Please note the current traffic situation
- L200 Bregenzerwald
- B198 Reutte
- L198 Lech
A little mountain lake. No roads, far and wide It is only a narrow path that proceeds along the water’s edge, right up to the first steps to the hotel. Guests chatting on the terrace. Hushed. In the interim the soft chinking of forks on plates can be heard. And the wind, which blows gently through the neighbouring forest and a pine cone falls on the soft forest floor. Who would have thought that such a remote place would be brought in the spotlight by one of the biggest TV shows in Austria – and so become a highly respected star overnight. And all the merely due to the unbelievably impressive natural beauty, sublime radiance and natural elegance which has been sending visitors into raptures here for centuries. The audience in the TV studio in Vienna cheered exuberantly when they saw the picture of Körbersee on the screen. In the ORF programme ‘9 Plätze 9 Schätze’ it was chosen as the loveliest spot in Austria. This little, contemplative town, previously chosen to represent Vorarlberg, was a part of the Austrian show – scooping first place.
the lake itself is unaware of this thundering applause across the country. Your gaze is drawn across the gently rolling pastures whose lush green hues surround the gravelly path and to the Alpine cows grazing peacefully, and to the wooden footbridge. On the opposite side, the 2412 metre Juppenspitze rises up imposingly into the sky, its impressive contours and rocky flanks reflected in the clear water - almost looking as if it has been photoshopped. Everything is tranquil up here, everything soothes and it is indeed now even an area of national fame. The lake is being lauded in the capital, travel plans are being forged and all of a sudden such an enchanted spot is right in the spotlight. Even though the terrace at Berghotel Körbersee is not even full for once.
It might all have been very different: When the Hotel Weihnachten was opened in 1930 at Körbersee, up at 1654 metres, by tourism pioneer Franz Xaver Strolz, a safe road from Schröcken to Lech in the winter was planned. A perfect location for a hotel then, thought this clever entrepreneur. The construction of the road was undone upon the outbreak of the calamitous Second World War and the plans were never taken up again. In contrast, the hotel is still in this enraptured place today and is managed by the Schlierenzauer family, who live up here year-round. However this is just one reason why hikers, and in the winter skiers, come way up here. In particular it is the lake, the location and presumably also the lack of roads and the thrilling beauty of the natural surroundings which prevail here, where you forget about time and place. Everything seems like a little paradise, far removed from the daily grind. Couples, who cross the lake in a row boat, looking deep into one another’s eyes, in the face of the Lechtaler Alps and the Hochtannberg pass. How many proposals of marriage have already been made up here? Or how many photographers have almost gone crazy at the sight of Körbersee early in the morning because they didn’t know how to capture all the shots as fast as possible to capture that gentle mist and soft light, before the lake transformed into a summery mountain swimming lake?
The locals and holiday-makers know all about this special place, having tackled the family-friendly, 40-minute hiking trail from the Hochtannbergpass or via Schröcken, and enjoy the view from the terrace with some home-made apple strudel. Since 26th October 2017 all of Austria has been aware of this too – and the message is spreading into the wider world After all, it was on that day that is became official and Körbersee was chosen as the most beautiful natural place in Austria for 2017 in the ORF programme ‘9 Plätze 9 Schätze’ . This little place, has been settled since the Iron Age, that is around 500 B.C. and today the Schlierenzauer family along with their trusty Saint Bernard dog Barry live here on a permanent basis. In the last 200 years the Alpine pastures have only been managed for a few months in the summer, apart from then the area is protected and natural surroundings left alone. And this been good for them. The lake nestles in an extensive hollow up at 1654 metres, just like a little gem. In the middle of the Lechquellen mountains and with views to the Braunarl, the highest mountain in Bregenzerwald, and the mighty Widderstein. Located between Kleinwalsertal and the Arlberg lots of rare plants thrive in the biotopes and increasing numbers of people come up here to enjoy a the seclusion, cool off in the cold mountain water after a hike, and quench their thirst. After all, the water in Körbersee is drinking quality.
The lake is not just a popular excursion destination in the summer. In winter too it attracts skiers to the Salober or the Falkenkopf lift and has helped this region on the way to a certain fame at this time of the year. For more than 40 years, the Schlierenzauer family have been operating the snow measurement station up here and supplying data that shows that Warth-Schröcken is the most snow-abundant ski area in the Alps. To the eye, the quantitative amount of snow is not at all so crucial. Rather, the snow ensures that the contours gently blur, the landscape seems as though it is packed up in cotton wool and sound is very much dampened. Anyone who comes here via the pistes in the winter, sensing the lake through a thick blanket of snow, will get the feeling of what tranquillity sounds like. In this moment you are happy that you have earned your place in the presences of this new Austrian VIP. The fact that noise of cars, buses and motorbikes is completely absent, as you walk up the steps to the Hotel Körbersee and your gaze is one again drawn to the forest, to the big mountain pines and their cones, which at one time gave the lake its name. After all, in the Vorarlberg dialect pine cones are known as ‘Körble’ .
One moment please.