Vorarlberg is the westernmost federal state of Austria. Though it is the second smallest in terms of area (Vienna is the smallest), it borders three countries:
Due to their isolated location from the rest of Austria, the people in Vorarlberg speak a very distinct dialect which the other Austrians have a hard time understanding. It is nearly identical to those spoken in Switzerland, Baden-Württemberg and the Alsace region in France (they all belong to the Allemannic dialects whereas those of the rest of Austria form part of the Bavarian-Austrian language group). Generally this seems to be one dialect, but in fact every little town in Voralberg has it's own "secret" language. There are approximately 352,000 inhabitants in Vorarlberg split up into the 96 municipalities.
The capital of Vorarlberg is
- Bregenz, which also is one of the five cities.
The main rivers in Vorarlberg are the Ill (running through the Montafon and Walgau valleys into the Rhine), the Rhine (forming the border to Switzerland), the Bregenzer Ach and the Dornbirner Ach. Important lakes, other than the Lake of Constance are the Silvretta Lake, the Spuller Lake, the Formarin Lake and the Kops Basin, all of which have been created for the production of hydroelectric energy. As Vorarlberg is a famous skiing region there are some mountain ranges of larger interest, such as the Silvretta, the Rätikon, the Verwall and the Arlberg.
Next to a flourishing industry in the Rhine Valley where clothing, machines, packing material and other industrial goods are produced and a well-going agriculture in the Bregenzerwald(specified in dairy products, famous for its soft-tourism in form of the "Bregenzerwälder Cheese Street") Vorarlbergians work in tourism. The largest tourism attraction are the mountains and the numerous skiing regions. The largest (and most famous) of which are
- the Bregenzerwald,
- the Arlberg region (including noble ski village Lech),
- the Brandnertal, and
- the Montafon.