South Tyrol is characterised by the fusion of Alpine tradition and Mediterranean flair, which may seem like contrasts at first, but actually result in a harmonious blend of architecture, cuisine and natural highlights. A true gem in this area of northern Italy is Merano, just the tonic you need to celebrate lighter, warmer days after the lethargic winter months.
As we come in to spring, a visit to Merano is infused with the wonders of nature. The eye is drawn down from the striking mountain backdrop to the town’s pleasant parks and gardens, verdant oases of rejuvenation. The most stunning examples can be found at Trauttmansdorff Castle on the eastern edge of town, whose botanical gardens are among the most beautiful in the world. The town also plays host to the Merano Flower Festival in April, signalling that spring has well and truly arrived.
Being a small town, it’s easy to access most places on foot, and the 18 kilometres of easy walking trails make it almost impossible not to do so. The Passer Promenade wends its way past historic buildings in the centre of town, while Sissi’s Path, named after frequent visitor Empress Sissi of Austria, allows visitors to take in her favourite spots, including castles, gardens and squares. You can even take a walk with an expert local guide, who will be happy to share their knowledge of the sights and the landscape.
Anyone with a bit more energy in the tank can take to the area’s bike paths to explore further afield, with routes leading to Bolzano or into the Passeiertal and Vinschgau valleys. You’re guaranteed superb views, with altitudes ranging from 300 to 3,000 metres. If that sounds too much like hard work, e-bikes will give you the same reward for a fraction of the effort.
As this is just a small portion of what there is to see and do around Merano, it’s obvious that you’ll need more than just one day to experience the full joy of this town, so accommodation is a must. Look no further than the Steinach Townhouse Meran, an urban retreat in one of the oldest parts of Merano, and the ideal base from which to explore. Highlights include e-bike hire, the MeranCard for free travel on public transport throughout South Tyrol, discounted golf packages, a central location and a mouthwatering breakfast menu. Need we say more?
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