Rath on trips South Tyrol: The perfect combination of Alpine and Mediterranean


BUNTE travel expert Carsten K. Rath travels with you to the most beautiful places and hotels in South Tyrol, where stars like Miley Cyrus and Edward Norton also feel very comfortable.

You travel the whole world, see deserts and seas, get to know foreign cultures and ways of life and then what? If you drive just a few hundred kilometers to South Tyrol, you will find that this area is perhaps the most beautiful there is. At least he hardly leaves anyone cold. This is shown by the number of stars and celebrities who have a good time in the northern Italian province. From Angela Merkel to Til Schweiger, Thomas Gottschalk or Philipp Lahm and Zinedine Zidane to Edward Norton, Terence Hill, Emilia Clarke or Miley Cyrus – everyone seems to be vacationing in South Tyrol. Why this is so, I notice on my little round trip through the high alpine valleys and often Mediterranean-looking towns.

South Tyrol, the holiday destination of the stars

Impressively high peaks, icy glaciers, rugged rock faces, in front of them gentle, lush green alpine meadows, gurgling streams and old villages. That famous mountaineers like Reinhold Messner, Franz Kammerlander or Luis Trenker come from such an archaic landscape seems only logical. But there are many other personalities whose roots lie in the northernmost province of Italy. TV chef Roland Trettl, for example, comes from the provincial capital Bozen, the composer and godfather of dance music Giorgio Moroder grew up in Ortisei in Val Gardena and presenter Markus Lanz comes from Bruneck in Pustertal. Really amazing how many celebrities this small region has already produced. The narrow valleys and high mountains do not seem to limit people’s thinking, but rather inspire them to dare new things, to go one step further than others. This also applies to the South Tyrolean gastronomy scene and the hotel industry. Simple guesthouses, farms or alpine inns have become true jewels of the scene. The quality of the South Tyrolean hotel industry has long been legendary. She has set standards against which the others have to be measured. Both the warm hospitality and the courteous, personal service and the direct contact with the hosts and hoteliers are really authentic here. South Tyrol is always particularly great when it comes to culinary delights.

Tenne Lodge & Chalet
© Tenne Lodges & Chalets

The 5-star Hotel Tenne in Ratsching

So I set off and drive over the Brenner Pass to Ratschings. First stop: the 5-star Hotel Tenne. The Tenne stands for modern luxury holidays for fans of architecture and design in the middle of the mountains. Wood and stone determine the nature here and also the look of the hotel: wooden floors in the lodges, shingles in the infinity pool and an outdoor jacuzzi in stone. The red thread can also be found in the restaurant. Head chef Mike Brautigam stands for nature, for regionality. The products he processes come from local farmers – be it the meat or the old vegetables. At breakfast, the unbelievably good, homemade apricot jam convinces me. In general, I have noticed that in South Tyrol a lot is made in the kitchen. Convenience products are hardly known here. The people cook according to traditional recipes, use the products that they make themselves and, like in architecture, season the whole thing with a good dose of modernity.

BUNTE travel expert Carsten K. Rath travels with you to the most beautiful places and hotels in South Tyrol

Tenne Lodge & Chalet

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The Tenne lodges also reflect the mountain landscape. You feel like you’re in a real wooden hut here, without it being old-fashioned. On the contrary, everything looks young, modern and well designed. After a visit to the spa, I go on an excursion: over the Jaufen Pass I drive the numerous hairpin bends through the high mountains down to the spa town of Meran, where it already seems so Mediterranean that I finally position myself in Italy. It was not until 1920 that German-speaking South Tyrol fell to Italy. The South Tyroleans were never particularly happy about this and for the most part still aren’t today. But they don’t want to go back to Austria either. Over the years they have won many freedoms and are now an autonomous province of Italy with self-government rights and a vibrant regional culture.

I continue to the 4-star Hotel Milla Montis in the mountain village of Meransens at 1,414 meters in the Puster Valley – with 280 days of sunshine one of the sunniest places in South Tyrol. The location is indeed unique. As if you weren’t already high enough here, the mountains invite you to climb further. On the local mountain Gitsch, for example, or just a few meters around the house through the beautiful mountain landscape. It’s no wonder that stars like Heidi Klum, the Geissens or the rapper Fedez like to vacation in Pustertal. The tranquility of nature is automatically transferred to people.

BUNTE travel expert Carsten K. Rath travels with you to the most beautiful places and hotels in South Tyrol

Milla Montis

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Like so many hotels in South Tyrol, the Milla Montis is family-run. The young owner Roland Oberhofer grew up here, his wife Franziska comes from an organic farm nearby. Both know the business from scratch. And they love it. You can feel this love in every corner, inside and outside. It really is a special house – the unusual roof shapes are inspired by the surrounding houses and mountain peaks, the corners and edges are rounded. This hotel stands out. Positive.

In Völs am Schlern in the lower Isarco Valley I check in at the 3-star Hotel Gfell. The small hotel with its 17 rooms and suites is located below the popular Alpe di Siusi, an idyllic mountain pasture where pop star Miley Cyrus has already recovered from her strenuous concert tours. It is a real price-performance miracle. You can spend the night in one of the beautiful suites here for only 105 euros. The location of the hotel is excellent: after getting up in the morning, I step out onto the terrace and find myself in the middle of a beautiful flower meadow. Behind the local mountain Sciliar and the Rosengarten panorama of the Dolomites. This sight is simply breathtaking. Here at Hotel Gfell, too, we have managed to bring nature and design into perfect harmony: natural architecture, warm colours, natural materials and these views over and over again. For me, this hotel is a real tip for couples, for lovers. The calm is unique. And if you need a bit of exercise, drive up to the Alpe di Siusi, hike, enjoy the view down into the valley and over the gentle alpine meadows, do a little yoga and treat yourself to a snack board with wonderful cheese, ham and bacon – from the mountain farmers on the Alpe di Siusi.

BUNTE travel expert Carsten K. Rath travels with you to the most beautiful places and hotels in South Tyrol

Hotel Gfell

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My last stop takes me back north to Bruneck, the main town in the Puster Valley. On the outskirts is the Niedermairhof, a 700-year-old piece of South Tyrolean history and, for a change, not a star hotel, but a B&B, a so-called Boutique&Breakfast. In the old courtyard there is a harmonious mix of ancient and ultra-modern, design elements meet traditional one-offs. The old, creaking wooden staircase leads to the eight suites, in which lovely details bring nature into the house. Forest, meadows, ponds, fields, country and city meet. For me, the Niedermairhof shows very clearly what the South Tyroleans are particularly good at: upholding the old, honoring the traditions and at the same time automatically and naturally taking them into the modern age, connecting them with the modern age. The old is authentic, simply there and, like everything else, is integrated into everyday life without ever seeming stuffy. In addition, there is an incredibly friendly and warm service and a really great gastronomic scene. South Tyrol combines the best sides of north and south, of alpine and Mediterranean.

BUNTE travel expert Carsten K. Rath travels with you to the most beautiful places and hotels in South Tyrol


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BUNTE insider tips for South Tyrol, Italy:

Jogging track: Just start running from the Niedermairhof in Brunico. You pass numerous smaller farms, lush meadows and happy cows. I could safely leave my running playlist in the room.

Excursion: Drive up the Jaufpass by car from Ratschings to 2,094 metres. After every turn, the panorama is even more beautiful than before. If you drive down the Passeier on the other side, you end up in Meran, where the climate is already pleasantly mild.

Hiking: There are hiking trails in South Tyrol of every length and every level of difficulty. In Meransens, for example, the Almhüttenrundweg is worthwhile, on which you can taste the specialties of the various huts. In Völs am Schlern I recommend a trip with the gondola to the Alpe di Siusi, where you can also hike from hut to hut.

Restaurant: The Wainks restaurant in Bruneck is the ideal place to enjoy an aperitivo on the terrace, accompanied by the murmur of the nearby river. The smart cuisine is pleasing: the Italian tapas are ideal for a snack, and the tasting menu for a nice evening.


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