10 Fun Things to Do in St. Anton am Arlberg, Austria
St. Anton am Arlberg is Austria’s largest skiing resort and has often been ranked among the top resorts in the Alps. It’s known as “the cradle of Alpine skiing” and one of Europe’s snowiest areas with plenty of activities to do in addition to skiing. St. Anton has a reputation of being a paradise for off-piste skiing and hosting some of the wildest after-skis in the Alps – something that got us wondering if we were really headed to the right place for us. But our concerns were long gone when to our delight we discovered a wonderful relaxed atmosphere in the beautiful Tirolean alpine village at the elevation of 1304 meters (4,278 ft).
Almost half of St Anton’s pistes are for advanced skiers so I’d recommend to have at least a few years of skiing experience before and it would be a good idea to practice in advance before starting the season here. If you’re a beginner or traveling with kids who would be getting started in skiing Lech-Zürs would be the best direction to go – there are some excellent slopes that are less steep. On the other hand, if you have some experience, St. Anton is the place to develop your skills at an accelerated pace. In any case, the alpine views are breathtakingly beautiful!
Check the boards for closed slopes. We heard that it’s not unusual that easy slopes are closed in Galzeig direction, leaving the black slope as the only option to ski down. Note that it’s always possible to take the lift down. In St. Anton the blue slope 27 Hoppelweg was our favorite. See if you can spot all the wooden animal statues along the way.
Flexenbahn opened in 2016 making it possible to ski from St. Anton to Lech and Zürs and back. It’s a great activity for a day outdoors. If you’re lucky, you might spot Alpine ibex or steinbock, wild goats with dark coat and large curved horns, from the gondola lift – in fact, we saw many steinbocks and learned that it was a great sign for the new year!
One day we had the luxury or skiing with a guide from STS Alppimatkat. It was great – no need to read the map and figure out which way to go. They guided us to take enough breaks so that we didn’t get tired as much as on our own. It made us both feel more secure to have another adult skiing with us and we were skiing a variety of slopes at ease that we would have maybe not dared to try on our own, which helped to develop our skiing skills and feel more comfortable and relaxed in the slopes thus enjoying it a lot more.
Opening times: 8:30-16:00 (some lifts open and/or close a bit later)
Fees: Adults about 55 eur/day, kids about 30 eur/day. Discounts for multiple day passes. Check the prices online. Remember to return the ticket to get the 5 our deposit back.
Very well maintained tracks though we noticed quite often people walking on the skating paths.
The Stanzentral ski track runs along the river towards east from St. Anton in Pettneu and Flirch in a total length of 22km / 13,5mi. We skied only about 7km until Pettneu, had lunch there and took the ski bus back to St. Anton which was quite practical too.
The Verwall ski track is a beautiful 10km circle route around the lake Verwall. Lots of benches by the side of the track making it easy to take a break. Along the track there’s sculptures, pilgrimage posts and a tunnel to ski through that keep it interesting for the kids as well. The track is mostly flat but there are a few nice descents too.
How to get there? Take the Ski bus 3 leaving from the St. Anton West bustation, 5 min to Moosekreutz stop. Return from the same stop takes 8 min as the bus makes a loop back to the West bus station.
Fee: Ski track is free. Possible to rent equipment in the sports stores.
Wow what a ride down the 4,2 km long slope – not easy but exciting for sure! Evening tobogganing in St. Anton is organised on Tuesdays and Thursdays starting from the Nassereinbahn between 19.30 and 21.30. We were lucky to have a clear sky and the views to the stars and the town lights were amazing!
Based on our experience, I’d recommend to get there early, around 7pm at the latest in the high season as it gets busy and the lines to the ticket booth can become long. It is possible to purchase either a single pass for one ride or an evening pass. We would recommend the evening ticket and two rides. We shared the toboggan and it was maybe even more fun but surprisingly tough for the core muscles even though the ride down took only about 15-20 minutes!
It’s important to wear proper gear: skiing pants and sturdy winter boots (you’ll use them for braking) and highly recommend to use a helmet (possibly also goggles as snow may fly from other toboggans). There’s a lot of people and it can get crowded and therefore I’d say that it’s not suitable for small kids (better during the day time) but tweens and teens are likely to enjoy it greatly.
If you’d like to have dinner at the end of the toboggan ride book a table in advance at the restaurant, it was very busy even after 9 pm.
Fees: Adult 19,50 eur, child 10,50 eur. Toboggan rent: 9 eur plus 20 eur deposit that you get back on returning the toboggan. It was possible to return the toboggan at the Rodeln Alm. Note that if you go for multiple rides you need to carry the toboggan about 15 min walk back from the slope to Nassareinbahn lift.
Swimming in indoor and outdoor pools
The Arlberg Wellcom is a combination of spa and swimming hall. The water and air is warm which makes it a pleasurable visit also for the little ones who tend to get cold in cooler waters. The dressing rooms are unisex and there are cubicles for changing clothes. The lockers function with 2 euro coins. There’s a large pool and a small paddling pool indoors while the 25 meter lap swimming pool is outdoors as well as the kids favourite pool with massage and current jets. There are relaxation ares with reclining chairs as well.
Opening times: 10:00-22:00
Fees: Adult 13,50 eur / Child 6-10,50 eur (depending on age) / Family ticket 17,50 eur
The outdoor skating rink at Arlberg Wellcom is open in the afternoons. On some evenings the rink is reserved for curling, check out the details online. Bring your skates or rent ones. A helmet may be a good idea especially for less experienced skaters. The little learners can get support from the penguins or pandas that they can push around the rink till they find their balance. There’s a short menu of cafe items available in case you prefer to have a hot or cold drink while watching the skaters rather than going on ice yourself.
Opening times: 13:00-17:30
Fees: Adults: 4 eur / Kids: 3 eur, Rentals: Adults: 4 eur / Kids: 3 eur
Giving a go at fondue is a must during your visit to the Alps! We got a recommendation for Restaurant Trödlerstube at Hotel Manfred and made a reservation for our last evening. The restaurant is a bit hidden around the corner from the main street and we might not have found this place without the recommendation. You can choose between Restaurant Train downstairs or Trödlerstube at ground level, the fondue is the same. We decided for the ground floor where the interior is a bit quirky museum-like style, reminding us a bit of Alice-in-wonderland with a clock going backwards and lots of items like mugs, coffee grinders and plants in the decor. It’s a fun place for families as the kids can try counting the different items and figure our the time. The fondue “Chinoise” (meet fondue with soup) was excellent and huge, including French fries, pickled veggies, salad and a variety of different sauces.
Fee: 30,50 eur per person (min 2 persons).
We saw the horses pulling the sleigh on our way back from skiing around the Verwall see lake. It looked magical among the glistening snow with sleigh bells ringing – just like from the song! It looked like a perfect outing for a couple, family or a group.
I would have loved to go to a yoga class to boost the recovery of my muscles that were slightly sore from all the skiing. Different yoga styles classes are guided in both German and English.
St. Anton isn’t famous for it’s after ski for nothing. The atmosphere is quite unique in the “Happy Valley” restaurants Moosewirt, Crazy Kangoo, and Sennhütte. It’s calm and also families can enjoy the at least the early moments of the after ski, though it starts getting noisy after 3-3.30 pm when the music starts. It was a great experience though to hear “The Final Countdown” kick off the after ski in Moosewirt.
Taking day trips by train
St. Anton is ideally located and has a great train connections to a number of Austrian and Central European cities including: Innsbruck, Zurich, Salzburg, Budapest. It’s easy to buy tickets at the station but if you buy in advance online you could get cheaper tickets and reserve a seat. We took a day trip to Innsbruck on New Year’s Eve and had a wonderful day in the city.
Where to eat
Our favourite Restaurant Fuhrmanns Stube. Sharing tables, unique atmosphere thanks to amazing the staff. We ended up having 3 (!) dinners here and had some fun interactions with people from for example Sweden, France and USA (thanks again ladies for sharing that lovely red wine :)) No reservations and so go early if you want to avoid the queue – there’s almost always a line at the door, however it didn’t take too long to wait to be seated.
Restaurant Maximillian. Very fast service and cosy atmosphere. Reservation recommended.
Wagner Hutte, Verwall. Modern interior, big windows letting in the sunlight.
Basecamp is located at the base of the main ski lift and especially known for the afters. We gave it a try at lunch time and we’re happy with the food, though the service could have been faster.
Mountain restaurant Seekopf, in Lech/Zürs became our favourite high-altitude restaurant due to the amazing views from the terrace, plenty of space and tasty food.
Pizzeria La Luna, Pettneu offered a warm place to stop after our cross-country skiing and some decent pizzas. There was a bit of a “Sportsbar” atmosphere with alpine skiing world cup event on the screens.
Crazy Kangoo is world-famous for its after-ski but the food was very good too. I found the sweet potato fries the best ever and the pumpkin soup was very tasty. The sun terrace was wonderful, even on the New Years day afternoon it was warm enough to sit in the sun.
Where to stay
There’s lots of good accomodation options to choose from in St. Anton. We stayed at Haus Inge which was a nice small pensionate with a sauna, steam room, and relaxation area. The breakfast was excellent. Our room was very clean, warm and simple but cosy. There is a ski boots storage in basement and they have an arrangement for ski storage at Arlberg Sports close to Galziegbahn, which is practical so you don’t need to carry the skis back to the hotel after a day in the slopes.
Renting: There’s a number of rental stores in St. Anton, for example Intersport and Arlberg Sports. It’s possible to get a discount if you reserve and pay in advance online. At least at Intersport the kids rental was free of charge if the parent was renting, which was a nice bonus! They offer also insurance in case the equipment is lost or broken for a small fee.
Ski storage: Unless your hotel is located very close to the pistes, you might enjoy the conveniece of storing your skis and equipment at one of the storages offered by the rental shops.
Ski pass: buy your ski pass in advance, latest the evening before. After 4pm you can purchase the ticket for the following day.
How to get there and around
By air: Innsbruck is the closest airport with an about 1h 15min bus ride to St. Anton. Zurich is another option with about 2h 30min ride.
By train: It’s very convenient to arrive to St. Anton by train. There’s multiple daily connections from Innsbruck and good connections to also other Austrian and European cities. The train station is just a short walk from the village center.
Moving around by ski bus: St. Anton has an excellent ski bus system with many routes that can be used for free. Check out the timetables and more details.
Have you been to St. Anton or to other places in the Alps? We’d love to hear from your experiences!
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