There are plenty of other ways to enjoy summer in South Tyrol than going for a dip in an outdoor pool or a hike in the mountains! And, as the heat can sometimes be too much for us too, Sabine has picked out her ten favourite summer tips and experiences. So there’s no need to overheat!
Summer in South Tyrol is a time to enjoy to the full, whether biking over mountain passes, hiking to the highest peaks or taking a refreshing dip! But even those of us who spend all year waiting for the hot months will at some point feel the need to find a shady spot (at least I do...), or at least some activity to cool us down for a few hours. So here are my ten hottest tips for a cool summer holiday! :)
1. A cooling draught!
For all who live in Eppan, this is the number one place for goose bumps, not to mention the ideal place for hot summer days – the ice holes! They are situated in the forest between the localities of Eppan and Kaltern, on the mountain above Gand to be precise. The rock debris there are, against all logic, covered with moss and plants that normally grow above altitudes of 1,200 metres. The special attraction of the area around the ice holes is that it is ALWAYS cool here, even on the hottest summer’s day. How is that possible? I have looked into it: the forest section, 200 metres long and 40 metres wide, where the ice holes can be found is covered by a porphyry scree. Warm air flows into the holes at the top of these blocks and cools on the rock. The cold air flows downwards and exits, ice-cold, via the holes in the rocks below. With temperatures as low as 0 to 9 degrees, icicles can form here even in summer. Incredible but true! :)
2. For those with classical tastes...
South Tyrol’s most popular bathing lakes, the Montiggler Lakes and Lake Kaltern, are of course very well-known. All well and good, but if you really want to cool down in summer, you are better off finding somewhere a bit higher! The Issinger Weiher, near Pfalzen, for example lies 1,000 metres above sea level and is one of the last pond biotopes in South Tyrol. Located in the midst of the Pustertal forest, here you can enjoy pleasant summer temperatures without breaking sweat. A day spent swimming at the idyllic Völser Weiher, right below the giant Schlern massif, is also ideal! At 1,176 metres up on the Ritten plateau, the Wolfsgruben Lake also offers cool waters, forest shade and pleasant air temperatures to let you breathe again! :) This guide to the area’s finest bathing lakes lets you find out more! :) And if that still fails to cool you down, then what about one of the numerous crystal clear mountain lakes? While even in summer only the hardiest might brave swimming in the waters, on hot days a pedalo, a rowboat or simply relaxing on the shore are all perfect ways to enjoy such lakes as the Antholzer, the Durnholzer, the Dürrensee, the Toblacher or the Pragser Wildsee! :) South Tyrol’s finest mountain lakes can be found here!
3. Into the mountains!
If you have the feeling that you can no longer stand the sight of the sun, then the best thing to do is to go into the mountains – right into the mountains! :) The Villanders mine lets you immerse yourself in the mysterious darkness and learn all about how the miners lived in the past! At the Mining Museum at Prettau, a former copper mine, you can travel a full kilometre underground on the mine railway through the galleries, absorbing plenty of interesting information and enjoying the pleasant 8°C temperature – a super-cool alternative summer programme! ;)
4. Up, up and away!
The Bozen glitterati of yesteryear would escape the heat of the city and head for the hills: locals and tourists alike still find relief at altitudes of 1,000 metres or so above sea level. Jenesien, the Mendel Pass, Kohlern and the Giggelberg mountain are just some of the destinations that meet the criteria of “summer resort”, with Klobenstein and the Ritten plateau popular since the 17th century! But it doesn't really matter where you holiday – mountain or plateau – everywhere round here is pleasant and, up above, the air is always fresh in summer! :) Our portal has plenty of private landlords who can guarantee summer freshness. :)
5. Need for speed?
Fancy a bit of a breeze? Beware – keeping your cool here means having a head for heights and a taste for adrenalin! Otherwise don’t attempt the zipline! A cooling breeze is guaranteed as you whiz down over the valley: and the sheer excitement means you forget about the heat, at least for a few minutes! :D
6. The glacier valley
Take a trip north from the Vinschgau Valley through the tunnel into the Schnalstal Valley, and summer may seem like a memory! This is a different side of South Tyrol – more traditional, harsher, quieter – and above all cooler! Summer is never truly hot here, with high summer meaning more like a wonderfully warm spring day. And there is plenty to do here: magnificent long hiking tours in the Texel Group nature park, climbing walls and a high ropes course, canoeing, kayaking and rafting, mountain biking and archery – all without breaking sweat. : D Skiing is nowadays “only” possible from October to May but, even in summer. the cable car runs up to the glacier at an altitude of over 3,000 metres! You can’t get cooler than that! ;)
7. The world beneath our feet
From up on high it’s now down below – down into the cellar! Into South Tyrol's wine cellars, to be precise where, for the sake of the wine, the temperatures are constantly cool and there is of course a glass of wine (or two) to taste. Explore South Tyrol’s distinctive winery architecture, admire the fine old barrels and savour the atmosphere of the world of cellars. Be careful once you step outside again... South Tyrol might feel really hot! :D
8. The untamed power of nature
What about a refreshing spray! Swimming is not the only way to enjoy the water! ;) The waterfalls of South Tyrol are places of special power, for instance the Reinbach falls near Sand in Taufers –a spectacular natural wonder that is ideal for rapidly cooling off on hot summer days, as is the 97-metre high Partschins waterfall, one of the finest in the Alps!
9. More watery fun
OK, in summer we all like the water – so here’s a hot tip for ice-cold water action! :) Rafting and canyoning are possible almost anywhere in South Tyrol, for instance at Saring, Saltaus in the Passeier Valley, Sand in Taufers, Tschars, Sterzing, the Schnalstal Valley and in Bruneck – all top places to visit for adventure and activity in South Tyrol’s wild natural world, yet without working up a sweat! White-water rafting is not for the faint of heart but, with the right equipment, you can safely boat down over the many little waterfalls. And jumping into the chilly water and scaling narrow canyons are also there – if you dare! :)
10. Winter fun – in summer!
My last tip for hot summer days: tobogganing! You can enjoy this sport here in the form of summer toboggan runs! The best places in South Tyrol are Klausberg, with Italy’s longest, breeziest and most spectacular summer toboggan run, the Klausberg-Flitzer <https://www.skiworldahrntal.it/de/family-sommer/family/klausberg--flitzer>, not to mention the Alpin Bob in Meran 2000! Cool summer fun for all the family! :)
So I wish you wonderful – and cool – summer months!
With heartfelt greetings,