Autumn is an especially beautiful time of year no matter where you travel in Europe. From forests ablaze in fall colors to lively harvest festivals, every turn offers an enchanting way to savor the season.
But if visiting South Tyrol in autumn is not on your bucket list, you’re missing out on sights and cultural treasures that will etch memories into your wanderlust heart forever.
South Tyrol crowns northern Italy and enviably sits on the sunny side of the Alps where thundering mountains crash into valleys of boundless Mediterranean beauty. Beyond its contrasting natural wonders, German and Italian influences have fashioned South Tyrol’s landscapes with steeply-terraced vineyards, endless orchards and Alpine farms and villages adorned with crumbling castles and storied steeples.
Our first experience with South Tyrol was in autumn. We had just spent several days exploring Venice and Verona, and while those cities’ wonders were no mystery to us, we were not prepared for the jaw-dropping autumn splendor we encountered in South Tyrol.
Scroll on to embark on a voyage of discovery through South Tyrol’s most alluring season. You won’t be disappointed.
Of Mountains & Awe
We begin our photo journey with one of the most celebrated mountain ranges in the world — Italy’s Dolomites, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Comprising 18 peaks and 350,000 glorious acres, the Dolomites’ jagged peaks tower over unspoilt valleys that sweep from one stone giant to the next. Whether hiking, biking or simply going on a relaxing drive, experiencing them in autumn is a must for every mountain lover.
In this series of photos, we highlight Val di Funes and the iconic Geisler peaks, Lake Braies (also known as Pragser Wildsee) and the various massifs encircling Seiser Alm, Europe’s largest Alpine prairie. A hike in Seiser Alm that is especially appealing in autumn is to the “Witches’ Benches” where a coven of witches supposedly performed rituals centuries ago.
Adventuring through the Dolomites you will encounter wayside shrines as shown in the last photo. These shrines are particularly beautiful in autumn. Take a moment to admire them when they appear.
Harvesters of Stone
If there is a rival to the magnificence of the Dolomites, it’s South Tyrol’s castles. 800 storm up from the region’s valleys and mountainsides. These medieval monoliths whisk you back to a time when stone was the steel of the world.
Below we showcase a handful of our favorite South Tyrolean strongholds including Tirol Castle, Brunnenburg Castle, Trostburg Castle, Prösels Castle, Schenna Castle and Trauttmansdorff Castle, which guards over immaculately manicured gardens that have to be seen to be believed. Of course with 800 to explore, our favorite medieval haunts could change with any visit!