Almost 300,000 visitors a year make the uphill trek to the mountain observation station of Pfänder, west of Bregenz. Pfänder is accessible by road (a meandering distance of 10km/6 1/2 miles) or via the Pfänderbahn cable car (a straight-line transit of 4km/2 1/2 miles) from the center of Bregenz. Celebrated as the second-oldest cable car in Austria, it was originally built in 1927 and was massively upgraded with almost double its original capacity in 1994. Operating year-round daily from 8:30am to 7pm, it departs from its lowest station, about 460m (1,509 ft.) east of the Kornmarkt I Bregenz, and takes about 7 minutes to reach its summit. Round-trip fare is 10€ ($17) for adults or 3€ ($4.80) for ages 6 to 15. Call tel. 05574/42160 for information about departure times.
At the summit, you'll find a scattering of shops and restaurants along with the Pfänder Wildlife Park tel. 0664/9053040. The owners emphasize that it is not a zoo. The park's large fenced-in areas are devoted to herds of red deer, wild boar, mountain goats, and wild sheep. Access to the Wildlife Park is free; it takes about 20 minutes to wander through its 10 hectares (26 acres) of rocky terrain. One of the highlights of the park is the twice-daily Greifvogel-Flugschau (Birds of Prey Show), during which ornithologists display the age-old hunting techniques of trained falcons, eagles, owls, and vultures. The 45-minute shows are presented from May to early October at 11am and 2:30pm. Tickets to the show are 4.80€ ($7.70) for adults and 2.40€ ($3.90) for children.
To get to this alpine complex by car from Bregenz, travel east of town (toward Lindau, Germany) along a narrow, twisting road through the mountains. Turn right, toward Lochau, where you'll pass a parish church, and turn right onto a secondary road leading to Pfänder. Cars usually park at a large lot near the summit. From here, you'll walk about 10 minutes to reach the panorama from the Berghaus Pfänder. From the Berghaus, an additional 15-minute walk leads to another, much smaller, alpine house with its own simple restaurant and a different panorama, the Schwedenschanze Belvedere.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.