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Five of the best

What to see and do in the Arlberg, Austria’s largest ski region.

Written by Bronwen Gora

10 August 2022

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The Arlberg is not only Austria’s biggest ski destination but also the world’s fifth largest linked ski area. Just over 300 kilometres of ski runs and 88 modern lifts flow across a mass of peaks and valleys, and in doing so connect the Arlberg’s main villages – St Anton, the region’s largest and most egalitarian destination, the small and intimate hamlet of Stuben, historic St Christoph perched high on the Arlberg Pass and the elite enclaves of Lech and Zurs.

Steeped in history and offering vast skiing and accommodation options means The Arlberg has a laundry list of things visitors must do and see, so here is what to put at the top of your list.

 


Stay at The Hotel Post, Lech

This charming five-star Relais & Châteaux hotel has emerged from humble beginnings as a post office and farmhouse to become one of the most famous in the European Alps.

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Now offering a cosy elegance and impeccable service, The Post Hotel Lech is a favourite of Europe’s royal families and other wealthy clientele.

It has been run by the same family since 1937 and as such has a friendly atmosphere rarely found in such lofty establishments.

Suites and rooms are richly decorated with traditional Austrian artworks, hand carved and painted furnishings and many come with impressive four-poster beds. Carved ceilings adorn the hotel’s impressive sitting and dining rooms, there is a sunny outdoor terrace perfect for enjoying an Aperol spritz during apres, while a newer dining area overlooks the slopes.

 

Ski the White Ring

If you want to see some of the most beautiful views this area has to offer jump onto the 22-kilometre White Ring circuit. This is a legendary ski tour that takes the skier through the towns of Lech, Zurs, Zug and back to base via Oberlech (the settlement of hotels above Lech). Despite its length, it is relatively effortless, a lovely relaxing ski circuit that takes about half a day to finish – just in time for a glorious lunch in Oberlech. An absolute must!

 

Luxuriate in The Hotel Post Spa

Booking into The Post Hotel’s state-of-the-art, multi-level spa facility is the height of Arlberg luxury. Therapists specialising in therapeutic massages and treatments melt over-exercised muscles and leave clients blissfully relaxed.

Afterwards, clients can unwind some more on water beds in the spa’s quiet area, avail themselves of steam rooms and saunas, or climb the flight of stairs to the indoor/outdoor 15-metre heated pool to float before a view of the Omeshorn mountain which rises above the resort.

Take a tour of the world’s largest wine cellar

A visit to the Arlberg is not complete without skiing down the long cruisy slopes that leads straight into the middle of St Christoph. At 1,800 metres on the Arlberg Pass, this village is one of the highest in the alps, with just 25 buildings and about forty permanent residents.

In medieval times, weary travellers would rest at the hospice around which the town eventually grew.

Now most visitors head straight for lunch at The Hospiz Alm hotel and restaurant, where an absolute must is touring the wine cellar. Why? Because it’s one of the world’s largest and most astonishing, with over 3,000 large-format bottles of wine from magnums (1.5 litres) to a primat (27 litres).

Make the early morning hike to Skyspace Lech

Here Lech jumps straight from the rustic to the ultra-modern. It’s well worth taking the early morning pre-dawn hike to this space-age dome-shaped facility built into the mountainside high above Lech. Enter the space-ship-style doorway and walk the long tunnel into the dome which is fitted with a retractable section pointing skyward.

As the sun rises this shifting section allows a range of colours to bathe the room and create a surreal visual experience. Skyspace Lech opened in 2018 and is one of several such domes conceptualised by artist James Turrell.

 

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