountains in the world” calendar. The meadows and their flowers looked as if somebody had upturned buckets upon bucketsful of confetti. And cows everywhere you looked, not a person in sight.

Min Weag-Etappe 10 © Peter Mathis / Vorarlberg Tourismus

The path took us across grazing land, a lot of lush greenery between the grey of the mountain peaks

Naturally, this was also an effect of “Min Weag”. Stage 10 didn’t go to the right downwards to the panorama view – instead, it veered off to the left as if it was a tad afraid of the descent. The path then turned flat and smooth through undulating grazing land whose lush green was a lovely change from the greyness of the craggy peaks and ridges around us. Vorarlberg looked as if the Creator first of all put all the peaks in place and then took his time thinking about the best way to add some colour to such a scene. How come there are sceneries which look so perfect that they almost seem unnatural? Why is that? You feel as if you would like to ask the mountains, since you know that they have the answers to questions such as these. However, you are also aware that the mountains are known for keeping their lips sealed. They have been doing that for ages.

Later, several hours later, we sat on a bench and looked down towards Lech, the destination of stage 10. We sat there and watched a fat, obviously starving bumble-bee get stuck into the mountain flowers right next to us, going for one flower after another. We did nothing but sit there. Watching. As if we could have captured the passing of time by watching. As if we’d left this world for a moment.

Lech lay in the valley as if it had spent quite some time searching for its place, after long negotiations and in agreement with the mountains, between the green flanks of the Rüfikopf, Omeshorn and Kriegerhorn, in the lap of the slopes, protected, safe, well looked-after. Whereas you feel as if you have been floating this far, the last few kilometres really seem as if you are flying. Every now and again we looked back on the path already taken, just for the sake of it. Nothing but blue skies. What else would there be?

Min Weag-Etappe 9, Contact © Peter Mathis / Vorarlberg Tourismus

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