The Lechtal valley
An active valley with a history, shaped by the Lech river, one of Europe’s last wild rivers.
Each year, the contrasting elements that mark the changing of the seasons enchant local residents and holiday guests anew. The magic of the mountains, the freshness of the lush meadows and forests, the interplay of colours in springtime and in the autumn: all this shows us the beauty of nature that surrounds us here in the Tyrolean Lechtal valley. From start to end, this is always accompanied by the Lech, one of Europe’s last wild rivers and a crucial habitat for birds, amphibians, insects, fish and even freshwater crayfish.
By now, the Lechtal valley is acknowledged as a popular destination for weekend excursions among German holiday-makers and city-dwellers: above all, what they prize is the beautiful landscape, the enchanting mountain backdrop and the authentic old-style charm of mountain pastures and mountain huts. Yet similarly in winter, the Lechtal is a popular winter-sport region, with a small but very varied offering of winter sports. Ideal for being able to enjoy the holiday.
Before the Lechtal valley attained a certain awareness-level among tourists, its inhabitants predominantly worked in agriculture. Because of its secluded position, it was only rarely that production enterprises and industry put down roots in the former Lechtal; the result was that families found the opportunities to earn a living were mostly insufficient, leading to migration away from the area. In some cases, the poverty was so great that even the children set off over the Alps into Swabia in southern Germany, to be able to earn money for their families – the era of the ꞌSwabian childrenꞌ.
Necessity begets resourcefulness and this is why many inhabitants became itinerant traders. As traders and hawkers, with experience in home-based industries, notably in the textile sector, they migrated into other German-speaking regions and even as far as Holland, England and the USA. Tormented by homesickness in old age, the migrants returned to the Lechtal and expressed their prosperity by gracing their houses with rich decoration of the facades. Nowadays, these traditional artistic painted facades are primarily to be seen in the parishes of Elbigenalp, Holzgau and Hägerau.
Art, culture and tradition are still imbued with vitality, maintained with conviction to this day, and the natural landscape is preserved and cultivated as best it can be. You can gain insights into this here:
- In the Botanical Garden around the Jöchelspitze area
- and the Lechtal Mountain Hay Museum on the Jöchelspitze
- When attending a performance at the Geierwally open-air stage
- On a hiking tour of the Lechweg (acclaimed as ꞌLeading Quality Trail - Best of Europeꞌ)
- In Lechtal’s small carved-artwork businesses
- At guest-concerts of brass-band music
- Tyrolean evenings of groups nurturing traditions and customs
- in Lechtal’s Sojer natural-cheese dairy in Steeg
- Lady’s slipper orchid (Cypripedium calceolus) in Martinau
Products from the Lechtal valley:
- Meat, honey, butter, cheese (available at mountain-pasture rest-stops or from farmers)
- Schnapps (Elbigenalp artisan brewery open for visitors)
- Cheese, butter, yoghurt, ice-cream (Sojer natural-cheese dairy in Steeg)
- Beer (Dorfalm brewery in Holzgau)
- Wood-carving businesses (artisans with carved art)