20+ Inspiring Photos of South Tyrol & the Dolomites in Autumn

UPDATED:

Kate + Vin

Sassolungo in Autumn
Italian Dolomites Icon

Autumn is an especially beautiful time of year no matter where you travel in Europe. Whether trekking old-growth forests ablaze with fall colors or reveling in centuries-old harvest festivals, every turn offers you another enchanting way to savor the season.

However, there is one European destination we think you should etch on your fall travel wish list above all others: South Tyrol.

Why? This mountainous jewel enviably sits in a rare corner of the world where Alpine wonders crash into boundless Mediterranean beauty. Such a surprising contrast of landscapes produces arresting scenery in every season. But the vibrant kiss of autumn elevates the medley from stunning to utterly jaw-dropping.

Scroll on to discover why fall is South Tyrol’s most alluring season.

Of Mountains & Awe – The Dolomites in Autumn

Our photo journey begins with one of the most celebrated mountain ranges in the world: the Dolomites. Comprising 18 peaks and 350,000 heavenly acres, the Dolomites’ jagged peaks storm above unspoiled valleys that sweep from one stone giant to the next. Hiking, biking or simply driving leisurely through this UNESCO World Heritage Site in autumn is a must for every mountain lover.

In this series of photos, we highlight the iconic Geisler peaks from Seceda and Val di Funes, as well as showcase Lake Braies (also known as Pragser Wildsee) and the crescent of massifs crowning Alpe di Siusi (Seiser Alm), Europe’s largest Alpine prairie.

A hike in Alpe di Siusi that is especially bewitching in autumn is to the “Witches’ Benches”.  Countless legends tell of a coven of witches performing rituals centuries ago amid the fang-toothed peaks of Schlern mountain.

Adventuring through the Dolomites you will encounter wayside shrines as shown below. These shrines take on an almost angelic pose in the golden rays of autumn. Take a moment to admire them when they welcome you on a trail.

Val di Funes

Geisler Peaks in Autumn
Val Di Funes Hiking in Autumn

Lake Braies (Lago di Braies)

Fall Colors Lago di Braies
Lago di Braies shore

Seceda

Hiking Seceda in Italy
Famous Seceda Photo Location

Alpe di Siusi (Seiser Alm)

St. Valentin Church in the Dolomites
Wayside Shrine in Seiser Alm

⇒ SEE MORE: Take advantage of our detailed guides to hike these treasures of the Dolomites by visiting our “Hikes in the Dolomites” section.

Harvesters of Stone – South Tyrol’s Castles in Autumn

If there is a rival to the magnificence of the Dolomites, it’s South Tyrol’s castles. 800 lord over the region’s valleys and mountainsides. These medieval monoliths whisk you back to a time when stone was the steel of the world.

Seeing South Tyrol’s castles in any season is picturesque, but autumn casts them in an even more enchanting light. Their silent salute of the season’s harvest from the stony steeds of a mountainside is an instruction in majesty.

Below we reveal a handful of our favorite South Tyrolean strongholds including Tyrol Castle, Brunnenburg Castle, Trostburg Castle, Schenna Castle and the regal Trauttmansdorff Castle, which beams amid vast gardens that have to be seen to be believed.

Tirol Castle in autumn
Prosels Castle in Autumn
Brunnenburg Castle in Autumn
Maretsch Castle in Bolzano
Schenna, South Tyrol

⇒ SEE MORE: The Can’t-Miss Castles of South Tyrol

Kindled Gold – The Vineyards & Orchards of South Tyrol

Few things set all your senses afire like the autumnal vineyards and orchards of South Tyrol. The bountiful valleys ignite with golden and crimson hues while the peaks radiate brushes of white hinting of winter’s first lashing.

Grapes, apples and other fruits fragrantly animate every breath as you wander through leafy arcades that are no doubt Bacchus’s most cherished halls.

Voyaging along the South Tyrolean Wine Road in autumn is not to be missed. You can breeze along Italy’s oldest wine road by car or bike, as well as embark on hikes to castle ruins perched high above the fruit-riddled foothills.

Vineyard by Bolzano
Trauttsmandorff Gardens in Merano during Autumn
Vineyards in Merano, Italy

⇒ SEE MORE: Wandering the Tappeiner Promenade – Italy’s Most Enchanting Walk

Fall into Revelry – South Tyrol’s Festivals & Feasts

Autumn in South Tyrol also brings numerous celebrations such as Törggelen, Almabtrieb, Speckfest and the Merano Grape Festival in the third week of October as shown below. This three-day festival showers Merano with decorative parade floats, traditional South Tyrolean music and locals dressed in ancestral attire. The festival dates back to 1886 and gives thanks to the season’s bountiful grape harvest, which in time results in some of the most celebrated wines in the world.

Törggelen is a celebration spanning much of autumn. The event extols the season’s wine harvest with a hearty trek followed by an even more hearty evening filled with South Tyrolean cuisine at a traditional farmhouse or tavern.

Revelers dine on roasted chestnuts, dumplings, speck, and smoked sausages while washing it all down with the new wine and grape must called “Nuier”, “Suser” or “Sauser”.

Merano Grape Festival (Traubenfest Meran)
St. Peter Church of Lajen in South Tyrol
South Tyrolean lumberjacks chopping wood at the Almabtrieb parade in Lajen
Wines of Sudtirol
A toast on the Goaslschnoller float at the Almabtrieb Parade in Lajen

⇒ SEE MORE: Enjoying Törggelen – Your Guide to South Tyrol’s Most Treasured Fall Tradition

Make Your Autumn Bountiful with Adventure

Like spring, autumn is a season of unrivaled contrasts. It’s only fitting then that a land born from such opposing forces of nature is where those seasons shine the most.

From wild-hearted treks to soul-mending walks to endearing cultural excursions, experiencing an epic autumn in South Tyrol is as certain as the leaves changing colors.

So if you’re ready to begin planning your fall escape, we’re here to help. Our Travel Guide makes South Tyrol trip planning practically as easy as plucking a ripe grape.

33 thoughts on “20+ Inspiring Photos of South Tyrol & the Dolomites in Autumn”

  1. The pictures are convincing enough! I have always wanted to visit a place to see the true beauty of autumn and South Tyrol seems the exact one!

  2. Wow all of your photos are stunning! You’ve definitely got me convinced 🙂 I think actually Autumn will be better for me as I prefer to go hiking instead of skiing so it would be much better for me at this time.

  3. Just one of these pictures would have been enough to inspire me to visit South Tyrol. All so glorious and rich in color! Autumn is our fave travel season and this is definitely going to give me dreams!

  4. Wow! These photos sure have inspired me to go to South Tyrol. I hadn’t even heard of this area of Italy, but now it’s a must-see for me since I’m a mountain-lover. Plus, a grape festival?! Yes please!

  5. This is beautiful! Not sure how i have not seem images of South Tyrol before. The Grape Festival and wine is an added bonus!

  6. Your pictures are stunning. Simply gorgeous and it helps that you are taking amazing shots of incredibly scenic landscapes. I love the Fall, but have never seen anything as dramatic as this. I look forward to visiting South Tyrol at one point.

  7. Tyrol reminds me of the Rockies – so many moments of awe in your photos! The Merano Grape Festival sounds like my cup of tea (or wine perhaps is more apt)! Your photos are simply stunning – especially the sweeping valley shots!

  8. What a glorious collection of photos, they really showcase the autumn season colours so beautifully and make me want to visit South Tyrol too. I love autumn!

  9. I love your photography and I a definitely inspired. Superb light play and stunning mists. Oh and the fall colors are beautiful too. I have always wanted to do to the Dolomites, now I want to go for fall. Wow

    • Thank you for the compliments! You can’t go wrong visiting South Tyrol in any season, but the fall is truly our favorite!

  10. Oh I enjoyed your photos very much! Autumn is a very magical season here in Europe 🙂 I always love to take a nice walk and enjoy the colours! Maybe next time I will walk throught South Tyrol, thanks to your inspiration 🙂

  11. I love autumn colours and these photographs look just magical. I would love to get lost in a place like this.

  12. I have only been once to South Tyrol. I don’t even live far and I want to go more often. The Autumn light looks magical… Like as some comments before, this place looks straight out of a fairytale… beautiful. Long walks, wine, good food…South Tyrol is really something to experience. Unfortunately I only went in winter (oh well it was beautiful too, the skiing, the wellness, the food…) but would love to experience it in Autumn. Thanks for the post, I pinned it for my next time!

    • Hello Melanie – Glad to hear that you have been to South Tyrol before! We hope you can get back soon since you are nearby. Perhaps this autumn?

  13. Wow, these photos! Just amazing. I love fall travel and it looks like you timed it perfectly. October is such a great month to visit Europe.

  14. I’m so happy you shared this, and glad you put a map on there. I LOVE Italy, but have only done the main torurist areas but I always owed to go back and see more of it. This has certinly put another stop off place for my trip. Beautful pictures of stunning scenery.

    • Glad to share a new place with you Becki. You’ll fall in love with South Tyrol when you make the trip! If you have any questions while planning, just let us know.

  15. What a lovely set of images, the South Tyrol region looks utterly beautiful, very charming, I definitely want to visit!

  16. Wow! Breath taking photos! I will be adding this to my bucket list of places to visit! Thanks for sharing!!! 🙂

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