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Quick Facts
Capital Bolzano
Government autonomous province
Currency euro (EUR)
Area 7,400 sq km
Population 485,042 (June 2006 est.)
Language German 69.15% (official), Italian 26.47% (official), Ladin (regional) 4,37%
Religion Roman Catholic >90%, small native Lutheran Evangelical, Jewish, Russian Orthodox communities and others (incl. immigrated Muslims ~2% and free churches)
Electricity 230V/50Hz (European plug)
Country code +39 047..
Internet TLD
Time Zone UTC +1

South Tyrol (German and Ladin: Südtirol, Italian: Alto Adige or Sudtirolo) [1] is the northernmost region in Italy located historically in Central Europe which borders to Austria (Tyrol and Salzburg region) to the North and the North-East and to Switzerland (Graubünden) to the North-West and to remaining Italy (Trentino, Veneto and Lombardy) to the South. With Trentino it composes the administrative region of Trentino-South Tyrol which can be compared to Serbia and Montenegro before they split - they are actually to autonomous regions (officialy provinces) member of the same administrative region. This is the only region in Italy in which the majority of the population speaks German as mother tongue - here road sign are all bilingual or trilingual in the Ladin-speaking valleys.

This completely Alpine region can offer a lot of cultural highlights and events, cities and small towns - and big natural areas including the most important Italian national park, unnumbered regional parks, lakes, valleys and mountains. Here there are the Dolomites and huge important ski resorts. Every visitor is impressed by the typical Austrian culture and culinary in the southern and sunny side of the Alps. South Tyrol is now developing also in research, technologies and business.


South Tyrol is administratively divided in the following 8 districts:

  • Bolzano — the capital and largest city which is also Capital of the Alps - it forms a district by its own
  • Burgraviate — a charming area full of castles and natural beauties with its district capital - Meran
  • Eisack Valley — the valley with the northernmost vineyard in the Alps and the district capital's of Brixen art treasures
  • Puster Valley — ski resorts, hiking, sport in general and culture in Bruneck - the district capital
  • Salten-Schlern — diverse mountain area which surrounds Bolzano to the north with a lot of activities around the year
  • Überetsch-South Tyrolean Unterland — both part of the metropolitan area of Bolzano and charming area of the south of South Tyrol
  • Vinschgau — unique valley with summer ski resorts and a lot of heritage - and the South Tyrol's highest church tower in Schlanders, the district capital
  • South Tyrolean Wipp Valley — wonderful region with the northernmost town of Italy - Sterzing, the district capital

The tourist areas coincide more or less to the districts - unless they are more in some highly touristically developed districts.


  • Bolzano — the capital and the largest city of South Tyrol - culture, business, shopping and nature
  • Meran — the former capital of the County of Tyrol (1418-1848) and health resort since centuries
  • Brixen — until 1803 capital of the Bishopric of Brixen - one of the most culturally interesting towns in former Tyrol
  • Bruneck — the easternmost town in South Tyrol with an important medieval castle.
  • Sterzing — very important town near to the Brenner Pass - its historical centre is included in the list of the Most beautiful Italian small towns
  • Glurns — It's considered as the smallest town (place with Stadtrecht, right of city) in Italy and one of the smallest in Europe - with its 800 inhabitants
  • Klausen — picturesque town of artists located between Bolzano and Brixen - also included in the list of the Most beautiful Italian small towns
  • Neumarkt — the most important cultural centre in Unterland

Other destinations[edit]

  • Stelvio National Park — with the highest mountain of South Tyrol (Ortler, 3905m)
  • Kaltern — lake resort in south of South Tyrol
  • Schnals Valley — found place of the worldwide famous Ötzi the Iceman
  • South Tyrolean Ladinia — Gardena and Badia Valley are two important ski resorts
  • Innichen — Important ski resort in the Upper Puster Valley
  • Lake of Reschen — Lake near the border to Austria and Switzerland where there is a church tower in the middle - that is a souvenir of the ancient village of Graun



It is known that people have lived here since the stone age - like Ötzi the Iceman, and the region was part of the Roman Empire from 59 BC until the Migration Period. From the 6th to the 9th century, the region was settled by the Bavarii together with the Langobards and the romanised natives. As part of France and later the Holy Roman Empire the region had a strategic importance as a bridgehead to Italy. Large parts of the province was donated to the Bishops of Trent and Brixen. After their caretakers, the earls of Tyrol (like Meinhard II of Gorizia-Tyrol) had gathered the province under their command, the region together with the valleys to the north was known as Tyrol.

In 1342, the earldom went over to the Bavarian dukes again when Emperor Louis IV voided the first marriage of Countess Margarete Maultasch. But already in 1363 the Wittelsbach released the country for Habsburg.

Habsburg ruled the region almost continuously until 1918. Only in 1805 Austria was defeated by Napoleon and lost Tyrol to Bavaria in the Peace of Pressburg (Bavaria allied itself with Napoleon in the war). Tyroleans, lead by Andreas Hofer, rose in rebellion against Bavarian rule. In 1814 Tyrol is transferred again from Bavaria to Austria at the Congress of Vienna.

In 1919, after the First World War, South Tyrol was annexed by Italy. Government officials, soldiers and other settlers brought in by the Italian state, especially the Fascist regime, from all over Italy reached a third of the total population by the early 1950s. Their descendants now make up about a quarter of the population.


South Tyrol is geographically the northernmost region of Italy and because its history and location in the middle of the Alps it's still considered a Central European region although Italy is in Mediterranean (or Southern) Europe - it's also true that all regions in North-Eastern Italy consider themselves as Central European (actually they have more geographic similarities with Slovenia - which is considered fully Central European and located on the southern part of the Alps - than with the rest of Italy). The region is totally composed by high mountains and their valleys. The most known part of South Tyrolean Alps are the Dolomites with the Schlern (2,662 mt) or the Rosengarten (3,002 mt). The Dolomites are located in eastern South Tyrol while the highest mountains are in western South Tyrol with the Ortler Alps (highest peak - 3.902 mt). The most important river is the Adige which goes into the Adriatic Sea while the Eisack and Rienz are the two most important Adige's affluents in South Tyrol. The only river which doesn't flow into the Adriatic Sea is the Drava which passes the most of the Central European countries and meets the Black Sea.


There are a lot of different and strange climates inside South Tyrol - normally South Tyrolean climate is sunny and dry and warmer than on the northern part of the Alps. That doesn't mean that the climate has to be Mediterranean - as local tourist guides say. The climate is of continental type (hot summers and cold winters with ambiguous springs and autumns) influenced by Alpine characteristics - for examples summer is the year's most rainy season. On the mountains and in upper valleys the climate is strongly alpine (very cold winters and fresh summers). During the winter and the springs in the valleys blows often the föhn - a strong wind which is normally warm in the winter and cold in the spring. Summers in the lower valleys (Bolzano and Merano surroundings) can be very sultry. Annual average temperature in Bolzano is 11.6°C and the extreme records there go from -17 to +40°C. On the upper valleys the temperature is considerably lower (annual average from 3 to 5°C). Winter is the better season for skiing, spring and autumn for hiking and visiting places and summer for hiking in the woods - pay attention to the weather conditions!

People & Culture[edit]

South Tyrol is a region of multiple identities - South Tyrolean can differently feel themselves as Tyroleans, Austrians, of German ethnicity, Italians, Ladins or simply South Tyrolean - or "Altoatesini". Normally German-speaking people feel specifically South Tyroleans and Tyroleans on an historical level while Italian-speaking people feel mainly Italians or Italian-speaking South Tyroleans (or eventually "Altoatesini" - people from Upper Adige). Ladin-speaking people consider themselves as Ladins but historically as Tyrolean Ladins. Ethnic tension is not more the main topic in South Tyrol and nowadays ethnic tensions are with no doubt connected with problems inside political parties. On the other hand is true that history and politics are strictly connected.

For the discendent of native Tyroleans the national hero is Andreas Hofer who fighted against the Revolutionary French in order to save homeland's freedom. Other famous South Tyroleans are Walther von der Vogelweide - the most celebrated of the Middle High German lyrics poet who is supposed to be born near Bolzano - and the Medieval poet Oswald von Wolkenstein.

German-speaking (but often without ethnic distintion) South Tyroleans have stereotypes in common with Bavarians - from Italian point of view: Lederhosen (leather pants), sausages and a lot of beer. From Germany they are seen as Mediterranean, singers and wine drinkers. Alcohol is though a problem in South Tyrol's society for all ethnic groups - especially among youngs.

South Tyrol has two unofficial anthems: one is the Tyrolean anthem - which is officialy recognized in Austrian Tyrol - and the other is a famous song (known as "Bozner Bergsteigerlied" or "Südtirollied") which begins with the words "Wohl ist die Welt so groß und weit..." (Surely is the world so big and wide...). Ladins have also their own anthems (Gherdëina Gherdëina for the Gardena Valley and a general anthem of Ladins). South Tyrol participate every year to the Gran Prix der Volksmusik which is broadcast in Eurovision - its first participation has been in 2001 and has won every year since then. The most known folk group are probably the Kastelruther Spatzen. Pop and rock are the preferred styles by the youngers.

South Tyroleans are all catholics and quite conservatives - but it depends from the areas. In the most touristically developed regions and in cities or bigger towns people is more open. It's said that there is no big differences in behaviour of Germans or Italians - some tourists affirmed that local Italians are a bit closer and different from other Italians.

Today the region is famous for its sporty people such as Isolde and Carolina Kostner, Armin Zöggeler (sled's world champion) or Ylenia Scapin. Other famous people include the former journalist and now European parliamentary Lilli Gruber.


Street reference chart
German Italian Ladin English
Straße via, strada streda street, road
Weg via via, streda street
Gasse vicolo streda, via lane
Allee viale, corso streda alley
Platz piazza plaza square
Autobahn autostrada autostreda freeway
Markt mercato marcià market
Park parco parch park
Ufer Lungofiume ëur river quay

The majority of the South Tyrolean population is German-speaking and in some valleys it's the totality. The Italian-speaking population lives mainly in Bolzano and other big towns. Ladin-speaking people live in the Gardena and Badia Valleys. All the road signs have to be bilingual (trilingual where Ladin is spoken) and normally the first name identifies the majority in the area.

Mass Media[edit]

In South Tyrol there is a trilingual media panorama and international newspapers are simply to find (expecially from Germany). There are no local newspapers in English but the most popular dailies are the Dolomiten (conservative) in German and the Alto Adige (independent) in Italian. Other dailies are the Neue Südtiroler Tageszeitung (liberal) and the Corriere dell'Alto Adige (independent) - the local edition of the Italian Corriere della Sera. The most popular edition of Alto Adige is on Sunday - Dolomiten isn't published on Sunday and at its place there is the Sunday tabloid Zett. The most important weekly is the ff (liberal) in German.

The Italian public broadcaster RAI has a broadcasting centre in Bolzano (called Sender Bozen in German, Sede di Bolzano in Italian and Radio TV Ladina in Ladin) which realises everyday a trilingual programme. The local radio of RAI (FM4) transmits in German, Ladin and Italian (news in Italian are transmitted on Radio 2). News in German every hour and news in Ladin two times a day. Many private radio broadcasters transmit in Italian, German or Ladin - a radio from Bolzano (Radio Tandem) transmits also for immigrated people (Albanian, Spanish, Urdu, Arabic, Ukrainian, ...).

Also television broadcasts in the three regional languages with five newscasts every day. News in Italian (Telegiornale Regionale) are broadcast in both Bolzano and Trento and cover Trentino and South Tyrol and are on air at 2:00pm, 7:35pm and at night with news only for South Tyrol. News in German (Tagesschau) at 8:00pm and 10:10pm and news in Ladin (TRAIL) at 7:55pm. German general programmes are broadcast every evening, on Thursday evening in Ladin and on Sunday morning in Italian. RAI Bolzano transmits on the regional frequency of the Italian State-run RAI3. Two private television brodacasters (Videobolzano 33 and TCA) transmit only in Italian (evening news at 7:30pm on Videobolzano 33 and at 7:00pm on TCA).

Tourist Board[edit]

South Tyrol Marketing Pfarrplatz, 11 (+39 0471 999999, [email protected]) - Contacting the South Tyrol Tourist Board you can get information about the region and single areas and ask for catalogues and brochures. It's better to contact directly this office than contacting your nearest national information office of Italy - also because they could make confusion between South Tyrol and Trentino(!)


The best-loved holiday in South Tyrol is probably Christmas. The Christmas atmosphere begins the first Advent Sunday and the first Christmas-related unofficial holiday is on 6th December when the Nikolaus (St Nicholas) brings sweeties and small gifts to the children. In all South Tyrol there are ceremonies and the arrival of the Krampus - violent devils (be careful, they could hit if drunk). South Tyroleans celebrate Christmas on the eve night. Between Christmas and 6th January children dressed as the Three Kings (the Sternsänger, cantors of the star) go home to home to sing and collect money for charities. Differently as in other parts of Italy and commonly as in Catholic German-speaking countries, in South Tyrol the Whit Monday is a regional festivity. During Carnival (Fasching in German) there are a lot of events. Here a list of official festivities (shops and offices are closed):

  • New Year's Day (Neujahr, Capodanno), January 1 - shops are closed on December 31 afternoon too
  • Three Kings' Day (Epiphany) (Dreikönigstag, Epifania), January 6
  • Carnival (Fasching, Carnevale), variable (February)
    • Thursday Carnival's Day (Fetter Donnerstag, Giovedì Grasso), shops are closed in the afternoon
    • Tuesday Carnival's Day (Fetter Dienstag, Martedì Grasso), shops are closed in the afternoon
  • Easter (Ostern, Pasqua), variable (on Sunday) - date is the same as in other western countries. Also Easter Monday is holiday.
  • Liberation Day (Italienischer Staatsfeiertag, Giornata nazionale della Liberazione dal nazifascismo), April 25 - nationalwide festivity although in South Tyrol American troops arrived on May 3, 1945.
  • May Day (Tag der Arbeit, Festa del Lavoro), May 1
  • Whit Monday (Pfingstmontag, Lunedì di Pentecoste), variable (end May, begin June)
  • National Holiday (Italienischer Staatsfeiertag, Festa della Repubblica), June 2
  • Assumption of Our Lady, August 15 (Mariä Himmelfahrt, Assunzione - slang in both languages Ferragosto)
  • All Saint's Day, November 1 (Allerheiligen, Ognissanti) - the night before many youngs celebrate Halloween - it doesn't belong to the locale tradition
  • St Nicholas (Nikolaustag, San Nicolò), December 6 - shops are open
  • Immaculate Conception (Mariä Empfang, Immacolata Concezione), December 8
  • Christmas (Christtag, Natale), December 25 - shops are closed on December 24 afternoon too
  • St Stephen Day (Stephanitag, Santo Stefano), December 26

Get in[edit]

Italian foreign ministry has a page [2] available also in English for entry documents required to foreign nationals. Being Italy signatory to the Schengen treaty you don't have problems if you come with an Austrian or Swiss visa, beeing this two states member of Schengen too - although Switzerland is not a member of the European Union.

There are no border controls between Schengen Agreement nations - so also the last controls at the border to Switzerland have dissolved.

By plane[edit]

The only airport in South Tyrol is the Airport Bolzano Dolomites located in the capital city Bolzano and flights are operated mainly by Air Alps [3] in code-sharing with Alitalia.

Nearest major hubs are in Munich, Germany and Milan while other airports near South Tyrol are located in Innsbruck, Austria and Verona. Low cost flights only to/from Verona, Treviso or Bergamo. Airport transfers are available. Normally Inghams offers direct flights from England in winter.

By train[edit]

Bolzano is a major hub between Southern and Central Europe and all trains from Germany, Austria and from Italy stop in Bolzano. Normally trains from the North stop also in Brenner, Franzensfeste (connection to Puster Valley and so to eastern Central Europe) and Brixen. The first station from the South for Eurocity trains or similars is Bolzano. South Tyrol is served by the Italian Railway Company Trenitalia [4], but international connections are powered also by the Austrian Federal Railway Company (Österreichische Bundesbahnen) [5] and Deutsche Bahn (Germany) [6]. Austrian Railways also have right to pass through Brenner-Franzensfeste-Bruneck in order to connect North Tyrol (Innsbruck) with East Tyrol (Lienz).

Several daily direct connections from Bolzano to Milan, Rome and Venice (to the South), Munich and Dortmund (to the North). Travel inside Italy by train is normally cheaper than inside Austria or Germany, however the service and the cleanliness can be lower - and delays or strikes are much more frequents. Travelling from Austria or Germany doesn't imply problems instead.

By bus[edit]

South Tyrol is very well conencted by bus mainly with Germany and Eastern Central Europe. Traveling by bus is cheaper than by train and it could be a good solution if you find what you are looking for. The local travel agency Gross [7] organizes up to 12 bus connections every month between Bolzano and Munich (one-way ticket for EUR 25). Almost every important city in Poland is connected with Bolzano through international bus connections - normally arrival is in Genoa. The Polish travel agency Wikel [8] is the most known for this cheap connections. If you are coming from Romania your reference could be the Romanian CentroTrans [9] travel agency which has also offices in England. Coaches from Romania stops in Bolzano but also in Brixen. In the Romanian website about bus stations [10] you can find arrivals and departures from Romania/to South Tyrol at the Bolzano bus station. Connections with Slovakia from/to Bratislava are operated by the Eurolines [11] agency in Bratislava. Connections with the Czech Republic are operated by the Tourbus [12] agency (web site also in English available) with buses from Prague or Brno and other places. Prices are cheap - a return ticket from Brno to Bolzano costs EUR 94. Tourist connections are also available from Southern Germany, Austria and Switzerland - this connections are operated by the German travel agency Südtirol Tours [13] or by the Swiss Südtirol Express [14]. In winter bus transfers between low cost airports in Northern Italy and tourist destinations are available - for this check on the offical tourism board web site.

By car[edit]

South Tyrol is a forced route if you want to travel from Italy to Germany - so it's simply to get in by car. Through South Tyrol passes the motorway A22 [15] (known also as the Brenner Motorway) that split the region into two side - west and east. In Austria the Brenner motorway is coded as A13 and while identification road signs in Italy are green in Austria they are blue (also in Germany). In South Tyrol there are 8 motorway exits (two of them only in Bolzano) while tool booths are only in 6 exits - in Sterzing you will pay for the remaining itinerary. For a car which goes from Neumarkt-Auer to Brenner you will pay EUR 5.40 and from Bolzano South and Bolzano North EUR 0.60 (March 2007). On the web site of the A22 society you can check the fare you might have to pay. The motorway is everytime with fee except in case of strikes involving the staff at the booths. For driving on Austrian motorways you have to buy the Vignette (available for a 10-days, 2-months and 1-year-validity) - for a car a 10-days-validity vignette costs EUR 7.60 (2007). An exception is on the route between Innsbruck South and Brenner - here you have to pay EUR 8.00 for the whole itinerary at the booths. German motorways are for free.

On the same side of the A22 motorway there is also the Statal Road 12 (known also as Abetone-Brenner) which is for free. If you come from East Tyrol (nearest regions: Carinthia, Slovenia) you will pass the border at Winnebach and the the route is for free, so it's also coming from Switzerland with the border at Taufers im Münstertal and from other mountain passes through South Tyrol like Reschenpass. You could have to pay a fee for passing the Jaufenpass on the Austrian side.

Get around[edit]

Almost places are very well connected by train or by bus and roads are considered to be the best well-kept in Italy and road signs are not an exception or ambiguous.

Value Card[edit]

If you want to travel inside South Tyrol and up to Innsbruck or Trento by bus or by train you can buy the "Value Card" ("Wertkarte" or "Carta valore") for EUR 5.00, 10.00 or 25.00 and you will pay less with this card which has validity only in South Tyrol - in other parts of Italy you have to buy a ticket at the train station every time. In major cities and their metropolitan areas this tickets can be bought also in general shops like bakeries, bars, restaurants, supermarkets, other retail stores and in the tourist offices. All dealers have identification stickers. In smaller places you can find them at bus stations. For more information check on the web site of the regional transport system web site [16].

By train[edit]

All main valleys are crossed by trains and the two regional main hubs are Bolzano and Franzensfeste, while the main train route is that which goes from North to South and vice versa - the international one. From Bolzano you can catch a train which arrives up to Mals in the Vinschgau valley and from Franzensfeste there are the trains that bring you to Lienz in the East Tyrol, Austria and passes through the Puster Valley. Traveling by train is relatively cheap if compared to Austria or Germany and regional trains run on time. The route between Meran and Mals which is called Vinschgerbahn [17] was renewed in 2005 by the Government of the Autonomous Province of South Tyrol after 15 years of unuse by the Italian rail company that considered the route unprofitable. Now the trains on this route are the most efficent and clean - and the service is very popular among local outliers and tourists for the beautiful landscape.

Going through all South Tyrol from Mals (West) to Innichen (East) will cost about EUR 13.50/14.00 (with Value Card) and it's a travel of about 4 hours. The fare from Bolzano Central Station to Mals is EUR 6.43 (with Value Card) and it's a travel of about 2 hours - while from Bolzano to Innichen costs EUR 8.22 (with Value Card) and it's also travel of 2 hours. Between Bolzano and Mals or Innichen there are also direct connections during the day but travel time doesn't change. Reaching Innsbruck costs EUR 12.78 (with Value Card) and the travel lasts 2 hours.

South Tyrol rail service is operated by the Italian Railway Company Trenitalia [18] (with the exception of the Vinschgerbahn) but for information the web site powered by the regional government for local transport [19] seems to be more detailed.

As useful information it's to note that in Italy on all trains it is forbidden to smoke. If you smoke you have to expect a fine of EUR 50.00 - and payment of the fare is by the honor system and inspectors check for valid tickets. If you don't have one, it's an instant EUR 25 fine (plus the fare you were supposed to have paid).

By bus[edit]

Buses reach places that trains couldn't. South Tyrol has excellent bus connections inside the country with a very efficent transport system. Traveling by bus is not expensive and permit to go up to the most isolated village on the mountains. The major regional hub is at Bolzano bus station. From Bolzano depart buses to the places in the surrounding districts (metropolitan area and mountain villages) and to the most important distant towns. From the major local hubs (Meran, Brixen, Sterzing, Bruneck and Schlanders) depart buses to the nearest surrounding areas. On regional buses you can buy your ticket on board too - drivers sell also value cards.

You can get more information on the regional transport system web site [20] (also in English available) or on the regional bus society [21] (only in German or Italian).

By car[edit]

Also the smallest and most isolated mountain village is well connected through well-kept road. In South Tyrol there are three kind of roads: local roads, provincial roads(SP/LS meaning Strada Provinciale/Landesstraße) and statal roads (SS meaning Strada Statale/Staatsstraße) - however both provincial and statal roads are run by the regional government of South Tyrol. Highway A22 is a toll road and paying is compulsory. In South Tyrol police seems to be much less tolerant than in other parts of Italy, so pay attention and keep to the rules.

Traffic signs are always very precise and the usage of pictographs is more common than in other parts of Europe since in South Tyrol two or three languages have to be used. In most parts of South Tyrol signs are written in the German/Italian order, while in Bolzano and other smaller Italian-speaking areas in Italian/German. Also complementary information is bilingual. In the Ladin-speaking valleys road signs are trilingual - Ladin/German/Italian.

Speed limits are:

  • 130 km/h on highways (green traffic sign);
  • 110 km/h on freeways (blue traffic sign - similar to a free highway);
  • 90 km/h on single-lane roads (blue traffic sign);
  • 50 km/h inside cities (after the white traffic sign on which is written the place name).

Italian laws allow a 5% tolerance on local speed limit and fines are generally very expensive.

Motorbikes should drive always with the headlights on, for other veichles that applies only outside cities. In mountain roads there are a lot of accidents involving bikers - so pay attention.

The tolerated limit of alcohol is 0.50g/L in blood, being above this limit is thus illegal and can entitle you an expensive fine and licence withdraw and maybe also a night in jail. Also driving after having taking drugs is illegal. All passengers are required to wear their seat belt and children under 10 must use the back seat.

By bike[edit]

South Tyrol has one of the most developed bike trail systems in Italy and expecially in the valleys you can reach most of the towns in the region and also in the surrounding regions. Along bike trails there are a lot of lay over points. The majority of bike trails begins in Bolzano. On the web site of the regional government you can find the maps of the bike trail systems in South Tyrol divided by districts [22] (German and Italian).


Official languages in South Tyrol are German and Italian. All road signs and services to the public have to be provided in both languages. In the regional parliament deputies can speak their mother tongue and laws have to be published bilingual. In addition to German and Italian in South Tyrol there is a third semi-officially recognized language - Ladin. This ancient language originated after the invasion of the Ancient Romans in the Alpine region is spoken in the Gardena and Badia valleys - and also in the Fassa Valley in Trentino and Cortina d'Ampezzo area in Veneto. Ladin has a fully official status in the valleys in which it's spoken and also in the capital is common to see trilingual signs - but not road signs.

Every 10 years during the census South Tyrolean have to declare their ethnic affiliation in order to decide the percentual which has to be given at working places to German-, Italian- or Ladin-speakers. In the last census 69.15% declared to be German-speaking, 27.65% is Italian-speaking and 4.37% is Ladin-speaking.

Italian-speaking South Tyroleans live mostly in Bolzano - about 55% of the whole Italian-speaking population, and they are a majority in other 4 municipalities: its metropolitan area - the three metropolitan municipalities of Laives, Bronzolo and Vadena, and in the village of Salorno which borders to the Italian-speaking Trentino. Other big Italian-speaking communities are located in the most important towns such as Meran, Brixen, Sterzing and generally in the Wipp Valley. Ladin-speaking people is a majority in 8 municipalities and there are small minorities in Bolzano (0.71%), Brixen and Bruneck. German-speaking South Tyrolean are the dominant group which is a majority in 103 of 116 municipalities - the most German-speaking village is Sankt Pankraz with 99.81%.

In everyday life most of German-speaking South Tyroleans speak the local dialect, called generally Südtirolerisch but this has a lot of varieties inside. South Tyrolean German dialect is related to the Bavarian dialects in Austria and Bavaria. Some loan words have been taken from Italian - expecially bad words, though. A local Italian dialect exists only in the area of Laives in the Bolzano metropolitan area - here Italian-speakers of ancester from Trentino speak a dialect of central Trentino mixed with local German dialect (this dialect is commonly called Laivesòt). Only old Italian-speakers can speak the dialect (mostly Venetian) of origin being the others born in South Tyrol where the literary standard was the solution in order to communicate - however in local Italian there is a regional Venetian substrate as well as German influences. Ladin has no officialy recognized literary standard - but it exists - and Ladins speak in South Tyrol two different dialects: Gherdeina and Badiot.

So, if you're going to go to South Tyrol it would be better to know some word of German instead of Italian, expecially if you decide to visit villages and the mountains - in some valleys local population could have problems to understand foreigners speaking Italian, which is for them a foreign language too.

English is spreading and expecially younger people can speak it - but this depends from education level. English is a compulsory subject in South Tyrolean schools. In hotels, tourist offices and tourist places English is well known. In other places it would be better if you know some word of German (or Italian). French is not so popular but expecially in Bolzano and other towns some young people can speak a few French.

Buy[edit][add listing]


Being South Tyrol a part of Italy and consequently of the Eurozone the official currency is the Euro. The best rates for changing money are offered by banks. Nobody will accept foreign money - at the time of national currencies German Mark and Austrian Schillings were quite accepted.


The prices are a bit higher than the Italian average but it depends from the area - and for example they are in any case cheaper than in the United Kingdom. Most touristically developed areas are more expensive than the regional average. For example accomodations in the Bolzano metropolitan area town of Laives are cheaper. There is big differences also in prices between hotels of the same category - so a three star hotel could have similar prices to four but also two star hotels. Four and five stars hotels could ask more than EUR 100 for a night staying but two stars hotels ask less than EUR 40 (exept in highly touristically developed areas). If you want to save money avoid to reserve a room in famous places and prefer near but less popular locations. Youth hostels are cheap if you see that the quality is much higher than European standards.


In South Tyrol tipping is not so common - however in tourist areas it's quite normal and accepted. If you also were satisfied of the service you could round up the bill.


South Tyrol is the souvenir paradise: loden, traditional hand-crafts and regional delicatessen. Expecially if you want to buy some delicatessen like speck (a kind of smoked ham), dairy products, confectionary, apples, bread, honey or wine, grappa and apple juice you can find them also in supermarkets where they are far cheaper than in tourist shops - but they have a greater choise. All typical products from South Tyrol have a distinction mark within is written "Südtirol". It's to note that also typical meals are to be found frozen in supermarkets like e.g. spätzele, knödel and schlutzkrapfen. A local company called Nägele produces a lot of popular juices but also local coke and spätzi (coke mixed with lemonade). You can find the South Tyrolean coke in glass bottles in some supermarkets and in their store in Algund near Meran. The most famous South Tyrolean biscuits are probably the wafers of Loacker: in Bolzano there is an official store which sells all kind of Loacker biscuits.


ATMs in South Tyrol are called Bancomat. They are wide-spread and you will find them even in smaller, rural villages. The majority of shops, restaurants and hotels accept ATM cards and credit cards.


Bargaining is absolutely not common and considered strange - only with the immigrant pitchmen is possible to bargain.

Opening hours[edit]

Opening hours can be different in tourist destinations and in towns. In tourist places during high season shops are open also on Sunday for example. Seasonal sales begin first in the valleys and after in tourist places. Normally in Bolzano winter sales begin around 7th January and summer sales after the 15th August. On Sunday shops are closed - sometimes hypermarkets in Bolzano are open.

  • Supermarkets (in Bolzano and major centres): 8:00am – 7:00pm (sometimes until 7:30pm, on Saturday sometime until 6:00pm)
  • Supermarkets (in other centres, also some chains in Bolzano): 8:00/8:30am - 12:30/1pm in the morning and 3pm-7pm in the afternoon
  • Hypermarkets (in Bolzano): 8:30/9am - 8pm
  • Department stores: 8:30am - 7:30pm
  • Small and middle shops: 8:30/9am – 7:00/7:30pm
  • Petrol stations: along the highways usually 24h a day, along the freeway Bolzano-Merano 06:00am-11:00pm

Eat[edit][add listing]

South Tyrolean cuisine is tipically Austrian (Tyrolean) with Mediterranean influences but today also Italian stereotyped specialities like pizza and pasta with Bolognese sauce are offered as local dishes in Tyrolean-style restaurants - however portions are big and flavour sometimes better than in other parts of Italy. Chives here is almost everywhere.

Typical South Tyrolean products include Speck (a kind of smoked ham), a lot of sorts of bread, strudel, apples and a lot of pastries. During Christmas typical cakes are Zelten and Christstollen.

The national dish are Knödel, because they are bread balls with speck or other ingredients - so it was a complete meal in the past. There are also sweet knödels which are made with apricots (Marillenknödel), with plum (Zwetschgenknödel), with chestnuts (Kastanienknödel).

Other known entries include specialities such as Herrengröstl (potatoes, beef, onions, speck), Kaiserschmarrn (omelette with raisin and sugar), Gulaschsuppe (typical dish in all Central Europe), Schlutzkrapfen (a kind of dumpling with spinach or other ingredients), Spätzle (a kind of spinach dumpling), pork roast or sausages with sauerkrauts.

Bread is very important and there are a lot of local backery chains. In the Bolzano area there are e.g. Lemayr, Eisenstecken, Franziskaner, Hackhofer. In backeries is possible to buy cheap sandwiches and pastries. Backeries operate also in supermarekts - here prices are even lower.

Restaurants in small places close very early (around 9:00pm), while in major centres and tourist areas the kitchen closes around 10:00/11:00pm.


In Bolzano and major towns there are a lot of different kind of restaurants including ethnic specialities. In the most conservative parts of South Tyrol the only choice is the Gasthof, the typical Austrian-style restaurant with local dishes. The most traditional are quite cheap but there are some Gasthof which was transformed into a luxury local restaurant. A meal could cost between EUR 8/12. Menus are written in German and Italian, sometimes also in English. In all restaurant in South Tyrol menus are at least bilingual, while in the more expensive restaurants menus are normally also written in English and in some places also in Dutch. It's common to split up the bill in a group, except in very expensive restaurants.


'Imbiss' means fast food, and is what you will see on the sign of stands that sell primarily sausage (Wurst) and fries (Pommes Frites). Sausages will include Bratwurst, which is fried and usually a boiled pork sausage. In South Tyrol is very popular the variant known as Currywurst: sausage chopped up and covered in spiced ketchup, dusted with curry powder. Imbisse are located in major centres and on the roads. They are cheap. Beer and often harder liquor are available in most. 'Döner Kebab' is lamb or chicken with Turkish origins stuffed into bread, similar to Greek Gyros and Arab Schawarma. In Bolzano it's very popular and was imported from Austria and Germany by Montenegrin immigrants years ago - Bolzano is maybe the first city in Italy where a kebab stand was opened. Currently there are a dozen of kebab stands in the capital. In other towns kebab is more difficult to be found. McDonald's has a location only in Bolzano.


Vegeterianism is not common but many restaurants offer dishes which doesn't contain meat. A lot of hotels and restaurants offer a vegetarian menu for their guests but only in Bolzano there is more choice with restaurants for vegetarian only.

Drink[edit][add listing]

Legal drinking age in South Tyrol is 16. Local alcoholic drinks include both wine and beer. Nightlife can be found mainly in Bolzano - other towns are a bit more sleepy, but you can find discos, disco pubs and pubs in major centres and in tourist areas - however the most popular one are located in the Bolzano metropolitan area. Pubs are open until 1 or 2 in the morning and begin to be full of people after 8:30-9pm on Saturday. Discos are open until 6am and people go there around midnight.


Beer in South Tyrol is a very popular drink among all ages. The local brewing company Forst [23] is the leader in South Tyrol. Forst produces six kinds of beer and the Premium is the most known and drunk. In South Tyrol there are also small brewhouses - pubs that produces their own beer. In Bolzano the Bozner Bier [24] is very popular and can be found only in the pub in which it's made and in a restaurant.

In pubs and restaurants you could have a big choice of beers, the majority of which is imported - expecially from Germany. In some hypermarkets in Bolzano there is a big choice of local and export beers also from Australia, Japan and Mexico. Normally there is no price difference between local or export beers in pubs or restaurant - however Guinness could be a bit more expensive. Irish pubs are widespreading in all South Tyrol and expecially in the capital.


South Tyrol is a renowned wine producer - the three most known local types are Lagrein and Magdalener both from Bolzano and Gewürztraminer from Tramin. Expecially in the south of South Tyrol there are a lot of cellar in which you can taste the wine from producer. Other sorts of wine include pinot blanc or vernatsch. Despite the fact that South Tyrol has one of the smallest vineyard surfaces in Italy it's considered to be in the top 5 regions in quality.


South Tyrol is the ideal place for people who love coffee. Here you can find typical Italian espresso and Viennese cappuccino, or Irish coffee and American coffee. Normally small bars offer only Italian-style coffee and in some cases German coffee, though. The best American coffee can be found at McDonald's in Bolzano (ask for take away if you want to have the paper glass) for only EUR 0.90 - here you can drink the cheapest coffee in South Tyrol. Coffee in South Tyrol is the most expensive in Italy with an average of EUR 1.00 for an espresso (in the Bolzano city centre or in exclusive bars also EUR 1.20) but it's far less expensive than in neighbouring Austria or in Germany.


If you are visiting South Tyrol in winter you can drink the very popular Glühwein (mulled wine), a spiced wine served very hot to comfort you in the cold of winter. You can find it expecially in the Christmas markets or in ski resorts' après ski.


In South Tyrol there is a big production of grappa which is very good quality. However in South Tyrol you can find all kind of spirits.

Cocktails and aperitifs[edit]

The most popular local cocktail is the Flieger which is Red Bull and vodka and it can be red (with strawberry vodka), black (with raspberry vodka) or white (with normal vodka). The aperitif time begins at 5pm but a lot of people drink an apertif also in the night. The most popular drink is Veneziano which is white wine and Aperol.

Soft drinks[edit]

In South Tyrol you can find all kinds of soft drinks but the most popular soft drinks are Spezi (pronounce: "sh-peh-tzi") which is a cola-lemonade mix and Spuma which is an aromatic soda, very similar to Austrian Almdudler (which sometimes also can be found).

Sleep[edit][add listing]

South Tyrol is a tourist region and all options for accommodation are provided. You can find without problems hotels, B&Bs, youth hostels, campings and farm holidays. Tourist offices can help you in finding your ideal accomodation. During the Christmas market period accomodations are full in fast all the region - advanced reservation is required.


International hotel chains like Best Western, Sheraton and Steigenberger have franchises in South Tyrol, most of them expecially in Bolzano. In South Tyrol there is a local international chain for wellness hotels which has locations also in Austria, Croatia and in the Czech Republic and it's called Falkensteiner. Among hotels are included e.g. luxury, international, typical, big, small, and cheap hotels. There are a lot of pensions (small familiar hotels) and gasthofs (restaurant with rooms for guests). Quality is very high also in small 1-star pensions, so price are not the cheapest in Europe. Category is given in stars (from 1 to 5 where the 5-stars are the most expensive). Disable persons can check the web site 'South Tyrol for all' [25] (German and Italian only).

B&Bs and Garni[edit]

B&Bs are more common as Garnis which are very closed but they are more similar to small hotels.


In South Tyrol there are six youth hostels (Jugendherbergen in German, Ostello della Gioventù in Italian) which are budget accomodations but have high standards. They are good places in order to know other travellers. Of this six hostels there are four international youth hostels and two independent hostels.

Hostels are located in Bolzano, Meran, Brixen, Toblach, Salorno and Neumarkt. The South Tyrolean Youth Hostel organization [26] give more information.


In South Tyrol there are a lot of campings with a lot of services - so they could be a bit more expensive than in other parts of Europe. It has been provided a web site for campings in South Tyrol [27].


One other possibility in South Tyrol is the holiday in a farm (Ferien am Bauernhof). Here the farm is a small familiar company and it's simple to find farmers which made a guest house in their farm. Holiday in farms is so popular that the South Tyrolean tourist board has provided a special web site [28]. Farms with bed can be found also in city or town outskirts.


In South Tyrol there is an international and trilingual (English, German, Italian) university - the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano [29] which exists since 1997. In Bolzano there are a lot of students from all over the world. The university has also a location in Brixen (Faculty of Education) and Bruneck (Major in Tourism Management). The university has a very important library.

In Brixen there is also the High School of Theological Studies [30], while in Bolzano there are also other high schools like the Academy of Music and the College for Health-Care Professions.

There are also Italian and German courses provided by the University in Bolzano.


In South Tyrol unemployment rate is less than 2.5% and there are a lot of job possibilities if both German and Italian are known. It's more simple to find a seasonal job during winter or summer. School of languages and institutions could look for qualified people. The regional government provides a job finder on the web [31] (only German and Italian).

EU-citizens can work without visas but people from other countries have to ask for a visa and a permission to the Italian authorities.

Stay safe[edit]

South Tyrol is one of the safest regions in Italy and in Europe. There are practically no violent crimes. The only things you have to pay attention are pickpockets in places full of people.

Racism can be problem and the increasing of neonazi groups in both Italian and German ethnicities is a problem also for local politicians, but no violent episodes against tourist have been attested.

However South Tyrol is a very safe region and the small local problems involve hardly even the South Tyroleans.

The only place in which you have really to pay attention is on the mountains. If you are not an expert hiker don't go without an expert alpine guide. There is an high number of injured and death people every year. Also skiing and snowboarding can be dangerous if you don't pay attention.

If you need the police you have to call 113.

Stay healthy[edit]

South Tyrolean hospitals and health service are among the top ranked in Italy and for emergencies call 118. There are no dangers for your health.

Tap water is of exceptional quality and safe to drink in 100% all over South Tyrol.


South Tyrol is mainly German-speaking and some tourist could have problems understanding the character of this region. Guests interested in the (recent) history of South Tyrol are appreciated but try to stay neutral discussing about that and avoid asking to German-speaking people explanation such as why German is official language in an Italian region or avoid affirming to them 'But this is Italy!'. Don't ask to people you don't know very well what he/she feels (Italian, South Tyrolean, German, Austrian, etc). If you are speaking with German-speakers don't use please Italian names for places - the same it's that with Italian-speakers should be better to use the Italian and not the German names. Expecially speaking about the Fascist and the Nazi period you have to be very careful: don't show any swastikas or other symbolicisms of the Nazism or Fascism, such as shouting "Heil Hitler" or showing the "Roman salute/Nazi salute" in public, even if it is only meant as a joke. If you are showing the "Roman salute" to a German-speaking he could think you are a neofascist, while an Italian-speaking a neonazi. So, better if not. Also making jokes about Adolf Hitler can be considered vulgar.


In South Tyrol there is an Austrian-style mixed to Italian etiquette: for example when entering and leaving public places South Tyrolean always say Grüß Gott or Buongiorno when arriving Auf Wiederschauen or Arrivederci when leaving. Don't say ciao or hallo to people you don't know. It's very unpolite. Don't raise your voice or shout in public, especially on public transportation, it's considered extremely unpolite and aggressive. Eye contact is very important if introduced to someone or toasting. When toasting say prost in German or cin cin in Italian - normally also Italian-speakers use both.

Complete nudity is forbidden in public expecially if there are children, but it's common to see topless women in beaches and recreational areas.

When eating pay attention if you are eating knödels: they should be tender and if you use a knife for eating them you are saying to the cook that the knödels he/she cooked are not good.

If you are walking on the mountains is common to greet the people you meet.


Calling Austria[edit]

International code for Italy is +39 while the code for South Tyrol is 047. The final number is 1 for the Bolzano area (0471), 2 for the Brixen and Bruneck area (0472) and 3 for Meran (0473). Also calling from abroad you have to put the 0 of the local code.


Public phones are available in the offices of telecom. Phone boxes are to be found on street and from phone boxes you can also send SMSs. Phone boxes usually operate with prepaid cards which can be obtained from kiosks and tobacco/newspaper stores (German:Trafik, Italian and local German dialect: Tabacchino).

Phone numbers have an area code followed by the phone number itself. Mobile phone numbers use the prefix prefix without 0 and the first two digits being 32..., 33.., 34.., 38... Toll-free numbers are denoted by 800, numbers starting with 166 or 899 are usually expensive lines.

In the tabacchini you can buy also prepaid cards for calling outside Italy. Expecially in Bolzano there are a lot of phone centres run by immigrants where you can phone.

Cell phones[edit]

South Tyrol has a perfect GSM and 3G (UMTS) network coverage of nearly 100% in the valleys, in remote mountainous areas you might have problems.

In Italy there are not so much cell network providers which are only four: TIM, Vodafone, Wind and Tre (3G). There is no big difference between them and they are all expensive related to other European countries. In Italy there was a fee for prepaid cards - after a consumer fight this was declared outlaw.


You can find internet cafes mainly in Bolzano. Hotels in cities do normally have internet terminals, more expensive hotels provide internet access in the rooms itself.

The Burgraviate (German: Burggrafenamt, Italian: Burgraviato) [32] is a South Tyrolean district located in the western part of the region which borders to the Vinschgau Valley to the west, to the South Tyrolean Wipp Valley, the Salten-Schlern and the Überetsch-South Tyrolean Unterland to the east, to Trentino to the south and to North Tyrol to the north. Its capital is Meran, the second largest town in South Tyrol after the regional capital city, Bolzano. The districts has a population of about 90,000 and after the capital city - which is a district in its own - it's the most populated district in South Tyrol.


  • Meran — international and ancient health resort with a lot of charm
  • Lana — the second largest town in Burgraviate is a resort for relax
  • Naturns — small town and resort

Other destinations[edit]


The Burgraviate is the originary territory of Tyrol and already in the middle age it was an unitary district in the Tyrolean county. The district is composed by the Adige Valley around the town of Meran in the middle and by the valleys surrounding the historical capital, which was the capital of Tyrol from 1418 to 1848 when it was deplaced to Innsbruck. Before Meran the administrative centre of the Tyrolean county was in the current small village of Tirol over the town. The name Burgraviate derives from the fact that the district was under control of a burgrave. The Tyrolean rebellion against Napoleon began in the Passeier Valley in the north where Andreas Hofer lived. However, while the rural areas are very catholic and conservative the town of Meran is an international town with Belle Epoque flair and a multicultural life - with the only synagogue in South Tyrol! The current administrative unit was formed in 1971 as an association of municipalities - the capital Meran was included just in 1986. The westernmost part of the Adige Valley located in the Burgraviate is part of the geographical Vinschgau Valley but historically and politically it's part of the district.

The climate in the Burgraviate is of mild-continental type in the valley (expecially in Meran) and Alpine in the surrounding valleys. The climate in Meran and surroundings is very particular because it's the northernmost area in Europe where Mediterranean vegetation grows.


The Burgraviate is mostly German-speaking - 77.7% of the burgravial population speaks German as mother tongue. Only 22.0% is Italian-speaking. Ladins are a very small minority (0.3%). The Italian-speaking population is located primarily in Meran where it's about the half of the town population and then in the agglomeration along the Adige valley to the east. In the valleys no one word in Italian is pronounced by local population. However all road signs are bilingual.

The Burgravial German dialect has particular features and there is a good literary production with the translation into dialect of The Little Prince (Dr kluane Prinz) or the Struwwelpeter. The Meran German dialect is an urban dialect which is more closed to that spoken in Bolzano or Brixen instead of the whole Burgraviate - however pronounciation is similar.

Get in[edit]

The Burgraviate is very well connected by public transportation expecially from Bolzano.

Value Card[edit]

If you want to travel inside South Tyrol and so inside the Burgraviate by bus or by train you can buy the "Value Card" ("Wertkarte" or "Carta valore") for EUR 5.00, 10.00 or 25.00 and you will pay less with this card. In Meran and its metropolitan area this tickets can be bought also in general shops like bakeries, bars, restaurants, supermarkets, other retail stores and in the tourist offices. All dealers have identification stickers. In smaller places you can find them at bus stations. For more information check on the web site of the regional transport system web site [33].

By train[edit]

If you want to reach the Burgraviate by train you have to change the train in Bolzano. If you want to go from Meran in the west you have to change the train again in some hours - however trains from Bolzano to Mals are increasing. In the Burgraviate there are 12 rail stations.
Rail stations in the Burgraviate (the most important are written in bold): Rail line Bolzano-Meran

  • Vilpian-Nals
  • Gargazon
  • Lana-Burgstall
  • Meran Untermais
  • Meran

Rail line (Bolzano-)Meran-Mals

  • Algund
  • Marling
  • Töll Brücke
  • Rabland
  • Plaus
  • Naturns
  • Staben

The rail service from Bolzano to Meran is operated by the Italian Railway Company Trenitalia [34] - from Meran to Mals it's operated by the regional transportation agency SAD [35]. For information about timetables the web site for local transportation powered by the regional government [36] is the most detailed.

By bus[edit]

From the Bolzano bus station there are connections to Meran every hour from early morning to the night. Buses from Bolzano to Meran stop also inside both cities. Tourist connections are also available from Southern Germany, Austria and Switzerland - this connections are operated by the German travel agency Südtirol Tours [37] or by the Swiss Südtirol Express [38].

You can get more information on the regional transport system web site [39] (also in English available) or on the bus society for transportation in urban areas [40] (only in German or Italian).

By car[edit]

Bolzano is connected to Meran by a modern freeway with many exits along the road. On the freeway the speed limit is 110 km/h.

By bike[edit]

Burgraviate is well connected by the bike trail system with the southern part of South Tyrol and the capital city.

Get around[edit]

By train[edit]

Only major places in the Adige Valley can be reached by train, however there are 12 train station in the whole burgravial Adige Valley.

By bus[edit]

Meran is the major local hub for connections to other places in the Burgraviate. On local buses you can buy your ticket on board too.

By car[edit]

Also the most isolated village is well connected by the well-kept road system. Also without maps is possible to reach small places. However, if you get a map it's better. Pay attention on mountain roads.

By bike[edit]

Burgraviate has a well-developed bike trail system. On the web site of the regional government you can find the maps of the bike trail systems in South Tyrol divided by districts [41] (German and Italian).

See[edit][add listing]

Burgraviate is full of highlights.

  • Touriseum [42] (Tourism Museum) with the Gardens of Trauttmannsdorff Castle [43] in Meran
  • Tyrol Castle [44] with the museum of Tyrolean history and culture in Tirol, South Tyrol near Meran
  • MuseumPasseier [45] is the museum about Andreas Hofer's history in St. Leonhard in Passeier
  • Peter Mitterhofer Typewriter Museum [46] is a very particular museum about typewriter's history located in Partschins
  • St. Proculus Church is a small romanic church located in Naturns with the oldest frescoes in the German-speaking area

Do[edit][add listing]

Burgraviate is particularly qualified for active people and families.

  • Meran Thermal Baths [47] in Meran are located in a new luxury building designed by the architect Matteo Thun with indoor and outdoor swimming pools.
  • Families with children would prefer to go to the Erlebnisbad in Naturns with indoor swimming pools.
  • Kränzel Labyrinth Garden [48] in Tscherms near Meran is a funny experience, expecially for children.
  • There are two Golf clubs in the Burgraviate: in Lana and in the Passeier Valley.
  • You can riding in Hafling where the famous Haflinger horses are born.
  • Hiking, nordic walking and biking is possible everywhere.

Eat[edit][add listing]

Burgravial cuisine is typical Tyrolean with the same dishes you will find in the whole region. The most known regional product is the Meranerwurst, the typical Meran sausage. The Burgraviate is also the second apple producer district in South Tyrol - after the Vinschgau valley - so, apple strudels and pies are very popular.

In Meran you can find the Meranertorte which is similar to the Viennese Sachertorte - in Meran there are a lot of Viennese-style cafés. In the valleys you will find only typical Tyrolean Gasthäuser while in Meran there are more international and art cuisine restaurants. There are a lot of Italian and vegetarian restaurants in Meran. Generally, eating in Meran is more expensive than in other parts of the district. Fast food in the Burgraviate means hot dogs.

Drink[edit][add listing]

Beer is very popular in the Burgraviate where the only important South Tyrolean brewery is located - the Forst Beer in Forst near Meran. Wine production is less important than in other parts of South Tyrol, however quality is high. A popular drink among youngs is the so-called Fantalustig (pronounced Fanta-LU-shtig) which means happy Fanta and it's a mix between Fanta (orange or lemon) and white whine. There is a good production of grappa.

Night life in the Burgraviate is to be found only around Meran - but it's much more sleepy than the capital city, Bolzano. Pubs are located in all major centres, though. In Gargazon there is a popular disco called Après. In the area there are a lot of music groups.

Stay safe[edit]

The Burgraviate is very safe, however western South Tyrol is the area which is more affected by neonazi groups and bikers violence, but no violent episodes against tourists have been attested. During the night pay attention very much if driving.

South Tyrol is one of the Italian regions with less risk of earthquakes, however in western South Tyrol the risk of moderate earthquakes is higher.

Get out[edit]

The Eisack Valley (German: Eisacktal, Italian: Valle Isarco, Ladin: Val dl Isarch) [49] is a South Tyrolean district located in the central part of the region which borders to the South Tyrolean Wipp Valley (northern part of the valley of the Eisack) in the north-west, to the Puster Valley to the north-east and to the east and to Salten-Schlern to the west and to the south (with the southern part of the valley of the Eisack). Its capital is Brixen, the third largest town in South Tyrol. The district has a population of about 50,000.


This article is about the district of the Eisack Valley and not about the geographical valley:

  • Eisack Valley (district) — central part of the geographical valley
  • South Tyrolean Wipp Valley — northern part of the geographical valley
  • Salten-Schlern — with the southern part of the geographical valley


  • Brixen — religious capital of former Tyrol and biggest city in the whole geographical valley
  • Klausen — picturesque small town in the southern part of the district

Other destinations[edit]


Part of the Eisack Valley district territory was under the direct control of the Bishop of Brixen in that state which was known as Bishopric of Brixen but that was under protection of the Counts of Tyrol before and of the Hapsburgs after. The first capital of the Bishopric was Säben near Klausen (during Roman times known as Sabione - Klausen was Subsabione). In 901 Brixen was founded and in 980 it became the bishopric centre. Since then Brixen has been the religious capital of Tyrol. The diocese was founded in the 6th century, and gradually received more secular powers. The Bishopric of Brixen was elevated to an immediate principality of the Holy Roman Empire in 1179, and lost its worldly powers in 1803, when its territory was annexed by Austria. The Bishopric of Brixen existed until 1964, when it became part of the Diocese of Bolzano-Brixen. The seat of the diocese is now in Bolzano but the Cathedral in Brixen remains to held this title while the Cathedral in Bolzano is officially a Co-Cathedral. From 1803 to 1919 the area from between Klausen and Brixen to some kilometers northern to the Brenner Pass was part of the district of Brixen, while Klausen was part of the district of Bolzano. The district of the Eisack Valley was born in 1968 and until 1980 it included the municipalities of the Wipp Valley.

The climate in the low valley is continental with strong Alpine influences while in the upper lateral valleys the climate is strongly Alpine.


The Eisack Valley is mostly German-speaking - 86% of the district population speaks German as mother tongue. Only 13% is Italian-speaking while Ladins are a small minority - but stronger than in other districts (1%). The Italian-speaking population lives primarily in the towns of Brixen and Klausen. All road signs are bilingual, though.

The Eisack Valley German dialect (Eisacktalerisch, or in dialect Eisacktolerisch) is a typical Tyrolean dialect in transition between that of the Innsbruck and of the Bolzano area and it's quite homogeneous. Only in Brixen the dialect could sound a bit differently (e.g. in the word usage more than in the spelling) also because the Brixen dialect is an urban dialect which shares similarities to that of Bolzano and Meran.

Get in[edit]

The Eisack Valley is very well connected by public transportation and international connections.

By train[edit]

The Eisack Valley is on the international Brenner rail line which connects Southern and Northern Europe. Brixen is the major hub and all the train stop there.

By bus[edit]

Brixen is the major hub for international connections with the whole Central Europe. In the article about South Tyrol all information about coach agency is written.

By car[edit]

The motorway A22 is the simplest way in order to reach the Eisack Valley. There are two motorway exits: one in Brixen and one in Klausen.

Get around[edit]

Value Card[edit]

If you want to travel inside South Tyrol and so inside the Burgraviate by bus or by train you can buy the "Value Card" ("Wertkarte" or "Carta valore") for EUR 5.00, 10.00 or 25.00 and you will pay less with this card. In Meran and its metropolitan area this tickets can be bought also in general shops like bakeries, bars, restaurants, supermarkets, other retail stores and in the tourist offices. All dealers have identification stickers. In smaller places you can find them at bus stations. For more information check on the web site of the regional transport system web site [50].

By train[edit]

Only three places in the Eisack Valley can be reached directly by train.
Rail stations in the Eisack Valley coming from Bolzano (the most important are written in bold):

  • Waidbruck
  • Klausen
  • Brixen

The rail service is operated by the Italian Railway Company Trenitalia [51]. For information about timetables the web site for local transportation powered by the regional government [52] is the most detailed.

By bus[edit]

Brixen is the major local hub for connections to other places in the Eisack Valley. On regional buses you can buy your ticket on board too. In the Brixen city buses you can't buy the ticket on board.

You can get more information on the regional transport system web site [53] (also in English available) or on the bus society for transportation in urban areas [54] (only in German or Italian).

By car[edit]

Also the most isolated village is well connected by the well-kept road system. Also without maps is possible to reach small places. However, if you get a map it's better. Pay attention on mountain roads.

By bike[edit]

The Eisack Valley has a well-developed bike trail system inside the district but it's not connected to Bolzano. On the web site of the regional government you can find the maps of the bike trail systems in South Tyrol divided by districts [55] (German and Italian).

See[edit][add listing]

The most impressive highlights are to be found between Brixen and Klausen.

  • Cathedral of Brixen with the Diocesan Museum [56] in Brixen
  • Town museum with the Loreto treasures in Klausen
  • Heimatmuseum about local history in Feldthurns
  • Trostburg Castle from the 12th century near Klausen
  • Neustift Abbey near Brixen is one of the biggest in historical Tyrol
  • Kloster Säben is an artistic, archaeologic, historical and religious highlight over Klausen

Do[edit][add listing]

The Eisack Valley is full of summer and winter activities.

  • Acquarena [57] in Brixen with indoor and outdoor swimmingpool, fitness and wellness centre is considered to be one of the the most funny aquapark in South Tyrol.
  • On the Plose (see Brixen) there are pargliding possibilities.
  • Horse sled in the snow is a magic experience in winter which is possible on the Plose, in Maransen and in Villnöß.
  • The natural sled track Geisleralm-Ranui in the Villnöß Valley is the longest in the Eisack Valley (6km)

Eat[edit][add listing]

The Eisack Valley cuisine is a typical Tyrolean cuisine. The most typical local dish is the Eisack Valley Wine Soup which is particularly creamy. The in Brixen located Brimi [58] produces a lot of export dairy products like mozzarella, mascarpone and local butter. Typical speck can be found everywhere.

In the Eisack Valley you will find expecially typical Gasthäuser - even in Brixen. International, cuisine and ethnic restaurants tend to be more expensive here.

Drink[edit][add listing]

In the Eisack Valley there is a small but high-quality production of wine. During the Törggelen season fresh wine most with chestnuts is served. Beer is also popular expecially during local parties. Night life is to be found only in Brixen.

Stay safe[edit]

The Eisack Valley is a very safe area.

Get out[edit]