I sit quite excitedly in the passenger seat as we drive the car towards Lake Reschen. Actually, I should be relaxed. I had little to organize before we set off. Eurohike takes care of booking the hotels, the daily hiking stages are stored in the Eurohike navigation app on my phone, the luggage transport on site is organized and the individual hiking stages are considered easy. In case of bad weather or an absolute lack of hiking motivation on the part of the children, we also have the option of taking a shortcut by bus or train every day. All in all, a "safe adventure".
Nevertheless, I am excited. Because when you travel or hike with children, you simply don't know what to expect.
The stages may be easy, but are they exciting enough? The daily hiking distance is "only" about 10 kilometres, can my little daughter manage that? The hotels are pre-booked, but will the children cope well with a new sleeping situation every day? These are questions that run through my mind and turn this holiday into an adventure within my own comfort zone.
In the evening, we meet a Eurohike on-site representative at the hotel in Reschen. He explains the daily luggage transport, hands us the printed travel documents and answers our questions. We go to bed with a good feeling.
On the Schöneben high trail from Reschen to Burgeis
After breakfast we shoulder our backpacks and march to the valley station of the Schöneben cable car. Today we opt for the hiking option suggested by Eurohike on the Schöneben Höhenweg. The high trail stretches for just under six kilometres from the mountain station in Schöneben to the Haideralm and is a real stroke of luck. We are almost alone on the scenic hiking trail. After a stop at the Haiderhalm, we take the cable car and shorten the remaining kilometres to Burgeis by bus.
From Burgeis to Schluderns
Today's hiking stage to Schluderns has taken its toll on us. We walk along summer-blossoming meadows before we enter the first Waal path of our family hiking tour. It leads us over wooden bridges again and again, and while the Waal gurgles happily beside us, we hike almost exclusively downhill. We are on our way quickly, because the hotel has an indoor pool, which, in addition to the exciting but easy paths, increases the children's hiking motivation considerably.
From Kastelbell to Naturns
Long hiking days are good hiking days for us. And today is a really long day. After breakfast, the Vinschgau railway takes us from Schluderns to Kastelbell. While the South Tyrolean landscape whizzes past us, I wonder if the children still feel like hiking on day three. They enjoy the slow start to the day and look less motivated. The lack of motivation then becomes apparent when we leave the train. However, we have the Waal, where you can also cool your feet, and a typical South Tyrolean snack station, where it always tastes delicious, on our side. At 6 p.m. we are hungry, sweaty but happy at the reception of our hotel in Naturns. In retrospect, today was the best stage of our hiking holiday with children in South Tyrol, despite the somewhat bumpy start.
Rest day in Naturns
Today's break day in Naturns comes just at the right time. After a late and leisurely breakfast, we decide to take the Unterstell cable car up to Naturns' Sonnenberg. We enjoy the view, typical South Tyrolean food and a day, where for once the focus is not on hiking. I can only recommend every family to book the hiking tour with a rest day.
From Naturns to Partschins
The fact that we are approaching Merano is especially noticeable in the temperatures, because on the way from Naturns to Partschins we work up quite a sweat. It is hot and humid and we celebrate every shady section of the trail and every cool breeze. After a stop at the Winklerhof snack station, we literally roll into our hotel and just manage to convince the children to take off their hiking clothes before jumping into the pool.
The grand finale: from Partschins to Merano
We were just shivering in our rain jackets at lake Reschen and now our last day of hiking has already begun, as we walk into Merano in short clothes on the beautiful Algunder Waalweg in the sunshine. We have our destination firmly in sight during the entire hiking stage and a big grin on our faces.
In the early afternoon we sit at the edge of the hotel pool, let our legs dangle in the water and are all mighty proud. Even the children, because they know very well that this hiking tour was a great achievement on their part.
Correctly I should write: Our conclusion, because I did not hike alone, but we undertook this adventure as a family. Our conclusion is unanimous: Anytime again.
We found all the hiking stages to be child-friendly. The paths were easy, but not boring. Apart from the paths, the hotels are also important on a tour like this. If you are on the road all day, you need a nice place to rest your legs in the evening and a delicious breakfast to fortify you for the day.
The children celebrated every hotel pool and always slept well. We liked all the hotels very much. The luggage transfer from Eurohike is worth its weight in gold. We can certainly pack minimally, but hiking with only the day's luggage on our backs is a huge relief for us parents.
I'm sure we will look back on this intense time as a family for a very long time. At the end of the summer, it is exactly these experiences that bind us together as a family and that we can't get enough of.