ALTA VAL VENOSTA

How big is this valley? Quite a lot, we’d like to tell you. But don’t despair: we will tell you everything we can.

We imagine this corner of South Tyrol as a picture with cold colors, like green and blue and all their nuances. But why not also the warm colors, which from spring accompany you through the whole summer until autumn, with its reds, yellows and browns. All this is in the background of high peaks, hidden villages, monasteries overlooking the valley and castles of inestimable value. Many paintings that we invite you to know and experience in every season.

Colorful and lively in summer, cold and silent in winter: Alta Val Venosta, a small world that remains in your heart!

TOP 5 NOT TO BE MISSED

  • Admire Lake Resia and its bell tower
  • Visit Castel Coira
  • Immerse yourself in the atmosphere of Glorenza
  • Skiing in Solda
  • Follow the road of the Stelvio Pass
lago di resia campanile
Ph © IDM Alto Adige Frieder Blickle

MAIN VILLAGES

SCHLUDERNS / SLUDERNO

The sunny Sluderno is located on the western side of Monte Sole and is mainly known for its well-preserved Castel Coira (Churburg). The castle overlooks the village and is well worth a visit. It is a fortress built in the 13th century, now owned by the Trapp counts of Innsbruck, who use it as a summer residence. It can be visited on a guided tour from April to October and what you can’t miss for any reason in the world is the armour room that hosts the largest collection of medieval battle armor in the world. The corridors of the cloister are also particularly beautiful, adorned with ceiling frescoes: the quince tree reconstructs the family tree of the Trapp family.

Every summer around the 20th of August, the South Tyrolean Medieval Games are held on the meadows near the village.

If you love castles and knightly games, Sluderno and Castel Coira are a must!

The historic centre of the village itself is also very interesting: from the late-Gothic church of St. Catherine, with its walls decorated with frescoes on the varied history of the Alta Val Venosta, to the paths around the village that lead through orchards and meadows.

Don’t forget that from Sluderno the Adige cycle path runs along the ancient Roman road Claudia Augusta and the Venosta railway network.

Castel Coria
Ph © IDM Alto Adige Alex Filz

PRAD AM STILFSERJOCH / PRATO ALLO STELVIO

Prad am Stilfserjoch is located at the gates of the kingdom of His Majesty the Ortler, which at 3905 meters is the highest peak in South Tyrol.

A large part of the municipality of Prato allo Stelvio is included in the Stelvio National Park: close your eyes and think about the unspoilt nature. This is the landscape of the slopes of the Ortler Group and the wild protected environment of the river delta of the Solda stream at the confluence with the Adige – the so-called Arena di Prato (“Prader Sand”) – which hosts a varied and rare birdlife.

For an alternative afternoon, a visit to the 13 large aquariums of the Aquaprad Visitor Centre, a modern museum in the centre of the village, dedicated to the knowledge of the fish fauna and aquatic environments of the Province of Bolzano, may be an idea.

No danger of boredom or disappointment: in Prato allo Stelvio you will find countless possibilities for trips and excursions in the surrounding area, to discover the magnificent alpine environment of the Ortles massif. If you are wondering what to do in winter, we anticipate that you will be spoilt for choice, with 6 ski areas available nearby, all part of the consortium Ortler Skiarena.

Passo Dello Stelvio paesi
Ph © IDM Alto Adige Helmuth Rier

GLURNS / GLORENZA

Are you ready to fall in love? The jewel of Glorenza, or Glurns in German, is a very ancient city, which is being discussed in written sources since the eleventh century.

Glorenza’s special feature is its fortified structure, the only one of its kind in the Alps, with walls and three picturesque gate towers. Its strategic position, on the Via Claudia Agusta, has made it an important junction for trade between South Tyrol and Switzerland over the years: even today two fairs of local importance are celebrated here: the market of St. Bartholomew in August and the “Sealamorkt” (real market – also livestock) in November.

The walls have contributed to the preservation of this town, the smallest to have this title in South Tyrol, keeping the number of inhabitants very low, to date about 880.

Walk through Glorenza and breathe its medieval city air: the square, the pavement of the alleys, its low arcades, the old houses that in summer show off balconies of colorful geraniums. A jump back in time and a jump into your heart!

Particularly interesting is the Mill of Glorenza, recently restored and still working today with its grinding plant. We recommend that you take part in guided tours of the city, both during the day and … at night! The latter only in the months of July and August.

Glorenza is also the start of one of the most popular mountain bike races: every year at the beginning of June there is the Ortler Bike Marathon.

Glorenza vie del centro
Ph © IDM Alto Adige Frieder Blickle

GRAUN IM VINSCHGAU / CURON VENOSTA

Here we are, in the village where the famous bell tower emerges from the water, the true symbol of the Val Venosta, as well as one of those of South Tyrol. The Romanesque bell tower from 1355 is known all over the world for the beauty and uniqueness of its landscape, as well as remembering the presence of a village, submerged by the reservoir of the artificial lake of Resia in 1950. You can learn more about history in the Alta Val Venosta Museum in Curon.

In addition to the Resia lake, there is also the San Valentino lake, just before arriving from Malles. Together they are a favourite destination for kite-surfers in summer and skaters in winter.

In summer, the region is a popular destination for cyclists: it is here that the Via Claudia Augusta, one of the most famous cycling routes in Europe, passes, and then continues in the direction of Merano. Those who want to go higher will have two important excursion centres at their disposal: on the border with Switzerland, on the side of the Val di Roia, and in the Vallelunga, on the border with Austria, at the foot of the Palla Bianca glacier.

Winter in Curon also has a lot to offer. With Belpiano and Malga San Valentino, there are two ski areas. And if you are looking for romance, we recommend a relaxing horse-drawn sleigh ride to discover the beauty of the snow-covered Alta Val Venosta.

Curon Venosta campanile inverno
Ph © IDM Alto Adige Alex Filz

SULDEN / SOLDA

At an important altitude of 1840 metres, the Alpine village of Solda lies in front of the roof of the Tyrol: the majestic triad Ortles, Monte Zebrù and Gran Zebrù.

Thanks to its location in the heart of the Stelvio National Park, Solda boasts a long tradition of tourism, dating back to the dawn of the history of mountaineering and winter sports.

The Ortler massif and the surrounding peaks are ideal terrain for new adventures in an unspoilt mountain environment: hikes to local mountain huts, via ferrata, rock, mixed and glacier climbing, ski mountaineering. The Solda cable car provides quick and easy access to the almost 2,600 metres above sea level of the Città di Milano refuge (Schaubachhütte), an ideal starting point for countless hikes and climbs.

In winter, thanks to their high altitude and the particular microclimate of the area, the optimally prepared 44 km of ski slopes of Solda guarantee perfect snow cover, for a longer skiing season than that of the vast majority of other ski resorts.

If it is the air of the great mountains that you breathe in Solda, you will not be surprised that the great Himalayan mountaineer Reinhold Messner has made it his own place of choice, making it almost a small Tibetan enclave in South Tyrol, starting with the now characteristic presence of yaks, imported from his expeditions and that in Solda have found ideal environment and climate. In addition to this, Solda was chosen to host the MMM Ortles, one of the six themed museums desired by the famous alpinist.

Ortles panorama sulla vetta
Ph © IDM Alto Adige Helmuth Rier

MALS / MALLES VENOSTA

The geographical location of this town is crucial: if you want to reach Austria via the Reschenpass or Switzerland via Müstair, you will have to go through the area around Malles.

Malles Venosta has ancient origins: its old town is characterized by medieval noble houses and Romanesque churches, which date back to the time of Charlemagne, such as that of St. Benedict.

A crossroads for Austria and Switzerland, together with Glorenza it was and still is an important commercial hub in the 17th century, when Countess Claudia De Medici of Tyrol granted the town two fairs, the one at S. Giorgio in April and the “Gollimarkt” in mid-October. The importance of Malles is demonstrated by the seven towers, five of which are still intact after the wars against the French: the parish church of the Assumption, the church of St. Benedict from the Carolingian period, St. Martin from the 12th century, St. John and finally the medieval tower of the Fröhlichsburg castle. The latter still preserves the imposing tower with its characteristic round shape.

The many localities of Malles are home to treasures not to be missed: in Burgusio, the Benedictine monastery of Marienberg overlooking the valley is a place of “work and prayer”, also available for conferences. The guesthouse of Abbot Hermann can accommodate you for a stay in the name of silence and nature.

In Tarces there is the mythical Tarces Hill with the Romanesque church of San Vito. The hill, which was formed during the Ice Age, rises in the Landa di Malles and offers a spectacular panoramic view of Malles and Glorenza.

Finally, from Slingia you can reach one of the most important and panoramic peaks of the area: Piz Sesvenna at 3204 meters above sea level. The Piz Sesvenna is very popular for its wonderful ski-mountaineering excursion in winter, but also for the not too demanding one in summer, on the gentle glacier on the border between Engadin (Switzerland) and Italy.

Malles panorama paese
Ph © IDM Alto Adige Angelika Shwarz

CURIOSITIES

 

The historical fortifications of the Reschenpass border are today a popular destination for those interested in modern history. At the end of the 1930s, a defence line was built along the Reschenpass border to protect against a possible invasion by Hitler. This line was made up of bunkers and anti-vehicle barriers, supply routes and combat trenches.

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WINTER ACTIVITIES

Cover yourself well: here in Alta Val Venosta it’s really cold. You can always warm up with alpine skiing, with 5 ski areas of the “Two Countries” and the “Ortler Skiarena” available: ideal for families, but also for those who are looking for the summit to climb. A breathtaking landscape will be the backdrop to your activities, to be carried out in total relaxation. Freestyle snow parks, ski and snowboard slopes and toboggan runs. But also long snowshoes, in an alpine environment of the most beautiful. For cross-country skiing we recommend the Nordic Ski Centre in Val Martello (biathlon) and Slingia (cross-country). For romantics, Lake Resia becomes a perfect skating rink, where you can touch the famous bell tower.

If ski touring is your passion, here you will find three-thousand metre cathedrals with dreamlike views: Piz Sesvenna, Cima Glockhauser, Cima di Grion or Cima Solda, just to name a few of the most beautiful.

Sciare in Val Venosta
Ph © IDM Alto Adige Alex Filz

SUMMER ACTIVITIES

Among the many summer activities that the Alta Val Venosta can offer, we certainly mention the continuation of the Adige cycle path, or the old Roman road Claudia Augusta, which also in this area crosses beautiful stretches. From Lake Resia, the cycle path leads to Burgusio and the Benedictine Abbey of Monte Maria, the highest in Europe and inhabited for over 800 years. From Burgusio there is a spectacular view of the historic village of Malles with its Romanesque churches, the Tarces hill and the medieval town of Glorenza.

More or less simple trekking routes, which find the maximum expression of mountaineering in the Alta Via dell’Ortles or in the Alta Via Val Venosta, two routes that offer unforgettable views of the glaciers and that will test your strength.

The Stelvio National Park is a real paradise for mountaineers, who only have to choose between having fun in the Ortles area, in the Vinschgau Alps or in the Sesvenna Group.

Escursioni MTB estate
Ph © Val Venosta Marketing Kirsten-J. Sörries

EXCURSIONISTIC AND SCIISTIC AREAS

SKIARENA DUE PAESI

Five ski areas covering Austria and Italy. The new Due Paesi ski arena allows you to enjoy the snow between Nauders at Passo Resia and Solda in Val Venosta. A single ski pass gives access to five ski areas with a total of 211 km of slopes.

In summer, in addition to the already mentioned Adige cycle path, you can take many routes in this area: Alpi Venoste and Gruppo del Sesvenna hide wonderful treasures: we are referring not only to the priceless views that will make you lose your eye between Italy, Austria and Switzerland, but also to the huts that serve delicacies of all respect. For the spirit of the mountaineer, we recommend the Alta Via Val Venosta: a real attraction for all hikers. Its route runs from the source of the Adige river to the Reschenpass, in the area of the triple Rhaetian border, up to Stava in Bassa Val Venosta. The rich and varied vegetation of the Monte Sole and the splendid panoramic view of the Ortler group make the route a unique experience.

Lago di Resia campanile Curon Venosta
Ph © IDM Alto Adige Frieder Blickle

ORTLER SKIARENA 

The Ortler Skiarena is, together with the Dolomiti Superski, one of the two largest ski areas in South Tyrol.

There are 15 ski areas, which can be used with just one ski pass, ranging from the Solda glacier to the Val Senales glacier, Merano 2000, Schwemmalm and Corno del Renon and San Martino above Bolzano. The Ortler Skiarena therefore also covers a large part of the Val Venosta, like that of Solda.

The ski area of Solda is on a glacier and surrounded by 14 peaks over three thousand meters above sea level will make you feel small. The park is 44 km long and is perfect if you are an expert or a beginner, but if you love winter sports, here you will find something for your teeth.

Thanks to its location and guaranteed snow, the Solda ski area is open six months a year. In addition to numerous slopes, it also offers fresh snow slopes for lovers of extreme skiing, freeriding and telemark. The fun park is equipped with numerous half-pipes for freestyle snowboarders, while lovers of unspoilt nature can enjoy skiing between the peaks of the three thousand until late spring.

 

Although much loved and frequented, the Solda Glacier has remained very attached to its traditions and as the second home of the famous mountaineer Reinhold Messner has been home to the Messner Mountain Museum Ortles since 2004.

ADVICE

Reach the Venosta Valley from Lombardy: the spectacular road of the Stelvio Pass will give you panoramas to photograph!

And if you’re an alpine skier, we recommend a pit-stop in Trafoi, the first village you meet on the way down from the pass, where the legendary Gustav Thöni, one of the greatest ski champions of all time, runs his hotel.

skiarena ortler sciatori
Ph © IDM Alto Adige Alex Filz

NATURAL PARKS

Nationalpark Stilfserjoch /Stelvio National Park

The Stelvio National Park is one of the largest nature reserves in Europe. Its territory is centred around the Ortles Cevedale group and extends over South Tyrol, Trentino and Lombardy; it borders the Swiss National Park to the north-west and the Adamello Park to the south. Admission is free and the National Park is open all day.

The Stelvio National Park will allow you to really experience the spectacle of nature: from 600 m to over 3,900 m above sea level. In the little more than 53 km² of the park, depending on the altitude, a great variety of animals and plants thrive. From the lower altitudes, through meadows and forests, you climb to reach lonely and peaceful landscapes, caressed by the warm rays of the sun and animated by the whistles of marmots. Above the tree line, hikers will find wide views, peace and quiet.

This high mountain nature reserve is home to a unique flora and fauna: deer and roe deer, ibex, chamois, eagles and vultures, but also a varied vegetation with rare flowers such as edelweiss and glacialela buttercups, thrive in this habitat. The water from the glaciers of the Stelvio National Park around the Ortles Cevedale Group is precious for man and animals. The inhabitants of the National Park region protect their environment and lead a sustainable lifestyle so that it can be preserved in the future. Local products are of high value and are mostly produced according to rural tradition.

The ten municipalities, at the foot and in the heart of the Ortles Cevedale Group, are committed to ensuring that the Stelvio National Park is maintained in all its splendour. The inhabitants of Stelvio, Prato allo Stelvio, Glorenza, Tubre in Val Monastero, Malles, Lasa, Silandro, Martello, Laces and Ultimo all do their best to preserve the diversity of this high mountain nature through a sustainable and not mass excursion tourism.