Picking a good base to explore South Tyrol could really come down to a coin flip. There’s truly no wrong choice. And if you have a rental car your base matters even less as you’ll have the freedom to venture where you choose. Driving in Italy is easy as along as you apply some common sense. Many destinations in South Tyrol’s five main regions can be reached within an hour or so of each other.
Although a rental car is ideal in our opinion, it’s not necessary. South Tyrol possesses a world class public transit system that makes getting around a breeze if renting a car is not for you. You can purchase South Tyrol’s Mobilcard at your hotel or at ticket machines. This card is reasonably priced and provides access to the region’s buses and trains during your visit.
Is South Tyrol Affordable? Yes!
South Tyrol offers a wealth of accommodations to fit a range of budgets and tastes. You can find luxury resorts that will treat you like royalty or great values by renting rooms, apartments, farm houses and Alpine chalets through sites like Airbnb. Staying at one of these places is a unique way to personally experience the South Tyrolean lifestyle.
On our first visit to South Tyrol we were pleasantly surprised at the attractive prices of many resorts relative to similar accommodations in America. Plenty of affordable resorts exist with pools, spas and spectacular grounds flush with roses, palms and lemon trees, as well a complimentary traditional South Tyrolean breakfast each morning.
Val Gardena – An Ideal Base for Exploring the Dolomites
If you’re intending to spend most of your time in the Dolomites then consider staying in Val Gardena. The valley lies in the heart of the Dolomites making it a convenient base for your adventure.
Val Gardena’s three main villages, Ortisei, Selva Gardena and St. Christina, offer impressive accommodations and are popular with visitors in every season. However, staying a bit off the beaten path in hamlets and farms (agriturismo) dotting the countryside is worth considering as well. Choosing a farm-stay in South Tyrol immerses you into the area’s untouched natural surroundings.
Merano & Surrounding Villages
Another great base to consider is Merano and the villages in the immediate vicinity such as Algund and Dorf Tirol. Staying here places you in the middle of South Tyrol’s remarkable blend of Mediterranean and Alpine climates. With enough activities to fill your entire South Tyrol vacation, the Merano area explodes with lush greenery and bathes in ample amounts of sunlight making it an ideal base for unwinding poolside after a day of exploring.
A wide range of accommodations are available from resorts idyllically situated on mountain sides to those nestled deep within flourishing vineyards and orchards. A fun option you may want to explore is GuestToGuest, the world’s largest home exchange community. No matter where you stay you’ll have quick access to trails running throughout the area allowing you to roam from one sight to the next.
Visiting the Dolomites from the Merano area takes less than an hour. You can also venture easily to other prominent towns and villages, including the city of Bolzano, which is just 30 minutes south. There you’ll find excellent shopping, museums and more.