Ausserfern Direct : Ausserfern in English : Lechtal

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Lechtal - natural beauty

The Lech valley - the "Lechtal" - stretches from the border of Vorarlberg in the west for 50 kilometres until it crosses from Austria into Germany at Füssen. The area known as the Lechtal starts beyond Weissenbach and then extends up into the mountains to the village of Warth, where the road splits and heads either to the resort of Lech, or into the Bregenzerwald in Vorarlberg.

The high alpine nature of the Lech valley and meadows is beautiful for the present-day visitor, but historically for the inhabitants of the area it was always a struggle to feed themselves and their families from the barren landscape.

As in other parts of the Ausserfern, and, indeed, Austria, many famililes were forced to send their men and boys into other countries as breadwinners and, in some cases, the emigrants only returned to their home valley at the end of their days. Some of the Lech villages established true "cottage industries" making matches, willow baskets or handwoven carpets.

The main village of the Lechtal is Elbigenalp - originally part of the dowry for Count Meinhard II of Tyrol in the 13th century - and with a historically important church and chapel.

Prosperous Holzgau ("the queen of the Lech valley") boasts houses covered with frescoes - the houses often built by prosperous emigrants making their homecoming to the village.

Two side valleys to the south make interesting excursions - either to Namlos (epicentre of the strongest earthquake ever recorded in the northern Alps) and then into the Zwischentoren area at Berwang or over the Hahntennjoch to the regional centre of Imst in the Inn valley. Both routes offer spectacular views of high mountain pastures and peaks and both are only navigable in the summer months.