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Turquoise blue fascination: Out and about on the Lechweg

Walter tells us about his hiking tour
Walter wandert zu einer Almhütte

Lech, Warth and Steeg? Every Austrian knows them. But more so in winter, as a ski mecca in Vorarlberg, where the greatest turns on the slopes can be made. And again and again from the traffic updates on the radio, where winter closures are announced on a regular basis. And should you go there over a long weekend, in the middle of August? The weather looks fine, the tour description is interesting, and you rarely head this far west in Austria anyway. And so it started for me last summer, on the hiking tour on the Lechweg.

Walter wandert zu einer Almhütte

The Lechweg – perfectly advertised, even more beautiful in real life

A first look on the internet before we start: they did it well, the Lechtaler. Very fine logo – classic but modern and really ‘stylish’ as they say. Anyone who is out and about on the Lechweg will discover this logo many times – on flyers and posters, on signs of the hiking hotels along the route and again and again on the incredibly well signposted route. Only one thing remains a mystery to me: how did the creatives come up with this bright turquoise blue? Makes me wonder, it would suit the Maldives or the Caribbean better, wouldn’t it?

We start off in the car, after the Inntal the road meanders tightly against the mountains and cliffs. The views are already impressive, very promising. We are warmly welcomed at the Lärchenhof in Lech. Andrea – in the mountains you are “on your own”, in Tyrol and probably also in Vorarlberg anyway – gives us some tips and food recommendations. A first short lap leads us right into the town, yes, you can definitely enjoy yourself here. That’s exactly what we do in the evening, and we slumber splendidly in our cosy room.

From Formarinsee back to Lech

Up in the morning, at least by my standards. After a fine breakfast in the centre of Lech before the departure of the hiking bus – a wonderful sunny day awaits us! There is a lot going on here, but everything is well organised, we can find our way around immediately and after a few minutes sit in the bus up to the Formarinsee at almost 1,800 metres. From the exit point the path leads down briefly, then you find yourself in the midst of an incredible mountain backdrop, sparkling turquoise blue. What does it remind me of? We briefly consider whether to start the circuit around the lake. But then we decide on a leisurely hike out of the valley through the Lech spring area and take in the wonderful surroundings. Pure idyll, the Lech meanders through the lush green landscape, surrounded by mighty peaks and sunny mountain slopes. A perfect first stage to slowly get into hiking and leave everyday life behind.

Glitzernder Formarinsee

From Warth into Tyrol to Steeg

The next day we skip a stage and drive to Warth in the morning, the starting point of our second day of hiking. From the village centre we head over a small bridge to Gehren, into the Tyrolean countryside and on to Lechleiten. Here at the beginning of the panorama path you can hardly get enough of the vast view into the Lech Valley. The Lech itself meanders below us, in its magical turquoise – as vibrant as if it has been freshly painted. The path leads down on snakelike paths towards Steed, and we are lucky – there is still time to take a detour to the Sojer natural cheese dairy.

Really tasty, we had to take some cheese with us. Our next accommodation, ‘Der Stern’ is only a few metres away, the Hauser family herb hotel, which rightly calls itself a ‘Wirtshaus’. Here no culinary wishes are left unfulfilled, with attention to detail, regional products and home-grown herbs, excellent cooking is done here.

Incidentally, thinking about the next day we only peeked into the well-stocked wine list…

For the brave: over the suspension bridge to Elbigenalp

We start the next day comfortably, on the Jochweg we walk relaxed along the banks of the Lech. We pass. forests and flowering meadows, soon we reach Holzgau, a dreamy little place with brightly painted house facades – the Bavarian Lüftmalerie sends its regards. As idyllic as the place seems, pure excitement awaits around the corner – the spectacular suspension bridge over the Höhenbach Gorge. After a few steep and sweaty metres of altitude, this highlight awaits all hikers with good nerves and who don’t suffer from vertigo. With a length of 200 metres and a height of 110 metres, the longest pedestrian bridge in Austria is really impressive, and the view is stunning. For reassurance: those who want to play it safe can hike into the Höhenbachtal on the original route.

Thanks, that’s it

In the stage destination Elbigenalp – home of the famous ‘Geierwally’ and countless wood carvers – the tour is unfortunately over for us. We can’t quite manage the entire 125 kilometres from the source of the Lech to the falls in one long weekend, but we have grown fond of the region. The castles of King Ludwig in Füssen are unfortunately still hidden from me, on the way back I catch a glimpse at least. And my turquoise-blue logo condundrum has long been solves: the striking accent colour could hardly be more suitable! No matter the sun, the beach and the Caribbean Sea – turquoise now stands for freshness to me, wildly romantic natural landscapes and an enchanting mountain world. In short: for the Lechweg.

Wanderrast am Lechufer
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