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Excursion destinations in South Tyrol

Five highlights in South Tyrol

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South Tyrol offers a variety of special places. Whether city, village or farm - the highlights presented have one thing in common: Surrounded by the legendary landscape of South Tyrol, the people behind the places stand for traditional paths, to which they give a very personal touch with a sense of innovation and sustainability. Guests feel that they are in good hands here, that they can relax and, if they want, experience and learn a lot. 

Our author Cécile presents a varied mix of sustainable accommodations, excursion destinations and farms.

1. Naturhotel Pfösl in Eggental

The nature hotel Pfösl is located on a sunny high plateau, surrounded by lush meadows and dense forests. The 62 natural rooms, panoramic design suites and three chalets offer guests of the Vitalpina Hotel an unforgettable stay: with a spacious spa area with infinity pool, a pretty herb garden in which more than 50 medicinal and garden herbs thrive, as well as our own oxen and donkeys on the Pasture.

Accommodation in South Tyrol
Hotel with donkeys in the pasture
Hostess of the Naturhotel Pfösl

The host family of sisters Brigitte and Eva Zelger and husband Daniel Mahlknecht have developed a sustainability program that is based on four pillars: healthy nutrition, physical exercise, mental balance and enjoyment of beauty.

The hosts pursue 360-degree regeneration and offer their guests an activity program with various guided hikes and e-bike tours, but also bread baking courses in which the herbs from the garden are used. In addition to yoga courses, there are also herbal workshops for making teas or for smoking rituals.

Relaxation in the spa
Yoga offer in the South Tyrolean hotel
Healthy eating

As early as 2009, the hosts began to change their thinking, which could gradually be seen and felt. The European environmental label EU Ecolabel was added in 2013. Since New Year's Day 2021, the Pfösl has been a member of the climate neutrality alliance together with all Vitalpina Hotels in South Tyrol and has since strived to reduce CO2 emissions and live more and more mindfully in harmony with nature. The Pfösl has that Sustainability label South Tyrol which destinations and accommodation companies receive for their commitment to sustainability. The hotel's natural cuisine uses regional and seasonal foods, including vegetables from the Eisathhof.

A short hike to St. Helena Church

If you like, you can head towards Pfösl St. Helena church embarked. Through forests, past grazing horses, you can reach the old church and the associated restaurant in just over half an hour with refreshing drinks and various dishes with a great view of the surrounding mountains.

Naturhotel Pfösl

2. Brixen

Brixen impresses with its history and importance for South Tyrol. The city has been considered the region's religious and cultural center since the 10th century, which can still be seen in its architecture today. The proximity to the Plose and the favorable weather conditions have always ensured the regional drinking water supply. The initiative Refill your bottle – founded in response to high levels of plastic pollution in the valley and along the trails – continues that legacy. Instead of single-use plastic bottles, branded metal bottles or simply our own reusable bottles are used, which can be filled with fresh drinking water at many fountains throughout the city. For free. One of them is located directly on the cathedral square and was created by the artist Martin Rainer. It depicts the human life cycle in its different phases and thus underlines the importance of water for Brixen.

Brixen in South Tyrol
Fountain with fresh drinking water
Drinking water fountain in Brixen

In 2017, the “Water Light Festival” was launched, during which art installations are featured in the city’s fountains and other sights. The media distribution attracts international attention and spreads the Brixen approach to healthy, sustainable use of water throughout the world. It takes place annually in May and attracts thousands of visitors to the small Alpine metropolis.

Equipped with fresh water, the old town also invites you to leisurely shopping and strolling: WiaNui (South Tyrolean for “like new”), a shop where upcycling fashion is sold or to visit Kauri Store. Clothing made from renewable raw materials and fair production is offered here. Besides, there is still Pure South Tyrol to call. An unpackaged shop that, in addition to seasonal food, also sells regional, organic delicacies.

Upcycling fashion store in Südtiol

3. Pflegerhof in St. Oswald / Seis

The Nurse's yard is an organic herb farm at 800 meters above sea level and an area of ​​20.000 square meters that has existed since 1982. The paradise of colors, aromas and scents offers visitors an adventure parkour through various types of plants and flowers. Herbs and spices grow here in the form of mixed culture and a sunny location and are sown according to the lunar calendar. The special cultivation method ensures healthy plants that complement each other positively. The careful harvesting takes place by hand and is followed by gentle drying. High-quality products such as tea, herbs and spice mixtures are for sale in the farm's own shop. In addition, 700 different herbal young plants and seeds can be purchased. The Pflegerhof can be visited by guests on their own or via farm tours. Behind South Tyrol's first and most diverse herb farm is the Mulser family and their team, who have been ensuring that the region can enjoy a large selection of herbs for years with a lot of dedication and love.

Nursing home in South Tyrol
Pflegerhof regional cultivation
Swim and relax at the Völser Weiher 

Only ten kilometers from Pflegerhof is the Völser Weiher, where you can cool off on warm days. The bathing lake at the foot of the Sciliar is part of the Dolomites UNESCO World Heritage Site and offers numerous opportunities to relax in nature: on a jetty with benches, in the lawns, in the surrounding restaurants with a view of the lake, such as the Altes Gasthaus am Völser Weiher, or in a rowboat. You can enjoy the view of the mountain peaks and pine forests.

Völser Weiher
Rowing boats at the Völser pond

4. Kircherhof in Albeins

The Kircherhof is a family business with a traditional farm with livestock and arable farming, Bioland-certified fruit and vegetable cultivation and, since 2003, an inn with holiday apartments. Most recently, our own farm shop was added, offering selected specialties and wines. The Noflatscher family's roots lie in agriculture, from which, in their opinion, everything comes; exactly what they consider to be a good holiday, enjoyable food and sustainability. 

The Kircherhof has been in the family for four generations and each generation shapes the farm in its own way. So did the hosts and sisters Verena and Barbara. Today guests can spend the night in the Kircherhof, more precisely 

Enjoy a pleasant holiday like on a farm: The five modern holiday apartments are built from natural materials and offer a wonderful view of the associated agricultural areas and mountain peaks. 

The cultivation of our own fruit and vegetables is organic and what is harvested in the field goes straight to the plate. Today, the hosts and their team are reinterpreting the traditional cuisine that their grandparents and parents taught them. They source all products that they do not grow themselves from selected farms, winemakers and other producers that they know personally. The Kircherhof is a member of the quality group South Tyrolean inn, which wants to keep the South Tyrolean inn culture alive.

Kircherhof in South Triol
Overnight in South Tyrol
Sleep in the South Tyrolean guesthouse
End and start the day with enjoyment

There is always a special dinner in the apple field. The guests sit together at a long white table, a fireplace creates a pleasant atmosphere, the decoration is elegant and the five courses that are served are more than delicious. You can spend an enjoyable evening in good company, get to know new people and enjoy regional food that chef Wolfgang conjures up.

After a restful sleep, the day starts with a balanced breakfast: organic coffee, tea from the herb garden, homemade jams, bacon from our own production, cheese, homemade granola and eggs from the farm's chickens. A variety of herbs from the Pflegerhof are also used in the Kircherhof's kitchen.

Eating in the orchard in South Tyrol
Stylish dinner

5. Casies Valley

With an area of ​​110 square kilometers, the Gsieser Valley is one of the sunniest side valleys of the Pustertal. A well-developed road leads over 20 kilometers into the valley, where tradition is still alive today. Rustic farms meet over 70 alpine huts. The landscape impresses with a breathtaking mountain backdrop, intact forests and beautiful hiking trails. The Gsieser Valley consists of the three villages Pichl, Sankt Martin and Sankt Magdalena. 

On a visit to the Aschtalm

Numerous easy to difficult hiking trails start from the valley in Sankt Magdalena. It can be considered a relaxing hike up to Ash Valley at 1.950 meters above sea level. The path is wide and well developed, after about 1-1,5 hours you reach the typical alpine hut with rustic wooden furniture, traditional South Tyrolean dishes on the menu and the warm Steinmair innkeepers. 

Excursion destinations and tips for South Tyrol
Vespers at the hut
Casies Valley
Three times 400 happy chickens on the LONZA farm

Steffi and Klaus Kargruber created a mobile chicken coop in 2020. To be more precise, they now have three of them, each housing 400 happily cackling hens. The concept is that the chicken coop is moved once the hens have eaten the grass, clover and herbs. This happens on average every ten to fourteen days. The small groups the chickens are divided into ensure fewer conflicts and allow them to live happily together.

After six months of research and a “chicken tour” through Germany and Austria, in which Klaus Kargruber visited various stables and providers, it was not only clear to him that he also wanted to set up chicken coops on his property, but he also had a custom-made one made to offer his hens the best conditions for fresh Alpine eggs. 

He receives per day LONZA yard around 1.000 fresh eggs, which can be purchased in supermarkets in the region. Eggs can also be bought on the farm itself, as well as specially produced pasta, which is made with eggs that are not 100% flawless.

happy chickens on the LONZA farm
Steffi and Klaus Kargruber
Visiting the Magdalenahof

The Vitalpina is located in Sankt Magdalena Hotel Magdalenahof, which Karin and Josef Burger created in 2005. The idyllic location in nature inspired them to create a sustainable concept: authentic enjoyment with great emphasis on regionality, relaxation with the opportunity for an active holiday in nature, in the own spa area with indoor and outdoor pool, sauna and a Plunge pool currently under construction. Here, guests can park their car upon arrival and immerse themselves in nature in a traffic-calmed zone at the end of the valley.

As an enthusiastic mountaineer, Josef Burger offers several guided hiking tours every week, which his guests can enjoy. As a trained chef, he began his journey into the hospitality industry through the kitchen and working at the bar and over time realized that he preferred being a host and employer. Today, social sustainability is particularly important to him. The well-being of his almost 20 employees, who enjoy a five-day week and mostly come from the village itself, is his top priority. He takes a lot of time to let you participate in the concept. In addition, he is committed and a founding member of the Vitalpina Hotels from the very beginning, and he is also a member of a cooperative through which the hotel receives electricity from a local waterworks. The Magdalenahof also prefers short distances when it comes to heating: the wood chips for its own heating come from firewood that its own cousin cuts in the surrounding forests.

Magdalenahof in South Triol
in the Magdalenahof in South Triol
Evening atmosphere in the Magdalenahof

© Photos: Cécile Meier, Josua Meier

Cécile is a freelance author and sustainability strategist. She enjoys traveling to the fullest: getting to know different cultures, listening to other languages ​​and discovering new things either by the sea or in a (big) city always fascinates her. The stories and intentions of the Good Travel hosts are particularly important to her.