Sip, savour and salivate your way through South Tyrol, the northern Italian province capturing visitors’ hearts with its stunning mountain terrain, Michelin star magnetism and a curious Austrian meets Italian culture.
There are few places so idyllic that you could believe you’re walking through a film set, but South Tyrol, with its voluptuously striking Dolomites skyline and endless alpine valleys captures that cinematic magic without even trying. Boasting an average of 300 gleaming days of sunshine per year (England is a literal washout in comparison) this piece of paradise is rich in both cultural diversity and drool-inducing Tyrolean dishes.
South Tyrol is a picturesque hybrid – the locals speak a mixture of Italian, German and Ladin languages, and it combines the very best of rustic alpine life with suave Mediterranean wine country. Grand fortresses are mingled with apple orchards and archaic castles are juxtaposed with award-winning vineyards.
Where to stay
Check into the Seehof Nature Retreat for a modern spa-filled stay – the clue’s in the name, this is the perfect place to escape hectic daily life. This enchanting hideaway, nestled next to its private natural lake offers contemporary surroundings that retain a sense of calm and tranquility, thanks to chic decor and plenty of relaxing amenities.
Not only does it boast a heated infinity pool, Finnish sauna, Bio Saunas, Turkish baths and relaxation rooms, it’s also within a short drive of Brunico, Sterzing, Bolzano and Innsbruck, some of South Tyrol’s most beautiful towns.
With 50 rooms and eight categories to select from, interiors are simple yet elegant, with stunning window views of the surrounding lake (good news for swimming fans, dips are most welcome).
The restaurant offers a variety of seasonal dishes made using locally sourced ingredients (some, only a few metres away). Breakfast fans are in for a treat – expect a buffet spread fit for royalty, with counter after counter of fresh fruit, creamy cheeses, smoothie stations, local meats and more.
Park your plate
It’s no wonder foodies flock here with forks in hand – there’s 32 Michelin stars scattered throughout the terrain, with restaurants offering dishes and drinks bursting with fresh flavour sourced from ingredients inspired by the surrounding landscape.
Delight in wine tastings at Brixen’s Vitis (Latin for vine) and sip your way through 400 labels. Pay a visit to Alter Schlachhof, an old slaughterhouse turned trendy dining spot for a meal sourced almost entirely from Brixen’s local vicinity.
For something spectacular, you can’t go wrong with the Rosa Alpina hotel’s Restaurant St. Hubertus. A kitchen reigned by dual Michelin-starred Norbert Niederkofler, feasts here are indulgent for all the senses.
Locals take great pride in their province, and this passion is emulated in dishes. Must-bites include Spek, a lightly smoked regional ham and Schlutzkrapfen, a creamy spinach and ricotta-filled ravioli.
Get some air
With the Dolomites, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on your doorstep, hiking here in spring or summer goes far beyond the realms of a simple park walk. Bask in the surrounding woodland, gaze up at waterfalls and pitstop at local mountain huts for alpine cuisine (think dumplings, pancakes and sharing boards heaving with fresh cheeses and waves of ham). In winter, strolls turns to skis, with 1,200km of slopes just waiting to be enjoyed.
Alternately, explore the local town of Brixen for a cultural day out. With its narrow medieval alleys, bustling cobble-stone squares, stunning architecture and local food markets, it’s the ideal place to wile an afternoon or morning away. Step inside the gold-drenched cathedral for mesmerising high ceilings or walk alongside the river and listen to the water manoeuvring beside the busy town.
Whether you’re looking to feast, forage or simply forget about reality, South Tyrol offers it all and more. Alpine aperitif, anyone?
To find out more, please visit: https://www.suedtirol.info/en
Written by Sophie Ritchie, find Sophie on Instagram here.