Speaking of mountains, lakes and absolutely great wine! Welcome to South Tirol 🙂 Finally I got to sit down to write about our one week trip last summer to North Italy. Hope you get inspired by this incredibly beautiful landscape and Italian flair town pictures.
FIRST STOP: Bozen, the capital of South Tyrol.
We got there early morning so the town was still nice and quiet. Quickly we checked in at our hotel, which we booked only for one night and parked our car there. We planned our morning with a visit to the Archaeological Museum. The main attraction of the museum is definitely Ötzi, the “Ice Man”. It is one of the most important mummies in the world, since he was found more than 5000 years later by two hikers in the mountains. Quite interesting and definitely a must-see when you are in Bozen.
At the afternoon we explored the small town, walked through small streets, got our first Italian cappuccino and enjoyed the beautiful music from street artists. We also stopped at a beautiful castle called “Maretsch”, which is super close to the city center. Very pretty and picturesque 😉 If you have more time, make sure to plan a tasting at their vinyards. PS: Check their hours first or better to call them to ask 😉
SECOND STOP: Malchesine, North-East of Lake Garda
After breakfast we left Bozen and made our way South to Lake Garda. From Bozen it is only a 2 hour drive to Malcesine. Halfway we stopped in Riva del Garda (aka Reiff), a cute town located at the northern tip of Lake Garda. The town itself is very pretty, but definitely well heard by tourists since it is the perfect place to stop during your long drive to the South. A good opportunity for us girls, to go for a little shopping spree 😉
Late afternoon we checked in at our hotel in Malcesine. No rest for us busy beavers haha we straight explored the town Malcesine and looked for a dinner location. 😉 Malcesine is a comune on the eastern shore of Lake Garda and in my opinion the most prettiest town on Lake del Garda. Many small typical Italian alleys, outdoor patios with delicious Aperol Spritz and wine and the yummy smell of wood oven pizza. Not to forget the street music on every corner!
DAY-TRIP: Limone Sul Garda
The next day we planned a day trip from Malcesine to Limone Sul Garda by boat. You pretty much can explore the towns surrounding Lake del Garda by boats/ferries. The time schedules are pretty good if you don’t want to stay late in the evening. So what to expect in Limone Sul Garda? Right, loooots of lemon trees! We obviously visited there the “La Limonaia Del Castel”, a lemon garden in a castle, as well enjoyed there a shot of limoncello, which is one of my favorite lemon liqueurs! So delicious!
DAY-TRIP: Sirmione & Bardolino
Today we decided to spend a day to explore Sirmione and afterwards on our way back to stop in Bardolino. This town is for sure one of the most popular “sights” on Lake Garda, because of the picturesque peninsula. The castle at the entrance to the old town surrounded by babyblue water is just super pretty! For sure it is one of the busiest towns with many tourists, which honestly overwhelmed be a bit at first, but you get used to go with flow pretty quick. 😉
History plays a larger role in Sirmione than many of the other lakeside resorts, with the grotto, the fortress and the thermal baths. Since the lines where so long, especially with the corona restrictions and we only wanted to spend a morning and lunch there, we decided not to queue. So we walked around, explored the city and enjoyed some nice Aperol Spitz, lunch and typical cannellonis.
At the afternoon we drove back up North and stopped in Bardolino. Since it was so hot we only explored the beach and got ice cream there. Of course we wanted to taste real Bardolino wine in Bardolino, so we drove up the hill to a highly recommend vinyard called Zeni!
The Zeni winery, in Italian “Cantina Zeni e Museo del Vino” is located on the first hill beside the city center of Bardolino. If you are a wine lover like us, you’ll love this winery. If you like wine you’ll love this winery, because not many places give you a glass then tell you to help yourself haha 😉 They have a wide range of Zeni’s wines to sample – you simply tap yourself the wine from a mashine. This self-pour wine tap system allows you to taste when and what you want 🙂 I’d recommend to walk up the hill from Bardolino so you can fully enjoy the tasting and not have to worry about driving! 😉
Our third and last day we just enjoy the beach in Malchesine and explored one last time the town. We decided not to go up the local hill Monte Baldo with the gondola “Funivia Malcesine” since we planned a bigger hike at the end of our trip and really wanted to relax and enjoy the lake.
THIRD STOP: Trient and Cortina d’Ampezzo
After breakfast we checked out and drove up to our first stop in There was a cute local farmers market. Of course we ordered Aperol Spritz “only” and got all these snacks with it! Italy is amazing with appetizers and snacks besides drinks! LOVE IT! 😉
At the afternoon we continued our drive to our final destination Cortina d’Ampezzo, where we stayed for one night. We were literally blown away by how pretty this valley is! This town is known as the “Pearl of the Dolomites” which is in the province of Belluno, beautifully embedded in the Dolomites UNESCO World Heritage site. It offers for all seasons, winter & summer, plenty of leisure programs and activities. It is a real paradise for hikers, skiers, climbers and everyone who loves sports and/or natural beauty! West of Cortina d’Ampezzo is one of the most famous Dolomite mountains: the Tofane, three peaks which I think are the highest peaks in the Dolomites. We enjoyed a yummy dinner with an incredible view, explored the town and surroundings by foot and with a kids train haha. After a nice bottle of Italian wine we went to bed early since we wanted to leave the town early to our next and final destination: the parking place by the Rifugio Auronzo cottage.
FOURTH STOP: DOLOMITE HIKE – Rifugio Auronzo > Büllelejochhütte
The last two days of our South Tyrol trip we planned a hike in the Dolomites, a long awaited wish of us to see with our own eyes the Three Peaks or Drei Zinnen in German or Tre Cime in Italian! 😉 At the Rifugio Auronzo is a parking spot, we you can leave your car. At the “bottom” of the mountain you have to pass a ticket booth where you can buy the parking ticket. Months in advance we booked two beds at the Büllelejochhütte, which is the smallest and highest cottage (2528m) in the Sextner Dolomite Nature Park.
In the Tre Cime Natural Park, there are a few great mountain cottages to sleep in, to eat delicious South Tyrolean food and plenty of hikes to choose from. We planned our tour to start from the Rifugio Auronzo (2326 m) > Dreizinnenhütte (2438 m) > Büllelejochhütte (2528 m) > Rifugio Auronzo (2326 m). The hike was not difficult with not much altitude, so perfect for a two day hike and to start the hiking season this year.
Rifugio Auronzo > Dreizinnenhütte > Büllelejochhütte: The first day we hiked 11,86km and took us 3 hours 40 minutes. But we made the most out of this absolutely incredible scenery and explored a few other little peaks for a different view. 🙂
Büllelejochhütte > Rifugio Auronzo: After an amazing breakfast we hiked from the Büllelejochhütte back to the Rifugio Auronzo, where we parked our car. It was a total of 6.09km and took us about 1h 22 minutes. Unfortunately it was very foggy today, but some beautiful mountain peaks still came out once in a while for a second. 🙂
This was the end of our South Tyrol trip, which passed way too fast! 😉 We experience and captured amazing moments and for sure it was not our last time there!
Let me know if you have any recommendations for South Tryol, hikes or anything else for our next trip! 🙂