The birthplace of alpine skiing, the region is well known as one of the world’s top skiing resorts, however summer in Arlberg is just as enticing as it is in winter. Thanks to the region’s mesmerising natural beauty and vast range of activities on offer, summer in Arlberg is not to be missed.
The Arlberg region encompasses five beautiful mountain villages including St. Anton, St. Christoph, Stuben, Zürs and Lech. While each village is unique with its own traditions, they all share a common love of sport and nature. A wonderland for hikers, cyclists, walkers, climbers, golfers and nature enthusiasts, Arlberg delivers a stunning summer experience for all and the best way to get to the Arlberg is by train with the Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB).
The Arlberg is all about its mountains. There’s no better place to start exploring than the region’s tallest peak: the Valluga. You can of course scale the 2,809m of craggy rock, but there is an easier way. Hop on the Galzigbahn cable car down in St. Anton and take it to Vallugabahn I cable car. After a quick look around, zip further up the mountain to 2,650m and hop on your final cable car: Vallugabahn II carries you to the panoramic summit. From the top of the Valluga, the Alps look like a vast ocean of limestone peaks. The 360-degree platform offers breathtaking views all the way to Italy, Switzerland, and Germany.
Keep the adrenaline going just south of St. Anton’s bustling town, in the mystical Verwalltal valley. It’s not just a breathtaking nature retreat with babbling brooks and thick fir forests, but a hub for outdoor adventure. You can explore the area on dirt bikes and e-bikes or explore up high in the Aerial Park with its suspended platforms, ladders, and zip lines high up in the trees. A series of eight bridges form an “aerial trail” through the forest that let you test the limits of your balance. The kids’ climbing area is perfect for families who want to discover the Verwalltal together.
If you’re not one for heights, an alternative attraction just opened underground in 2020. The old ore mines in Gand were discovered by a hobby archaeologist and are now restored to their former glory. Enter into the world of 15th-century ore miners and explore 750m of walkable tunnels. This adventure is fabulous for families and travellers who want to see St. Anton off the beaten path.
There’s also plenty of opportunity for some rest and relaxation in between, with amazing restaurants, gentle picturesque walks and cosy huts to enjoy some downtime and a piece (or two) of home-made strudel and apple pie.
Maintaining much of its original charm and character, Stuben is the region’s smallest hamlet with just 80 inhabitants. A walk through this picturesque village will take you past an open-air exhibition of 19th-century images of the Arlberg’s beginnings, showing how the region quickly developed from a secluded mountain refuge to Austria’s largest ski resort.
The village offers the perfect mountain summer holiday with lush flower meadows, crystal-clear lakes and a host of local activities including golf, swimming, fishing, hiking and mountain touring as well as fabulous mountain biking.
At around 1,800m, St. Christoph is among the highest Alpine ski resorts. The village has a long history dating back to the 14th century when a shepherd, Heinrich Findelking, built a refuge for weather-stricken hikers, laying the foundation for the charitable brotherhood of St. Christoph.
The refuge, which today is the elegant hotel Arlberg 1800 Resort, was also the founding place of the Ski-Club Arlberg in 1901. The oldest ski-club of the Alps, Ski-Club Arlberg currently has more than 9,158 members from 60 countries and is one of the largest skin clubs of Europe.
The village of Zürs is one of the most renowned winter sports resorts in the Alps. Located in the westernmost Austrian state of Vorarlberg, it has several luxurious hotels and pensions, with a total of over 1,700 beds.
In summer Zürs offers a whole host of activities that enable you to enjoy the pristine natural landscape including hiking, golf, yoga, fishing, forest swimming, trail running and cycling. Well-signposted hiking trails crisscross the entire region offering 350km of marked hiking trails.
For golf enthusiasts, the 19-hectare golf course in Zug is Austria’s highest, situated at 1500 metres above sea level. The ten running trails in Lech Zürs cover a total of 54 kilometres let you experience Nordic running (or walking) at your own pace and a range of biking trails will appeal to cyclists of all levels.
Lech lies on the region’s Vorarlberg side and is best known as an elegant winter resort. During the summer months, Lech Zürs transforms into a paradise for hikers and bikers, with bright green mountainsides and rustic huts that invite you to take a snack break.
One of these hiking trails leads to the beautiful emerald-green Formarinsee lake. The mountain lake is fed by a natural spring and builds itself annually new from the snowmelt. The village of Lech itself is gorgeous with wood-panelled farmhouses, perched between towering Alpine peaks.
The cosmopolitan town also thrives with excellent bars and restaurants, and a stroll down the village’s main street gets you acquainted with the mix of high-end fashion and traditional handcrafted pieces that dominate the Arlberg. Start exploring at shops Sagmeister and Strolz, two true local institutions that combine modern taste with Austrian Alpine charm.
To round off your retail therapy with wholesome self-care, Chateau Madloch offers forest yoga or look into the new LechErleben programme, which offers mindful activities like Pilates on the mountain, sunrise hikes and cooking classes in the village.
For a culture hit, one of Lech’s newest additions is the Skyspace-Lech by American artist James Turrell. The circular structure sits above the last houses of Oberlech and opens up to the sky. During sunrise and sunset, the changing light conditions create a spectacle of colour inside the domed building.
To plan your trip to Arlberg go to austria.info/en/austria-s-beauty-secrets/arlberg
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