Merano e Surroundings

Foto  © IDM Alto Adige Clemens Zahn

Merano e surroundings

Regal, elegant, refined. But how beautiful is Merano?

Spa town, destination of the mythical princess Sissi, Merano is the town that can give you everything: history, entertainment and breathtaking views.

The centre is characterised by the Lauben (arcades) with shops and restaurants of all kinds. The Passirio river divides it in half and you can discover it through two very easy walks that start from the centre. Last but not least, its territory, called ‘Burgraviato’, is rich in excellence and enchanting places.

For a break or a longer stay, Merano is without doubt a valid destination. Would you like to get to know it with us?

TOP 5 NOT TO BE MISSED

Relaxing at the thermal spa

Walking along the Gilf and Tappeinerpromenade

Falling in love with the Trauttmansdorf Gardens

Visit Tyrol Castle

Participating in the Grape Festival

THE HISTORIC CENTRE

It is not difficult to understand why Princess Sissi fell in love with Merano. In fact, the princess came to Merano because of rheumatism, which could be cured by the thermal waters. Sissi can be considered one of the pioneers of spa tourism, and stories about the famous princess live on in Merano, whose presence is commemorated by a statue in the park dedicated to her along the Passirio.

It is from this park that the Gilfpromenade summer promenade winds its way (one kilometre), as opposed to the winter promenade on the other side of the river. A real walk, to be done slowly, to enjoy the corners of the city, the plants that are maniacally cared for every year to embellish the path, which will take you effortlessly to the Powder Tower, an old weapons warehouse, where you can climb and admire the view.

From here you continue on to the Tappeinerpromenade, a second six-kilometre route that takes you to see the town of Burgraviato from its hills, amidst the vineyards. Not bad, right? By the way, here in Merano the surname Tappeiner is very common: both this wonderful walk and the hospital (which from the outside may look like a 5-star hotel) are dedicated to the doctor, biologist and anthropologist Franz Tappeiner, who was born here.

Both Gilf and Tappeinerpromenade are very easy and suitable for everyone.

The centre itself is north of the Passirio river, with its characteristic arcades/Lauben containing a variety of shops: from large chains, to luxury and designer shops, to those selling local handicrafts. But there are also restaurants, bistros, bars and typical delicatessens to sweeten your excursions in the town.

Foto  © IDM Alto Adige Alex Filz

Foto  © IDM Alto Adige Alex Filz

The parish church of St. Nicholas is located at the end of the Upper Arcade Street. It is one of the oldest examples of Tyrolean Gothic architecture. At 83 metres, the bell tower is one of the highest in South Tyrol. Also of particular interest are the numerous frescoes, the rose window and the winged altar.

We recommend that you continue along the narrow Postgasse street, through which you finally reach the so-called ‘Porta Bolzano’, which gives access to the Passer Promenade, near the Kurhaus. The Kurhaus was built in 1874 to accommodate tourists in need of spa treatment. However, it soon proved to be too small to accommodate the growing number of visitors and so its use was changed. Today, the building is used for theatre performances, exhibitions and events and is one of the most beautiful Art Nouveau or floral buildings in the entire Alpine region.

Opposite the Kurhaus, on the other side of the Passer River, is the thermal baths, a modern, state-of-the-art facility designed by architect Matteo Thun, where you can find refreshment, but also benefit from the precious healing waters of Monte San Vigilio, above Lana. The main benefits of the Merano spa water apply to the respiratory tract: so after a long winter full of colds, bronchitis or pneumonia, this is the ideal place to find relief.

Awaiting you are 25 pools spread throughout the indoor area and the outdoor thermal park, which is only open in summer.

What you should know is that Merano has an important hippodrome/Pferdrennplatz, which attracts many fans to the equestrian theme: in addition to prestigious international races, the hippodrome is also an ideal location for corporate events or weddings.

MERANO 2000

Merano 2000 is the ski area at the entrance to the Val Passiria, serving the catchment area of the Burgraviato region. In winter it is well frequented and is the ideal place for all types of skiing.

From the “Merano Terrace” you have a wonderful view as you take the cable car up. At the mountain station you will find the Outdoor Kids Camp, a free recreational area for the little ones, where they can have fun with magic carpets and flat slopes. For your brave little ones, you can also try the Alpine Bob: a toboggan run on rails that can reach up to 40 kilometres per hour.

But Merano 2000 is also synonymous with skiing, and skiers and snowboarders will find plenty to do on 40 kilometres of perfectly groomed pistes. If twirling is what you’re looking for, then you should know that there is a snow park here in Merano 2000 too: you’ll find it on the St. Oswald slope at the Waidmannalm.

Merano 2000 is part of the Ortler Skiarena, the second largest ski area in South Tyrol after the Dolomiti Superski. With a single ski pass you can ski in as many as 15 areas.

In the summer season, Merano 2000 becomes a hiker’s paradise, with excursions of all kinds: from the hut tour to the via ferrata on Picco Ivigna. Refuges such as the Zuegg and Parete Rossa provide refreshment between each pass.

Numerous mountain bike trails with charging stations for electric bikes complete the range of activities in this area.

Foto  © IDM Alto Adige – Frieder Blickle

Foto © IDM Alto Adige – Alex Filz

EVENTS

Come on, we don’t want to insist on the Christmas markets, but even here they have their charm: experience the relaxing atmosphere full of Christmas scents and flavours amidst the stalls and unique moments of meditation during the Christmas concerts on the Passeggiata del Lungo Passirio.

In March, if you are an equestrian enthusiast, don’t miss the Avellino horse parade. On the occasion of the annual Haflinger horse race at the Merano Hippodrome, the majestic horses and their owners parade through the streets of Merano’s old town before the start of the races.

Summer is filled with moments to be experienced all in the city centre. Among the many, we would like to point out the Long Tuesdays: shops, restaurants and bars stay open longer than usual during the long Tuesdays, but also because there is a lot of music and entertainment and culinary specialities in every corner of the old town.

Asfaltart is the event for those who want to be fascinated by street art: internationally renowned artists, comedians and musicians fill Merano with colour.

Not to be missed is the Grape Festival/Traubenfest (first week in October), which lasts for a weekend: stalls along the Passer Promenade, concerts of local music and the big parade on Sunday morning with bands from every village in the Burgraviato region, to celebrate and give thanks for the grape harvest. A true immersion in the local culture!

We close our tour with the Merano Wine Festival, one of the most recognised meetings of the wine sector in the world, which takes place at the Kurhaus.

SURROUNDINGS

Merano lies in the area known as Burgraviato/Burggrafenamt. The name derives from the “Burggraf” of the County of Tyrol, i.e. the administrative district that formed the ancient core of this county. It comprises a total of 26 municipalities.

The lively centre of Tirolo can be reached from Merano via the Tappeiner promenade. If you want to experience something different, we recommend taking the Merano-Tirolo chairlift, which has been connecting Merano to the village of Tirolo since the 1940s; it is only open from 1 April to 31 October. The entire installation is historic, but perfectly functional. At an altitude of 180 metres, you will fly over the vineyards in silence. Once you reach the top, you can take the bus or walk to the centre of Tirolo. Tirolo is dominated by its castle, around which the medieval village is built. The heart of the village is the parish church, mentioned as early as 1164. Tyrol Castle, the dynastic residence of the Counts of Tyrol, and which gave its name to the entire region, today houses the Cultural History Museum of the Province of Bolzano, open from 15 March to 10 December.

Only twenty minutes by car from Merano, the village of Avelengo, whose territory extends as far as the Salto ridge and the Merano 2000 ski and hiking area, offers pleasant snowshoe hikes on the alpine pastures in winter. Take a stroll through the village houses, clinging to the parish church, first mentioned in 1291. Hafling, also known as the “sun terrace of Meran”, is considered to be the home of the blond Haflinger horses, a strong and rustic breed of horse that is known far beyond the borders of the region. By the way, this horse is depicted on the municipality’s emblem, together with a conifer, which refers to the village’s elevated position.

Interestingly, there is a small lake in Gargazon, which is used as a natural swimming pool. In addition, the Kröllturm is one of the many examples of defence towers, which can be found to a large extent in this region.

Lagundo, Naturno, Cermes, Lana, Marlengo, Kuens, to name but a few, without wishing to offend others: the Burggrafenamt is an area surrounded by vineyards and apple orchards that offers much and will surprise you.

Foto  © IDM Alto Adige – Angelika Schwarz

Foto © IDM Alto Adige – Alex Filz

TIPS

Consider Merano as a destination for a long weekend, perfect also for families: the Trauttmansdorf Gardens are a must for your children, who can have fun and at the same time learn a lot about the history of the area and the plant world. Strongly desired by Princess Sissi, these gardens are a rare example of the coexistence of the most diverse types of plants: in more than eighty botanical environments, plants from all over the world flourish and grow. But that’s not all: varied multi-sensory stations, atmospheric themed gardens, art pavilions and specimens from the animal kingdom make the garden experience a moment of great knowledge for young and old.

Spring is definitely the best season to visit the gardens, and we also recommend a visit to the Touriseum, South Tyrol’s tourism museum, which traces the activity from its beginnings, with the construction of the first cable car and the first hotels, right up to the present day.

The building that houses the Touriseum today is the same one that once housed Sissi during her long stays in Merano.

CURIOSITIES

Just outside Merano, in the village of Forst in Lagundo, the eponymous brewery is a popular destination for lovers of the blond beverage or simply for those who want to taste typical local dishes. In both summer and winter, the outdoor garden is a must!