Holidays in South Tyrol: The history of South Tyrol, the most beautiful destinations & accommodations

Holiday South Tyrol – Breathtaking natural landscapes, emerald green lakes, high peaks and attractions all around. Those who want to climb in the high mountains of South Tyrol can prove themselves on the Heini-Holzer fixed rope route. If the Disney film “Tarzan” is too boring for you, you can try it in real life. Climbing, swinging, sliding, swimming and diving in the Passeiertal secured with ropes. This is nothing for weak nerves! But also for those who are looking for relaxation, there is the possibility to go hiking on the Braies Lake, shopping in Bolzano, a boat trip on the Caldaro Lake or a wine tasting in the different provinces of South Tyrol. Don’t forget to get to know the history of South Tyrol during your city tour. With one of the oldest mummies, South Tyrol is the archaeological showcase city. And what do you do after all these activities and explorations? Exactly, relax in one of the numerous wellness hotels or spas! South Tyrol invites old and young, nature lovers and city dwellers, adrenaline junkies and the epicurean.

South Tyrol: facts & the history of the region

The history of South Tyrol started early, everyone knows Ötzi from the ice. Ötzi is probably considered the most famous “Iceman” in history: His story takes place in 3200 BC, when the side valleys were settled. The region is not only famous for Ötzi, it also has its own language. The Ladin language, which is still spoken today in Val Gardena and Val Badia, dates from 400 BC to the 5th century AD, when South Tyrol was still under the influence of the Romans and Rhaetians.

Tourists have always been in the region, in the past it was the merchants. The region was of enormous importance with numerous trade routes and market places and served as a bridge between the Italian north and the Germanic south. Today you can still see the 800 castles and palaces, which are considered to be remnants of that time. Tyrol has its very special charm, especially the popular region of South Tyrol. Sweet houses, wooden look and the mountains in the background. Especially the Habsburgs shaped the region. Until 1918, South Tyrol belonged to the County of Tyrol and thus to the Habsburg Empire for over 550 years. This period had a great influence on the culture, architecture and cuisine of South Tyrol.

South Tyrol was granted to Italy after the First World War. After years of Italianisation policy and hard political power struggles, the second autonomous status for the protection of South Tyroleans came into force in 1972. People of Italian, German and Ladin mother tongue live peacefully together today.

  • Ötzi – The “Iceman” found in the South Tyrolean Alps
  • Own language “Ladin”
  • South Tyrol still under the influence of the Romans and Rhaetians
  • Bridge between Italy and Germany
  • Influence of the Habsburg Empire
  • Awarded to Italy after the 1st WK
  • 1972 the second autonomy status for the protection of the South Tyrolean

Destinations: The most popular holiday resorts in South Tyrol

South Tyrol is a small spot surrounded by Austria, Switzerland and Italy, but it has a lot to offer. Whether it’s a holiday in nature in Merano, boat trips on the Braies Lake or shopping and archaeological discovery tours in Bolzano. Especially families find the right offer for infants and teenagers. Let yourself be enchanted by the breathtaking nature and the mix of Mediterranean and Alpine culture!

  1. Merano and environs
  2. South Tyrol South
  3. Dolomites Alta Badia
  4. Eisack Valley
  5. Dolomites Val Gardena
  6. Dolomites Alpe di Siusi
  7. Vinschgau Valley
  8. Dolomites Kronplatz
  9. Dolomites Hochpustertal
  10. Dolomites Egg Valley

Dolomites: Dream destination Southern Alps

The Dolomites, in Italian it is called Dolomiti by the way, are an impressive mountain group of the southern limestone Alps. However, the Dolomites are also considered by many to be part of the Southern Alps. They are distributed over the regions Veneto and Trentino-Alto Adige in Italy and in roughly equal parts over the provinces Belluno, Bolzano-Alto Adige and Trento.

Meran: Between active holidays and pure relaxation!

Merano is a city on the south side of the Alps. It connects north and south through its central location in the middle of South Tyrol. Merano is especially known for its spas and the architectural art reflected in its buildings. Merano is located at an altitude of 325 m and has a population of 37,500 people. Due to its special location, Merano benefits all year round with a mild climate and flowering gardens. Nevertheless, you can find snow-covered peaks in the high mountains and the possibility of winter sports of all kinds. Both German and Italian are spoken and cooked. Let yourself be enchanted by the Mediterranean and Alpine cuisine on your next adventure in the South Tyrolean Alps. Merano offers an extraordinary combination of activities for all those who are looking for a lot of application during their holidays. Between hiking at sunrise, road biking and climbing, Merano has it all. Crystal-clear drinking water on the Passirio river with the quality seal 1 based on bio-indicators, flourishing nature, green terraces along the river are ideal for those who want to enjoy nature in peace and quiet.

Passeier Valley for adrenaline junkies

In the Val Passiria, the adrenalin junkies will find a suitable setting for Tarzaning and Canyoning. “What’s that?”, one or the other might ask. With trained guides you transform nature into your own playground. Rock faces become slides, waterfalls become whirlpools and right in the middle of it all you are swimming, abseiling and diving!

Heini-Holzer via ferrata

Still low on adrenaline? How about climbing the Heini-Holzer via ferrata on the mountain “Kleiner Ifinger”?  The 2550 m high mountain has a 1000 m long via ferrata which offers magnificent views of the Isartal Alps. In the first two months alone it was climbed 10,000 times. In contrast to Hoachwool via ferrata, the Heini-Holzer via ferrata is designed in such a way that children from the age of 10 can also climb it. Of course, the via ferrata should not be underestimated, as there is no opportunity to get off on the way. You can only turn back at the beginning, which is why the initial part is so difficult.

But there is one good news: These views from there are unforgettable and there is a small rest area to take a break and relax!

  • 325 m height
  • Population of 37,500 people
  • German and Italian spoken and cooked in equal measure
  • Crystal clear drinking water at the river Passiri
  • Tarzaning and Canyoning in the Passeier Valley
  • Heini-Holzer Klettersteig – 2550 m high mountain with 1000 m long via ferrata

South Tyrol South: Bolzano, Lake Caldaro, South Tyrolean Wine Road and the Dolomites

Time out around Bolzano, Lake Kaltern, the South Tyrolean Wine Road and the Dolomites. The south of South Tyrol has many beautiful corners. How about real mummies for a small price? For 2.99 euros you can buy a day ticket for the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology and admire the 5000 year old Ötzi. In 1991, he was found by hikers on the Hauslabjoch together with his complete clothing and numerous items of equipment. Neither embalmed nor ritually buried, researchers claim that Ötzi bled to death by an insidious murder. You can find out more on the spot in the museum!

Directions and address: Museum Street 43, 39100 Bolzano

But that is by no means the only thing you can discover about Bolzano. A ride with the cable car takes you from 265 meters to 1000 meters in only 10 minutes. The Kohlern cable car has been in existence for more than 100 years and offers a fantastic view of the provincial capital Bolzano and the south of South Tyrol. Also our shopoholics do not miss out. Due to its history and geographical location, the trading town serves as a bridge between two cultures. So you can find German specialities as well as the typical Italian Cafe Crema, Latte Macchiato or Cappuccino. In addition, you can find traditional South Tyrolean clothing, haute couture and handicrafts at the Saturday market in the numerous family-run shops and boutiques.

  • In the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology, the 5000 year old Ötzi
  • 1991 he was found together with his complete clothing at the Hauslabjoch
  • Bolzano: Cable car takes you up to 1000 meters
  • good shopping opportunity

Pragser Wildsee: Breathtaking nature

The lake, 36 metres deep, is also called the “Pearl of the Dolomite Lakes”. The Braies Lake, created long ago by a mudflow, lies at almost 1,500 m above sea level in the beautiful Braies Valley. With its blue-green shimmer it attracts thousands of tourists every year. With its breathtaking beauty it also offers a counterpart to Canada’s National Park in Banff. So why travel almost 7000 kilometers to Canada, when you can discover this beautiful natural spectacle practically on your doorstep ?

The lake plays an important role in the world of legends. Supposedly there is an ancient legend that says that the gate to the underworld is located at the southern end of the lake, where the imposing Seekofel stands today. With a ride in a boat one could allegedly reach the underground kingdom of the Fanes. But even so, a canoe or boat trip on the Braies Lake is worthwhile for a romantic experience on the emerald green lake.

Attention: Even though the lake seems so idyllic, it has icy temperatures even in summer due to the mountain water!

The lake is also ideal for hiking. The 4 km long lake circuit along the shore is suitable for children and adults. In about 1.5 hours you can walk around the lake at a pleasant walking pace. Moreover, it is not a problem for prams or wheelchairs. For a short break there are picnic areas with benches and tables, as well as numerous rest areas. If the way is too strenuous, there is also a shuttle service. It is definitely worth walking to the south shore, because there the fine-grained sandy beach is waiting!

  • Name: “Pearl of the Dolomite Lakes
  • 36 metres deep
  • lies at almost 1,500 m above sea level in the beautiful Braies Valley
  • important role in the world of legends – the gateway to the underworld at the southern end of the lake
  • 4 km long lake round along the shore

Map: South Tyrol

The South Tyrol known by its name, which officially belongs to the Autonomous Province of Bolzano – South Tyrol, is the northernmost province of Italy and forms together with the Province of Trento the autonomous region Trentino – South Tyrol.

Accommodations

An important part of a journey is the accommodation. Therefore, the question of all questions always arises when planning your holiday. What kind of accommodation do I book? Where exactly will I stay? South Tyrol has so many beautiful corners, that’s why it is so difficult to find the right one. Especially if you try to please everybody. While you are a nature lover yourself and want to be enchanted by the beautiful wide open spaces, the teenage daughters prefer to go shopping in Bolzano. For the small children, entertainment must also be provided, so a visit to the museum might be an option. Having chosen a destination, all the thinking starts with the right accommodation. A good price, nice facilities and a central location cannot be reconciled with the wishes of a nature lover. Holiday apartment or camping?

We have searched for you the advantages and disadvantages of camping and holiday apartments together:

Camping

South Tyrol offers the perfect opportunity for camping. It is not only close to Germany, but impresses with its fascinating nature. That is why South Tyrol has, so to speak, specialised in camping for tourists from German-speaking countries and Italy. Whether caravan or the simple tent, South Tyrol promises to please everyone. With Glamping and motorhome you are in the more luxurious class when it comes to camping. No hard camping mats, no communal showers and no annoying camping accessories. Glamping is the equivalent counterpart to holiday homes. Charming chalets or bungalows that are fully furnished. Nevertheless, we do not advise against typical camping by the lake while gathering around a campfire with your loved ones. A perfect way to take your four-legged friend with you and, unlike the hotel, no one will complain if the children are a little noisy.

Advantage:

  • No stress when booking holidays
  • Transfer to the hotel included in the price
  • Completely cared for by the staff
  • Ideal for cooking muffle
  • The cleaning is done by others

Disadvantages:

  • Significantly higher price
  • Extra payments for internet, parking, etc.
  • fixed location, no spontaneity
  • Mostly no washing, cooking etc. possible

Hotel: Between wellness hotel and family hotel

Nature brings peace. How can you relax more calmly than in one of the numerous wellness hotels in South Tyrol? Hotel owners in South Tyrol have made it their business to transfer the peace of nature to the inner nature of people. In specialized SPA areas you can indulge yourself with relaxing treatments and enjoy your stay to the full. This does not mean that South Tyrol is not a family resort. Besides wellness hotels, family hotels are among the most frequent requests. Holidays in the fresh air let children romp like in their favourite movies. Whether they are experiencing adventures or enjoying the varied holiday programme with other children, which has been developed by nature education specialists.

One thing is clear: the children will not lack for fun and the parents can relax in peace and quiet in togetherness!

Advantage:

  • No stress when booking holidays
  • Transfer to the hotel included in the price
  • Completely cared for by the staff
  • Ideal for cooking muffle
  • The cleaning is done by others

Disadvantages:

  • Significantly higher price
  • Extra payments for internet, parking, etc.
  • fixed location, no spontaneity
  • Mostly no washing, cooking etc. possible

Holiday apartment & holiday home

A holiday apartment is especially for families the ideal accommodation for a holiday in the mountains of South Tyrol. Because an apartment offers great comfort at attractive conditions: a good price-performance ratio for families who want to stay flexible during their holidays. A typical apartment is spacious and has family-friendly, functional furnishings and a fully equipped kitchen. Mostly there is also a balcony or a garden where the children can play undisturbed and let off steam.

Advantage:

  • Privacy
  • Fully equipped
  • Independence
  • Flexibility with meals (no getting up early as with package tours)

Disadvantage:

  • Tied to one place
  • Limited comfort compared to hotel
  • Cooking, cleaning and shopping for yourself
  • Increased need for luggage (bed linen, towels, etc.)
  • More expensive compared to camping

Weather: South Tyrol

Today/ in 3 days

In the north of Italy, bordering on Austria and Switzerland, in the area of the Eastern Alps there is a pleasant climate all year round. The mountain range protects against strong influences of the surrounding climate zones. Warm and humid air masses push from the Mediterranean into the interior, while in the south they are largely kept away by the Dolomites, which means less rain. Towards the north the climate becomes more continental.

Q&A: South Tyrol

Before a planned trip to the desired holiday destination, there are a lot of questions that need to be answered. “What language do they speak there?” or “What regions are located there?” are important elements in planning. Here are the answers to the most frequently asked questions:

Is South Tyrol Italy or Austria?

In which country is South Tyrol? In November 1918, South Tyrol was annexed to the Kingdom of Italy by the Armistice Agreement concluded with Italy and the Treaty of Saint-Germain between the victorious powers of the First World War and the newly created Republic of Austria. In 1919, South Tyrol fell to the Kingdom of Italy and became its northernmost province.

South Tyrol is located entirely in the Alps. The country is both the northernmost and, with a total area of 7400 km², one of the largest provinces in Italy. It is crossed in a north-south direction by the important Brenner transit route, which connects Germany and Austria with northern Italy.

  • South Tyrol belongs to Italy

How do they speak in South Tyrol?

In South Tyrol German, Italian and Ladin are spoken, depending on the region in which you are located. As a tourist you can also get along well with English.

  • In South Tyrol 70% of the population is German, 25% Italian and 5% Ladin mother tongue.
  • Ladin, a Rhaeto-Romanic language, is still spoken in the Dolomite valleys of Val Gardena and Alta Badia.
  • The school system in South Tyrol is separated according to language.

Which regions are located in South Tyrol?

There are 8 regions in total, including Merano, Valle Isarco and the popular Dolomites.

  1. Merano
  2. Eisack Valley
  3. Dolomites
  4. Hochpustertal
  5. Kronplatz
  6. Alta Badia
  7. Val Gardena
  8. Alpe di Siusi

What is an autonomous province?

Autonomous territories are territories within a state that administer themselves internally. They are not sovereign states.

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