Tannheimertal - an Alpine Valley
The Tannheimertal Tourist Board describes the region as "the most beautiful high valley in Europe" and it is easy to see why the popularity of the Tannheimertal is growing with those seeking a vacation destination away from the tourism mainstream of Austria.
Flanked by the Oberjoch Pass at one end and the Gaichtpass at the other, the Tannheimertal was an important trade route to Bregenz and into the Allgaeu and Germany. Dating from around 250BC the route was known as the Via Decia and was mainly used for transporting salt and wine.
The Gaichtpass was fortified as part of the outlying network of defensive positions around Ehrenberg fortress on the other side of Reutte. But the interest in the valley in the Middle Ages was not only for military and strategic purposed - Emperor Maximilian 1 secured the fishing rights to the Haldensee, even though at the time it was not yet part of the Tyrol.
The main village of the valley, Tannheim, shows evidence of settlement in the Bronze Age. Nowadays, it is a community of one thousand inhabitants enjoying visitors attracted by the skiing in the winter and the spectacular walking possibilities in the area. It is also a favourite for paragliders.
The smaller communities of Nesselwängle, Schattwald, Gran and Zöblen all have their own ski-lifts and cross-country ski trails in winter, and a network of walking trails and alpine huts in the summer months.
A nearby curiosity is the community of Jungholz - a village on Austrian territory but virtually completely surrounded by Germany. The only point at which it is possible to travel from Jungholz directly into its homeland is the meter-wide peak of the mountain above the village - the Sorgschrofen.