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On foot through the beautiful Vinschgau Valley

My time out in the walking paradise of South Tyrol
Hiker hikes uphill amidst greenery

At last, the moment has arrived for me to embark on my inaugural team-member-on-tour assignment - I can't wait for my hiking holiday from Lake Resia to Merano. Leading our captivating walking tours in South Tyrol, my curiosity compels me to venture into one of these mesmerizing destinations. Our journey begins on foot, tracing the entirety of the Vinschgau Valley—from the serene shores of Lake Reschen to the tranquil spa haven of Merano. With walking boots laced and sunglasses at the ready, my companion and I eagerly set out from Reschen, primed for adventure.

Hiker hikes uphill amidst greenery

Lake Reschen – a reservoir with a long history

Nestled just beyond the Austrian-Italian border, Lake Reschen beckons us with its serene waters, reflecting the tranquil mountain pastures as the sun dips below the horizon. Here, amidst this peaceful scene, lies the emblematic symbol of Reschen: the submerged church tower of Altgraun. Driven by our excitement, we venture out in the evening to witness this remarkable sight up close. The ancient tower holds a captivating allure for tourists and we alike, serving as the sole visible vestige of the sunken village of Altgraun. In 1950, the heedless construction of a dam submerged the village, uprooting its inhabitants and leaving behind only this poignant reminder of its past. While the picturesque image of the tower rising from the lake instills a sense of tranquility, it's crucial to recognize the tragic history that lies beneath its serene facade.

Church tower at Lake Reschen

Apple orchards & the Ortler Alps

With the majestic Ortler massif always in sight, the initial days of our journey unfold along the Venosta Valley high trail. Alongside the ancient irrigation channels known as Waalwege, we're treated to sweeping views of the Vinschgau Valley. Despite it being September, the peak walking season, encounters with fellow tourists are sporadic, allowing us to relish the tranquility of our surroundings. Each day's trek leads us past charming villages, contented cows, and through the unspoiled heart of South Tyrol's natural landscape. The air is infused with the sweet aroma of fresh apples and ripe grapes, enveloping our senses. Renowned for its splendid walking routes and picturesque vistas, South Tyrol reveals its wonders firsthand during our walking holidays in Italy. Whether opting for a brief detour to quaint hamlets or taking a more leisurely route, perhaps utilizing the convenient Venosta Valley Railway, there's an abundance of choices to suit everyone's preference on this unforgettable journey.

Along Lake Reschen, up to the tranquil Waal paths and across lush Alpine pastures

The journey commences with a remarkable highlight at Lake Reschen. As dawn breaks, the majestic mountain panorama is mirrored in the tranquil turquoise-green waters. Setting off with the reservoir at our backs, our path ascends through verdant mountain pastures, where cows and sheep graze, all while enjoying a breathtaking view of the Ortler peak. The following day, a steep forest trail leads us upwards to the historic irrigation channels of South Tyrol. Accompanied by the soothing melody of rippling water, we trek under the radiant sunshine towards our next destination, Schluderns. On the subsequent day, our route winds through serene forest paths and verdant mountain meadows, with babbling watercourses tracing their way through the landscape until we reach Schlanders. After this Grand finale, we conclude the evening with a taste of South Tyrolean Schlutzkrapfen, a perfect conclusion to our adventures.

Hiking rest with a view

With the scent of apples and wine in the air on the way to Merano

To give our weary legs a break, we hop on the Venosta Valley train to Laces. From there, we ascend to the next Waalweg trail, leading us to the medieval Castelbello Castle. Veering off the trail briefly, we explore the quaint South Tyrolean village of the same name. Our journey continues through the abundant apple orchards and vineyards of South Tyrol. At day's end, the rushing Adige River accompanies us to Naturns. As the final day dawns, we take a train ride from Rabland and hike along the Partschinser Waalweg. Amidst the orchards, we indulge in tasting juicy apples and ripe grapes. The last stretch of our trek follows the Merano Waalweg trail, offering a stunning vista of the spa town. We pause for a rest on a bench—my personal favorite spot—with a view of the grand finale. With tired legs, we descend to the cathedral square and into the heart of Merano.

Hiker at the vineyard with covered arbour

My verdict

Whether it's the trek along Lake Reschen, the scenic paths along the Waal with vistas of the Vinschgau Valley, or the backdrop of the towering Ortler massif and the fragrance of the abundant orchards— the tour from Lake Reschen to Merano truly showcases the walking paradise of South Tyrol! After such an incredible experience, my curiosity is ignited, and I'm already eagerly anticipating my next getaway.

My favorite spot

The Lake Reschen to Merano tour boasts countless scenic highlights guaranteed to quicken the pulse of every wanderer. Yet, my personal favorite spot is a modest wooden bench nestled along the path from Naturns to Merano. By chance, we took a brief rest there and were utterly captivated by the awe-inspiring panorama. With the destination of Merano almost in sight and the tranquil rippling of the Algunder Waalweg water channel in the background, one can truly savor the moment and reflect proudly on the many magnificent kilometers of walking behind us.

Sarah's favorite spot – travel specialist

Hiker on a hiking trail in wooded surroundings
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