From the 9th century to 1805, for around 1000 years the village belonged to the monastery of Sankt Gallen; it was only during the secularisation under Napoleon that it became part of Bavaria. Oberstaufen became famous for its Schroth therapy. From 1949 the naturopathic treatment with certain drinking and dry days, which dates back to a Johann Schroth (1798-1856), was offered in the local spa house. Today Oberstaufen is the largest health resort in the Allgäu. Worth seeing is the local history museum in a farmhouse from 1788.
Sailing and swimming in the Allgäu natural lake
The natural lake to the west of Immenstadt covers nearly 2.5 square kilometres and is crossed by the river Konstanzer Ach. Other tributaries are the hillside streams in the south. An area of outstanding natural beauty has been established all around the lake. The Alpsee is great for sailing and surfing because of the valley running eastwards offering passage for the prevailing westerly winds. This often leads to strong turbulence; the wind direction can change very quickly. There are bathing opportunities in three places: on the south-west, south-east and eastern shore.
Cultural and bathing town on the south-eastern shore of Lake Constance
The capital of Vorarlberg lies on the south-eastern shore of Lake Constance at the foot of its local mountain, the Pfänder. More than 2,000 years ago there was already a Celtic settlement in the area of the historic old town, which was fortified with a wall and is now called the “Oberstadt” (upper town). The much younger Unterstadt (lower town) lies on the lake shore, along which a wide promenade runs with beaches at its ends. In front of the promenade floats a stage, which is used at the Bregenz Festival. The grandstand is on land and holds more than 4,000 visitors. The centre of the lower town is the Kornmarkt with the Kunsthaus (house of arts) and Vorarlberger Museum.
By cable car to the local mountain of Oberstaufen
The 1,834 meter high mountain is the highest peak of the foothills of the Allgäu Alps. Because of its exposed location it is easy to reach and offers a great view of the mountains and the lush green foothills from above. The Hochgratbahn leads up the mountain. One can, for example, take the cable car up the hill and, on the way back, walk to the valley station via the Nagelfluhkette. (return: 11.3 kilometers, 4:30 hours, up and down: 960 meters)
Across Lake Constance with the paddle wheel steamer
Crisp white awnings, burnished brass and shining mahogany, teak and cherry wood: The (according to the trade press) “best restored steam ship in Europe” demonstrates the craftsmanship of an entire epoch and masterworks of the Art Nouveau. The historic paddle wheel steamer was built in 1913 for the crowned heads of Europe. Since its restoration in 1984 it has also been accessible to the public. Gourmet tours, jazz concerts on board and other offers are available under www.hohentwiel.com .
Free Imperial City on the Swabian Baroque Route
This health resort in the Württemberg Allgäu is situated on the Upper Swabian Baroque Route. The old town is surrounded by a medieval city wall. As a free imperial city Isny was always somewhat more affluent than the surrounding area. This is evidenced by the magnificent buildings, especially the Church of St. Nicholas from 1288, the City Hall and the “thief tower” where originally two prisons were housed. Landmark of the city is the slender Blaserturm (trumpeter tower) from which the guards once held look out day and night for fires or approaching enemies.
Lookout between Allgäu and Tyrol
The 1178 meter high Oberjochpass is only a few hundred meters away from the Austrian border. It is an important link between the Allgäu and Tyrol. Those who drive the winding Jochstraße between Hindelang and Oberjoch, can already marvel at the view of the Allgäuer Alps, while Hindelang and Oberdorf lie below.
The 1,064 metre high mountain above Bregenz is the most famous vantage point in the region with its unique view of Lake Constance and 240 Alpine peaks. When the weather is clear, the view reaches from the Allgäu and Lechtal Alps in the east over the Bregenzerwald, the steep peaks of the Arlberg region and the Silvretta, further over the Rätikon to the Swiss mountains and the foothills of the Black Forest in the west. Lake Constance lies at our feet, framed by the Rhine valley and the Upper Swabian hills. From Bregenz, a cable car takes you close to the summit, where some restaurants await. Several marked hiking trails start at the top station.
The treetop path in Scheidegg
High up in the treetops the forest thins and the views open up to wonderful surroundings. A wobbling bridge and the discovery trail make the walk a bit more adventurous, even if it is designed to be suitable for prams and wheelchairs. In addition to the treetop path there are two nature trails.
Following the torrent on wooden footbridges and rock stairs
Northeast of Sonthofen, the Starzlach has dug a wild and romantic ravine for many thousands of years. The torrent rises at an altitude of 1070 metres and then rushes through the picturesque gorge. It plunges over several waterfalls, which provide coolness in summer and freeze to bizarre ice curtains in winter. Wooden footbridges, rock stairs and even shorter tunnels have made the wild gorge accessible. (return 2:30 hours, 3,6 kilometers, up and down 250 meters)