Arlberg Area: Skiing in Lech am Arlberg
Lech is a small community in the Western-most province of Vorarlberg with some 2,000 residents. Lech is mostly known as a winter-sport destination - which applies to every settlement in the proximity of the skiing-paradise Arlberg. Lech was founded in the 13th century by people who migrated there from the Walser area in today′s Switzerland. Until well into the 19th century, the village was called "Tannberg am Lech", only in the later 19th century, the village formally chose the name "Lech".
The local church is among the oldest buildings in the entire area: Dedicated to St. Niclas and built in the 14th century. The town formerly known as Tannberg served as an administrative centre for the Arlberg area and until 1806, the local court was there to underline its important status. The real deal kicked in after WWII: With the rise of Austria′s skiing industry, Lech took a lead in providing a snow-covered playground to the increasing crowds of skiers.
Ever since the 1920ies, the Arlberg region has a reputation of exclusivity - and Lech made the best of it: It is the ultimate skiing resort of the jet-set, at times overshadowing even Kitzbühel. Endless numbers of royals, filthy rich folks and new money wannabes crowd the place annually between November and May. The high density of people with money has a quite positive effect on the local economy: Lech is considered the richest community in Austria. Despite of significant destruction that was caused by a flood in 2005.
Lech as a Sightseeing Attraction beyond Skiing
If you fancy sightseeing in Lech, you won′t find much beyond the church. However, one thing worth noting is a thatched hut that serves as a bus shelter. Thatched buildings are a somewhat exotic sight in Austria, particularly in the Tyrolean mountains - this one was a present by the community of Kampen in Germany. Kampen lies on the similarly posh and touristy island of Sylt and is twinned with Lech. In exchange for the thatched hut they got a gondola of a Lech cable car. It can be seen on the beach of Kampen.
Another bonus of Lech is its accessibility: You can get there on the Lechtal-Bundestraße road. Usually, that is - as the road is closed for several days every year due to heavy snowfalls. Getting there in the summer is both easier and a lot cheaper. A hiking vacation is still something rather unusual to do in Lech. This is surprising, though. Nearby Lech you can find a nature reserve called "Gipslöcher". Here you can hike for hours and get to spots of exceptional beauty, including some of the most scenic views in the Western Austrian Alps.
Attractions nearby include the other towns of the Arlberg region: Klösterle, Pettneu, St. Anton, St. Christoph, Zürs and Stuben. For a slightly further drive, go to Landeck or Imst. Days with bad weather might be well-spent in Tyrol′s capital Innsbruck.
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