Perfect for families and couples, the twin resorts of Lech and Zürs share an uncompromising commitment to quality. Their mostly wealthy clientele can enjoy refined high life but there are also good quality 2- and 3-star hotels in this pretty corner of the massive Arlberg Ski Area.
The ski resorts of Lech (1,450m) and Zürs (1,716m) are connected via the Flexenbahn and Auenfeldjet lifts to Stuben, St Christoph, St Anton, Warth and Schroecken. Together with Klosterle’s Sonnenkopf ski area (which is just a bus ride away), these collectively form the huge Arlberg ski domain, with more than enough lifts and slopes to keep skiers happy for much longer than a week, whatever their standard.
For advanced skiers who want to test themselves, there are 30 official ski routes in just the Lech-Zurs area alone, some of which are quite rightly classified as Extreme. And for those who want to explore further from the piste markers, there is plenty of proper off-piste freeriding, including one of the Alps’ most famous itineraries, “Off the back of the Valuga“.
But there is nothing macho about Lech and Zurs. The vast majority of skiers come here to cruise around on immaculately groomed pistes, stopping off at stylish mountain restaurants. And Lech and Zurs are among the best resorts in the Alps for beginners, not least because of the excellent reputation of their ski schools.
The villages have different characters. When skiing is finished ‘Lovely Lech’ transforms into ‘Lively Lech’, albeit that its apres-ski tends to be the sort that goes on in hotels’ champagne bars, piano bars, tea rooms and jazz bars rather the ‘beer-swilling, dancing in skiboots’ kind that St Anton is famous for. The resort has more than its fair share of luxury hotels and restaurants, especially in Oberlech, its ski-in, ski-out suburb. But Lech is not exclusively for the super-rich: there is some more moderately-priced accommodation too, including simple guesthouses and self-catering apartments. A river runs through the middle of the village and it’s a nice place to stroll around. Zug, an isolated hamlet just down the road from Lech, is even more romantic.
Purpose-built Zürs is smaller, higher, snowier and closer to the centre of the Arlberg ski area than Lech, but it’s less like a village and more like a collection of modern luxury hotels surrounded by lifts and pistes. It’s undeniably comfortable and convenient but short on nightlife and atmosphere.
Both Lech and Zurs are easy to get to with 3 airports within 140km, making them ‘weekendable’.
Perhaps the most telling statistic about Lech and Zurs is that around 70% of their guests return year after year – and it’s easy to see why.
Lech-Zurs Pros & Cons
+ Part of huge Arlberg ski area
+ High natural snowfall, particularly Zurs
+ Spotlessly groomed pistes
+ Challenging ski routes & off-piste
+ Excellent ski schools
+ Lech is charming and traditional
+ Zurs is comfortable and convenient
– Confusing piste map
– Ski routes vary in steepness and grooming
– Few treelined slopes in poor visibility
– Busy main road: only Oberlech is car-free
Photo: © Sepp Mallaum / Lech Zürs Tourismus