Nestled into the Austrian Alps, the Arlberg region is a haven for skiers and snowboarders ready to explore what many refer to as the ‘cradle of alpine skiing’, or the birthplace of skiing as we know it today.
This is a place where the mountains run deep in the DNA of the locals. Where you’ll feel truly immersed in the stunning experiences to be had, and welcomed by friendly locals along the way.
Here are ten things you’ll love about the Arlberg region, from the snow to the unique activities and sustainability elements.
1. The skiing (of course)
Over the years, the St. Anton, St. Christoph, Stuben, Zürs, Lech, Schröcken and Warth ski areas have joined together through lift access, forming what is referred to as the Arlberg today.
It’s become Austria’s largest interconnected ski area, with 300km of on-piste runs to explore, along with over 200km of off-piste powder runs to discover. All serviced by 87 lifts, which are accessible through just one lift pass.
2. The reliable snowfall
Thanks to its high altitude of between 1300 and 2800m, the Arlberg region receives an average of nine metres per season, and the snow season runs from November through until May. Fun fact: Snow measurements here are a legacy piece and go all the way back to the 1946/47 ski season.
3. The food – and après
The region is home to more than 30 Gault Millau award-winning restaurants (a French restaurant guide penned by two food critics, and taken very seriously by the European locals). You’ll find everything from traditional Austrian dishes to international cuisines served up, including regional specialties such as cheese spätzles, wiener schnitzels and apple strudel.
Beyond the food, après is taken to a whole new level here. Picture sunny terraces with epic mountain views as you enjoy steins of beer, or glasses of wine from on-mountain, world-class wine cellars.
4. The scenery
You won’t be able to get your jaw off the ground from the moment you arrive. From the authentic mountain villages with timber and stone farmhouses to the majestic snow-capped peaks that surround you, every view feels like a postcard.
5. The ease of getting there
Choose from flying into Zurich, Switzerland (200km away from the region), Innsbruck, Austria (120 km), and Friedrichshafen, Germany (130km). From any of the options, it’s an easy train ride through to St. Anton, St. Christoph or Zürs Lech; you can also opt for airport shuttle buses straight from Zurich to the Arlberg.
6. The wellness element
The Austrians know how to unwind, and they have the spas, thermal baths and wellness hotels to prove it. A favourite is the Arlberg WellCom, right in the heart of St. Anton am Arlberg. Surrounded by the fresh mountain air, enjoy the connected indoor and outdoor pools, Finnish sauna, steam rooms and open air courtyard.
7. The heritage of the area
Travellers have been making their way up the Arlberg Pass since the 1400s. In 1906, the very first ski course was completed in Zürs, and the first ski school was started in St. Anton in 1921. There are countless museums, art galleries, and historical landmarks throughout the area that tell the story of this region’s amazing history, traditions and folklore, all ready for you to learn, enjoy and appreciate.
8. The friendly locals
Tyrolean hospitality is a thing. You’ll have to be here to experience the genuine friendliness and welcoming nature of the locals, who are passionate about sharing their love for the region with visitors.
9. The off-snow activities
Unique and varied is one way to describe the possibilities of off-snow adventures in the area. Take the Skyspace Lech, for example: a recently created cultural highlight in Tannegg in Oberlech, it’s an architectural year-round experience that puts you in a completely new feeling of space and time.
On the other end of the scale, you can ramp up adrenaline levels through the indoor high-performance trampoline park in St. Anton am Arlberg, which has 13 trampoline fields, an airbag to jump into from a freefall tower, and much more.
There’s also winter hiking, with Lech Zürs offering 40km of well-groomed paths leading over steep mountain slopes and snowy forests. Or dog sledding in St. Anton am Arlberg, with a husky sleigh ride of up to seven dogs taking you through the wilderness.
Plus toboggan runs, ice skating rinks, curling lanes, horse-drawn sleigh rides, the list goes on…
10. The sustainability focus
The locals love the mountains so much, they’re willing to go above and beyond to keep them sustainable for many years to come. The area is proud of their biomass heating plants, which supply almost 100 percent of all households and businesses in Lech, Zug, Oberlech and Zürs with energy from nature, whether it be through wood chips or solar.
In Spring 2021, St. Anton am Arlberg also officially became a “KLAR!” model region: a climate change adaptation model region, recognised for their preparation for climate change, adaptation measures and to use future opportunities.
Now that’s something to love, both for this generation and future generations.