Review: The Valley & Villages of the Dolomites
Specialist Holiday - Walking
Belluno, South Tyrol, Trentino, Italy
Walking in the Tyrol
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In the unique corner of Northern Italy, my wife & I take our first walking holiday. This was a very fulfilling holiday; the satisfaction of walking from village to village, as our luggage was transported from hotel to hotel provided an added sense of variety. The detailed maps and notes we were provided had clear directions and indicated points of interest as we walked unguided at our own pace. Arriving at our first hotel, the Zirmerhof in Radein, we were made extremely welcome. Radein is a very picturesque Hamlet and a magnificent location for walking. We had our evening meal over looking the Adige Valley. We spend two nights in Radein, After a very fulfilling breakfast of fruit, meat, cheese and bread we set off with our picnic, walking notes, maps & camera’s to see the dramatic and very distinctive peak of the Weisshorn. It dominated the skyline. The 11km walk with an accent of 500m took us through woodland paths and rocky trails. We experienced amazing views over the Bletterbach canyon however, when we reached the last 100 metres, just below the summit, the wind became very strong, and we decided it was not safe to go any further, turning back we knew we had made the right decision because within minutes the weather changed for the worse, we arrive back at Radein late afternoon quite pleased with the walk we had just achieved. We relax in the evening as the sky clears, with an outdoor swim and another delicious four course dinner. After breakfast next morning we walk through the Bletterbach Canyon, which was quite spectacular, however there had been some very recent avalanches and the route was very tricky in places. It was a great experience to walk through the bed of the canyon floor which has 20 metre high walls on either side. When we reached the end of the canyon we were rewarded with a fantastic view of the waterfall. We then have a very hard, strenuous climb up in the direction of Aldein, our next destination, The Gasthof Krone.
We were made very welcome by our hosts. Aldein is a very picturesque mountain village over looking the Adaige valley surrounded by meadows. The Sun was blazing all afternoon, we spent the rest of the evening with our feet up, just relaxing and enjoying the sunshine in the pretty village square. After a wonderful evening meal and hearty breakfast we set off with our back packs and picnic to our next destination. We start at the very pretty Maria Weissenstein an impressive Monastery in Trentino Alto Adige, with wonderful view’s on route of Deutschnofen. The Church and Village clock tower were beautiful, we had a picnic in the village centre then continued through woodland paths until we reached Gasthof Kohlern where we were rewarded with the most Idyllic views from our very pretty room, over looking Bolzano. After a delicious evening meal and up early for breakfast, we take the cable car down to Bolzano, (the cable car is the oldest suspension cable car in the world, descending 1,100 metres down the side of the mountain). We spend a relaxing afternoon in Bolzano, people-watching over a couple of glasses of wine in the main square and checking out the colourful market, we also take time to visit Otzi the Copper Age ‘ice-man’ . Back at Gastof koherln late afternoon we take time out to enjoy a swim in the open air pool, and after another delicious 4 course dinner and hearty breakfast we set off next morning to our final hotel Bad Dreikirchen. We walked high above the Eisack Valley crossing meadows, forest trails, which involved some very steep descents. Our knees were aching. The surroundings are however magnificent. On route we got caught in a tremendous thunder storm, We were drenched from head to toe, descending down to the final slope and seeing the first glimpse of The Gasthof Bad Dreikirchen set against a backdrop of splendid mountains was a wonderful sight, Bad Dreikirchen is named after the three churches that cluster together in the centre of the hamlet. When we first arrived at Bad Dreikirchen we were informed by the Manager that we had left some items of clothing at our previous destination (Gastof Kohlern). (I had left all my underwear in the drawer). But not to worry as the Gastof Kohlern staff said they would send my underwear by cable car down to Bolzano on our return to Bolzano station in two days time. To our amusement the taxi did indeed make a slight detour to the base of the cable car to pick up the parcel of underwear. That’s what I call excellent customer service! We spent two nights at Bad Dreikirchen and decided not to do the final day’s walk up the Rittnerhorn because of the adverse weather forecast. We spent the morning just relaxing in the gardens and poolside and in the afternoon we check out the library and with a couple of glasses of wine in hand, we watch a spectacular show of lightning & listen to the sound of thunder crashing around the mountains, we watched fascinated as huge hailstones hit the ground with such force. By the evening the weather had cleared. We had dinner on the veranda over looking the most beautiful mountain scenery. On our final morning after a lovely breakfast on the veranda we check out the interior of the very charming three churches that give this hamlet its name before being taken by taxi to Bolzano railway station where we catch the train to Verona for our journey home. The journey down the Trentino Alto Adige towards Verona was stunning, with sheer cliffs rising on either side, the valley floor was filled with fruit orchards and vegetable plots and miles and miles of vineyards as the Alto Adige is a renowned wine producing region.
We arrive home with wonderful memories and some fantastic photographs.
71 people found this review helpful
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