AUSTRIA  |  St. Anton am Arlberg, Austria Travel Guide
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Lech am Arlberg

Lech am Arlberg, Austria (cc)
Photo: Niki Gango
 

Lech

Although it technically lies within the borders of the Vorarlberg province, Lech is the Arlberg region’s favorite family resort. The traditional village lies up the Flexen Pass, on the northern side of the Valluga mountain, approximately 20 km north of St. Anton. Lech, for most, is the quintessential Alpine holiday village; chalets dot forested hillsides, a crystal-clear river runs through the center, and horse-drawn carriages await fares next to a covered bridge. Although it is one of the Alps’ more expensive resorts, the village is less pretentiously exclusive than St. Christoph, and a country-style gentility prevails. First and foremost, Lech is loved by families, many of whom have been coming here for years.

Some 300 m up the hill from the village center perches the hamlet of Oberlech, a car-free village served by a lift that runs late into the night. Also near Lech are the satellite hamlets of Stuben and Zug, quiet hideaways perfect for walking, cross-country skiing, and horse-drawn sleigh and carriage rides. Between Lech and St. Christoph is Zurs, a treeless ski resort that largely closes up in summer.

From late November through April, Lech is a snowy wonderland. For skiers, the village partners up with nearby resorts to offer the Arlberg Ski Pass, which includes 83 lifts and 260 km of groomed runs and 185 km of ungroomed routes at resorts including St. Anton, St. Christoph, and Zurs, among others. The 110 km of groomed skiing above Lech is less extreme than that above St. Anton – another feature attractive to families. Other winter attractions include many sporting activities for non-skiers, such as a lighted tobogganing run, 19 km of cross-country runs, 25 km of cleared walking trails, and sleigh rides day and night.

In summer, the valley’s low-key relaxation brings loyal guests from all over Europe. From late June through late September, visitors hike on 250 km of trails, head into the hills on four lifts, enjoy a large forest pool, fish in mountain lakes, and mountain bike on a variety of trails. The local mountaineering school organizes classes and outings for a variety of sports across a full range of ability levels. In addition, free hikers’ buses serve outlying trails, including the fascinating Sea of Stone Trail. Beginning near the crater-like Formarinsee, this four-hour, geology-themed loop encircles the Formaletsch peak, passing through a limestone treasure trove of fossils – some up to 200 million years old. Stone markers indicate fossil sites..

Last updated March 1, 2012
Posted in   Austria  |  St. Anton am Arlberg
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