An autonomous province in northern Italy, South Tyrol is an area of Mediterranean landscapes, towering alpine peaks; home to a fusion of cultures, languages and an endless supply of world-class cuisine. So really, it’s no surprise that both the area’s cultural and natural allures have seen this destination develop into one of Europe’s most exciting (and luckily one of its most hidden) gems. There are plenty of activities that will have you uncovering the very essence of South Tyrol – these are just four of our favorites.
Fly Amongst the Dolomites
The Dolomites provide the province’s most dramatic landscapes and thus one of its most exciting experiences: a private helicopter tour across the mountains. For two days you’ll be flown from hiking trail to mountain chalet to view point with an expert guide at hand to help you make the most of the spectacular views and hidden trails. After your days gliding between peaks and hiking mountain paths, settle down for an evening of Michelin-star cuisine as a private chef rustles up some much needed sustenance before you catch your ride back to ground level. Pure exclusivity.
Explorations on Two Wheels
If staying comfortably on terra firma is more your thing, then skip the helicopter ride and simply rent out some bicycles for a day or two of outdoor exploration. Home to around 4600km of scenic trails, it would seem South Tyrol was made for cycling, especially in the summer when the ski lifts open up a whole new world of mountain biking that’s covered in snow for half of the year. Choose from flat, novice routes past lush green meadows or challenge yourself on one of the more intrepid mountainside trails – either way you’ll begin to understand just how vast and beautiful South Tyrol is.
A World-Class Wine Tasting
Cycling amongst the South Tyrol Valleys isn’t the only way to enjoy your foray into this Italian province. Tucked away within its borders is a world of luscious vineyards whose histories date back centuries. You see, Tyrolean wine has been in production for over 3000 years, so you can rest assured that they’re confident in the art of winemaking by now. In the capital of Bolzano you’ll find a medieval area dotted with 20 vineyard estates. Here you’ll be able to embark on a tasting tour of the province’s best wines in between marvelling at incredible architecture and the iconic Runkelstein Castle. If you visit in May or June, you’ll be in the midst of the ‘Wine Feast Festival’, during which local wine cellars and wine connoisseurs open their doors and invite the public in to their world.
Learn Culinary Secrets
South Tyrol is famous for its delicious food, so taking a cooking class is a rite of passage for any first time visitor. The unique location and history of South Tyrol, its tri-lingual residents and its past as a German territory, have resulted in a truly distinguished cuisine that you’ll want to understand properly. There’s no better way to do this than by heading out with Michelin star chef Egon Heiss for a spot of foraging for alpine ingredients. It’s then back to the kitchen for a masterclass in how to prepare, cook and taste some Tyrolean wonders.