Psst! Did you hear? Spring is awakening – and our Sabine wants to get out into the fresh air! :-) She reveals her top tips and favourite places in South Tyrol’s South – with its fairytale villages, peaceful lakes and medieval fortresses!
Top tips for the Unterland
I think that from time to time you should also play the tourist in your own land. Why? Because it is not only beautiful here, but there are also always very special places and things to discover that will make us once more fall in love with South Tyrol.
That’s why I set out to the South Tyrol’s South! And there, too, I fell in love again. And now I’ll tell you which of my top-secret discoveries particularly took my fancy in the beautiful Unterland! :-)
1. As if in a fairy tale – Entiklar, Graun and Oberfennberg
These each form part of the municipality of Kurtatsch and above all give the feeling of being in a little fairytale world – especially in spring!
From the main town, Kurtatsch, you can take the wonderful wine trail to Entiklar – following your nose, in the truest sense of the word! :-) On the way there is a series of little clay amphorae where you can “sniff” your way into the world of wine. At the end of the trail lies this hamlet (just 150 inhabitants!) idyllically embedded among flowering vineyards. The Turmhof, a 13th-century residence, stands in the midst of Entiklar, surrounded by a magnificent park and (to me) very reminiscent of a palace. There is even a fairytale garden with a pond where white swans glide past painted and crowned stone figures.
Speaking of “crowned”, the village of Graun is known as the “crown in the landscape”, hence its Italian name “Corona”. Graun lies on a sunny plateau: the pinnacle of the crown is the Church of St. George, behind which can be enjoyed majestic views of the entire Unterland and the Dolomites.
The dream continues in Oberfennberg with the former Roman Way (“Via Claudia Augusta”), the impressive 16th-century residence with its equally impressive frescoes, the “Ulmburg” hunting lodge, the Mariahilf church and the imposing sequoia trees all make this hamlet, located a little higher up the hill, a uniquely picturesque place.
2. Where Mother Nature awakens– the Fennberg Plateau
And, while we are in the area, the Fennberg Plateau is also an insider tip. ;-) The Unterfennberg mountain lies slightly lower than the Oberfennberg and belongs to the municipality of Margreid. Alongside the numerous upland farmhouses, summer retreats and Europe’s highest Müller-Thurgau vineyard, there is also the Fennberg Lake. A biotope with unique flora and fauna, in summer it is a bathing lake while in winter it is an ice rink – and in spring you can see Mother Nature awakening here, whether on a walk, from the via ferrata above or by bike. In the midst of the greenery and colourful blossoms exists a secluded paradise of wildflowers, ideal for bees, butterflies and lovers of spring, like me! :-)
3. Kurtinig – from “Little Venice” to biotope
In Kurtinig you can sense the changeover to Italy: a touch of the Mediterranean, but still with a strong Alpine influence, of course. The smallest village on the South Tyrolean Wine Route is particularly popular with painters – but not only! I too love coming back to this charming village and savouring the serenity and calm. The Church of St. Martin watches over the village and its large square from where little ways lead everywhere through the village, just two kilometres long, past pretty arched windows, bay windows and open staircases, by old farmhouses and residences and past vines that climb up the façades – Kurtinig is also called the “village of house vines”. Also once known as “Little Venice” on account of the formerly frequent floods, it is an ideal starting point for hiking and cycling through the surrounding countryside – especially now that everything is blossoming in the valley! Worth mentioning too is that, in 1996, part of the municipality was converted into a biotope, a habitat for endangered plant and animal species. This worthwhile project also saw Kurtinig receive a landscape conservation award in 2003 from the Province of South Tyrol! :-)
4. A journey into bygone times – the Haderburg
My last tip is right in the south, up a steep and towering limestone rock – the Haderburg! The walk starts south of Salurn and leads via the well signposted “Way of Visions” – what a name! :-) The wide path, also illuminated at night, is only one kilometre long but involves quite a steep climb – as the destination is a medieval castle! ;-)
Flags fluttering in the wind, the imposing structure awaits me after a 20-minute hike between green beech trees and under blue skies. The Haderburg, or Salurn Castle as it used to be called, is still impressive... and has surely been so since it was built in the 13th century! Although no longer inhabited, its owner, Baron Ernesto Rubin de Cervin Albrizzi, renovated the castle a few years ago and it is now once more open to the public. A wooden tower has been added with stairs that lead down to the courtyard where you can visit the castle’s own hostelry, “Zum 18. Fass” [The 18th Barrel], open from the beginning of March to the beginning of November. Exciting medieval adventures await young and old during the day and in the evenings throughout the season... bow-and-arrow making courses, for example, or themed evenings with music. And, if you really want an experience of times past, you can savour a knightly repast! All with spectacular views of Salurn and – in my case – the spring-like Unterland!
Did you find a tip to your taste? ;-) No matter where you go in South Tyrol’s South ... I wish you a wonderful “spring awakening”!
With heartfelt greetings,