Leaving Munich behind…and after a few minutes have passed by we can already enjoy the view of the mountain tops of the Alps and the grass next to the highway is getting more and more painted in a nice juicy green due to the fertile grounds of the countryside.
We are heading to Bolzano, Italy. And the small road trip of 3 1/2h until the destination is already my start of vacation. Not only because I love driving cars and road trips, but also because it is a very diverse drive to Bolzano.
Shortly before we cross the first group of mountains, we pass by Garmisch Partenkirchen, a nice Bavarian town known for its wintersport activities. I love the route that follows, because it involves the countryside scenery between Garmisch and Innsbruck. Impressive stone mountains (e.g. Zugspitze, Germany’s highest mountain top), green trees and Evergreens next to each other, small wodden cottages serving as a storage for farmers, Bavarian style painted houses and then entering Tirol, Austria, with a view over a valley with houses so tiny as Lego-bricks. A stop over at Innsbruck is recommended for tourists, but we will continue driving the Brenner highway, with the continously impressive scenery. Almost too soon our trip through Austria ends and we are arriving at the border of Italy and from there it goes downwards along the mountains, which are no longer naked stone, but seamed with green woods and small castles appear once and a while out of the green woods on hill tops. It goes downwards all the way to Bolzano.
So, you’ll ask me “why Bolzano?”. Here is the answer: I first read about Bolzano in German newpapers. A visit to the South Tirolian town in the north of Italy was promoted in full page articles, not only because the food is excellent (Schlutzkrapfen, Schüttelbrot and Speck to name a few), but also because of
- the region’s outstanding wines (such as Lagrein)! I am always stocking up my wine collection by buying wine at the shop of Kellerei Bozen (where you can do wine tasting as well). St. Magdalener from Huck am Bach is always good and if you want to go for an upscale wine you should buy the Taber (three glasses from Gambero Rosso!). But I recommend you to just try the different wines and you will discover the variety the region has to offer. I, for example, do not like Merlot at all, but was surprised after trying their Merlot Riserva: it does not have the pure dominant vanilla note that I dislike so much in usual Merlots. The wine is so good that the back of my car is always crammped to the top with wine when I leave Bolzano.
- well stocked fashion stores! Another reason for my heavily loaded car! I know a lot of people who come from Munich to shop here. I prefer the variety of concept stores and multibrand boutiques offering all kind of international lables. I will always find something at Maximilian, Oberrauch Zitt and Pollini, but there are so many other good shops that offer e.g. shoes from Gucci or Tods or you will also find the high street vendors H&M and Zara.
- the nearby hiking grounds! There are wonderful routes around Bozen from a 2h walk to daytrips. And the Dolomiti are close. I only took short routes by now as I prefer to lie down in the garden of Hotel Laurin and enjoy an afternoon drink at the bar.
- the warm weather in summer! It is usually better than in Germany…of course it has to be – it’s Italy! 😉
- Lorenzi-Night! Did I mention yet that I love wine?! And it is all about wine at this evening event. Lasting until midnight, you are able to taste wines from different wineries in Bolzano in the historical pergolas right in the historic downtown. Of course you are also able to get some regional snacks that go with the offered wines.
- the annual Christmas market! Instead of closing down at December 23rd as in Germany the market is open until January 6 – good for a short break after New Years Eve!
- the castles of the surrounding area! Europe’s area with the highest densitiy of castles. Good for short trips.
- Ötzi! The iceman mummy which is displayed at South Tirol Museum of Archaeology located in Bolzano.
- many things more…or just because it is a good stopover to get in the mood for the following trips throughout Italy.
For me there are a lot of reasons to visit Bolzano, you may want to find your own! You also do not have to be afraid of the language barrier: South Tyrolians grow up bi-lingual (Italian and German) and the staff in shops and restaurants can also speak English.
So, you can see and hopefully get an image of why I love to spend a short break at Bolzano.