South Tyrol is located in the northern part of Italy. During the WWI it belonged to Austria-Hungarian Empire, alternatively to Italy, during WWII to Germany and back again to Italy. The frequent change of hands has left behind, a bilingual German-Italian speaking population.
I have to confess South Tyrol holds a special place in our hearts because M. and I have been through a long-distance relationship for one year. He was in Germany and I in Greece, we met half way there once for a short visit. Those of you who have been in a long-distance relationship will understand how much nostalgia-dominated such locations are.
I am not completely biased through, second time around South Tyrol did not disappoint. The 5 hours drive from Germany, I must say was one of the most beautiful road trips I’ve been. Once we entered Austria we encountered breathtaking views of mountains, wineries and numerous castles. If life brings you to South Tyrol and I hope it does, here are a few things worth visiting.
1.We did not stay in Bolzano this time (the capital of South Tyrol) and it was the best decision we took. I would recommend staying in a nearby village and take daily trips to Bolzano. Worth visiting there is the Ice Man Museum (closed on Mondays, as they are all around the world), farmer’s market and the Franciscan monastery. Everything is reachable within a short walk.
2. Near the city of Bolzano there is the Runkelstein Castle, worth visiting. The castle was built in the 13th century and it’s popular for the frescos.
Do you notice someone wrote on this fresco the date 1805 and their name? Humans are popular for vandalism from early on.
There is a medieval kitchen exhibition at the moment in the castle. The above object is a dough cutter.
3. The highlight of Bolzano I believe is the cable car ride where you get a 360° panoramic view of the area. The air is so crisp and clear up in the villages, most noticeable on the urban nostrils. Pay a visit at the farmer’s benches, we bought a delicious apple vinegar and Sambucus syrup as souvenirs. There is a Renon, one of a kind train running up there but unfortunately we were timely too late for the ride.
4. We stayed instead at Vigo di Fassa (here). We arrived at the Bed&Breakfast late in the evening and the next morning the most beautiful view greeted us from our window, those who follow me on Instagram experienced it with me.
5. The area offers plenty of hiking routes and ski pistes. The surrounding villages are built to accommodate winter tourists, which I believe their main source of income.
6. It goes without saying the hotels cover all your price-ranged needs. I actually told M. next time we visit and we are a bit better financially I need a spa hotel. Imagine being in a hot whirlpool with the view of snow-covered Dolomite mountains, how amazing must that feel?!
7. Lago di Carezza (Karersee) did not impress us as much. It must have been due to the low water levels in autumn but the surrounding area is truly impressive. There are plenty of organized hiking areas, worth making a stop for that at least few hours.
8. For those of you who are wondering where to eat. We (three of us) recommend Walther’s restaurant located in the Walther Piazza. I like to tease my Italian friends, as the worst Italian food I’ve had was in Italy. It goes without saying, never visit a restaurant in Italy blindly. Walther’s was a kind recommendation of tourist information.
9. South Tyrol served as a trading area since the middle ages, hence the economic flourish of the area. On our drive, we noticed the most impressive cars, ranging from Lamborghini to Porsche and Ferrari. I hope you guys consider cars a sightseeing as well.