Excursions in South Tyrol

Exciting leisure activities

There are numerous places in the area which make interesting destinations for a day trip. How about an outing to the botanical gardens at Trauttmandsdorff Castle in Merano? Or a visit to the Ötzi Iceman museum in Bolzano? A stroll through the historic old town of Bressanone isn’t just a pleasure for shoppers. The Messner Mountain Museum in Sigmundskron is also recommended, along with the Bletterbach Geopark in Aldein.

Schloss Trauttmansdorff

The Schloss Trauttmansdorff Castle near Merano houses the South Tyrol Museum of Tourism. A kind of trail runs through a total of 20 rooms, leadins you through time from the year 1765 to the year 2000. Moreover, the castle is located in a magnificent botanical garden.

Geoparc Bletterbach

In Aldein, a small town at the foot of the 2317 m high Weißhorn mountain, is the Bletterbach gorge. The ravine, which dates back approximately 15,000 years, is sometimes known as the "Grand Canyon of South Tyrol" and is UNESCO World Heritage.

Partschins waterfall

With a drop of 97m the Partschins waterfall is one of the most impressive falls in the Alps. A safe path gets you relatively close to the drop.

Montiggler bathing ponds

The large and small Montiggler lakes, near the village of Eppan, are a popular spot for swimmers. Both bathing ponds have lawns for sunbathing, jetties in the water and various dining options.

Kaltern / Caldaro - destination for wine lovers

Kaltern (or Caldaro in Italian) is the home of the quaffable “Kalterer” Vernatsch red wine. In the South Tyrolean Wine Museum you will get an interesting insight into the history of wine production. The multi-award winning Erste und Neue wine cooperative in Kaltern offers guided tours with wine tasting every Friday.

Birds of prey Rescue Centre

In Dorf Tirol below the Schloss Tirol castle rescued and injured birds of prey are nursed back to health. More than 20 aviaries have been built for them. As soon as an animal is fit again it is released back into the wild. There are twice-daily birds of prey displays.

Mineral Museum

The Mineral museum in Teis in the Villnöß valleydisplays many sparkling mineral treasures. Child-friendly guided tours are available.

Sawmill and Nature Park Centre

In Weißlahnbad near Tiers at the entrance to the Tschamin valley is the “Steger Säge”. The fully-working saw mill houses the information centre for the Schlern Nature Park. Alongside entertaining tours, themed activity afternoons for children aged 6-12 are organised.

Loden World

Loden World in Vintl is a child-friendly, hands-on museum. Who would have thought that the production of the traditional clothing fabric of the rural population of South Tyrol could be so interesting?

Museion Bozen
Schloss Trauttmannsdorff
Schloss Trauttmannsdorff

Shopping in Val Gardena

Numerous shops

From sportswear to the latest designer fashion, from wood carvings from Val Gardena to delicious South Tyrolean specialities! Here in Val Gardena there are many speciality shops, with something for everyone. Treat youself to time away from the pistes with a shopping day in the Val Gardena.

Shopping in the Val Gardena means more than just strolling down the streets in the town centre and going from shop to shop. The villages don’t just have shops on offer; they also have a weekly market:

  • Selva Gardena
    Every Thursday market in the Nives Square from 8.00 am - 3.00 pm.
  • Ortisei
    Every Friday market in the Bahnhof street and Farmer’s market in the Church Square. From 8.00 am - 2.00 pm.
  • S. Cristina
    Every Wednesday market in the Town Hall Square from 8.00 am to 1.00 pm.

Traditions & Customs

Val Gardena – Melting pot of culture in the heart of Europe

Val Gardena is a true meeting point for culture and tradition - its two thousand year history is still palpable. Val Gardena is one of five Ladin valleys where the rhaetoromanish language “Ladin” is spoken and taught. The language originated as a mixture of Latin and the celtish language – therefore the Val Gardena is still regarded as a symbol of the meeting of different European cultures.

Maintaining the old ways, traditions, customs and the entire heritage of the Ladin language is an important matter. The significance of these past treasures is reflected in the variety of different festivals and events that are offered. The people of Val Gardena wear their traditional costumes with pride, and you can immerse yourself in the glory of days gone by. Numerous churches and chapels bear witness to the religious life of the valley. The life of the farmers, their customs and traditions can be seen in the Museum Gherdeina.

Messner Mountain Museum

What do mountains mean to us? This is the question that Reinhold Messner, one of the world’s most successful mountaineers, tries to answer in his MMM museums.

As the centrepiece of the Messner Mountain Museum, MMM Firmian in Sigmundskron Castle near Bozen addresses the subject of man’s encounter with the mountains.

The museum chain includes 5 museums:

  • MMM Firmian in Sigmundskron Castle near Bolzano is the centre of the Mountain Museum. (reached in about 1 hour)
  • The MMM Ripa in Bruneck Castle deals with the subject of mountain peoples. (reached in about 1 hour)
  • MMM Juval in Juval Castle in the Vinschgau, is dedicated to the myths of the mountains (reached in about 1,5 hours)
  • MMM Dolomites, on the Monte Rite south of Cortina, deals with the themes of rock and climbing in the Dolomites. (reached in about 1,5 hours)
  • MMM Ortles in Sulden is dedicated to Glaciers and the eternal ice. (reached in about 2 hours)

For more information: www.messner-mountain-museum.it

Reinhold Messner, born 17th September 1944 in South Tyrol, climbed his first 3000m peak as a five year old with his father. His later life was dominated by travel in the mountains and deserts of the world. He has accomplished numerous first ascents, climbed all 14 8000m peaks, been to the foot of the Antarctic, gone the length of Greenland, and crossed Tibet, the Gobi Desert and the Taklamakan Desert. For him it is all about being exposed to untouched nature and travelling with a minimum of equipment.

Today Messner lives with his family in South Tyrol and dedicates his time to his MMM museum project.

The Iceman in Bolzano

The Iceman, also known as Ötzi, has found his final resting place in the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano. Found in the ‘90s on the Hauslabjoch Glacier, the 5,300 year old mummy is one of the most important and well-known in the world.

The South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology displays the entire range of the “Otzi phenomenon” over four floors, from the media hype at the discovery to the research about the ice-mummy and the articles found with it, as well as all sorts of curiosities, interesting interviews and interactive experience points. The highlight of the display is the lifesize reconstruction of the Iceman.

Incredible age
The iceman lived between 3350 and 3100 BC. The lifetime of the iceman was about 5000 years ago, and falls into a time when the introduction of the new material copper lead to economic and social change in Europe.

A special find
The special and unique thing about this find is that the man – torn from the middle of his life – retained all his clothing and equipment.  

The South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano can be reached in about 45 minutes.

Castles in South Tyrol

There are around 800 castles in South Tyrol. Whether nestled in vineyards or perched on a rocky ledge, they all pull us under their spell with their beauty. The mighty towers, the historic walls and even the chapels invite you on a very special trip back into the past.

Wolkenstein castle ruins
The ruins of Wolkenstein castle hang like an eagle’s nest at 1600m on the Stevia wall at the entrance to the Vallunga. The castle was built early in the 13th century, collapsed in 1525 and was never rebuilt. Since the 14th century it has belonged to the Counts of Wolkenstein, who took their name from the castle. The family were some of the most important minstrals, lyricists and composers of the Middle Ages.

Stetteneck castle ruins, Ortisei
Stetteneck castle was build on the Col da Pincan above Ortisei in the 13th century. This legendary castle of robber barons was considered lost since the Middle Ages. In summer 2000 the remains of the castle were discovered during test digs and since then the Stetteneck castle ruins are being excavated. The excavations can be visited in the summer.

Prösels castle, Völs am Schlern
The castle was build by the Lords of Fiè in 1279. Today as well as castle tours there are concerts, exhibitions and theatre performances. The famous collection of weapons is especially worth a visit.

Trostburg, Val D'Isarco
Trostburg is one of the most beautiful castles in the country. The history of Trostburg goes back to the 12th century. The castle is still in very good condition today and the South Tyrol Castle Museum is located inside.

Runkelstein castle, Bolzano
Runkelstein Castle, also known as the story-book castle, sits high above the roofs of the city of Bolzano. The frescos are particularly interesting to history and art lovers, who come from far and wide to visit the castle.

Tirol castle, Merano
The family seat of the Earls of Tyrol now houses the South Tyrol Museum of Culture and History.

Trauttmansdorff castle, Merano
A stately residence near Merano, where Empress Sissi of Austria spent her holidays.

Museum for modern and contemporary art in Bolzano

Museion – An interaction of different genres: visual arts, architecture, music, performance, film and theatre. The building in the centre of Bolzano shows mainly modern art of the international and local scenes. The building, designed by Berlin architects KSV Krüger Schuberth Vandreike, is not just an exhibition space, but also an art workshop.

Not just the art on display is exciting – the architecture of the building also impresses. Its cubic form is breathtaking. In the Museion Book & Shop visitors will find a wide range of catalogues, books and art accessories. Speaking of pleasure, the cosy Cafè Museion is always worth a visit.

More information at: www.museion.it