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Scenic drive in South Tyrol between Alpine passes & Castles


Scenic drive through Alpine passes on high winding roads in South Tyrol in Italy and visiting romantic ancient castles

Scenic drive in South Tyrol between Alpine passes & Castles
A scenic drive on the winding roads of the South Tyrolean Alps, enjoying beautiful views over the high mountains and discovering suggestive and ancient castles hiding old stories.

The itinerary starts at the Brenner pass on the border between Austria and Italy. The descent from the pass leads to Ponte Gardena and then to Castel Wolfsthurn considered among the most beautiful castles in South Tyrol. This Baroque-style manor features 365 windows and it houses the interesting "Provincial Hunting and Fishing Museum". Visits to the castle are closed in winter.

Leaving the village of Ponte Gardena behind, a beautiful winding road leads to the Castel Gardena, built in 1641 by the Wolkenstein Counts as a summer and hunting residence on a slope of the "Sassolungo", one of the most spectacular Dolomite massifs. The castle is still a monumental building of remarkable beauty. Even today the castle is private property and unfortunately cannot be visited.

Then you will head to the ruins of Castelchiaro Castle (Leuchtenburg, its original German name) built before 1200 or probably even earlier. Unlike the previous two, Castelchiaro was designed for military purposes to defend the surrounding area. Proof of this is the presence of the imposing Central Tower. From its terraces, you can admire an extraordinary panorama of the beautiful lake Caldaro below.

Left behind Castelchiaro here you are on the roads full of bends and curves to Mendel Pass and Gampen Pass with exciting ascents and panoramic descents that lead to Castel Trauttmansdor and its fabulous gardens. Built-in the 1300s it became famous for hosting Elisabeth of Bavaria, the mythical "Sissi". The empress visited it every year for twenty years, transforming the nearby town of Merano into the most loved spa town by the Austro-Hungarian nobility. Even today the botanical gardens of the castle, as well as the interiors are known for their outstanding beauty and are destinations for many visitors coming to South Tyrol from all over Europe and beyond.

A few tens of kilometers ahead Castel Tirolo appears. It is one of the oldest castles in South Tyrol, it dates back to the year 1000. Today it houses the Historical-Cultural Museum of the province of Bolzano, and it is open from 15 March to December.

Shortly after there is Schlandersberg castle, built in the 13th century. In 1999 it was renovated and luxury homes were created, so, it cannot be visited. From there, the road that climbs to Jaufenpass is full of curves and switchbacks where you can enjoy again the stunning Alpine panoramas.

After passing the town of Vipiteno, another panoramic road will take you back to Brenner pass, where this tour through the Alpine passes and the Dolomites of South Tyrol ends.

Start/End: Brenner pass
Tour length: 392 km

Some pictures of the tour:

Castel Trauttmansdor (pic n°1); Castel Wolfsthurn (pic n°2); Castelchiaro Castle (pic n°3);

Tour on map

Photo gallery

Tour in Italy: Scenic drive in South Tyrol between Alpine passes & Castles - pic 1
Tour in Italy: Scenic drive in South Tyrol between Alpine passes & Castles - pic 2
Tour in Italy: Scenic drive in South Tyrol between Alpine passes & Castles - pic 3
Itinerary map

Tour map

Scenic drive in South Tyrol between Alpine passes & Castles - Mappa


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Id: 210

Tour: Scenic drive in South Tyrol between Alpine passes & Castles

Category: Country sightseeing tour

Published by/Copyright: Touring-Italy.net

Location: Mountainside

Region: Trentino A.A.(South Tirol) , Italy

Area: The Alps & The Dolomites

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