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How to enjoy SOUTH TYROL like Switzerland

How to enjoy SOUTH TYROL like Switzerland

Old Nov 12th, 2015, 03:23 AM
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How to enjoy SOUTH TYROL like Switzerland

Visiting Rome & Venice with family of 3 (Child aged 9 years) around Mid July 2016. Have decided to visit SOUTH TYROL and have heard lots about its beauty which to few is similar to Switzerland.
I have tried to gather some info, but could you please guide me on how to spend my 3 or 4 days in that region

We'll be reaching by train from Venice to Bolzano, but not sure where to base ourselves.

We are not much into hiking or cycling or moutaining, though do not mind a bit of hiking on some easy and really good scenic route

We are very much interested in
1. Natural beauty, greenery, mountains, lakes, snow,
2. Cable rides
3. Scenic beauty

We just want to see the Switzerland of Italy.

Open to all suggestion and waiting. thanks a lot
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Old Nov 12th, 2015, 03:50 AM
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I would consider Ortiesi, a small town of fewer than 5,000, but with several nice hotels and good road access to Selva and Castelrotto. Castelrotto is my favorite town in the area, but it requires a long drive to get to the other parts of the area.

Cortina d'Ampezzo is the resort city on the eastern end of the Sud Tyrol. Because of its skiing and previous hosting of the Olympics, it has more facilities than the smaller towns, yet is in reach of what you asked for. That might be best for your child and the two adults, but as I have only been there on day trips, I cannot make any recommendations.
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Old Nov 12th, 2015, 07:57 AM
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Will you be renting a car? If not, getting to these places is not easy.
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Old Nov 12th, 2015, 12:57 PM
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We spent 3 nights in Bolzano and really enjoyed the town. One afternoon we took the cable car up the mountain and had lunch on the patio of the hotel. Just stunning.

Another day we spent taking a private walking tour of Bolzano, visiting the ice man and museum and exploring Bolzano.

The rest of the time we had a car and explored wineries in the area. But I understand you can reach other villages via train from Bolzano.
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Old Nov 12th, 2015, 02:08 PM
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I would rent a car if you want to see the mountain passes, glaciers and dramatic scenery. I'd rent the car when leaving Venice and drive along Lake Garda on the way north.

Ortisei is a great base, and there are some lift bases right in the town. A few kilometers east, Selva also has lift bases in the town. I think Ortisei has more charm and Selva has more dramatic scenery visible from the town.

There is bus service connecting Ortisei with Castelrotto, Selva, Bolzano, Bressanone, Brunico and points between. This website is in English, but the bus timetables use the German names of towns. Posted timetables are effective through mid-December, so you'll have to check back for next summer's schedules.

http://www.valgardena.it/en/val-gard.../bus-schedule/

If you end up staying in or visiting Bolzano, I highly recommend the South Tyrol Museum of Archeology (aka The Ice Man Museum). We thought it was fascinating, and I think a 9-year-old would enjoy it.

http://www.iceman.it/en
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Old Nov 12th, 2015, 03:28 PM
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and you can enjoy it all at about half the price of Switzerland! There is not the surfeit of mountain trains and myriad of aerial gondolas going off in every direct as in say the Jungfrau or Zermatt areas IME but plenty enough and warmer weather.
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Old Nov 12th, 2015, 03:56 PM
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We spent five days in the area last summer and based in Bolzano but we had a car. We loved Bolzano as a base but most days we did go up to the mountains. A car is by far the best way but there are buses in the area. However, if you were to try and do it without a car I would base in one of the Val Gardena towns - or at least split the time with a couple nights in Selva or Ortisi and the rest in Bolzano.

Here's my trip report - http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...nd-castles.cfm
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Old Nov 13th, 2015, 12:25 AM
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Thank a ton for the Info

Isabel - can you put some more information as to why you are more inclined towards staying in Bolzano instead of Val gerdana

Lets suppose i rent a car in Venice, keeping in mind i neither can read Italian and nor German, would it be easy for me to travel to these place and then drive on my own to the various mountain passes, glaciers and dramatic scenery.

How would the weather temperature be around July end
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Old Nov 13th, 2015, 01:14 AM
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If you rent a car in Venice, get a GPS and some good maps to check it against. (The cost for a week is about the same as the cost of purchasing one and carrying it with you from home.)

The local signs are in Italian and the local dialect, the name of which escapes me. I think the autostrada signs are also in English.

You can get a copy of Italian driving rules and road signs on the net. They make for good soporific reading at the beginning of a night flight to Europe.
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Old Nov 13th, 2015, 04:32 AM
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We decided to base in Bolzano because it's a larger town, and more interesting than the towns in the Val Gardena. They are basically ski towns. The architecture is 'Germanic/Alpine' looking and nice enough but there's no getting around the fact you are in a tourist town. Bolzano is a real, old city with a very interesting pedestrianized center, lots of nice architecture, a large, interesting market area, a castle, a museum with the "Ice Man". It has a very pleasant tree lined park/promenade for evening walks. The trade off of course is that Bolzano is not IN the mountains and the Val Gardena towns are. But the drive from Bolzano to Ortisi/Selva was well under an hour and was pleasant enough so we were willing to do that in exchange for being based in Bolzano - lots of restaurant options in all price ranges, pleasant main square for interesting people watching and gelato eating, that kind of thing.

But if you didn't have a car, then the hassle of getting to the mountains by bus would have made me decide to base in one of the small towns. It's really much more convenient to have a car if you want to see several areas. If you just want to do several hikes in one area then basing in say Selva would work.

Driving in Italy is really fine, especially that area. The mountain roads have lots of switch backs and are slow going but there's not a lot of traffic (at least in July) and there was nothing scary or dangerous. Most of the problems with driving in Italy involve limited traffic zones in cities, parking, etc. and that's much less problem in this area.
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Old Nov 13th, 2015, 07:46 AM
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I like Bolzano, but if you want to feel like you're in the mountains you should stay in a mountain town. They're not just ski towns as they probably get just as many visitors in summer as winter.

We found the driving to be very easy. We had GPS, but if you have no trouble following maps you could probably get along with just good paper maps.
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Old Nov 13th, 2015, 09:32 AM
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when we visited the Dolomiti on our September 2011 honeymoon, we took a train to Bolzano, rented a car there, and stayed in Ortisei in a B&B with a little kitchenette. We used our car to drive to areas with cable-cars. We loved it.

Neither my DH nor I speak Italian or German and didn't have any trouble with the highway signs. We bought a very good and detailed driving map and used that only. One day we did a driving tour to visit wineries. I do have to say, though, that our reason for being in the region was hiking, and that's why we didn't stay in Bolzano. We did visit there and yes, it is larger and had more to do. But we were more interested in being out in the mountains.
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Old Nov 13th, 2015, 12:10 PM
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Definitely stay in the mountains, you'll never regret it. Bolzano is a large city based in the valley and after many trips to the Dolomiti as well as touring Bolzano, my advice is to stay in any of the villages in the Alta Badia (Corvara, Sella) or the Val Gardena (Ortisei, St Cristina or Selva).

We recently stayed in Garni Irma in Ortisei for a late Sept. visit. Their rooms are nice but this time we stayed in their apartment--85 euro a night and it had great access to the three main lifts out of the town. Plenty of restaurants and grocery stores, easy drive to other passes and fantastic hiking, scenery and more.

We drove from Venice through Cortina to Ortisei--no problems aside from the necessary mountain conditions. Roads are good and curvy as expected but safe. Enjoy the mountains!
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Old Oct 7th, 2016, 04:12 AM
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Whether you are into doing typical winter sports in South Tyrol or not, you can have an amizing time there anyway. I came to South Tyrol with the same intention as you had. It was the great wellnesshotel we spend our vacation at and of course the wonderful and inspiring countyside there! If you want to look for a hotel in the swiss side look at http://www.belvita.it/en/
greetings!!
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Old Oct 7th, 2016, 04:55 AM
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Just returned from Trento, a marvelous town. Large double room only €117 with a good breakfast buffet. Meals at Atnica Trattoria Due Mori, now or #1 restaurant.
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Old Oct 7th, 2016, 08:46 AM
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I loved Bolzano when I was there in March of this year. I stayed 3 nights which I think is perfect. I wouldn't recommend a longer stay unless you are going to explore areas outside the city.

Trento is another lovely town 50 minutes south of Bolzano by train. It is far more Italian than Bolzano.

Here is a video I took highlighting my trip to Bolzano:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kk_Pcx8DxXw
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Old Oct 7th, 2016, 10:49 AM
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Considering your interests you are in for a treat. Again considering your interests I would recommend you stay in/around Ortesei. Also as has been said before a car is a must to enjoy the area. The driving and roads are not bad. Get a gps and you should be set. We stayed at Hotel Uhrerhof-Deur a few minutes outside of town. We were travelling in a group of about 14 people and we all agreed that it was one of the best places we have stayed at. The hotel hangs over a cliff and has spectacular views. The 5 course meals were to die for. And it has the highest rose garden in Europe. From there we did a few cable car rides which takes you to ideal starting points for walks. The ones I remember are Alpe de Siusi and Ciampinio. I would research the open lifts/cable cars in the area but the hotel should also be able to help. Scenery all around is simply spectacular. We only had two full days in the region but it remains one of the best places in terms of alpine scenery for us.
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Old Oct 7th, 2016, 02:34 PM
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The OP was asking for info for a trip in July '16.
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Old Oct 15th, 2016, 07:42 AM
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Unfortunately or Fortunately the trip was changed from Europe to USA. We had a great family time enjoying Disneyland and Universal studios in Orlando USA and many other places like Miami , New York, DC etc

And now starting to plan summer 2017 and this time it's gonna be Italian Alps
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