This may be ridiculous and I hope I am wrong, but in my research into towns in the Tyrol for a place to stay for about 4 to 5 days in September I get the feeling that towns like Lech, St. Anton, Hall, and Seefeld are mostly hotel/accommodation sites with very little in the way of shops, businesses, private homes, offices, schools, parks, etc., that one finds in a usual town. Please advise. Thanks! Ann in Western New York State.
Skiers must have a place to drink and eat. That's about it.
The towns in Tirol have an incredible number of beds for the winter season. I would think Summer's vacancies are pretty immense. The April/May and October/November change of weather's also got to be tough for businesses because of the Spring thaw and Fall rains.
But I absolutely love Western Austria as a place to see incredible mountain scenery--and it's easier to travel through and cheaper than Switzerland.
Well, I'll answer for St Anton, no way. There is a full gamut of life in the towns with local residents, a lot of them there for many many generations. So there are schools, churches, parks, single family homes, apartment buildings, homes with a very small number of guest rooms, small hotels, and large hotels. There are farms all about where they still milk cows and make cheese. Heck, the ski run you are on in February is cow pasture in July.
Yes, mountain tourism is the town's lifeblood these days. Just about everybody is involved one way or another. But they still need plumbers, electricians, carpenters, school teachers, and soccer moms. Yes, there are lots of tourist oriented shops, but people still need groceries and toothpaste.
I will second Sam's description for Kitzbuhel as well.
Tyrol consists of more than just ski resorts...
Lech has some year-round residents, but it isn't that big, and the need to feed, lodge and service skiers forms the brunt of the town's economy. There's some cattle and hay farming in the summer, but that's more of a side-line to keep the vegetation on the pistes under control. But residents still need their groceries, prescription drugs, contracting services, etc. And, you won't find many prettier towns anywhere.
Hall is also relatively small. It's one of the those nice but not exactly unique places that for some reason Mr. Steves highlights. It's mostly residential.
As noted, Kitzbühel, even though it's primary money-earner is skiing in the winter, it has a larger year-round population and more diverse economy than the usual ski resort.
I did attend church with local people in Hall, and I must have eaten something, and Rick's book mentions the Saturday-morning farmers' market.
Lech has a school and some shops as well. The first time we stayed there it was on a working organic farm. The second time was at Haus Braunarl which is a B&B, but the family who owns and runs it live in the village year round. It is spectacular for hiking. BTW Lech is not in Tirol, it is in Vorarlberg.
Thanks for these descriptions and info. Sounds better than I was envisioning!
Since there ARE so many places to stay, I would value your specific recommendations, with justification in these towns. Alex mentions one in Lech. Others? I just need a starting point to being whittling down all the choices of accommodations. Thank you! This is a wonderful forum. Ann.
Both places we stayed at in Lech were welcoming and very nice to stay in. The first time we went it was to Pension Juliana:
http://www.juliana.at/en/ Claudia is very nice, helpful, and speaks great English. Claudia's place is a bit outside of Lech in Stubenbach, about a 10 minute walk from center of Lech. Here is the thing though..once you check in you get the free Lech Card which gives you free access to all of the hiking buses, lifts and gondolas in the area. Juliana has a stop right in front of their place.
Haus Braunarl is quite close to the villiage and an easy walk. Anna Katharina is very wonderful to deal with and is so helpful and kind. You cannot go wrong with either and you will find that the area is a jewel. http://www.aurora-lech.com/braunarl
Deal with either of them directly and don't go through Booking.com or the other discounters.
It is a great place and you will find few Americans there, but a lot of Europeans who know where to go. PM me if you have more questions..happy to help.
Hall has a fairly sizable industrial zone and an old town as well. Seefeld is mostly a tourist town. Places like Schwaz hardly see a tourist.
The place for shopping is of course Innsbruck. It has several shopping malls, including two central ones (Kaufhaus Tirol and Sillpark), as well as a lot of interesting shops.
I personally spend my holidays in Igls, that is mostly residential with several hotels and only a few essential shops. But it is linked by urban transportation to Innsbruck and you can get down to town in fifteen minutes. Better than staying in the city center and better than staying in an isolated village. Lans and Aldrans would be almost equivalent, but the public transportation is much more frequent to/from Igls.
We visited Lech last July and it was heavenly. As a former winter employee in Lech I can wholeheartedly say summer is my favourite over winter. September will be a bit offseason and it could be quite inclement weather certainly cold as it is at altitude. I would recommend the Bergland Appartments in Oberlech. Helga and Stefan are fantastic hosts and you will get a dream view of Omeshorn. Here is their site: http://www.bergland-appartement.at/sommer/home/ueber-uns/
It's one of the most beautiful areas in the alps.
If you would like more detailed info, I would be happy to provide, just ask- I lived in Lech and Austria for three years.
Thanks frankmercurio. Lucky you for living there! We are set in a great-sounding place in Seefeld for this trip though. Ann.