The pretty Alpine town of St Anton is renowned as one of the best ski resorts in Austria. This charming town sits high in the mountains in the heart of the Arlberg region of Austria, one of the snowiest areas in the Alps.
The Arlberg region boasts more than 305 km of pistes suitable for all skiing abilities from beginner to advanced. There is 132 km of blue runs, 123 km of red and 51 km of black runs to keep everyone happy. There is also more than 200 km of off-piste itineraries to suit freestylers looking for a challenge.
St Anton is connected to other resorts in the area such as Lech, Stuben and Zurs with an ultra-efficient lift system. This interconnected region is now the largest lift-linked ski area in Austria allowing skiers to take advantage of the entire network using a single lift pass.
Living in St Anton and things to do
A typical Austrian town, St Anton has a genuine charm about it. Most of the buildings in the centre are constructed in a traditional Tyrolean style with peaked roofs and wood cladding. The town receives higher than average levels of snow during the early winter months. According to last season's snow report St Anton received 351 cm of snow. You can check the latest snow report here.
There is a wide range of accommodation in the town which ranges from large chain hotels to small boutique villas. These cater for travellers on all budgets, from students to the more upmarket travellers. There are also a large number of apartments which are rented out to families during the ski season.
St Anton is famous for its après ski, come nightfall this sleepy alpine town takes on a new persona as the party capital of the Alps. Some of the bars have gained legendary statuses such as the Krazy Kanguruh and Mooserwirt which have been entertaining revellers with live bands and big-name DJs since the 1960s.
Older more refined travellers will also find plenty of things to do in St Anton thanks to a large number of bars and restaurants which serve the town. These include the Arlberg 1800 resort which houses the largest wine cellar in Europe and the ultra-sophisticated Verwallstube which sits atop the mountain and can only be accessed by the Galzig cable car. Restaurant goers should check the latest weather report for St Anton before making a reservation as low cloud can spoil the view from the summit.
History and culture in St Anton
The Arlberg region lays claim to a number of firsts in the world of skiing. It was the first area to install an electric ski lift. It was home to the world’s first ski club, which is still going strong. And it was the location of the first official ski race.
St Anton itself was also the birthplace of Hannes Schneider, recognised as the father of modern alpine skiing. Schneider invented the Arlberg technique which is still taught in ski schools today. The history of skiing in the region can be explored at the Museum of St Anton located close to the centre.
The town of St Anton itself is extremely attractive with modern developments sympathetic to the areas of traditional architecture. The centre is dominated by a large pedestrianised thoroughfare the ‘Dorfstrasse’ which is lined by centuries-old buildings and barns.
For culture lovers, a new arts centre opened in 2015. Forming part of the five-star Arlberg 1800 hotel and spa, this contemporary underground space is used to stage art exhibitions and contains a 200-seat concert hall. The hall is renowned for having some of the best acoustics in the world and plays host to a number of celebrated musicians and orchestras throughout the season.
Investment potential in St Anton
St Anton has been the centre of skiing action in the Alps for more than half a century. Since the early days, the town has invested heavily to improve access to the slopes and build out infrastructure. This has allowed the town to grow from humble beginnings to become one of the area’s most successful resorts.
A good example of this investment can be seen with the completion of the cable car network which links Lech-Zürs and Stuben/Rauz. This €45 million investment closed the loop on the system and creates Austria’s largest contiguous skiing area. In total the network contains 87 gondolas and lifts which give skiers easy access to more than 305 km of pistes.
All this is good news for those looking at buying a property in St Anton. Property prices in the area have shown strong growth for years, yet still, provide good value compared to other leading resorts such as Courchevel and St Moritz. Property prices range from €250,000 for a small 2-bedroom apartment to more than €2 million for a large 3-bedroom apartment with 5-star hotel access.
Transport to St Anton
Despite being located near the top of a mountain St Anton is easy to get to. The nearest airport is Innsbruck located 95 km away. Innsbruck provides connections around Europe. Transfers to the resort are available from the airport forecourt and take approximately 75 minutes.
The town is also served by a railway station which offers direct trains to both Innsbruck and Zürich. Passengers can change here for onward connections to Paris Gare De Lyon. The travel time from Paris to Zürich takes around 3-4 hours depending on the number of stops. From London, passengers will have to take the Eurostar service to Paris Gare Du Nord before transferring to Gare De Lyon. Total journey time is around 7-8 hours.
With an enviable range of piste and off-piste skiing, unbeatable après ski and a rich cultural heritage. St Anton is on the must-see list for young and old skiers alike. This along with continued investment in the town's facilities bodes well for investors. St Anton is not the cheapest resort but property here is a safe bet in the long-term.