Mountain hikes and fine food and drink in a beautiful location, in a "stylish" home with architecture that elegantly blends the old with the new. That's what you might expect from a trip to South Tyrol, yet this five-star standard can be increased by even more unusual experiences. Here are five that you probably haven't even heard of. Plus, it's usually still warm and sunny in this Italian region in October.
The bikepark above Brixen is already famous, but to go mountain biking here? Not many people have enjoyed that yet. You'll descend the nine-kilometre-long slope on trikes on a form of transport somewhere between a Harley and a go-kart. These mountain cars don't have an engine or pedals, so they need better brakes. Of course, you can rent them with a helmet (just bring your own proper shoes) from the top station of the Plose cable car. Let's get it whizzing!
3 kilometres in the air in 7 sections, the longest of which is 800 metres long. 100 metres above the ground. A 400 metre difference in altitude (starting at 1600 metres, where an all-terrain vehicle will take you). 80 km/h speed. 360 degree panoramic view. These are the parameters of the most extensive zipline in Europe, which boasts an adventure park in San Vigilio di Marebbe/St. Vigil in Enneberg, a beautiful corner of the South Tyrolean Dolomites. Your heart will race and your bloodstream will be flooded with adrenaline. You’ll be sure to remember those seconds over the valley for years to come.
What is the best way to navigate wild mountain rapids? The team of experienced guides at the Rafting Club Activ in Sand in Taufers, who were the first in South Tyrol to take up water play (in 1989), can help you find the answer. They have a second base in St. Sigmund and go out on the rivers in the Puster and Eisatz valleys. You can try team rafting with them (for example, on the Ahr River from Luttach to Mühlen), individual kayaking (a panoramic family trip from Reinz to Mühlbach) and fun canyoning (for example, on the way from Luttach to Drittelsand you can slide down a 50m waterfall). You'll have to choose for yourself. Or will you explore all the possibilities?
Bikers in the region are assured of excellent terrain right in the ski areas of Kronplatz, Val Gardena, Seiser Alm or Carezze. If you'd like to ride them all, set aside a very long holiday or two, preferably a couple of years in a row. But if you don't have such an opportunity, it's worth exploring the lesser-known resorts. How about on the plateau in Alta Badia? Between the slopes of Corvara, La Villa and San Cassian, a network of dirt and flow trails of all kinds has sprung up here, including northshore sections. Also with charming names in the Ladin language, are the local inhabitants, who have preserved their distinctive language and culture for many centuries. The top five are the Ödli trail, Avëna trail, Cör trail, Fle trail and Mans trail. Start at either the Piz Sorega chairlift from San Cassiano or the Pralongia chairlift from Corvara.
It seems almost wrong not to enjoy the fine living, cuisine and hospitality of South Tyrolean guesthouses and hotels when visiting Italy's northernmost region. Especially if back home you'd say you slept in a tent. However, it is possible not to lose comfort and still get an unusual experience. Glamping, ‘glamourous camping’, can be found here too, even in a tweaked version of the Mountainglamp. Where else but here to enjoy it? In the Ahrn valley on the south side of the Alps, overlooking 84 three-thousand-foot peaks. From the Selva del Molini, you'll have to hike up to the mountain meadow on your own, where you'll be close to the stars in a perfectly equipped sprawling tent for two or the whole family. You'll get a welcome drink and a tasting of local specialities, access to the sauna and a guide for an evening or morning hike or electric bike ride. With a really high standard of service, you won't regret a trip to Italy's quirky Trentino-Alto Adige region (South Tyrol).