Lech / Zurs

Lech has transformed over the years from a farming village into an elite international ski destination famous for attracting the likes of the late Princess Diana among other celebrities and royals. Lech and its higher-linked neighbor, Zurs, are two of Austria’s most fashionable resorts, yet it is no more expensive than any other European resort and very welcoming. Skiing here is a paradise for intermediates and the area is one of the snowiest in the Alps – the season runs from November through to May. The village is far smaller and more tranquil than St Anton to which it is linked. Sitting on the banks of the river Lech which gurgles through town, there are sophisticated hotels housed in elaborate and immaculate Austrian chalets and charming buildings including the 1390 church of St Nicholas, all of which add to Lech’s enchanting picture-book appearance.

The lift pass for Lech Zurs, known as the Arlberg Card, covers Austria’s largest ski arena comprising the linked resorts St Anton, St. Christoph, and Stuben. A lift and system of local and free buses connect all. There are no less than 88 cable cars and ski lifts across the Arlberg ski arena, offering 190 miles (305 km) of groomed slopes and another 120 miles (200 km) of off-piste. Accessing Zurs could not be easier either, with the Rufikopf cable car which travels to the slopes based on the main street in the center of town.

A little way above Lech is another settlement known as Oberlech. Like Lech, this was once filled with herds of cows and is now a cluster of adorable restaurants and high-end hotels. It is a lovely place to stop for lunch in the sun. Oberlech is well known for its ingenious system of underground tunnels which allows guests’ luggage and more to be transported to hotels and establishments, keeping goods snow-free and the slopes uncluttered.