Begin your day in the heart of cozy St. Anton with breakfast at Das Anton. The menu lets you assemble your own combination of eggs, fresh bread, and pastries, or order an indulgent spread that will give you lots of energy for the day.
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 9,215 feet (2,809 m) 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 8,694 feet (2,650 m) 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.
Linger on the summit, or grab a coffee at Valluga View, the restaurant at the top of Vallugabahn I. A seat by the window lets you soak in more glimpses of the Alps’ awesome mountain backs.
If you're not one for lofty heights, an alternative attraction just opened under St. Anton's storied ground. 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 750 metres (2,460 ft) of walkable tunnels. This adventure is great for families and travellers who want to see St. Anton off the beaten path - the Gand mines only opened to the public in 2020! Book a guided tour for the most memorable experience.
Head to Hotel Alte Post for a cozy lunch in the heart of St. Anton. Order from a traditional Austrian menu with things like cheesy Spätzle, goulash, or fluffy Kaiserschmarren.
Just south of St. Anton’s bustling town centre lies 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. Take bus No. 6 from St. Anton into Verwall and discover EldoRADo Bikepark. Rent dirt bikes and e-bikes to complete the different courses.
Next up is 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.
After you’ve tired yourself out on the ropes, head to Verwallsee lake for a little breather. A gentle walk around the clear blue water is the perfect way to end your day in the valley.
If you're more of the comfortable and cozy type you can also spend the afternoon at Wagner hut in Verwalltal. This storied mountain hut has been open for a century and treats guests to an incredible selection of Austrian specialties. Home-made strudel and apple pie are an ideal combination with the mountains of St. Anton.
Hotel Gletscherblick welcomes you into its "Alpin Gourmet Stube" - or Alpine gourmet pallor - where chef Paul Markovics gets creative with local flavours. Taste Mediterranean and Asian influences along with Tirolean bacon or veal Schnitzel.
The Arlberg is made up of five picturesque villages: St. Anton, Lech, Zürs, St. Christoph, and Stuben. Stuben is the region’s smallest hamlet with just 80 inhabitants and a truly dreamy atmosphere.
Begin your second morning at restaurant Fuxbau with a breakfast of farm-fresh eggs, muesli, and homemade bread. Thanks to its modest size, the easiest way to explore Stuben is on a walk through its sloped, serpentine streets. On your walkabout you’ll encounter a selection of vintage photographs of the Arlberg. This open air exhibition of 19th century images takes you to the Arlberg’s beginnings: the region quickly developed from a secluded mountain refuge to Austria’s largest ski resort.
Drive 10 minutes east to St. Christoph, which itself played a key role in opening the Arlberg to international visitors. In the 14th century a local swineherd opened an inn for travellers to seek refuge from the mountains in St. Christoph. The amazing thing: this inn still exists and became the elegant Arlberg 1800 Resort, which still forms the heart of the village.
Head to Sennhütte hut for a rustic lunch with stunning views of the surrounding mountains! Explore the WunderWanderWeg walking trail and the adjoining herb garden for perfect Alpine bliss.
Did you know Alpine skiing as we know it was invented in the Arlberg? St. Anton local Hannes Schneider was the first to use his skis for characteristic turns (as opposed to sliding straight down the slopes). Learn more about this impressive history at the Skimuseum St. Anton am Arlberg, which takes you back over 100 years to when the Arlberg was a relatively inhospitable mountain community. Get to know the icons of modern skiing and the iconic downhills where they practiced - maybe this will get you in the mood for a return visit in the winter months!
Appropriately, the Restaurant Museum is located in a similarly nostalgic mansion near the heart of St. Anton. The restaurant creates a cozy, old world atmosphere both through its unique setting and traditional menu!
Lech Zürs 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, with bright green mountainsides and rustic huts that invite you to take a snack break. One of these hiking trails leads to Formarinsee lake, which was voted Austria’s most beautiful place in 2015.
Start your trek in Lech and follow the Lechweg trail south-west towards Zug. From there, it’s a straight shot along the Lech river, with an altitude gain of 1,692 feet (516 meters). After about 4-5 hours of walking you hit the lake, which gleams emerald green in a dramatic mountain basin. Soak in the well-deserved views and snap some photos before taking a break at Freiburger hut. This Alpine refuge offers hearty Alpine cooking and lodging for adventurous travellers who bring a sleeping bag.
Once you’ve taken in the views, it’s time to get back into civilization. And don’t worry, you don’t need to hike back the 4 hour trail to Lech. A hiking bus leaves from Formarinsee back into the village and lets you digest the speck, fresh bread, and local cheese in peace. Note: if you aren’t up for a hike, just take the bus from Lech to Formarinsee lake and back. The views will be just as impressive.
The village of Lech itself is gorgeous. Think wood-panelled farmhouses, perched between towering Alpine peaks. 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, look into the new LechErleben programme, which offers mindful activities like Hatha Yoga and cooking classes in the village. Barefoot walks and sound baths are just as relaxing as they sound!
Get ready for an early dinner at Bodenalpe, a 400 year-old traditional hut with a reputation for great local food. The restaurant is just a short drive from Lech and has a small menu with quality meats and Alpine staples.
One of the Arlberg’s newest cultural 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. "My works are not about light, they are light" says the artist, whose oeuvre is on display at museums like the Met and the Guggenheim. In Arlberg, the partly spherical construction reaches into the ground, connecting the construction to its natural surroundings. Sit back, look up, and watch as the sky fades from aquamarine, to dove grey, to black.