Lech am Arlberg (1444 m) is a village in Vorarlberg in Austria. This alpine town is considered one of the most posh ski holiday destinations in Europe. However, in summer, Lech is far more low-key, attracting families of hikers and loyal retirees.
We love Lech in summer. It’s idyllic, romantic, and very approachable. Everything is within easy walking distance. The River Lech runs through the center of the village in storybook fashion. And, the solitary Omeshorn creates the perfect mountain backdrop.
Cradled between the Lechquellen Mountains and the Lechtal Alps, your hiking options are endless. Overall, we find that the hiking is accessible, leisurely, and incredibly scenic. Surprisingly, the ski infrastructure doesn’t detract from the hiking experience.
Lech is also a perfect destination for anyone traveling with public transit. A system of cableways and hiking buses make getting to/from trailheads very easy. This is one of the few places in the Austrian Alps where you actually don’t need a car. And, that’s saying something.
Hiking around Lech am Arlberg in Summer
Lech am Arlberg Summer Hiking Tips
- Purchase a Lech Card at the tourist office in order to save money on cableways and regional buses during your stay.
- Buy the Lech Zürs Hiking Map, available at the tourist office. This map is easy to read and encompasses all trails accessible from Lech.
- Visit Lech am Arlberg in July, August, or September. The summer season is very short. Most hotels and all summer transit and cableways will close by mid/end of September.
- Mountain pasture safety rules & tips: While hiking in this region, you’ll encounter many mountain pastures with free-roaming cattle. Keep a safe distance from cattle. Learn more safety tips in Visiting the Alps in Summer.
- Essential Gear: Black Diamond Hiking Poles, sun protection (Cat 4 sunglasses like these Julbo Shield Mountain Sunglasses , hiking hat, sun lotion), sturdy hiking boots.
- Where to Stay: Hotel Auenhof in Lech am Arlberg
- Road trip Inspiration: Visit Lech am Arlberg on this 2 Week Austria Road Trip
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Where to Stay in Lech am Arlberg in Summer
We recommend staying in the village center of Lech am Arlberg. You can also stay in Oberlech (“Upper Lech”), but it’s more convenient to stay directly in Lech. Oberlech is popular in winter, because of the ski-in ski-out hotels.
Best Places to Stay in Lech
Hotel Auenhof is a family-run, 4-star hotel in Lech am Arlberg. Located directly on the River Lech and facing Omeshorn, this welcoming hotel boasts swell alpine views as well as a central location.
The family and staff work side-by-side to ensure that every guest is well looked after. During our stay, it became quickly apparent that many of the guests were return visitors, loyal to the hotel and very fond of the staff.
There’s absolutely no artifice here. It’s one of the most genuine and welcoming hotels we’ve ever stayed in.
Each evening, a decadent 5-course dinner is served. We were blown away by the bold creativity, delightful presentation, and astounding flavors of each course. From the creme goat cheese topped with beetroot, cherry and chocolate to the chorizo and corn cappuccino, each dish is both fanciful and delicious. Kudos to Chef Matthias Fiebig and his team.
More things we loved about our stay:
- Central Location. It’s a 5-minute walk to Rüfiplatz, the main bus stop in Lech am Arlberg and the Rüfikopf cable car valley station.
- Mountain views of Omeshorn.
- Extremely comfortable bed and premium down bedding.
- Wellness area. The spa area encompasses a tea bar, indoor pool, salt steam sauna, Finnish sauna, herb sauna, Infrared Cabins, Laconium, waterbeds, and a new, modern silent area.
- Spa bag with towels, bathrobe and sauna towels.
- Complimentary afternoon snack is served between 2:30 and 5:00 pm
Lech am Arlberg Hiking Map
Lech am Arlberg Buses and Cableways
Most hikes in Lech am Arlberg require either a bus, or a cableway, or both. We recommend purchasing a Lech Card if you plan on staying in Lech more than 1 day. This card gives you free access to the following local buses (“Ortsbus Lech”) and cableways:
Regional Summer Buses
- Bus Line 1: Rüfiplatz – Stubenbach
- Bus Line 2: Rüfiplatz – Zug
- Bus Line 3: Lech – Warth – Saloberlifte
- Bus Line 4: Zürs – Lech – Oberlech
- Bus Line 6: Rüfiplatz – Spullersee
- Bus Line 7: Rüfiplatz – Formarinsee
You can download current bus timetables on the Lech-Zürs Bus page.
- Lech – Oberlech Cable Car
- Lech – Rüfikopf Cable Car
- Oberlech – Petersboden Chairlift
- Seekopfbahn – Zürsersee lake Chairlift (closed on Mondays)
For operating times and dates, read Summer Cable Cars in Lech.
Trail Signage and Waymarks in Vorarlberg
In Vorarlberg, trails are marked differently than other regions in Austria:
- Yellow-White Trails: Easy
- White-Red-White Trails: Moderate
- White-Blue-White Trails: Difficult (Alpine)
When reading trail signs, you may encounter the following phrases:
- nur für Geübte – Only for experienced
- ungesicherter Steig – Unprotected route (no fixed cables, etc…)
- Hütte – Mountain hut
- Alpe – Mountain pasture. In other parts of Austria, alpine pastures are usually called Almen (Alm: singular).
- Spitze – Peak
- Grat – ridge
- Bach – Stream
- Tal – Valley
- See – Lake
- Achtung Weidevieh – Attention: grazing cattle
1. Formarinsee to Spullersee
- Trailhead: Lake Formarinsee
- Destination: Lake Spullersee
- Time Needed: 4:30 – 5 hours
- Difficulty: Moderately Difficult
- Distance: 11.4 km point-to-point
- Minimum Elevation: 1821 m
- Maximum Elevation: 2428 m
- Total ascent: 637 m
- Total descent: 673 m
The day hike from Lake Formarinsee to Lake Spullersee showcases some of the most enchanting areas of the Lechquellen Mountains.
Starting at the Freiburger hut at Formarinsee, the trail ascends gently through wildflower-carpeted slopes and alpine pastures to Steinernes Meer (“Stone Sea”), an impressive karst landscape. After traversing the Stone Sea, you’ll continue your ascent to the Gehrengrat mountain ridge. Next, you’ll descend along the ridge towards Spullersee.
Learn More: Formarinsee to Spullersee Trail Guide
2. Rüfikopf – Stuttgarter Hut – Zürs
- Trailhead: Rüfikopfbahn cable car mountain station
- Destination: Zürs
- Time Needed: 3:30 hours without breaks
- Difficulty: Easy – Moderate
- Distance: 10.6 km point-to-point
- Minimum Elevation: 1712 m
- Maximum Elevation: 2420 m
- Total ascent: 314 m
- Total descent: 931 m
This blissfully easy hike begins at the Rüfikopf cable car mountain station in the Lechtal Alps. From here, you’ll hike to the Stuttgarter mountain hut via the Ochsengümple valley and the Rauhekopfscharte saddle. The hike continues downhill to the Pazieltal valley and ultimately to the village of Zürs.
Learn More: Stuttgarter Hut Day Hike
3. Oberlech – Göppinger Hütte Hike
- Trailhead: Petersboden Chairlift mountain station
- Destination: Gasthaus Älpele
- Time Needed: 5:30 – 6 hours without breaks
- Difficulty: Moderate – Moderately-Difficult
- Distance: 13.3 km
- Minimum Elevation: 1562 m
- Maximum Elevation: 2444 m
- Total ascent: 776 m
- Total descent: 1138 m
A very rewarding day hike leads from Petersboden (accessible by cable car and chairlift from Lech) to Göppinger Hut on the Gamsboden Plateau in the Lechquellen Mountains.
The trail first ascends to Butzensee, a mountain lake at the foot of Mohnenfluh. From the Butzen saddle, you’ll continue ascending a beautiful karst landscape to the Butzenspitze peak ridge. The trail continues easily across scree slopes to the Göppinger Hut.
After lunch at the hut, you can descend to Gasthaus Älpele in Zugertal Valley.
Though this hike traverses a high-alpine environment, it’s not technically difficult. There are only a few steep passages, which require extra attention.
4. Lechweg Stage 1
- Trailhead: Lake Formarinsee
- Destination: Lech am Arlberg
- Time Needed: 3:30 – 4 hours
- Difficulty: Easy
- Distance: 14.1 km point-to-point
- Minimum Elevation: 1441 m
- Maximum Elevation: 1870 m
- Total ascent: 2 m
- Total descent: 430 m
The Lechweg is a long-distance hiking trail along the River Lech. The first stage of the Lechweg is from Lake Formarinsee to Lech am Arlberg. Many hikers report that Stage 1 is the most beautiful part of the whole trail.
From Lake Formarinsee (accessible by bus), a gentle and easy hiking path leads down the Zugertal Valley along gurgling streams.
You’ll cross alpine pastures and pockets of forest, and walk along sturdy boardwalks on the edge of the river. It’s a magical trail, perfect for families with children and anyone else who wants a relaxing day in nature.
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More Hikes in the Lechtal Alps:
More Hikes in Vorarlberg
Learn more about hiking in Austria