Smugglerland on the Schafberg plateau
For many centuries a well-used trade route passed through Gargellen, crossing the Schlappinerjoch into the Swiss canton of Grisons and continuing down into Italy. This route was mostly used to transport legitimately traded goods such as wine and corn. The movement of goods aross the border was controlled by customs officials based in Gargellen, whose aim was to prevent any illicit trading, or smuggling. In spite of these precautions, quite a few impoverished Montafon locals indulged in “free trading” in order to make ends meet.
Smugglerland on the Schafberg plateau is not just a great family walk. It also gives a taste of what life was like for these daring men and women, humping coffee, tobacco, wine, corn, honey and loden cloth across the mountains on their backs. The circular walk begins with a “sneak-past path”, guaranteed to give you those same butterflies felt by the smugglers during their forays up the mountain. Walk barefoot through sand, gravel, water, mud and wood shavings. The first chance for a breather is in the "Gäßscherm", a wooden hut once used to shelter goats and hay. You can get the proper goat food in the Schafberghüsli restaurant. Shortly thereafter, at the "Fernblick" viewpoint, walkers with binoculars can try to spot red deer, ibex and chamois on the steep mountain crags across the valley. If you’re really lucky, you may even spot Schmuggi Luggi among the rocks… Try the obstacle race and experience exactly what it was like to have to "take to your heels”. "Marenda" is a local dialect word meaning snack, elevenses, picnic – something you can eat around a camp fire. At the stone-built "Zollhütte" (customs house), you must keep an eye out for customs men and other smugglers…
It takes about half a day for a family to complete the smuggler trail. Before heading back down into the valley, the children can have fun in the playground next to the Schafberghüsli. All sorts of fun things here: a gorilla slide, a nest swing, a slackline and lots more besides.