Hiking Völs am Schlern: Reap Culture & Adventure on the Oachner Höfeweg


Kate + Vin

Völs am Schlern
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Völs am Schlern (Fiè allo Sciliar) offers hikers a breathtaking journey through the foothills bounding beneath the Dolomites. Discover why the town’s Oachner Höfeweg Farm Trail belongs on your must-hike list.

You might think the Dolomites ought to occupy all your time while exploring South Tyrol, but as utterly awe-inspiring as the Pale Mountains are, they reflect only a sliver of the region’s splendor.

To really appreciate the melody of landscapes ravishing South Tyrol, we recommend rambling the foothills of the Dolomites — specifically those rollicking around Völs am Schlern in the Alpe di Siusi holiday region. Such a hike intimately immerses you in the rural richness of the land and its people — offering the unique opportunity to connect with South Tyrol’s history and traditions.

In this post, we take you on a crisp autumn journey across the Oachner Höfeweg — also known as the “Farm Trail of Aica di Fié”, “Völser Aicha Höfeweg” and “Sentiero dei masi”. As you’ll see, this half-day hike bobs and weaves through prolific pastoral scenery punctuated with mountain-shouldered forests, lushly fruited slopes and centuries-old farmsteads rooted in the stones of Ancient Rome. Furthermore, the trail leads you right to some of the best places to dine in Völs am Schlern.

⇒ Trip Planning Made Easy: Grab our South Tyrol + Dolomites Travel Guide

A Castle Crowned Trail

vols am schlern prosels castle
Prösels Castle, on the edge of Völs am Schlern, looms above the most popular Oachner Höfeweg trailhead.

The Oachner Höfeweg is a circular 8-mile hike with multiple trailhead locations. You can be on the trail within a matter of minutes from virtually anywhere in the Völs am Schlern area.

Since we were lodging at the bliss-inducing Romantik Hotel Turm, we opted to begin the trek at the foot of the Prösels Castle. This 13th-century behemoth thunders atop a hillside less than 10 minutes from the resort. It is one of the most impressive castles in South Tyrol.

oachner hofweg farm trail

The trailhead, here, sits next to a parking lot below the castle. While you can choose to hike the path in either direction, we followed the sign pointing west toward St. Kathrein (S. Caterina).

Heading away from the castle, the Oachner Höfeweg cuts through a thicket of trees before ascending into a patch of pastureland peppered with cows, barns and sprawling panoramas of Völs am Schlern.

Further off the horizon roars the mighty Schlern mountain. Unfortunately for us, the emblematic stone horn of South Tyrol was hidden beneath a shroud of morning clouds.

vols am schlern farm trail
Völs am Schlern can be admired from afar on the first leg of the hike.

The Breath of a Mountain

Around 20 minutes into the hike, we wandered into a pine forest decorated with patches of velvet-like greenery. Deeper in we found a scattering of ruins and a stone structure known as the Wirtskeller. This medieval-aged cellar once preserved the wine, cheese and speck for the nobles of Prösels Castle.

According to a sign posted nearby, cold air circulates year-round in the cellar through “Eislöcher” (ice holes). These holes channel cool air continuously streaming beneath the rock-riddled mountainside.

Wirstkeller on the Oachner Hofeweg
The Wirstkeller once held a wine collection fit for a king.

Like a mountain-made refrigerator, the cellar always hovers around 13 °C (55 °F) as a result. In addition to cooling the interior, the chilly mountain breath boosts the humidity in the surrounding forest — promoting a profusion of moss on the trees, boulders and forest floor.

After failing to find any long-forgotten wine bottles stored in the Wirtskeller, we pressed on the Oachner Höfeweg. The forest eventually thinned revealing a picturesque Tyrolean farmhouse perched by a hillside vineyard parading the season’s gold.

We stood next to an old fence adoring the farmstead known as the Rieferhof. Its rustic charm romanced our imagination. We told ourselves if this quaint farm ever went up for sale, we would move heaven and earth to buy it. This ended up being one of several farm-purchase promises we made on our hike.

rierhof farm vols am schlern
The Oachner Höfeweg is dotted with postcard-perfect farms like Rieferhof.

Perfumed By Apples

Reluctantly continuing on, we hopped back into the forest. Soon, we bounced downhill beyond the pines into a stand of apple trees.

Since it was harvest season, the trees bore no fruit but between the rows, we lustfully eyed bin after bin of newly plucked gems. These plump beauties belonged to the nearby Flungerhof farm, the largest apple produce in Völs am Schlern.

oachner hofweg apple farm

As we dawdled past the orchard, freshly pressed South Tyrolean apples perfumed the trail. This honeyed fragrance could sweeten even those fated with the sourest mood.

We later discovered Flungerhof cultivates mainly Golden Delicious and Royal Gala apples — among the most aromatic varieties in the world. Owned and operated by a mother and son team, the farm specializes in producing traditional apple cider vinegar, juices and syrups for the South Tyrol market.

vols am schlern zalterhofl

From Flungerhof, the Oachner Höfeweg led us through an underpass of the Tierser Strassee. After a few bends in the trail, we descended through a grove of beeches to a sun-steeped farm known as the Zalterhöfl.

Here, the trail borders this gorgeous property allowing hikers to marvel at the details of its Alpine barn and dwelling. They showcase an assortment of old farming tools and traditional Tyrolean accents that beautify from the foundations to the roofs.

A Garden of Groves

Our journey beyond the Zalterhöfl furrowed through a dramatically different kind of woodland where deciduous trees like chestnut, walnut and aspen towered above us. Unlike the dark, green pine forest of earlier, this species-rich stretch of the hike made it clear autumn was abloom.

The leaves were afire with color and the ground was littered with fallen chestnuts. Every now and then, the forest parted gifting us sweeping views far across the Eisack Valley (Valle Isarco) to grassy slopes holding villages unknown.

oachner hofweg farm trail chestnuts
Heaps of chestnuts hit the trail in autumn.

We strolled within the forest for quite some time before trudging up a somewhat steep hill running near a meadow. Deep into the northern sky, we spied a steeple planted on the Renon (Ritten) high plateau above Bolzano.

Upon summiting the hill, we landed at the Tommelehof farmstead. Romantically ravaged by time yet still well maintained, the buildings on the farm gave us a fascinating peek into the rural life of South Tyroleans today and long ago.

The Tommelehof was first mentioned by the name “Mitterpsenner” in the year 1200. It was presumably at one time the site of an Ancient Roman watchtower with remnants of its stone walls still standing.

tommelehof vols am schlerm fie allo sciliar
The Tommelehof farmstead traces its history back to Ancient Rome.

Today, the Tommelehof is a traditional farm stay. Guests can choose between three-holiday apartments located in a nearby rustic building that once was a barn. However, the only guests we encountered were a sleepy pup on the porch and a stray chicken strutting back and forth.

Just beyond the farmstead, we hiked atop a vineyard careening into a shady grove. Garnishing the slope of vines was a vegetable garden flush with herbaceous fortune. The kitchen where these treasures toiled had to be divine.

oachner hofweg gardens

Vino & the Valley

The next leg of the hike began to curl us southward through more chestnut-laden woodland. Here, we spotted a sign pointing us to Gemoanerhof — another historical farm of Völs am Schlern offering apartments for guests as well as a Buschenschank: a traditional Tyrolean tavern and kitchen.

As we had not worked up an appetite yet, we proceeded on the Oachner Höfeweg, which now steered us east toward the heart of Tires Valley. Soon, we came to the high-elevation vineyards of Prackfol — a lovely family-owned wine farm we toured the previous day.

prackfolerhof oachner hofweg
Every hike on the Oachner Hofeweg should include a wine tasting at the Prackfol Wine Farm.

We lingered here soaking in the same views as the day before. The idyllic scene framed by these fruited slopes is the stuff of storybooks. In the distance, like the blunted teeth of a madman’s saw, teased the pale peaks of the Rosengarten, one of the most beloved sights of the Dolomites.

Past the Prackfol Wine Farm, we marched up a wooded enclave that eventually cleared unveiling pastureland yawning into the valley bottom. Like sleight of hand, the Rosengarten, once piercing clear, was now lost to us on the horizon. In only a matter of minutes, the cloud cover had swelled and the once sunny vale unfolded into a misty gloom.

We welcomed the break from the sun. The steady rise on this stretch of the Oachner Höfeweg seemed to have no end.

oachner hofeweg valley view
Peering deep into Tires Valley.

Restful Mountain Taverns

After a thirst-quenching swig from our water bottles, we continued hiking along an old stone wall that looked as if it once guided Roman legions through this corner of South Tyrol. Below us, we spotted a few sheep carelessly nibbling on the grass above a berry orchard.

Within 20 minutes we came to Innerperskoler Hof — a farm and Buschenschank first mentioned in 1267. We could not ignore our hunger any longer so we slid into a table on its terrace facing the Rosengarten.

innerperskolerhof vols am schlern

While waiting for our order of Schlutzkrapfen, Knödel and Bauerngröstl we explored the farm. A swing set anchored above the farm’s vineyards invited a quick whirl. By the way, if you are not familiar with these classic Tyrolean dishes, check out our post on the top must-try foods in South Tyrol.

We then took a peek inside a tiny chapel on the farm. An inscription above the doorway indicated it was built in 1736. Inside, an ornate altar depicting St. Florian charmed us into leaving an offering.

After polishing off our meal and a delicious helping of Apfelstrudel, our feet found the Oachner Höfeweg again. While we longed to finish the trail loop, an afternoon spa appointment at Romantik Hotel Turm prompted us to trek back the way we came.

Eating at Innerperkolerhof in Völs am Schlern
Innerperskoler Hof serves flavorful farm-born fare with views to match.

But we were not through with the Oachner Höfeweg yet. Our adventure on the farm trail was so enamoring we returned the next day to visit a stone mountain tavern known as Fronthof. As the oldest farmhouse in South Tyrol, we did not want to miss experiencing this historic treasure.

Fronthof’s storied past dates to the 1300s. Before even stepping inside you feel as if you have embarked on a journey through time. Its rough stone walls, time-worn and weathered, stand as a lasting tribute to the region’s ancestors, imbuing the foothills of Völs am Schlern with an inescapable air of a long-lost era.

The culinary experience at Fronthof is a celebration of South Tyrolean cuisine. Local ingredients, such as fresh produce, free-range meats, and artisanal cheeses, take center stage in the tavern’s soulful farm-to-table dishes. The menu showcases a variety of traditional recipes, ranging from hearty stews and homemade pasta to mouthwatering desserts like Apfelstrudel and Kaiserschmarrn.

fronthof vols am schlern sudtirol
Fronthof is the oldest farmhouse of its kind in South Tyrol.

Since we were visiting in autumn, we elected to enjoy Fronthof’s lunchtime Törggelen experience. We started with a bowl of freshly roasted chestnuts then devoured plates of spinach and speck Knödel and house-made sausages. The meal was made even more delicious thanks to generous pours of Fronthof’s farm-grown Pinot Noir.

When finished, we wandered the property admiring the folkloric antiquity all around us. Behind the farmhouse, we encountered a staff member roasting chestnuts with Tyrolean zeal. She graciously showed us the proper wrist-twisting technique to flip the chestnuts in the air. We quickly discovered it is an art form.

How to Hike the Oachner Höfeweg

Adding the Oachner Höfeweg to your South Tyrol itinerary makes the most sense if basing yourself in or near the Völs am Schlern area of the Alpe di Siusi holiday region. The trail is open for adventure year-round.

As noted earlier, you can hop on and off the Oachner Höfeweg from multiple locations. Our recommendation is to begin from the parking lot situated beneath Prösels Castle. This will allow you to easily add a tour of the castle to your day if you wish.

Another good starting point is the parking lot in the village of St. Kathrein (S. Caterina) near the old church of the same name. Each trailhead has free public parking.

vols am schlern hiking trails

The Oachner Höfeweg is well marked so you will not have any issue navigating the hike. The signposts will also indicate which Buschenschanks you can expect to be open for dining.

If you intend to complete the entire loop, plan for at least half a day. In our experience, you could make this a full-day outing if you do not want to rush your time enjoying the taverns and wine farms dotted along the trail.

In terms of difficulty, anyone who is reasonably fit can handle traversing the Oachner Höfeweg. There is plenty of opportunities to rest along the way.

Hiking poles are not needed unless you simply like to have them for extra support. As always, we recommend packing water bottles and strapping on a backpack for adding or shedding layers as you ramble on.

Additional Sights Around Völs am Schlern

Vols am Schlern panorama

If you are already considering visiting the Alpe di Siusi region, then undoubtedly the vast Alpine pasture of the same name is no mystery to you. But the region offers much more than the undulating meadows rolling about the Dolomites including festive events such as Almabtrieb (Transhumance) and Törggelen.

Apart from the captivating allure of the Oachner Höfeweg and the majestic Prösels Castle, Völs am Schlern boasts a wealth of cultural landmarks and awe-inspiring natural wonders to enchant every visitor. Here are a few more you should take the time to explore.

Pflegerhof Organic Herb Farm

Pflegerhof organic herb farm

Perched in a fairytale setting between Völs am Schlern and the village of Seis is South Tyrol’s first organic herb farm. Founded in 1982 by Martha and Richard Mulser on the bones of an old cereal farm, Pflegerhof isn’t your run-of-the-mill nursery. As we discovered, it’s a sanctuary of scent and healing, a place where over 500 species are grown with the kind of care and attention usually reserved for fine wine.

In this green haven, plants aren’t just grown; they’re nurtured, intertwined, helping each other thrive. The harvest? A meticulous hand-picked affair for flowers, while herbs face the gentle hum of a specialized mower. These botanical treasures are then dried with the warmth of a wood boiler, morphing into an array of products: from aromatic teas and salts to syrups and scented pillows.

If you want to step into this fragrant world and experience the heart of alpine wellness, you can visit its enchanting farm shop from March through September. We especially love their herbal teas and pizza spice — it’s the secret weapon that elevates our homemade pies from good to legendary! Tours of the farm are also available upon request.

Parish Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Inside the Parish Church of Vols

Located in the historic heart of Völs am Schlern, the Parish Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a religious treasure inside and out. From the spellbinding murals to its ornate Baroque pulpit to its late-Gothic triptych from 1489, the church presents a beautiful glimpse into medieval art history.

The church was first mentioned in the 1100s, but fell to ruin after a fire. In the 15th century, the church was rebuilt. The oldest relic once found inside was a Roman crucifix from 1200. It is now held at the village museum.

Völser Weiher / Laghetto di Fiè

Laghetto di Fie near Vols am Schlern

Nestled in the middle of an evergreen forest just 10 minutes away from Völs am Schlern is Völser Weiher (also known as Laghetto di Fiè) — a 16th-century creation that has become one of South Tyrol’s most popular swimming lakes in the summer.

While this small body of water doesn’t gleam the famous cerulean blue of other Alpine lakes such as Lago di Braies, we found it a haven of stillness beneath Schlern.

A trail winds around the lake allowing you to immerse yourself in untouched natural splendor without ever ascending the mountain. And if you visit Völs in winter, you can rent skates to dazzle over the frozen lake.

St. Peter on the Hill

st peter chapel vols am schlern

The small chapel of St. Peter sits atop Peterbühl Hill. Excavations on the hill have shown it has been a settlement since the Mesolithic period more than 8,000 years ago. First documented in the 14th century, the chapel is one of the oldest in the Alpe di Siusi region.

Walking to the hill from Völs am Schlern is well worth your time. Taking in the full immensity of Schlern from the summit imparts an appreciation for why our early ancestors made the hill their home.

Where to Stay in Völs am Schlern

Hotels in Völs am Schlern with a view

If you like the idea of waking up on the mountainside amid the sounds of a farm coming to life, consider staying at any of the farms mentioned above offering accommodations along the Oachner Höfeweg. You may even have a chance to lend your hand before setting out on hikes around Völs am Schlern.

As we highlighted above, we stayed at the historic Romantik Hotel Turm in the heart of Völs am Schlern and loved all of its wellness amenities including the opportunity to enjoy a soothing post-hike hay bath. The view of Schlern from the hotel is also tough to beat….especially at sunrise. We woke up early each morning to see the spectacle. The food at Romantik Hotel Turm wowed us each night as well. Truly mouthwatering. Click here to explore availability.

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