“It’s medicine from the mountains,” declared Horst, our llama trekking guide, as he rushed out of his wooden cabin carrying a hand-crafted tray of full shot glasses. We are in Bartholomäberg near Schruns in the Montafon region of Vorarlberg, Austria, and it’s just shy of 9 a.m. An early start for imbibing, even on vacation.
Horst is a well-respected mountain guide and former national team skier. And he is responsible for the introduction of llamas in the region.When someone with Horst’s pedigree suggests you take ‘medicine,’ you oblige. We left the harnessed llamas tied to a timber fence 1600 feet (500 m) above Vorarlberg’s Montafon Valley and toasted the day with Austrian schnaps.
We are at Llamero Horst for a half-day family llama trekking experience in Austria. Originally from South America, llama’s are well-suited to the mountainous regions in Vorarlberg, Austria. After we paired up with our llama-for-the-day, we climbed up a flight of steep stone steps and began to trek from Innerberg (part of the village Bartholomäberg where Horst has his llama farm) to Fritzasee. After stopping for a picnic lunch of Bregenzerwald cheese, salami, and artisanal bread, we returned to Llamero Horst.
This was our first experience with family Llama trekking in Austria, and it was one of our best days in the mountains. Apart from the delicious Austrian schnaps and Horst’s infectious enthusiasm, here are a few more reasons why we fell in love with family llama trekking.
Five Reasons We Love Family Llama Trekking in Austria
1. Llamas Are Pack Animals
Llamas shouldn’t transport people, but they can efficiently carry gear weighing up to 20% of their body weight. As a trekking companion, they transport food, water, and equipment, without a single complaint.
2. Llamas Are Irresistible
The feathery lashed, fuzzy-furred creatures are adorable. If you happen to have a reluctant hiker in your group, leave it to a llama to entice him or her to join the herd.
3. Llama Trekking Is an Unplugged Experience
Leading a llama and traveling with the herd requires focus. It’s not over the top, but it’s committing enough that you want to leave your technology alone, and tune-in to your llama.
4. Llamas Are Social
Llamas are social animals and enjoy each others company. Unlike many hikes when our family stretches out along a trail, this time we walked together, alongside our llamas – it was fantastic.
5. The Pace is Pleasant
Llamas travel at a pleasing pace – they don’t gallop or trot. Or start and stop. They saunter at a predictable (and relaxing) pace. Perfect for connecting with nature, and each other.
Travel Tips – Family Llama Trekking in Austria
- Llama trekking in Austria is a year-round experience. Visit the Vorarlberg Tourism website to learn more about llama trekking opportunities in the region. Visit the My Montafon website for more information about trekking opportunities with Horst.
- If you visit Montafon, stay at Alpenhotel Montafon – the four-star hotel is lovely, and the service is excellent.
- We are repeat visitors to Vorarlberg, Austria’s westernmost state, bordering Germany, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein. Vorarlberg is easily accessible by car, rail or air. You can read more about our experiences in Vorarlberg here.
I’m grateful to the Vorarlberg State Tourism Board for hosting our family llama trekking experience. We are keen to get back on the trail with these adorable trekking companions. As always, if I don’t love a destination or experience, I won’t recommend it.