St. Laurentius Church and Gayenhofen Castle
The Roman Catholic church is located on the top of a hill right next to the baroque Gayenhofen Castle. As a landmark of Bludenz, the church with its onion-domed spire is already visible from afar. Approaching it from the castle, you pass underneath a stone arch. If you want to walk up the hill on foot, it’s best to start in the Herrengasse Alley. From the Upper Gate and Stadtmuseum, a covered stairway leads up to the church and castle. The church dates back to the 14th century and was destroyed in 1491 during a great town fire but rebuilt soon afterwards. It houses a beautiful high altar made of black marble dating back to 1720. Three bells ring out for both Catholics and all other town citizens.
The Gayenhofen Castle, painted light pink, shines out beside the church. Its construction began in 1222 under the Counts of Werdenberg. Not only Bregenz and Feldkirch, but also Bludenz was a fortified town in medieval times. The town of Bludenz purchased the castle in 1936 and handed it over to the Province of Vorarlberg. In the early 1960s, the castle was converted into an official building and since 1963 houses the Bludenz District Commission. The castle rises up three storeys and has a strictly rectangular layout. It is one of the few classicistic castles in Austria outside Vienna.
>> Bezirkshauptmannschaft Bludenz, Schloss-Gayenhof-Platz 2, 6700 Bludenz
Historic Old Town
In Bludenz, so many medieval buildings and sections of the historic town fortifications have been preserved that you’ll find it difficult to decide where to start your exploration of the sights. A stroll through the old town is always a very special experience. You could set out, for instance, from the Postplatz Square at the Werdenbergstrasse Street, named after the Counts of Werdenberg-Heiligenberg who once ruled over Bludenz. Walking from the Postplatz Square into the pedestrian zone you’ll pass an old patrician building which today houses a book store. The big stately homes of the rich patrician families still characterize Bludenz’s modern townscape, particularly in the Werdenbergstrasse Street. Dating back to the 17th century, their magnificent facades, gates and gables are still impressive sights today. Numerous arcades covering almost the entire pedestrian zone create an almost Mediterranean flair, above all in the summer time. In the Rathausplatz Square you’ll find the small but imposing Nepomuk Fountain, built in 1730 by the late baroque sculptor Johann Ladner. The fountain depicts Saint Nepomuk, the patron to protect against defamation and false accusations.
Upper Gate and Stadtmuseum
Both sights are unique in their own right - but nevertheless they belong together. The Upper Gate is located at the western end of the Kirchgasse Alley and Herrengasse Alley. The Stadtmuseum is located in the Upper Gate Building dating back to the 15th century. The three-storey tower building with half-hip roof is slightly higher than the town walls. The gate itself has a pointed arch, the top storey features a row of small shooting windows.
The museum houses about 500 exhibits in its exhibition rooms, including old wheels, boxes, numerous regional art objects and antique furniture, authentically furnished historic parlours and valuable pictures.
>> Stadtmuseum, Kirchgasse 9, 6700 Bludenz, P +43 5552 63621 236
This monument in the Werdebererstrasse was erected in 1905 and designed by Georg Matt. It shows a man holding up a drawn sword ready for battle. The monument is in commemoration of Bernhard Riedmiller, captain of the Bludenz Marksmen. He fought at the front in the Napoleonic Wars between 1796 and 1799 and as defence major defended Bludenz against the French.
Spitalkirche Church in the Kirchgasse Alley
In former times, the town hospital of Bludenz was located at Kirchgasse 2, and the former hospital church at house number 4 is reminiscent of those times. Both buildings were built around 1300. The church was destroyed three times by town fires, the last time in 1683. It was rebuilt and newly inaugurated in 1694. The interior of the Holy Trinity Church has been preserved in its original state. The hospital was used at the time as a home for infirm town citizens and travellers in need of help.
>> Dreifaltigkeitskirche, Kirchgasse 4, 6700 Bludenz
Val Blu Alpen-Erlebnisbald Water Park
In Bludenz, you cannot only climb up high into the mountains, you can also dive down deep, namely in the Val Blu Water Park: A leisure paradise covering 1,800 square meters with 420 square metres of water to swim and splash around in, both indoors and outdoors. Spacious rest area, large sauna area, delightful cuisine. Or treat yourself to a relaxingly light or kneaded massage.
>> Val Blu Resort & Spa, Haldenweg 2a, 6700 Bludenz, P +43 5552 63106, www.valblu.at
Blundenz’s sun terrace - in summer as well as in winter! If you’re longing for some sun, then go up the Muttersberg Mountain on a modern cable car that carries you effortlessly up to the mountaintop at 1,400 metres. Or rent an E-bike at the Valley Station and cycle up yourself. At the top, sit back and relax on the spacious sun deck of the Alpengasthof Inn. The view down to the Bludenz Valley is simply breathtaking! Deck chairs and W-LAN free of charge! The menu offers hearty local dishes, the cheese spaetzle are simply heavenly! For the kids there’s a large indoor playground to romp around in. The inn is an ideal starting point for hikers and mountain bikers with a variety of fascinating hikes and mountain bike trails to choose from.
Detailed information is available at the inn, Valley Station or Tourist Office.
>> Muttersberg, Hinterplärsch 5, 6700 Bludenz, P +43 5552 68035, www.muttersberg.at