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Traditions of South Tyrol

Hospitality & harmony in the mountains

If you can tear yourself away from the hotel with its complementary afternoon tea and home-made cakes, this is a place for enjoying the outdoor life. Inviting, well-waymarked paths beckon you into the mountains and we describe a variety of routes, some of which start from your hotel door.

All routes are easily accessed by efficient transport links using your included travel pass meaning you don’t need to drive on this holiday! The paths are generally well-maintained and well-trodden – try not to miss the magnificent Meraner Höhenweg (Alta Via di Merano), a panoramic contour that slices right across the dramatic slopes of the Texelgruppe Nature Park.

Walking in the Val Senales
• UNSER FRAU & VERNAGT STAUSEE: 13km, 4hrs

From the hotel, this route is a good introductory leg-stretcher, heading up the valley to the village of Unser Frau, home to a delightful Baroque-style pilgrimage church and the interactive ArcheoParc Museum, dedicated to the life of Ötzi the Ice-man. From here, continue up to the blue waters of Vernagt Stausee, behind which looms the mighty chain of the Ötztal Alps. Follow a quiet, undisturbed forest path above the lake's southern shore then ascend lofty, panoramic slopes on its opposite side (complete with characteristic huts for refreshments) to complete your loop around the lake before catching the bus back to Certosa.

• MERANER HÖHENWEG FROM KATHARINBERG: 13km, 4hrs

From nearby Katharinaberg on the other side of the valley (only 5-minutes by local bus), you join the panoramic Meraner Höhenweg and follow it right across the southern slopes of the Texelgruppe Nature Park, enjoying magnificent views into the valleys and across to the snow-capped mountain peaks. The trail leads to Unterstell where you can either descend by cable car or continue down the path into Naturno, from where you catch the bus back to Certosa. All along the route are a number of farms and mountain cafés where you can stop for refreshments or lunch.

• MERANER HÖHENWEG FROM VORDERKASER: 11km, 3hrs

To follow this thrilling section of the Meraner Höhenweg, take a taxi to Vorderkaser and then walk into the picturesque and wild Pfossental. Set in the heart of the Texelgruppe Nature Park, this region is home to a vast variety of Alpine fauna such as chamois, ibex and roe deer. The linear, there-and-back route winds past a string of traditional farmsteads, where you can enjoy lunch or refreshments and marvel at the high Alpine landscapes. Return by bus.

• MASO CORTO & BERGLALM: 11.5km, 4hrs

A short bus journey from the hotel will bring you to the head of the Senales Valley and the start of this lovely route through larch forests to the Berglalm – an idyllically situated restaurant which makes the perfect lunch stop. You then continue across panoramic uplands before ascending steeply through forest to Vernagt. Return by bus.

Mountain retreat

During your stay, take the opportunity to spend a night in the hotel’s isolated retreat, Bella Vista, set in a secluded valley high in the mountains (usually available from late June onwards, subject to local conditions. Please organise and pay locally.) It’s a great base from which to explore the high mountains, where you will hopefully encounter the local marmots and enjoy unobstructed panoramic views of the fascinating landscape of snow and glacial ice.

• RIFUGIO BELLAVISTA & SCHNALSTAL GLACIER

This challenging, weather-dependent route can be undertaken by both those staying overnight at the Bella Vista retreat and those simply seeking a day's walking in the high mountains. After a short bus ride to Maso Corto, follow high-altitude paths up to the Bella Vista retreat (2842m). Those not spending the night here may like to pause for lunch before pressing on up to the mountain station at Hotel Grawand (3212m), from where cable cars descend to Maso Corto (from 1 July). Return to the hotel is by bus.
NB it is also possible to access the Bella Vista retreat by jeep transfer.

• IM HINTERN EIS (for customers overnighting at the retreat)

Departing from the retreat, this moderately challenging route winds up to the Italian-Austrian border. The footpaths are less well waymarked than on previous days but the 360° views are spectacular. Due to the altitude, this walk is also weather dependent.

Cycling Along the val venosta
• VINSCHGAU TO MERANO: 17km

For a change, you can take the bus to Naturno and hire bikes (one-day hire included) to cycle along the Vinschgau cycle track which leads down the valley through vineyards and orchards and all the way into the handsome, historic town of Merano. The route, part of the ancient Roman 'Via Claudia Augusta', follows gently descending designated bike lanes. From Merano, take the bus back to Naturno or Certosa. Should you wish to cycle further, there is a longer option from Mals in the upper Vinschgau.
You can also take advantage of the train which runs along the valley, where bikes can be picked up at one of several stations and dropped off after cycling to another.

Sightseeing
• BUSTLING BOLZANO/BOZEN

Bolzano is the main town of Alto Adige, and boasts an attractive medieval centre. A real blend of cultures, this German-speaking town has an Austrian feel to it, as you browse the numerous boutiques, visit the Franciscan monastery or visit one of the museums. We particularly recommend fitting in a visit to the Museum of Archaeology to see the famous Copper Age Iceman, known as Ötzi, who is 5,300 years old! We also recommend sitting in the sun at one of the pavement cafés in and around Piazza Walther, in the centre of the town, and watching the world go by. There is an outdoor fruit market and a Saturday market. Bolzano is well known for its wines, particularly its chardonnay.

• SOPRA BOLZANO

If you have time, take the Rittner-Renon cable car up to Sopra Bolzano, for some dazzling views over the Dolomites and continue by tram across the plateau to reach Klobenstein-Collalbo. The most dramatic examples of the many earth-pyramids can be found here at Lengmoos.

• MESSNER MOUNTAIN MUSEUM (MMM)

Established by world-famous mountaineer Reinhold Messner, the Messner Mountain Museum is a series of six museums dedicated to mountaineering and the culture of mountain and arctic peoples. One of them, Castle Juval (closed Jul & Aug), is located on the hillside above Naturno, which you can reach by bus. (The other five are at Bolzano, Sulden, Bruneck, Monte Rite and Corones.)

• SOUTH TYROL ROUTE

Follow the Wine Route to Merano, a renowned spa town which has been a popular health resort since the 19th century, where you can take a dip in one of the thermal baths; or try the famous ‘grape cure’ by imbibing a glass or two of the local Meraner Leiten (‘Meranese di Collina’) red wine. Merano is also rich in culture, staging a large number of events, ranging from opera weeks to the traditional Merano Grape Festival in October. The old town, with its shops beneath the medieval arcades, is also worth a visit, as is a stroll along the banks of the Passiria river. Visit the luxuriant gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle, where plants from all over the world prosper on the sunny slope overlooking Merano. From the gardens you can walk back into the centre along ‘Sissi’s Path’ through quiet corners and old parks, passing stately mansions and noble residences.

• LAKE RESCHEN

It is also well worth making the trip on the panoramic railway from Naturno to Malles, and connecting with a bus from here to Lake Reschen. The 14th-century bell tower protruding from the surface of this lake is one of the most famous sights in the upper Val Venosta, and a reminder of the area's sombre history: between 1948 and 1950, the Italian electric company Montecatini constructed a large dam here which unified the two natural lakes of Reschensee and Mittersee and condemned the village of Graun (and most of its church) to a watery fate.

Visit Verona

If you are flying via Verona, why not stay over so as to relax and enjoy the city’s special atmosphere? Discover its wealth of superbly preserved Roman monuments and fascinating collection of paintings and artefacts. We provide notes to help you discover the city's evocative streets, romantic plazas and magnificent architecture.

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Walking Chart:Traditions of South Tyrol This is an approximation only. If comparing holidays, please note the scale of the chart as this can differ.
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