A few centuries ago, exiles from the Valais, in Switzerland, settled this village at the mouth of the Zalimtal, near the Swiss border. At an elevation around 1,035m (3,396 ft.), Brand has long been a popular mountain health resort spread out along a mile-long stretch at the base of the Scesaplana mountain range. It's now a much-visited winter-sports center, the main resort of the Rätikon district of Vorarlberg.

You can take a cableway to the top of the Tschengla, at 1,250m (4,101 ft.), as well as a chairlift to Eggen, at 1,270m (4,167 ft.). From Eggen, it's easy to make connections to Niggenkopf, at 1,600m (5,249 ft.).

About 6km (4 miles) south of Brand, beside the only road leading south of town (it's an extension of the Hauptstrasse and is marked LUNERSEE), you'll find the Lunersee Talstation. Here, hardy souls can start a 1-hour climb leading steeply uphill to the Lunersee (Lake Luner), a glacial lake whose size has been increased with the construction of a dam and whose western edge abuts the frontier of Switzerland. If you find the climb daunting, you can take a cable car, Bergbahnen Brandnertal. It operates from May 5 to October 26 daily from 8:30am to noon, and then from 1:30 to 4:30pm. The cost roundtrip for adults is 9.50€ ($15), 7.50€ ($12) for students and persons under 18, free for children under 5 when accompanied by a parent. Once you're there, you might opt for a relatively flat walk around the austere-looking lake, a trek that takes most hikers about 2 hours. Remember that the last cable car downhill departs at 5pm.


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