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Alto Adige Itinerary

Hi everyone! I'm looking for suggestions for a 1 week trip through the alto Adige region. At this point we are not planning to rent a car, BUT we are open to renting one if needed for a better trip.

The plan is to fly into Milan and spend one night, then head to Trento/Bolzano for 7 days (6 nights), then one final night in Milan before flying back to the US.

I've never been up to this area and haven't had great luck finding much beyond those two towns.

Can somebody please recommend a couple other towns perhaps that are small/relaxing and near the alps? Any help is much appreciated!

Posted by
9857 posts

What do you like to do. Are you walkers/hikers?

Even if all you want to do is bask in glorious scenery, you need to get up out of the towns like Trento and Bolzano and into the mountains. Easily accessible is the Val Gardena and the towns of Ortisei, Santa Cristina, and Selva. No need to move around, just pick one and stay there. We spend two to four weeks each fall in Ortisei for hiking and never run out of options both easy and moderate. The area has fabulous transportation options so we never rent a car. Once in town, your lodging will give you a pass for the buses that run all over to take you to lifts that reach high paths, views, and restaurants. The buses also take you to other towns in other valleys.

Posted by
2408 posts

My first question is what led you to plan a trip to South Tyrol (as the region is known in English, or Südtirol in German, the largest local language) in the first place?

Bozen/Bolzano is a popular town to visit. Whether as a destination on its own or as a stop on the way from Italy to Austria or v.v. but you should also consider a stop in Meran(o). Apart from that the main attraction of the area is probably the landscape. Gherdëina/Gröden/Val Gardena is a popular valley to visit, also one of the few areas in Europe where Ladin is the majority language.

Posted by
15 posts

Thank you both! this will definitely be helpful in modifying what I was thinking.

I'd say we're beginner to moderate hikers, although a nice walk would probably be more our speed. We're visiting this region for the breathtaking scenery and because we've already visitied all the other major ares in Italy (CT, Rome, Firenze, Venice, Tuscany, Lucca, Amalfi Coast, etc).

Posted by
2496 posts

That's not a great time to go: just after the winter season, but long before the summer season. Most of the lifts will be closed, as well as many hotels and restaurants. Any chance you could leave it to end May or later?
This being said, if it is your only option, then the mountains should still be reasonably accessible (this is probably one of the least snowy part of the Alps) and the views should still be great.

Posted by
9857 posts

April is indeed between seasons, as Badger described. You can still enjoy the area with some walks/hikes, and access to the Alpe di Siusi by one lift or another. The later you can make your trip, the better though. There can be late season snow.

For a nice family hotel, try Hotel Garni Walter in Ortisei. Basically a nice B&B/guesthouse. Many hotels in the areas offer half-pension including breakfast and dinner. LMK if that interests you

Posted by
15 posts

Thanks everyone. I definitely did not think of the "between season" aspect. Seems like we'd be better off pushing it til when the schools get out in June.

Thanks for all of the help!

Posted by
49 posts

Best time to go here is late August/September. April in the mountains is still winter.

The bigger towns like Bolzano, Trento etc and even Cortina (despite its reputation), do not offer much in terms of charm. Focus on the smaller hamlets, such as Ortisei as already mentioned, San Cassiano, Corvara in Badia etc. There are many lodging options from Refugio all the way to 5-star hotels. You can also hike through with stops along the way. There is almost always bus or train service available to get you into these areas, although I much prefer a car for this type of trip. It is a beautiful area.

Posted by
19379 posts

I don't know about Trento or Cortina d'Ampezzo, but I thought Bolzano's historic center was lovely. I certainly wouldn't say it lacks charm. I agree that if you want mountain scenery and walking in the mountains, it makes sense to sleep up in the mountains. Important to know if you do decide to travel in June: The valley cities like Bolzano and Bressanone can be very hot in the summer, and many of the lower-priced hotels are not air conditioned. Be very careful about that.

Posted by
4 posts

Although it's in the Veneto region, consider the small and charming towns of Bassano del Grappa and Asiago (where the real Asiago cheese comes from)! The area around Aviano is great as well!

Posted by
607 posts

Following along! :)

How easily can one get to Bassano del Grappa or Ortisei by train or public transportation?

Is there much hiking in Bolzano or do you need to get out of town?

Posted by
19379 posts

Ortisei has bus service from Bolzano. My recent efforts at rural hiking have led to multiple ankle sprains and a black eye, so I'm no expert. However, there is a mountain lift right in Bolzano. I assume there are hiking opportunities at the top, though I suppose most folks head for somewhere like the Alpe di Siusi, where even I was able to walk without injuring myself (though there are also challenging walks, of course).

This web page has links to bus schedules into the Val Gardena: https://www.valgardena.it/en/bus-schedule/

Bassano del Grappa has rail service frequent enough not to be a limiting factor in accessing the town. There seem to be hourly direct trains from Venice on Sundays and some extra trains on weekdays.

I haven't been to Bassano del Grappa, but from my trip research I think it's quite a different destination from Ortisei. Bassano's in grape country, I believe; it's not a mountain village. Photos show that it is lovely.

Posted by
607 posts

Thank you acraven! My daughter and friends are in Florence for the semester and definitely want to hike! Perhaps Bolzano is the best and easiest place for them to experience something different than Florence.

Posted by
19379 posts

That area is very, very different. They'll hear a lot of German and have the opportunity to try local food that's Austrian rather than Italian.