Activities in Merano South Tyrol

If you are spending your holidays in Italy and travelling through Switzerland, Austria or Germany via the Resia Pass or the Brennero Pass, you should stop for a night in the enchanting city of Merano in South Tyrol. Merano offers numerous activities and is memorable due to its alpine-Mediterranean climate, lush promenades, lifestyle, and city flair.

Merano is located between 263 and 1621 m above sea level and includes the village districts of Quarazze, Maia Bassa, Maia Alta, Sinigo, Labers and the old town. In Merano you can enjoy a walk along ancient irrigation channels, which were designed by farmers to irrigate the fields. The irrigation channels date back to ancient times and are typical of this region. The water from the rivers of the side valleys reached the fields through canals, grooves in the rocks or wooden channels. Over the years modern systems were developed, and only a few channels are in operation today. Some of these, and the maintenance paths along them, are now popular hiking paths for tourists and locals.

Summer activities in Merano

If you visit Merano in summer, you will be welcomed by a splendid spa town with a vast choice of cultural offerings, as well as the two villages Lagundo and Tirolo amidst unspoiled nature. These villages are small but fascinating and rich in history. In this area you can enjoy various activities like hiking, cycling, tennis and horse riding.

Winter activities in Merano

If you visit Merano in winter, you can enjoy a skiing day at the Merano 2000 ski resort in the vicinity of the main town of the Burgraviato region. High above the spa town 8 lift facilities, 40 km of slopes, and a wide range of family activities await you.

We have selected a few activities in Merano for you:

A very beautiful circular hiking trail: the Merano High Alpine Trail

The almost 80 km-long high-alpine Merano Trail is definitely one of the most beautiful circular hiking trails in South Tyrol. It leads through the Tessa Group Nature Park and can be done in 3-8 days (depending on your level of fitness and length of tour). The hiking trail is located at an altitude of approximately 1400 m with variations of a few hundred metres on the various stretches. Along the trail you will find alpine huts, rest places and accommodations. The huts are ideal to rest and to enjoy great food, to take a break in case of bad weather, and even for overnight accommodation.

You can join the high-alpine Merano Trail at various places. In the southern part you have the possibility to hike down to the nearby villages in the Venosta Valley, Senales Valley, Merano & environs and in the Passiria Valley or you can take the villages as a starting point. You can take a break or leave during any part of your hike. You can take the bus back to your hotel from your chosen destination. The sunny southern part of the high-alpine trail is accessible from May to November. Villages and communities along the high-alpine Merano Trail include Senales, Naturno, Parcines, Lagundo, Merano, Tirolo, Caines, Riffiano, S. Martino, S. Leonardo and Moso.

Due to the high-alpine character, the northern part of the trail is further away from the villages and is only recommended from June to September. It leads through Val di Fosse and Val di Plan, whereby the Gelato Pass (the highest point of the high-alpine Merano Trail at 2895 m) which divides the two valleys, has to be conquered. Other high peaks include: Altissima Mountain (3480 m), Cima Bianca Grande (3278 m) and Cima della Grava (3147 m). There are many interesting sights along the high-alpine Merano Trail. The famous glacier mummy Ötzi was found in the Tessa Group Nature Park at the bottom of the Similaun glacier in 1991. Worth seeing is the Parcines waterfall, the Sopranes lakes (10 alpine lakes at altitudes between 2117 m and 2589 m, which developed through the glaciers), numerous ancient castles and churches, like Juval Castle, the Prokulus Church in Naturno, which hint at the settlement history of the Burgraviato area, various aristocratic manors in the Passiria Valley, and the old town in Merano with its famous arbours.

The Waalweg Trails, trails along ancient irrigation channels

In Merano & its environs you can choose from almost 50 so called “Waale”, walking trails along ancient irrigation channels. These trails are ideal for a hike with the whole family to discover the valley. The irrigation channels date back to the 13th century, when they were designed to irrigate the fields. They bring water from the mountains down to dry meadows. Paths were made beside the irrigation channels to facilitate maintenance. These paths along the irrigation channels have become popular walking trails.

Here is a selection of “Waal” trails near Merano:

Lagundo Waalweg Trail

The Lagundo irrigation channel is about 6 km long and leads from Quarazze, via Lagundo, to Plars through orchards, mixed forests and vineyards. The western part starts at the car park at Töllgraben Bridge and leads through Plars di Sopra and Plars di Mezzo, to Grabenbach River. The western part starts in the village of Lagundo at Grabenbach River and leads to S. Maddalena in Quarazze, with access to the Tappeiner promenade.

Route: Plars di Sopra and Plars di Mezzo – Lagundo village – Quarazze
Length & duration: 5-6 km, approx. 2 hours
Difficulty: easy

Marlengo Waalweg Trail

The Marlengo irrigation channel starts near the Tel River, where the water flows into the river. It leads along the slope of Marlengo mountain above the villages of Foresta, Marlengo and Cermes, past Lebenberg Castle to Raffein gorge near Lana, where the water flows into the Falschauer River. You will find benches to rest and enjoy beautiful views at various points along this irrigation channel. There are also various guesthouses along the route if you need a longer break.

Route: Tel – Marlengo – Cermes – Lana
Length & duration: 13 km; almost flat; approx. 3 – 3.5 hours
Difficulty: easy and without difficulty

Parcines Waalweg Trail

The Parcines irrigation channel leads about 30 minutes above the village centre of Parcines (in the direction of the waterfall) along Salten (to the right of the large Salten stone). The trail leads in an eastern direction past Burgraviato and ends in the village district of Vallettina at the Niedermair guesthouse.

Route: Parcines – Salten – Guesthouse Niedermair – Parcines
Length & duration: 5 km, approx. 2 hours
Difficulty: easy and without difficulty

Merano offers numerous other Waalweg Trails. Simply ask for information at the local Tourism Board or in your hotel.

A special tip: Cycle tour from the Resia Pass to Verona

We recommend this easy and beautiful cycling tour on the Adige cycling path in the Venosta Valley to all nature, sports and culture fans. The tour leads from Lake Resia via Merano to Bolzano and on to Verona. This tour can be done in spring, summer or autumn. Along the cycling path you can admire interesting sights like castles, vineyards, orchards, beautiful mountain scenery and long stretches of unspoiled nature.

On the Resia-Verona cycling tour you will travel over a range of 1500 m in altitude from the Alps through sunny Italy to Lake Garda and on to Verona!

Route for the 8-day tour:

  1. day: Arrival to Nauders (Austria) or Resia (Italy)

You can reach the Resia Pass, Nauders or Resia by car, train or bus.

  1. day: Nauders – Resia – Silandro/Naturno approx. 35 – 50 km

Leave Resia at about 9 a.m. and cycle along Resia Lake with a view of the sunken church of Curon in the medieval city of Glorenza. The target destination of the 2nd day is Silandro, the main village in the Venosta Valley.

  1. day: Silandro/Naturno – Merano approx. 40 km

Castles can be admired along the route or high above the route, like Juval Castle of mountaineer Reinhold Messner. Enjoy the wonderful panoramic view of the impressive Ortles mountain massif and Stelvio Pass, and of the beautiful city of Merano with its Mediterranean vegetation. We recommend an overnight stay in the centrally located Hotel Westend only a few minutes from the centre of Merano.

  1. day: Merano – Bolzano approx. 30 or 45 km

Choose from two routes in the direction of Bolzano: cycle along the Adige River or through beautiful orchards via Lana and Appiano. Along this route you can admire the Messner Mountain Museum in the castle ruin of the Sigmundskron. In Bolzano you can visit Ötzi, the glacier mummy, and other interesting exhibits in the Museum of Archaeology.

  1. day: Bolzano – Trento approx. 65 km

Wonderful cycling trails are found here along the Adige River, some leading through orchards all the way to Salorno. This is where the German-speaking area of South Tyrol ends. The tour continues to Trento, where we would recommend a visit of the old town.

  1. day: Trento – Lake Garda south approx. 50 km

This stretch continues along the Adige River via Rovereto to Mori. From here the cycling tour leads in a westerly direction to Lake Garda. After a short ascent over San Giovanni Pass you can enjoy a downhill stretch along the lake to Torbole and on to Riva. From here you will cross the lake by boat.

  1. day: Lake Garda south – Verona approx. 50 km

The final stretch takes you through vineyards to Verona, one of the most beautiful cities in Italy, with its numerous interesting sights (the Arena, Juliette’s house, the old city wall).

  1. day: Return journey.

We reccoment the family-run Hotel Westend as accomodation in Merano.