Discover South Tyrol: Italy’s Best-Kept Secret


Kate + Vin

Kate enjoying the view at Lago di Braies, South Tyrol, Italy
Italian Dolomites Icon

When it comes to Italy vacation ideas there’s no shortage of breathtaking destinations to consider. But none will conjure a deep sense of awe inside you quite like South Tyrol.

South Tyrol, Italy — also known as Südtirol or Alto Adige is a wildly fascinating marvel hidden amid the peaks and valleys of the Italian Alps. A mountain-blessed region teeming with crumbling castles, cliff-clinging vineyards and mirror-still lakes nestled beneath the thundering Dolomites, this unspoiled gem continues to inspire more ‘wow’ moments than anywhere else we have roamed.

So much beauty abounds here you can be forgiven if unsure where to fix your gaze. But South Tyrol’s enthralling sights are only part of its allure. Here, you can experience la dolce vita and gemütlichkeit all at once. The region is enlaced with eclectic culture. Italian, German, Austrian and Ladin (a people native to remote valleys in the Dolomites) influences entwine throughout — steeping the land with a delightful variety of cuisine, architecture, history and traditions.

In this post, we share why South Tyrol should become your next travel obsession…and even better, how to plan your own escape to “Italy’s best-kept secret”. Whether you seek heavenly outdoor adventure, recharging in sun-drenched bliss, discovering historic treasures, or savoring a rich culinary heritage, South Tyrol lays it all at your feet.

⇒ Start planning your South Tyrol trip: Access our Travel Guide

Where is South Tyrol?

Map of South Tyrol, Italy
South Tyrol sits directly north of Trentino. The two distinct provinces are often referred to as the Trentino-Alto Adige region.

Before we highlight what awaits you in South Tyrol, you may be wondering where exactly is this fabled land. South Tyrol crowns northern Italy, right beneath Austria, in an area lovingly referred to as the “sunny side of the Alps”.

It’s worth noting you will also see the region referred to as Südtyrol, South Tirol, Suedtirol and Trentino-Alto Adige.

As its many names suggest, South Tyrol is a land of striking contrasts. Where mountainous wonders roar over serene Mediterranean beauty and rustic Alpine charm has an open affair with Italian elegance.

The outcome of such unlikely bedfellows? Utterly jaw-dropping. You’ll encounter an enchanting melody of culture, cuisine, climate and scenery unlike anywhere else in the world.

8 Reasons to Visit South Tyrol

Whether you end up lured by its snow-dusted mountains or its sun-soaked valleys or the heart-warming traditions of its festive people, South Tyrol will shoot an arrow into your wanderlust heart. Guaranteed.

One of the great writers of the 20th century, Franz Kafka, described South Tyrol as “the most beautiful land” he had ever seen. Take a look at the video above then our reasons to visit below. We think you’ll agree.

1. Spellbinding Mountain Scenery

The only proper way to introduce South Tyrol is by beginning with its most lofty characteristic. So ravishing are its mountains in all seasons, that it is impossible to say when they captivate the most. They tower everywhere — lancing the sky with silver-fired summits and splintered spires. Some seem to caress the heavens while others, like the spearing peaks of Seceda, look as if they wish to tear it asunder.

While all of the mountain ranges in South Tyrol technically belong to the Italian Alps, two people could visit South Tyrol and leave with vastly different Alpine experiences.

For example, the mountains riveting much of southern and western South Tyrol along the Adige River begin with a breezy tropical demeanor that gradually becomes more Alpine as you ascend the slopes. The landscape here is a lush medley of palm trees, orchards and vineyards all framed by a myriad of romantic castles, stately villas and storied ruins. This corner of the Alps bathes in 300 days of sunshine each year painting the mountains with an almost permanent sunny disposition.

The Dolomites, on the other hand, redefine Alpine. Entirely. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Dolomites dominate eastern South Tyrol. They storm skyward in astonishing configurations — appearing as savage volcanic eruptions suspended in time.

In reality, the Dolomites are children of the sea. Their spearing pinnacles and ragged summits once comprised a sprawling coral reef in a prehistoric ocean called Tethys. When Earth’s continental plates collided in a tectonic rage 250 million years ago, the mountains were thrust from its depths. Now, they rear defiantly one to two miles above our heads like storybook cathedrals of stone.

More than 2,000 distinct mountains encompass the Dolomites. The range ravages 350,000+ acres, emblazoning the provinces of Belluno and Trentino in addition to South Tyrol. 

However, it is South Tyrol that boasts the Dolomites’ most awe-inspiring peaks. Behemoths like Tre Cime di Lavaredo, Sassolungo, Schlern and the Rosengarten can all be easily explored when visiting the region. By the way, if you are confused about the difference between the Alps and Dolomites, see our Alps and Dolomites 101 post for a deeper dive.

⇒ Plan Your Visit: Grab our South Tyrol + Dolomites Travel Guide

All this mountain terrain is not only ripe for hiking and biking, but it also translates into the world’s largest ski resort. Twelve snow-blanketed valleys covering nearly 1,200 square miles await winter recreation lovers…and the world’s top Alpine athletes. The 2026 Winter Olympics will be taking place in the Dolomites.

But as wondrous as the Dolomites are they make up only part of South Tyrol’s hulking mountain story. The Ortler Alps in Stelvio National Park lays claim to the highest mountain in South Tyrol: King Ortler. According to legend, this 12,812 ft monarch was once a giant that became stone. Easy to believe once you see it.

ortler mountain south tyrol
The tallest mountain in South Tyrol, King Ortler, wears an everlasting crown of white high above Val Venosta.

To the northeast of the Ortler Alps lies another majestic mountain range: the Ötztal Alps. Also mighty in size, but even more so in history, its glacier-enthroned peaks were home to an astounding discovery.

In 1991, two hikers found a man lost in ice for 5,300 years. The oldest intact mummy ever uncovered, the body of Ötzi the Iceman has shed immense insight into life during the Copper Age. His body and remarkably well-preserved belongings can now be studied by all at the South Tyrol Museum of Archeology in Bolzano.

⇒ GET INSPIRED: Discover the 10 Best Hikes in the Dolomites

2. Boundless Adventure At Your Speed

Three Peaks of Lavaredo also known as Drei Zinnen and Tre Cime di Lavaredo.
Hiking the famous Three Peaks of Lavaredo is one of the many jaw-dropping excursions in South Tyrol.

What does such a wild variety of mountains neighboring one another mean for you as a traveler? Pure bliss. Every turn in South Tyrol reveals your next adrenaline rush or moment of zen. With 8,000 miles of trails calling you, deciding how to spend your time is the biggest challenge.

On any given day you can roam cow-happy prairies hugged by ancient forests, hike heavenward to spy storm-beaten peaks shimmering in secluded lakes or parade sunny promenades rivering around castled vineyards. Or you can do nothing at all. Simply unplug and let the dramatic scenery be its own restorative voyage.

tre cime di lavaredo cadini mountain range

The Alpine and Mediterranean charisma of South Tyrol means experiencing two different vacations in one location. We have spent many mornings ambling carefree under leafy palms and ripening apples followed by eye-popping mountain treks in the afternoon.

If you’re like us, it will be impossible to say which activity you cherish more. Both bestow a bounty of exhilaration, romance and epic vistas.

A soul-mending activity not to be missed is hiking Waalwegs. Carved into the mountainsides, these centuries-old irrigation canals ascend easily winding through miles upon miles of juxtaposing landscapes.

With each step, you bounce along to the babbling chorus of snowmelt rushing down the peaks — encountering everything from mountain-hung castles and forgotten chapels to age-old chestnut groves pocketed with fruits of the vine and tree.

In the distance, you can hear the silver voice of church bells that from time to time join a choir of cuckoo birds and clanging cowbells. With around 5,000 traditional farms still speckling the mountains of South Tyrol, sleepy cows, clucking chickens and other smile-rousing farm animals are common companions during Waalweg hikes.

Thanks to a network of lift systems, on-mountain excursions in South Tyrol are available to every age and experience level. On every hiking outing, we meet travelers in their 70s and 80s vigorously enjoying the trails. The region enlivens one’s wandering spirit no matter your age.

⇒ Plan Your Visit: Grab our South Tyrol + Dolomites Travel Guide

But if the idea of taking a lift makes your heart flutter in all the wrong ways, fear not. South Tyrol offers plenty of alpine glories without requiring your feet to ever leave the ground. Destinations like Lago di Carezza, a gem that sparkles with different hues for every season, or the mountain farm trail in Völs am Schlern, where you can stroll among the ghosts of a pastoral past, let you enjoy the region’s grandeur without any chance for vertigo.

malga schgagular schwaige
If you like to mix adventure with culture, make plans to hike South Tyrol’s Alpe di Siusi.  

No matter if you are hiking among the heavens or venturing in the valleys, everyone needs a break. Even those with the stamina of a mountain goat. In South Tyrol, the solution comes in the form of rustic mountain huts, affectionately known as “rifugios”. Havens like the famous Geisler Alm are peppered along the trails, beckoning you in for a well-deserved respite.

Here, you can refuel with a hearty meal, wash it down with a glass of local wine or a pint of beer, and if the weather’s taken a turn, chase the chill away with a shot of stone pine schnapps. In the Dolomites alone, there are over a thousand of these little sanctuaries, each one a pit stop on your adventure through the wild.

⇒ YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: Cadini di Misurina: Hiking to Mordor in the Dolomites

3. Refined Alpine Wellness & Relaxation

With 80 percent of South Tyrol mantled by mountains that howl and whisper all at once, it’s no surprise the region is a celebrated spa and wellness destination. The natural splendor alone is enough to elevate your well-being.

But South Tyrol offers you much more. Set amidst the summits are wellness resorts, eco-retreats and authentic Tyrolean hideaways where you can experience the curative powers of pure mountain air, mineral-rich water, meadow-plucked herbs, and sun-kissed scenery in a truly novel manner. These destinations artfully harness their natural surroundings often fusing contemporary design with chalet-style comfort.

We have been fortunate to enjoy some of the top wellness resorts and boutique lodgings in South Tyrol. Ensuring a deep sense of relaxation and well-being during our stay was always at the center of our experience.

Many offer a bevy of ancient and modern treatments from mountain pine oil baths to stone massages to holistic health evaluations. But the best treatment of all may just be letting your worries wash away while floating in a salt-water infinity pool or lying in a steam sauna. And if you’re so inclined, you can even partake in lumberjack therapy. Few activities recharge oneself better than swinging an axe and feeling a log split in half.

Whatever wellness ritual you prefer, you will come to relish the imaginative ways accommodations in South Tyrol reinvigorate the mind, body and spirit. And if waking up at a campsite is your idea of a wellness spa, consider camping in the Dolomites. There is no grander way to reconnect with nature. One of the prettiest campgrounds in the region sits right along the shoreline of Lago di Dobbiaco. The tranquil nature trail circling this glacial lake is a wellness treatment all its own.


Hotel Quelle Wellness Resort
Have you ever walked a Kneipp path? Hotel Quelle turns this alpine wellness practice into an art form.

4. Storybook Splendor

Not many parts of the world are as deeply steeped in rich history as South Tyrol. For thousands of years, the region was the favored corridor between northern and southern Europe — ferrying conquering Roman legions, marauding Germanic tribes and countless medieval crusaders hellbent on taking back the Holy Land.

Some of humanity’s most consequential actors waged war in the shadows of South Tyrol’s peaks. Their profound cultural and architectural contributions echo across the valleys to this day. All you have to do is look up.

A panorama of Burg Taufers (also known as Castel Tures and Taufers Castle)
Taufers Castle in northeastern South Tyrol attracts 75,000+ visitors each year.

Few landmarks steal your attention like a menacing fortress brazening an even more menacing mountainside. South Tyrol has no shortage of them.

The region swoons with 800 castles — more than any other area of Europe. Many call forth fairytales, rekindling the wide-eyed wonder of your childhood. Others brood with medieval brawn, brandishing towering battlements that spark a flutter of trepidation. And then there are those rapt with mystery, centuries-old enigmas shrouded by a veil of vines.

⇒ Plan Your Visit: Grab our South Tyrol + Dolomites Travel Guide

No matter the type you encounter, South Tyrol’s strongholds provide a jaw-dropping way to plunge yourself into the Middle Ages. The hiking trails winding through the land allow you to study many of them from up close or afar. Even better, several of South Tyrol’s castles are open to visitors.

Touring them always leaves us awestruck. Walking in the footsteps of royalty long ago is a mesmeric glimpse into Europe’s past.

One of our favorite mountain haunts is Tyrol Castle. Perhaps the most historically significant castle in South Tyrol, Castle Tirol braves a bouldered shoulder in the village of Dorf Tirol. It was once the ruling seat of the Counts of Tyrol, vastly influential nobles whose reign gave the entire region its name.

A formidable fortress in its day, the castle sees all with the Etschtal and Val Venosta valleys sprawled out far below its walls. Sacking it would have been next to impossible as it required conquering two castles. The Brunnenburg Castle rises below Tyrol Castle forming a brotherhood of strongholds.

⇒ YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: South Tyrolean Apples: Mountains of Flavor in Italy

5. Elevated Cuisine

Must-Try Foods of South Tyrol

On any given dining outing you can savor an authentic dish on its own or a novel fusion of all the above. Such a motley of cuisine choices means each bite can launch you on a distinct journey in flavors.

If there is a Valhalla for foodies it may be in South Tyrol. Thanks to the region saddling northern and southern Europe, South Tyrol offers a rare, all-embracing culinary landscape. German, Tyrolean, Italian and Ladin cultures all have a place at the table.

In fact, South Tyrol is often trumpeted as Italy’s gourmet star. More Michelin-starred restaurants reside here than anywhere else in the country. It comes as no surprise then to learn that, Massimo Bottura, the chef at the world’s top-rated restaurant, visits South Tyrol frequently to find inspiration. 

south tyrol garden
Farm-to-table isn’t a fashionable buzzword in South Tyrol, but a way of life.

How did South Tyrol earn such coveted esteem? By placing quality at the heart of your dining experience.

Quality is so important to South Tyroleans that they officially trademarked South Tyrol food in 1976 — making the region the first in Europe to receive such a designation.

We’ve delighted in some of the finest Italian pasta and pizza dishes while refueling on mountaintops in South Tyrol. And while it can be tempting to always fill your table with traditional Italian fare, a visit to South Tyrol is not complete without indulging in the region’s homegrown specialties.

Authentic delights like smoked speck, knödel, apple strudel, white asparagus, krapfen and South Tyrolean breads and cheeses, just to name a handful, are must-have treasures. 

One of the best ways to discover the gastronomy of South Tyrol is to dine at member restaurants of the “Sudtiroler Gasthaus” group. This association preserves the unique culture of hospitality and quality that sets South Tyrolean restaurants apart.

Beyond sumptuous dishes available morning, noon and night, the dining settings in South Tyrol are as picturesque as a postcard. Especially those in its lost-in-time villages.

These folkloric darlings spring up from the valleys and hillsides as invitations to a simpler time. For us, dining surrounded by humble dwellings bedecked with balconies drowning in flowers is a cherished break from the trappings of modern life.

The quaint restaurants, taverns and cafes lining cobbled avenues encourage you to slow down, sink into a cozy seat, sip a glass of wine or a Hugo Spritz, and chat with a local or two. There’s no better way to uncover the next hidden gem lying nearby.

But if sleepy mountain villages are not your speed, do not fret. South Tyrol’s larger towns like Bolzano, Merano and Brixen offer plenty of vibrancy with lively streets, open-air food markets, bistros, pubs and shops all wrapped in old-world beauty.

The dining scene in Bolzano is second to none. Some of Italy’s most talented chefs work in the capital.

Even Hollywood celebrities have taken note. Chefs like Manuel Astuto, head chef at the Parkhotel Laurin, have been flown around the world to cook at private affairs.

However, whether you visit Bolzano to dine or not, the city itself is a treat worth consuming. It reverberates with centuries of dynamic influences and commands a history rivaling Rome. Read our post about visiting Bolzano to learn more about what there is to see and do in South Tyrol’s most cosmopolitan city.

⇒ READ MORE: Savor the Mountain: 10 Must-Try Foods in South Tyrol

6. Daringly Delicious Winescapes

Cantina Tramin Wines
Italy’s northernmost wine-growing region, South Tyrol’s wines wonderfully reflect the ancient soul of the land.

Since we touched on South Tyrol’s renowned cuisine, it’s only natural we tell you about its wines next. Bacchus has been blessedly kind to South Tyrol. However, the Roman god of wine did not grant fruited favor without requiring South Tyroleans to do a lot of hard work.

Over the course of 3,000 years, the techniques to grow, tend and harvest grapevines on South Tyrol’s steep mountain slopes have been perfected by the region’s trailblazing winemakers. The result? Truly exquisite wines and scenery ripe for a Monet.

Throughout much of South Tyrol, you can admire arbored vineyards beautifying the landscape. In every season, they appear like living, breathing masterpieces hung on the mountainsides.

The region’s high-elevation vineyards reap the benefits of sun-filled days and cool nights to produce some of the highest-regarded wines in the world. The kind of wines connoisseurs, enthusiasts and newcomers can all relish.

Crisp, mineral-dominate whites such as Gewürztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio are among the region’s most popular wines, but you’ll also discover heavenly reds such as Lagrein and Pinot Noir. In fact, Italy’s top three rated Pinot Noir wines come from Alto Adige (South Tyrol wine estates use the Italian name for the region on their wine labels).

The best way to explore South Tyrol’s wines is by visiting its winemakers. Many of the region’s 150+ producers have tasting rooms in their cantinas. If you do not gush over their wines you certainly will over their architecture. Several, like Cantina Tramin, possess some of the most inventive designs in the Alps.

⇒ Plan Your Visit: Grab our South Tyrol + Dolomites Travel Guide

To immerse yourself in South Tyrol’s wine culture, we suggest touring the South Tyrolean Wine Road — Italy’s oldest wine road. It voyages through 16 wine villages set along vine-draped slopes that pour into apple orchard after apple orchard.

Wine lovers should consider booking an immersive stay at a boutique winery along the wine road like Weingut Donà.  Not many things are more romantic than waking up in a vineyard-bounded villa with a castle ruin looming overhead.

Vineyard by Bolzano

If you’re a biking enthusiast, consider renting a bike or booking a cycling tour to pedal from one wine village to the next. With more than 300 days of sunshine each year, you won’t consider the ride just scenic, but heart-pounding spectacular.

The Roma Wine Festival recently declared the South Tyrolean Wine Road the most beautiful of Italy’s 140 wine routes thanks to its “perfect interplay of wine, scenery and culture”. We couldn’t agree more. Every time we take the road the lovely sips and sights we encounter consume our day.

However, if wine isn’t your beverage of choice when on vacation, you have other spirited options. South Tyrol has a craft brewing tradition going back more than 1,000 years. Water fresh from mountain springs serves as the foundation for beers with distinct character and flavor.

A popular brewery we like to visit is Forst in Algund. Set in the shadow of a lush mountainside, Forst offers a variety of high-quality beers. You can kick back and sample them in the brewery’s restaurant or beer garden.

While Forst is the largest local brewer, you can also grab a stool at microbreweries such as Pfefferlechner in Lana or Gassl Bräu in Chiusa. Both produce tasty craft brews and offer a full menu of well-paired South Tyrolean dishes.

⇒ READ MORE: Prackfol Wine Farm: Bounty Beneath the Dolomites

7. Steepled In Tradition

The only manmade spectacles punctuating South Tyrol more than castles are those spiritual in nature. Churches, chapels, cathedrals, monasteries and shrines adorn its towns, villages and countryside in astonishing numbers.

Faith in South Tyrol is celebrated in immensely grand ways as well as with the subtlest of expressions. The religious sights, traditions and rituals you encounter are truly endearing.

Whether you are a person of faith or not, taking time to appreciate the deep historical importance of religion to South Tyrol is a must during your visit. The achievements of the artists, architects and masons from long ago amidst the region’s lofty crags are nothing short of spectacular.

Lago di Resia Curon Bell Tower
South Tyrol teems with historic marvels like the 14th-century sunken bell tower of Curon.

From sky-piercing spires to interiors flush with fading frescoes and intricate wood carvings, the beauty of South Tyrol’s largest cathedrals and its smallest chapels will instill a sense of awe. Walking through them reveals remarkable attention to detail that never fails to mesmerize.

A historic treasure we recommend all to see is the Abbey of Novacella (also known as Neustift Monastery) near Brixen. This monastery astounds with architectural styles spanning centuries. The Baroque interior of its church will leave you breathless.

But perhaps the best part of visiting Novacella is that after studying all its glory you can sip its delightful wines. It is one of the oldest wineries in the world.

For those venturing into the Dolomites, a historic site not to miss is St. Valentin Chapel in Alpe di Siusi. This small chapel sits atop a grassy hill beneath the jarring face of Schlern mountain.

Its bulb-tipped steeple set against the backdrop of the mountain is one of the most iconic sights of South Tyrol. Reaching the church is just a short jaunt uphill from the village of Seis.

⇒ Plan Your Visit: Grab our South Tyrol + Dolomites Travel Guide

Another captivating sight to take in is South Tyrol’s wayside shrines. For more than a thousand years, South Tyroleans have harmonized spirituality with their natural surroundings by erecting shrines throughout the land.

These tender-hearted creations abundantly appear along hiking paths. You can also happen upon them tucked in nooks throughout neighborhoods, hotels, taverns and restaurants.

On our treks, we’ve always found them a peace-inducing surprise. Many seem to greet you out of nowhere — gracefully watching over all those who wander by.

A place for weary travelers to rest and pray, even the oldest shrines are still carefully attended to by local residents. The wide array of sizes, shapes and materials used to construct shrines reveals the talents and devotion of the community.

Some wear a cloak of mystery while others hold candles, rosaries, photographs and thoughtfully-crafted carvings left in remembrance of a loved one. Quite often native flowers encircle a shrine embellishing its poetic pose.

⇒ READ MORE: Lago di Resia: Discover the Sunken Bell Tower of Curon

8. An Infectious Festive Spirit

Merano Grape Festival Musicians
Bask in traditional South Tyrolean culture by attending a festival.

What is the best way to immerse oneself in a culture? Attend local festivals and celebrations. South Tyrol bustles with them. Revelry runs in South Tyroleans’ blood — seemingly as much as wine and adventure.

A reason to gather is not hard to find in the mountains and valleys no matter the season. However, autumn may be the time of year that animates South Tyrol’s festive spirit the most. When you attend an Almabtrieb festival, for example, this becomes strikingly evident as tradition, joy, and community come alive before your very eyes.

In early October, you can also celebrate the delicious tradition of speck in Val di Funes amid some of South Tyrol’s grandest mountain scenery. See our post to discover why you should partake in the hearty fun of Speckfest.

Also in early October is the South Tyrolean Bread & Strudel Market in Brixen. Here, you can joyfully lose yourself in the centuries-old baking traditions of South Tyrol.

Later in the month, Merano comes alive with the oldest harvest celebration in the Alps: The Merano Grape Festival. This autumnal get-together goes back more than 130 years and includes a grand parade that is a must-see.

If attending these fall festivals is not possible for whatever reason, you must at least experience the beloved harvest custom of Törggelen. Our guide to Törggelen shares everything you need to savor this farm-fresh feasting tradition that includes sampling the year’s new wine.

Visiting South Tyrol in late November or in December? Treat yourself to a postcard-perfect setting for the holidays. The traditional Christmas markets of South Tyrol are plentiful this time of year.

You’ll cherish the season’s aromas and flavors not to mention handmade creations that elevate holiday decorating to a whole new level. While the bigger markets attract the crowds, it’s the quaint, boutique Christmas markets where we find the most cheer.

But if you really want to know what makes the Christmas season in South Tyrol heartwarming, then you need to attend a Krampus run. Darting away from a flurry of Krampus takes the chill right out of the air.

⇒ Plan Your Visit: Grab our South Tyrol + Dolomites Travel Guide

The Best Time to Visit South Tyrol

Kate admirning the Rosengarten while camping in the Dolomites

Regardless of the season you visit, your time in South Tyrol will create fiercely enduring memories. The kind that calls you back.

The busiest season is summer as tourists from Germany, Italy and the U.K. arrive in large numbers. But winter is also popular with snow lovers. South Tyrol possesses 30 ski resorts with 750 miles of ski trails crisscrossing the land.

If you’re going to South Tyrol to hit the slopes, consider taking advantage of Dolomiti Superski. It gives you access to 12 ski areas all on one ski pass. There’s no better way to carve up fresh snow, as well as get your fill of gourmet food, wine and of course grappa on those extra chilly days.

Kate admiring Tre Cime di Lavaredo and Mount Paterno.
Make sure you are prepared for mountain weather. See our travel guides to find out what to pack and what to leave at home.

While summer in South Tyrol is fabulous, we think the best time to visit is in the spring and fall. Specifically, late May and early June or September through October. You’ll have much more of the wonderland to yourself. And you’ll still have nearly every opportunity to revel in the wilderness on foot or bike.

Plus, you’ll save money on your trip as prices tend to come down. Just be prepared for a bit more unpredictable weather if you’re venturing into higher altitudes. Spring and late fall can still bring snowfall to the mountains.

You’ll also want to know the lift system operating dates if you spend the bulk of your time in the Dolomites. We can help you determine the best time to visit the Dolomites based on your specific interests.

Another reason to visit South Tyrol in autumn is to roam through fragrant vineyards and orchards burning with fall colors. Trust us. It’s an experience unlike any other.


Reaching South Tyrol

Photo shoot on Lago di Braies
Ten lakes sit among South Tyrol’s mountains. Lake Braies, pictured here, is easy for anyone to visit regardless of age and fitness level.

Getting to South Tyrol, Italy is relatively easy even though the region does not have a major international airport. The closest major airport is located in Innsbruck, Austria an hour north of South Tyrol. 

Nearby major cities where we’ve found the best airfare deals include Munich, Milan and Venice. From each of these cities, it takes under 3 hours to reach South Tyrol. Other major cities nearby include Salzburg (2.5 hours), Zurich (4 hours) and Verona (1.5 hours).

After landing you can make the trip to South Tyrol by car, train or shuttle bus. Regardless of your starting point, the journey is pleasant and scenic. Our travel resource guides provide step-by-step directions on using any of these transportation options.

We personally prefer renting a car and have found the best rental deals through Discover Cars. The freedom to hop around South Tyrol at our own pace is ideal. However, South Tyrol’s public transportation system is exceptional and widespread if that is your preference.

If you’re planning to rent a car be sure to check out our article on driving in Italy. It is full of helpful tips that will make sure you’re confident while driving in the Dolomites and beyond.

If you decide to use public transportation while in South Tyrol, pick up a Mobilcard at your hotel, transportation hubs or tourist offices. This affordable card provides quick access to South Tyrol’s public bus and rail networks, which include more than 200 bus routes and four train lines. Note: If you want help determining the correct bus and train routes to travel throughout South Tyrol and the Dolomites, connect with us through our trip planning services. We will provide easy-to-follow instructions to make your time in the region stress-free.


Resources to Plan Your South Tyrol Vacation

South Tyrol & Dolomites Travel Guide Book

The abundance of activities, sights and cultural experiences in South Tyrol runs as high as its summits. One could never cover it in a single blog post or even a lifetime of blog posts. However, it’s our hope as you explore Italy vacation ideas that you stamp South Tyrol on your travel wish list…preferably at the top. A hidden treasure of wows awaits you.

We developed detailed South Tyrol Travel Resources & Dolomites Hiking Guides to make planning your escape easy and your time in the region filled with adventure. Consider it your own personal travel agent and South Tyrol travel guide. This exclusive content includes:

  • Insider Tips
  • How-to Guides
  • Step-by-Step Hiking Directions
  • What to Pack & NOT Pack
  • Key Phrases to Know
  • Transportation Options
  • and Much More!

These resources are based on nearly a decade of experience exploring South Tyrol. They will save you time and money while helping you embark on the vacation of a lifetime. LEARN MORE NOW

Day Tours to Consider

If you like the idea of visiting the Dolomites with the help of a tour guide, contact us to explore options. Those interested in experiencing the region’s fascinating wine heritage can book a private tour with a local expert, offering an intimate exploration of South Tyrol’s esteemed wineries and vineyards, alongside tasting regional specialties. This personalized journey not only connects travelers with the area’s rich viticultural traditions but also provides insider access to hidden gems and stories that only a local guide can offer.


See You on the Sunny Side of the Alps!

To discover more about South Tyrol and our escapades, follow us on your favorite social media channel at the bottom of this page. We live and breathe South Tyrol through the stories we tell. 

Through Throne & Vine, you’ll fall in love with the region and find the resources necessary to plan an unforgettable trip. We look forward to seeing you on the trails and poolside!

If you have a South Tyrolean travel tip you would like to share, please comment below. We’d love to hear from you!


sudtirol alto adige south tyrol travel guide
dolomites south tyrol travel guide

57 thoughts on “Discover South Tyrol: Italy’s Best-Kept Secret”

    • Hi there – Early November is not ideal as many places shut down for a bit before the winter season takes off. If you have an opportunity to visit South Tyrol in October or late November when the Christmas markets open that would be the better choice.

  1. Hi. I have a question. I hope it’s okay to post it here. We are considering of vacation. It appears to be absolutely beautiful in South tyrol. We are in our 60’s. We do not ski. We do not/ can not hike. Is tyrol a vacation we should not take?

    Thank you for your time.😃

    • Hi Terry – Absolutely you should visit South Tyrol at your age. We have helped plan numerous trips for couples in their 60s and 70s. You can enjoy much of the natural beauty and historic wonder of the region without hiking. If you would like us to help you plan a trip, please see our South Tyrol Itinerary Services page for options:

  2. Da bin ich aufgewachsen, auf die gruenen wiesen und weissen spitzen. dort ist mein Herz und mein Zukunft!

    Die schoenste Bergen und Taeler aller Welt, aller Zeit!!

    Dort wo meine Seele lachelt

  3. I’m convinced, I need to get there! The mountain biking up high, through vineyards and near castles sold me. Thanks for a very educational #ItalianFWT article ;-D

  4. I don’t know what excites me more… being in the incredible natural locations, exploring these castles, or eating the food! Thanks for sharing notes taken!!

  5. Italy has always been my dream destination and your travel guide to South Tyrol just adds to the reason why I want to visit this place.

  6. I’ve seen South Tyrol when I did my road trip in Italy when I drove there from Berlin! I haven’t seen much and I haven’t make any stops but it does look very impressive!! I would love to go there for longer one day hike and explore all those wonderful castles !! They look fabulous!!

  7. This really was a Wow! for me. I don’t think I’ve read much at all about South Tyrol at all. Sabiona Monastery is stunning, and, of course, I have yet to meet a castle I didn’t want to explore. The food and wine look spectacular, too — oddly enough one of my husband’s favorite white wines is Gewürztraminer! Add all of that to the mountain biking and hiking, and this is a place we really need to visit. Thanks for sharing! Pinned!

  8. Wow!!!!! South Tyrol is stunning!!! I’ve never even heard of this area. The views, food and wine have me sold!!!

  9. This is so well written and informative – I didn’t know anything about South Tyrol before reading this post. Sounds like such a beautiful part of the world, I would love to visit someday. You’re photos are amazing!

  10. This was a fantastic read, I’m just about ready to hop on a plane right now and head to South Tyrol! Absolutely gorgeous and sounds like the most scenic and peaceful location, definitely adding it to my list!

  11. This is a great post! I originally had a trip planned to this area in September – but I swapped it for Greece as I was craving white beaches. Your post convinced me to still travel here at a later time!

  12. Wow, this region looks and sounds incredible! I love your descriptions, and your photos are gorgeous! You definitely had me convinced with the mountains, medieval castles, storybook villages, terraced vineyards, orchards, and skiing ha ha. I would love to go hiking in those mountains and wander through the villages. It sounds like such a neat combination of cultures and landscapes. There is so much to see and do in the world!

  13. Wow your photos of South Tyrol are incredible! It looks like something out of a fairytale. Great post! What camera do you use?

  14. I love how you started by asking readers to think about what their last ‘Wow’ moment was… mine was probably watching the sunrise from the top of Mount Roy in New Zealand, so I knew I was going to love this post!! Oh gosh, your photos are like something out of a fairytale! My feet are itchy just think about hiking here. I’m adding Tyrol to my Wander-list; I didn’t know about it before I stumbled upon your post but it’s definitely somewhere I need to see!!

  15. Your photos are magical!!1 I wad recently in Tryol in the Dolomites and it took my breathe away! It’s definitely somewhere I would like to return to some day!

  16. This is AMAZING and I absolutely have to go on our RTW!!!!! Thank you so much for inspiring me 😀

    • I’m so ecstatic!!! You will not regret a stop in South Tyrol. We would love to hear how you like it and feel free to reach out to us with any questions. Your trip sounds amazing! Have a blast!

  17. South Tyrol is so high on the top of my bucket list! It’s beautiful in every season, but I’d love to see it in Winter or Spring!

  18. Omg I have never heard of Tyrol in Northern Italybut this post sold me. I had no idea it was under Austrian rule way back when and I would love to explore some of the culture and history. I mean those castles look amazing!! Thank you!!

  19. Absolutely loved your blog post and photos and I’m SOLD! Thank you for clearing my confusion, I have been trying to decide between Chamonix, Brittany and South Tyrol and honestly, after reading your post, there is no doubt. 🙂 Thanks for the inspiration and I hope I can reach out to you for logistics Xx

    • Absolutely! I’m so glad you’re going to check it out. Please do reach out to us if you have any questions. We’re more than happy to help!

  20. So true, Tyrol is a haven for outdoor lovers. I’ve shared this with a friend from this area, she’s so damn healthy and always skiing, I think I understand why now! 300 days of sunshine, just wow!

  21. Oh wow, I’ve never heard of South Tyrol, it looks gorgeous! Seems there is a great balance of things to do and see. I love castles and that craft beer looks lovely.

  22. This place looks amazing! The mountain biking trail network in Val Gardena and through the vineyards in South Tyrol indeed comes with spectacular views! I would love to do this one day! Will definitely put this on my Bucket list!

  23. There’s nothing quite like autumn in the mountains! Tyrol looks spectacular! I’m headed to the Swiss Alps for hiking next week, but I may have to consider a trip to the Dolomites for next summer. Heading over to check out your German phrases now as I’m woefully underprepared for this trip!

  24. Your photos are stunning! And your well-written post makes a trip to South Tyrol sound like the most magical of experiences. I’ve been close to the area, but not in it, and now, I’m adamant about going.

  25. This is a great guide! I love your photography a lot! These pictures make me want to go there right away! It’s a shame we haven’t been there yet, while we live on the same continent! Stunning! Thanks for sharing!

  26. So gorgeous! I went to Tyrol in winter last year for some winter walking with my dog and it was unforgettable! I would like to go back in spring and go to a dairy farm for fresh milk and cheese. I’ve heard they have hiking routes for those!

  27. OK you just put South Tyrol on my travel list. And it went in high!

    Awesome article guys, and great pics. Looks like a pretty special part of the world.

    Are you guys living up there full time now?

    • Thanks so much! It’s absolutely our favorite destination. Unfortunately we are not living there, but we’re absolutely dying to.

  28. Wow….autumn in Europe sure is the best, don’t you think? I love the mountain biking adventure for sure but I think you had me with the food. hehe. Autumn is my favourite season so the pic of the Dolomites with that golden hue…omg, so gorgeous.

  29. Northern Italy looks wonderful – I particularly love that photo of the Dolomite! I was in Verona for a month and now I feel like I hadn’t used my time there wisely!

  30. It’s been a looooooong time since I’ve been to Italy (years, I tell you) and your photos have me seriously questioning this life decision! Autumn looks like it would be the perfect time to go (although I have to say, I adore Autumn travel any time of the year!!).

  31. Jaw-dropping indeed! And it looks like there’s so much to do there. I’d love to visit someday.

  32. How beautiful! I had never even heard of this area before. I am definitely adding it to my travel bucket list.

  33. Wow, those castles look so magical and enchanting! I haven’t heard of this place before but it is definitely being added to my bucket list now. Your pictures are stunning!

  34. Wow! This is stunning! I have never even heard of this place until today. I’d love to visit!

  35. This post comes at an opportune time. I’m presently sitting with my laptop in front of me looking at side trips from where I am now, Serbia. I shall explore this further, and your article may cause me to change my upcoming travel plan.

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