Sitting at the heart of the Dolomites UNESCO World Heritage Site, Italy’s South Tyrol/Sud Tirol region offers spectacular scenery and a wonderful mix of Alpine and Mediterranean culture and cuisine.
With 300 days of sunshine per year, it’s the perfect destination for travellers determined to explore unforgettable landscapes. It’s also Italy’s most decorated province when it comes to dining, featuring 19 Michelin-starred restaurants, sharing 25 Michelin stars between them.
Gardens of Trauttmansdorff
These extraordinary botanical gardens in Merano/Meran, nestled into a 12-hectare amphitheatre with 100m slopes, offers spectacular exotic gardens as well as breath-taking views of the surrounding peaks and this pretty spa resort town.
Colourful plants from all around the world thrive and bloom in Trauttmansdorff’s 80+ themed garden landscapes, while its Artist Pavilions and fascinating animals - including rabbits, peacocks, macaws, butterflies, loris, Chinese ducks, and Japanese carp - turn the Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle into a colourful family-friendly experience.
Experience geological history with a hiking tour through the Bletterbach Gorge. This UNESCO World Heritage site provides a remarkable insight into a world of rocks and stones and into the structure of the Dolomites.
The Bletterbach Gorge is the result of weathering and erosion: since the last ice age 18,000 years ago, constant forces of water, wind and weather have been wiping away more than ten billion tons of rock material into the Val d’Adige-Etschtal valley. The gorge is an open book, where scientists, hikers and nature-loving families may read about more than 40 million years of geological history.
Messner Mountain Museum Corones and Lumen
This architecturally extraordinary museum at 2,275m on the summit plateau at Kronplatz is one of six mountain museums influenced by legendary mountaineer Reinhold Messner. The MMM is a place of encounter with the mountains, with mountain people and ultimately with ourselves.
The museum is devoted to mountain history and also offers unique views of the great mountain walls of the Dolomites and the Alps. The distinctive museum building was created by Zaha Hadid, and the views from the terrace go beyond the borders of Sud Tirol to all points of the compass: from the Lienz Dolomites in the east to the Ortler in the west, from the Marmolada in the south to the Zillertal Alps in the north.
Also here is Lumen, the Museum dedicated to Mountain Photography - a one-of-a-kind Museum with 1,800 square metres of exhibition, event and food space.
South Tyrol’s crystal clear bathing lakes
Okay, so not a specific place, but as the perfect excursion for all ages, we had to fit this one in. The bathing lakes in South Tyrol are evenly spread throughout the region and are characterised by their outstanding water quality and easy accessibility.
Choose from low-lying valley lakes like Kalterer See lake - the warmest bathing lake in the Alps - high-elevation bathing areas like the Völser Weiher pond or the Lago di Monticolo/Montiggler See swimming complex.
Additional activities such as pedalos and row-boats, sailing, and kite or wind-surfing ensure plenty of fun for the whole family.
A 15-minute cable car ride brings you to the top of the Seceda Mountain, from where a 8.4km trail descends to picturesque Ortisei/St Ulrich, offering en route unsurpassed views over the Val Gardena area. The rifugio at the top of Seceda not only has the highest panorama terrace in Val Gardena, it also serves a delicious homemade tagliatelle!
Climbing the Gran Cir peak at sunrise
A sunrise is always a stirring moment. Experiencing sunrise in the UNESCO World Natural Heritage Dolomites, where an extraordinary show of lights throws the limelight on spectacular rock towers, though, is nothing less than an unforgettable experience.
This two-hour, 1.4km hike starting from Corvara/Colfosco in the beautiful Alta Badia area brings you up to the Cir peaks in time to watch the sun rise over the mountains.