Lech am Arlberg

Founded in the 14th century by émigrés from the Valais district of Switzerland, Lech am Arlberg still has its original Pfarrkirche (parish church) from that era. This archetype of a snug alpine ski village is practically joined to Oberlech, a satellite resort a little farther up the mountain. Lech stands at 1,440m; Oberlech is at 1,710m. Zürs is more fashionable, but Lech has its own claim to fame: It played host to Prince Charles and his future wife, Princess Diana. Despite its reputation as a ski resort, Lech offers some great warm-weather activities, too. In summer, visitors come here to tour the Upper Lech Valley, which stretches for 56km to a scenic valley between the Lechtal and the Allgäu Alps.

Set in the upper regions of the Arlberg Pass, Lech has no railway connections. Visitors are best advised to take the train to the rail stations at either end of the Arlberg Tunnel and then transfer to a bus that winds its way up the mountain passes to Lech. Passengers from either Vorarlberg or Tyrol should get off at Langen am Arlberg, the closest station to Lech. All Zurich-Vienna express trains stop here. From Mid-June to mid-September, Lech offers an Activ-Inclusiv Program. As part of this program, any hotel guest in Lech gains automatic free access to the five cable cars that run in the summer, tennis courts, and the indoor pool. Daily guided hikes covering 5 to 11km are also included in the program.

Most of the shops in Lech line the resort’s main thoroughfare, the Hauptstrasse, and all steadfastly refuse to identify themselves with an individual street number. Lech offers sporting equipment from almost every important manufacturer in Europe. Three of the most impressive shops include Sportalp, Sporthaus Strolz and Pfefferkorn, all on Hauptstrasse. If you’re interested in souvenirs or folkloric clothing, Sporthaus Strolz and Pfefferkorn both offer Austrian handicrafts, lederhosen and traditional Austrian clothing.

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