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  • Writer's pictureVanessa Valenti

Dolomiti - South Tyrol: 4 days of adventures

October 2020

- Bozen

- Karersee

- Braies

- Zip Line

- San Candido - Leinz on a bike

Lately we have been very passionate about trekking and three weeks ago we were in a hiking shop finally looking for a decent backpack for myself when I suddenly got a great desire to go to Lake Braies. Exactly two hours later we were on the sofa in my house organizing this mini holiday in Südtirol considering Lake Braies as the main destination and maybe even putting on the Zip Line, which I had been keeping an eye on for a while.

Click here for the complete itinerary of our trip in South Tyrol and for useful tips to plan your perfect holiday.

Lago di Braies, Dolomiti, Trenino Alto Adige

For useful tips on how to organize your holiday in the Dolomites click here and read the post on the planning of our mini escape in Südtirol.

⇝ 4 days exploring Südtirol

Day 1

Bolzano, Trentino Alto Adige

· Bozen:

Got in Bolzano at around 11 a.m., we left the car in the center, in Piazza Walther, in an underground car park that was not exactly cheap (€ 3 per hour), but we chose comfort, having to stay only for a few hours. We started our walking tour of the city by exploring Piazza Walther, considered Bozen living room. The famous Christmas Market takes place here during the Christmas period. On this square you will find the Cathedral of Bolzano: Cathedral since 1964, the Church of Santa Maria Assunta is famous for its bell tower which, with its 62m high, represents a reference for visitors who move around the city. The interior is also worth a visit, which is truly impressive.

Bolzano, Trentino Alto Adige

Then we continued towards Piazza delle Erbe and via dei Portici which represent the commercial heart of Bozen. Here fruit and vegetables are sold except on weekends and holidays, you will also find many typical products such as mushrooms, speck, baked goods and various cheeses. Via dei Portici, on the other hand, is the city's shopping street, it has kept its medieval structure almost intact with several 15th century buildings including the Mercantile Palace and the Old Town Hall, home to the city's Historical Archives.

Castel Mareccio, Bolzano, Trentino Alto Adige

We continued towards Castel Mareccio (Schloss Maretsch in German), a castle located in the historic center, immersed in a vineyard of fine Lagrein grapes, with an enchanting view. The 12th century castle was renovated in the 1980s and used as a conference center and has exhibition rooms. We weren't able to enter due to a private event, but if you are passing through, drop by! There is also an adjacent car park and it is possible to take guided tours of the castle. To the left of the Castel Mareccio you will find the Parco Ducale, a splendid park overlooking the Talvera stream, full of children and play areas, ideal for a walk back to the historic center. Continuing along the park you will find the Monument to Victory, an imposing marble complex located in Piazza della Vittoria - Strongly desired by the fascist regime as a symbol of its values ​​- such as death for the homeland and sacrifice -, the Victory Monument was designed by architect Marcello Piacentini and built between 1926 and 1928 in honor of Italy's victory against Austria-Hungary in the First World War.

Forsterbrau Central, Bolzano, Trentino Alto Adige

By now at lunchtime we tried a brewery that inspired us from the outside, the Försterbräu Central and we were absolutely not disappointed. Typical Tyrolean furniture, made of wood, and a delicious menu full of typical dishes that must be strictly accompanied by a nice mug of beer. Definitely recommended, all very good! We skipped the dessert though, though indulge in a cuddle in one of the many patisseries that we had eyeing while walking through the colorful streets of the city. We then stopped at a table in the sun at the Monika pastry shop, a few steps from the Försterbräu Central; here we chose two sweets typical of the area, a huge slice of Sacher and an apple strudel, needless to say they were delicious. Nice full and satisfied, we took a few more strolls in the center of Bolzano and went back to the car to head towards the QC Terme an hour ahead of the planning we had done.

Lago di Carezza, Dolomiti, Trentino Alto Adige

· Karersee

On the way to QC Terme, looking at the navigator, I realized that we would be passing right in front of Karersee, so we decided to take a look. I had heard about it very well from some friends and having an hour free why not?

Lago di Carezza, Trentino Alto Adige, Dolomiti

We left the car in the parking lot adjacent to the lake for € 1 per hour and went down to the lake through the direct underpass located at the entrance, coming out directly on the shore. The spectacle that we faced was truly breathtaking: lot of snow and the lake completely frozen. We allowed ourselves the entire tour of the lake on foot, truly wonderful and magical. If you are in the area, you cannot fail to stop, it is a stop that will take up very little time but it is really worth it!

· Qc Terme Dolomiti in val di Fassa

Qc Terme Dolomiti in val di Fassa

It really wanted to go to QC Terme Dolomiti since forever, after trying it in Rome last year, so I couldn't miss it. We booked the entry in advance on their website a few days back without having any problems and with payment directly web. You can choose from a wide range of services and entrances, we opted for the afternoon entry, not being too much of a spa type, a few hours was more than enough. ESCAPE ENTRANCE option 5h (iyou can get in at 4:30 p.m. and you can stay until 10:30 p.m.), from Monday to Thursday and it costs € 46, from Friday to Sunday and on weekends and holidays € 52.


At first glance the price may seem a bit expensive but I can assure you it deserves them all. Included in the price you will be given a bathrobe, a bath towel, slippers, a bag to store personal items to take with you on the various pools, in the changing room you can take advantage of creams, soaps, shampoos and conditioners produced directly by them with natural ingredients and regenerating properties. They also have professional hairdryers and hair straighteners. The spa is entirely Tyrolean themed, with wooden saunas and various references to the mountains. The choice of activities is huge, it is certainly difficult to get bored. Access to the steam baths is temporarily not allowed due to Covid but you won't even notice it, there is so much more to try. From the heated outdoor pool to the splendid relaxation areas.

Qc Terme Dolomiti Val di Fassa

Always included in the price, you will be offered an aperitif to be held in the bistro area at the time booked when you enter. You will be given a basket with some jars of cold pasta salads, snacks, cold cuts and cheeses to be enjoyed with sandwiches and pizzas, as well as a glass of wine or soft drinks. Honestly, I expected a little more after trying the magnificent buffet offered in Rome, but alas it was the pre-Covid era, so you have to adapt. In any case, we were satisfied and it was enough for dinner. We stayed until 9 p.m., we were so tired but relaxed. Then we drive to our hotel in Canazei, which we had chosen mainly for its proximity to the QC Terme; we got there and unpacked, then we fall asleep.

Lago di Braies, Dolomiti, Trentino Alto Adige
Dolomiti, Trentino Alto Adige

Day 2

Wake up early on Saturday morning, had breakfast at the hotel, backpacks on their shoulders and we left for Lake Braies, two hours late on Enrico's schedule. From Canazei to the Lake it takes about two hours of travel, but the road is well deserved, the view is breathtaking.

· Braies Lake

Canoa al Lago di Braies, Dolomiti, Trentino Alto Adige

We got to the parking lot behind Braies Lake around 10:30 a.m. and for € 6 you can leave your car for the whole day and use the toilets. Left the backpacks for the trekking in the car, we headed to the lake shore traveling light for the boat ride. A bit of a cliché I know, but we had never been there and it is absolutely something you have to do once in a lifetime. The rent is on site, no booking in advance, at the wooden house that you will find immediately upon arriving on the shore. It's € 29 for an hour (plus two postcards) for free, or € 19 for 30 minutes. If you pay for 1 hour but come back earlier they will give you the 10 € difference, so I always recommend the first option. You'll need an hour more or less to get to the other side of the lake and take some photos. The view is wonderful, I literally fell in love with this place, the blue water, the snow-capped peaks and the autumn colored trees, it was amazing. Very much recommended.

Trekking nella neve al Lago di Braies, Dolomiti, Trentino Alto Adige

· Hiking: Braies Lake, Oberhaus, Rifugio Biella 2327mt

After the boat ride we went back to the car and got ready for our hike, following a rtrail that we had already chosen thanks to an app used by Enrico for his outings, to learn more about the app and the routes we took click here.

Before leaving, we stopped at the kiosk on the shore of the lake to eat something, hot dogs and chips and a cutlet. Then, we finished the tour of the lake and left for San Lorenzo di Sebato, a small village very close to Brunico.

Canederli e Gulash, Weisses Lam a Brunico in Trentino Alto Adige

For dinner we headed to Brunico because we wanted to have dinner at Weisses Lam, a little place that I had already spotted before leaving. We tried to make a reservation but it was already full so, armed with a lot of patience, we parked in the center and started wandering around in search of a typical restaurant, hungry as wolves. Keep in mind that for this area, October is very low season, most of the shops and restaurants are closed, and the towns are deserted.

Canederli al Weisses Lam, Brunico, Trentino Alto Adige

PROS: travelling off season means very few people around, no queues, parking always found without problems, ideal period for those looking for a little peace. CONS: many restaurants closed and the few that are open are very full, without making a reservation in advance it is very difficult to find a table, even waiting a long time. So, please, BOOK YOUR DINNERS ON TIME if you don't want to wander around for hours like we did. Eventually, in the end it could have been worse: we slipped into a little hidden restaurant with no sign that and, after 20 minutes of waiting, they made us sit and halfway through dinner we realized that it was the Weisses Lam, the one where we wanted to go from the beginning. So all went well. Delicious dinner, we ate dumplings and beef goulash, served by staff dressed in typical Tyrolean clothes in a place all furnished in wood, absolutely typical and welcoming. You can't miss it!

Day 3

Trekking alle Piramidi di Terra, Dolomiti, Trentino Alto Adige

· Piramidi di Terra

Also on Sunday morning wake up early for another long day hiking and later in the afternoon the famous and long-awaited Zipline. I had asked Enrico to go to the Piramidi di terra, a place of which I keep a beautiful memory as a child, and I absolutely wanted to see them again. It just happened that the place was really close to SalnLorenzo di Sebato, where we were staying that night, so it was perfect. In addition, a nice hiking trail also started from the Pyramids, always found thanks to the special app we had used the day before (to find out more about how to find routes and the one we chose click here).

Trekking alle Piramidi di Terra, Dolomiti, Trentino Alto Adige

The Pyramids are located near Perca, and from the parking lot it's about 30 minutes on foot along a simple path, also suitable for children. It's very nice, full of interactive ideas for the little ones that tell the story of the Pyramids and educate about the surrounding nature. It's a natural architectural masterpiece by landslides, water, thaws and erosion that have made the pyramids into works of art, even if legend has it that they are actually cursed dwarves from a witch who turned them into earth!

Malga Gonner, Piramidi di Terra, Dolomiti, Trentino Alto Adige

· Hiking: Piramidi di Terra-Malga Gonner 1983mt

From the Pyramids we went up following the path towards Malga Gonner where, when we arrived around lunchtime, we refreshed ourselves in the sun drinking beer and eating Sacher. After an hour of rest we got off and got to the car, changed and left for San Vigilio di Marebbe.

· Zip Line

In San Vigilio di Marebbe there is the longest Zip Line in Italy (and in Europe) at the Adrenaline X-Treme Adventures. We didn't book in advance fearing bad weather and losing the deposit (non-refundable), but being low season we managed to do it eventually. I recommend you book, but consider that it is a suspended activity in the winter period.

Zip Line San Vigilio di Marebbe, Dolomiti, Trentino Alto Adige

The cost is € 69 each, something less if you are a group, and includes transport to the departure site. The take-off (because "departure" is definitely reductive) takes place at 1,600 meters above sea level, where the launch station is located, for a total flight 3.2km long immersed in the Dolomites. Everything is safe, and believe me it is really worth it and it is absolutely not scary. The adrenaline rush is very strong and the view is definitely worth it. You will be hooked to a super-technological pulley that will make you descend towards the town with a difference in altitude of 400 meters at a maximum speed of 80 km / h. The guys on the team are super nice and kind, they will reassure you and make you feel safe in every way, they are very expert and scrupulous. After the Zip Line we headed to the last hotel of tour trip, in Dobbiaco, not very close to San Vigilio, but chosen for its proximity to San Candido, the starting point for the next day's activity. Even here, being able to find a restaurant to dine was a real epic feat: everything closed, and the few places open were full. After about an hour and more spent wandering around in circles, we folded up on a kebabbaro and ordered takeaway to eat comfortably in our apartment!

Day 4

San Candido - Leinz in bici, Dolomiti

· San Candido – Leinz

Even on the last day, wake up early and we went straight to San Candido, a few minutes from Dobbiaco to rent a bike and take the famous San Candido - Leinz cycle path. Actually, until the very moment we did not know what we would do on the last day, whether the bicycle ride or trekking on the Tre Cime di Lavaredo: I let Enrico doing all the planning for the trop, pointing out only a few things I absolutely wanted to do, so it didn't come up to my mind that Leinz was in Austria and that I could have needed an Identity Card (which for little obvious reasons have not been in three years). Not knowing if we could cross the border, we went to the rental that I had identified the night before for the rental to ask for information.

San Candido - Leinz in bici

The place is called Papin, and you can also find it in Dobbiaco. Here we were reassured that the ID was not required, there are no checks, especially on a bicycle. You can risk being stopped by some patrol on the road if you make the journey by car, otherwise you can take it easy. So we rented the bike and we left! We chose a very normal city bike, nothing electric, because we don't like easy things (I state that we are absolutely not bicycle types and not very worn, I add) with a cost of € 18 each + € 3 for the delivery directly to Leinz, as we had decided to go back by train.

Ciclabile San Candido - Leinz

From San Candido to Leinz it is 44km on a well-signposted cycle path, but keep in mind that even if the route was simple, it is still 44km and if you are not used to it, it can be quite challenging for the length. The route is divided into sectors well described on the flyer that will be delivered to you by Papin at the time of rental, and in case of any problem with the bike you can call the assistance service, report the sector you are in and they will arrive as soon as possible to help you. The views and landscapes that you will encounter on the way are breathtaking, impossible to enjoy them iby the car. Once in Leinz you can leave your bike at the Papin rental near the station and return by train that runs every hour at 50 for € 9.60 each. You can also load your bike and return to Papin di San Candido by delivering it directly, but the ticket for the bike on the train cost about € 6 so it's not very convenient.

Loacker Mondo Bontà, San Candido - Leinz in bici

· Loacker Mondo Bontà

Loacker Mondo Bontà it is located on the cycle path from San Candido to Leinz, it is impossible not to notice it and not make a stop. Here you will find both the Loacker Café, where you can enjoy an excellent breakfast or snack to recharge from the first part of the bike ride after having visited the shop (open from Monday to Sunday, from 09:00 to 18:00) or participate in the Interactive Pastry Shop for a fee.

Loacker Mondo Bontà, San Candido - Leinz in bici

It is an unmissable stop for lovers of the famous Wafers and trust me, when you rent the bike before leaving, absolutely choose one with the basket, I listened to Enrico who said that the basket would not be useful … I left the shop loaded with sweets that I had absolutely no idea where to take by bike.

· Leinz

Finally arrived in Leinz, after a chain fallen in the mud and getting lost (yes, that's right, we managed to take the wrong road despite the signs that indicated the route very well, ending up in the middle of nowhere in the woods on a dirt and mudded path), we left the bike at Papin and headed to the historic center a few steps from the station.

Ciclabile San Candido - Leinz

Leinz is the charming capital of East Tyrol, also called the "Pearl of the Dolomites", a small, colorful and very typical village where it is absolutely worth taking a stroll, if you are not too tired. We drank a beer in the main Hauptplatz square and took a look at the shop windows on Landstrasse then headed to the station to return to San Candido. The train ride from Leinz takes 40 minutes and once you arrive in San Candido you will find Papin, where we left the car a few meters from the station.

Foliage al Lago di Braies, Dolomiti, Trentino Alto Adige

We finally left for home tired but satisfied with our short escape to discover Südtirol, it was not a relaxing holiday in physical terms, we moved a lot and walked a lot but it was absolutely worth it, we recharged and returned to home with a little fuller heart, fall in love with these places where we will surely return. For some advice on what to pack and the restrictions due to Covid click here and read my post on travel organization and tips that you will find useful on your holiday.


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