Autumn is the best time of year to visit this beautiful region. Harvest season is in full swing! The vineyards and apple orchards are ripe for picking. Plus the weather is ideal for walking, hiking, biking & of course… wine tasting!
South Tyrol – Italy – Caldaro
Throw a seed and it will grow in this fertile land. As we walked through town we came across, not only vineyards and apple orchards, but all kinds of fruit trees: citrus, pomegranate, fig, olive, kaki or persimmons and most plentiful were chestnuts. So bountiful, that it was hard not to want to pick from overhanging trees and treating yourself to a snack.
Below are some recommendations when staying in or around Caldaro, South Tyrol:
One of the largest lakes in South Tyrol, this lake originates from the Adige River in Bolzano and is one of the warmest lakes in the Italian Alps, reaching 28 degrees Celsius in summer. It is an easy 7.5km walk around the lake with several restaurants and cafe´s for refueling. The scenic views are breathtaking and worth adding to your itinerary. Starting Point: We started at Pizzeria Geier at Lake Caldaro.
Close to Lake Caldaro, there are two smaller lakes in an idyllic natural setting. The bigger of the two, Lake Monticolo, is peaceful and perfect for a short hike. It is just 2.2km around the lake, but full of romantic little spots where you can enjoy the views, sunbathe or even take a dip. Flat, unpaved trails are perfect for families with kids. There is only one restaurant and there is even a lakeside pool. Don´t miss the fairytale-like Seeschlössl Castle, built in 1888.
The Peace Path is a great hiking trail that takes you through constantly changing terrain. You will walk through secluded forests, walk past hanging bridges, discover ancient ruins, admire the magnificent Rastenbachklamm gorge and even pay your respect at the oldest church ruins in South Tyrol. The ruins of St. Peter in the Castelvecchio forest dates back to the 4th century. Continue onto the panoramic viewpoint in Castelvecchio where the ruins are visible and views of Lake Caldaro can be enjoyed. Hiking shoes are recommended. Signs are posted regularly. Check with your hotel for the best starting point.
The Mendola funicular railway, one of the longest and steepest of its kind in Europe, takes you up the Mendola Mountain, where a tiny village awaits you, situated at 1350m. This was a popular health resort with aristocrats and emperors in the 19th and early 20th century. You can stay for lunch and even shop for outdoor gear. If you like to hike, it is possible to hike all the way up, instead of taking the railway, but we heard it is strenuous. For an easy/intermediate hike, we suggest taking the funicular up and hiking trail #500 starting right behind the railway station. You travel through the woods for the most part and come across small summer homes every now and then. The Enzianhutte where food and drink are available can be reached in 20 minutes. Continue for another hour to reach Mezzavia (Halbweghütte), where we stopped for some regional wine. At this point, we decided to turn back and have lunch in the small village of Mendola before heading back down to Caldaro.
Getting there: Start at the Mendelbahn (railway) in Caldaro S. Antonio. Parking: available. Tickets: €10/person roundtrip
Town of Caldaro
Tip: There are many vineyards you could visit. Check with your hotel or visitor center for info.
South Tyrolean Wine Museum – depicts the deep cultural history of cultivating wine in this region. There is a permanent exhibit, a vaulted cellar, and vineyard that can be visited.
Opening hours: from 1st April 2017 – 11th November 2017 (Closed Mondays & 1st November)
Tues to Sat: 10 am – 5 pm (last entry half an hour before closing)
Sun & holidays: 10 am – 12 am (last entry half an hour before closing)
Address: Goldgasse 1 – 39052 Kaltern (Italy)
Wine Center – is a retail center and was built for the Winegrowers´ Cooperative in Caldaro. It, therefore, has a collection of the region’s wines. You can taste them all if you are up to it. You only pay €0.50 per taste test, unless you make a purchase. It is a fun architectural space with an upstairs lounge and an outdoor area as well.
Address: Bahnhofstraße 7 – 39052 Kaltern (Italy)
As you walk around town, there is much more to enjoy. Stop for coffee, grab a gelato, savor in the region’s cuisine and just immerse yourself in the slower pace of South Tyrolean life.
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