LODGINGS in Merano
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Welcome to Merano, a gem of a destination nestled among the majestic peaks of theSouth Tyrolean Alps. Renowned for its rich history, unique culture, excellent outdoor recreational opportunities and exquisite cuisine, Merano is a must-see for any curious and adventurous traveler.
From relaxing spa therapies to unforgettable winter sports, from wooded paths to get lost on to historical and cultural trails, Merano offers a variety of experiences to suit all tastes and ages.
This travel guide will help you discover the wonders of Merano, from the shimmering beauty of Lake Vernagt and the Parcines Falls, to the exciting frenzy of the ski slopes of Merano 2000.
And, of course, we will not forget the opportunities to immerse yourself in Merano’s culture and history, visiting its fascinating old town and discovering tableaux vivants from prehistoric times, such as the mummy of Ötzi, the Iceman.
Immerse yourself in this guide, prepare your to-do list and let Merano reveal itself to you.
Whether you are a history buff, nature lover, ski mountaineering adventurer, or seeker of peace and tranquility, the tide of experiences Merano offers is sure to inspire, excite, and delight.
Enjoy your trip to Merano-a journey to breathtaking nature, historical riches, exhilarating adventures and pure joie de vivre.
What to see in Merano
Merano is an enchanting union of styles and cultures. Here, the fascinating mountain vistas meet the Mediterranean atmosphere, creating a place of remarkable contrasts and surprising beauty. A visit here offers a wide range of attractions, from shopping to relaxation, history to art.
Here are the must-see attractions to visit on your trip to Merano.
Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle
In the heart of South Tyrol, in Merano, lies one of the most beautiful botanical gardens in Europe: the Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle. This enchanting place, covering an area of 12 hectares, is a wonderful journey through different natural environments of the world.
Inside the gardens, visitors can take a botanical tour of the world by exploring the four thematic outposts: the Gardens of the World, South Tyrolean Landscape, Water Lands, and Sunny Terraces.
Gardens of the World includes gardens featuring plants from America, Asia, and Europe, including the Japanese Garden, the East Asian Flood Forest, and the Camellia Avenue. There are also separate areas for plants from Chile, Southern Africa, New Zealand and Australia. Each garden is a living work of art, designed to mimic the natural habitat of plants.
In the South Tyrolean Landscape, visitors can see typical features of the mountain region, such as deciduous forests, steep cliffs, and flower-filled meadows, in a stunning display of color.
The Water Lands accommodate 11 thematic areas related to water: from marsh to multimedia fountain, representing a variety of aquatic and wetland ecosystems.
The Sunny Terraces, on the other hand, climb up the hills using terraces supported by stone walls, presenting a series of wonderful Mediterranean plant gardens.
At the center of it all, elegantly set among the gardens, you will find Trauttmansdorff Castle. Renovated and turned into a museum, the Touriseum, takes you back in time telling 200 years of tourism history in Tyrol.
A splendid example of Art Nouveau architecture, Merano’s Kurhaus is undoubtedly one of the city’s landmarks. This historic building, located in the heart of Merano’s pedestrian center, is a world-renowned architectural masterpiece.
Built between 1873 and 1874, the Kurhaus was originally a wooden building designed by architect Josef Czerny and served as a ballroom and tea room for guests of the luxury hotels that flocked to Merano, then a famous spa resort in the Habsburg Empire.
In 1914, it was decided to renovate the Kurhaus to meet the new standards of luxury tourism. The commission was given to Friedrich Ohmann, one of the leading exponents of Viennese secession architecture. His vision transformed the Kurhaus into a jewel of elegance and sophistication.
The richly detailed architectural facade, finely worked with stone ornaments, stretches more than 90 meters along the Passirio River. Wide windows on the riverfront open from the Pavillon des Fleurs, the central element of the facade and the main entrance to the building. Large stained glass windows, marble, and Art Nouveau decorations create an environment of great charm and elegance.
Inside, the Kurhaus offers several rooms, all featuring a unique style. The Kursaal, for example, is the largest hall and can accommodate up to 800 people. It features a richly decorated coffered ceiling and a large central chandelier. The Rotunde, in contrast, is a circular room with a domed ceiling, decorated with paintings done by Julius Schmid.
Today, the Kurhaus is a major convention center and venue for a wide variety of events, including concerts, exhibitions, conferences and more. With its timeless charm, the Kurhaus continues to be a symbol of the beauty and elegance that characterizes the city of Merano.
Merano Thermal Baths
Located in the heart of Merano, the Merano Thermal Baths are one of the top destinations for those seeking an authentic wellness retreat. Perfectly combining tradition and modernity, the Merano Thermal Baths offer a one-of-a-kind experience.
Designed by renowned architect Matteo Thun, the Merano Thermal Baths are a bastion of contemporary architecture. The building is distinguished by its glass and steel structure, which allows for a fascinating play of light. The modern design, characterized by clean, minimal lines, blends seamlessly with its surroundings, offering extraordinary views of Merano’s mountains and parks.
The Merano Thermal Baths cover an area of 7,650 square meters and offer a wide range of services dedicated to wellness and relaxation. They enclose 25 indoor and outdoor swimming pools-among which we find thermal, saltwater pools, whirlpools, a large sports pool, and children’s pools. The water used in the pools is precious thermal water, rich in minerals that benefit the body.
In addition to swimming pools, the Merano Thermal Baths feature an extensive wellness area. Several saunas can be found here, including a saunarium, a Finnish sauna, a steam sauna, a steam room, and several relaxation areas.
The Merano Thermal Baths also offer a wide range of wellness treatments, ranging from classic massages and beauty treatments to customized sauna courses. All these treatments are performed by an experienced and professional staff.
A well-equipped fitness space completes the offerings for those who wish to maintain their workout routines.
Via dei Portici and the Historic Center
The jewel of Merano’s historic center is undoubtedly the Via dei Portici (or Laubengasse in German), an ancient commercial street dating back to the 13th century.
The Via dei Portici is a unique covered shopping street and remains one of Merano’s most popular shopping spots. Here you can find a variety of high-quality stores, from fashion clothing to jewelry to local handicrafts and more.
One of the highlights of Via dei Portici is its fascinating and historic architecture. The colorful houses lining the street are steeped in history and feature distinctive arches and porches that offer shelter from the summer sun and winter rain. Many of these historic houses are beautifully preserved and have fascinating architectural details.
Merano’s historic center is full of other noteworthy attractions. Strolling through the narrow, winding streets, one can discover picturesque squares, historic buildings, and fascinating churches. Among them, Merano Cathedral (or St. Nicholas Cathedral) is one of the most important Gothic churches in South Tyrol. The old town also houses the Princely Castle, the residence of the Counts of Tyrol in the Renaissance, and now an important museum.
If you are a trekker or simply enjoy walking in the fresh air, the Tappeinerweg is a must-see in Merano.
The Tappeinerweg is a scenic trail, about 6 kilometers long, that meanders along the sunny slopes above the town of Merano. The trail is named after Austrian hydrologist and physician Franz Tappeiner, who funded and designed the trail in the 19th century as a place of rest and refreshment for Merano’s citizens and visitors.
The trail offers breathtaking views of the city of Merano, the surrounding valley and the mountains of South Tyrol. The walk starts at Via Monte Santo in the city center and winds for 6 kilometers at an average elevation of 300 meters, passing through various types of vegetation due to Merano’s unique mild climate.
Unlike most mountain trails, the Tappeinerweg is fairly flat and accessible to all. There are numerous benches along the path where visitors can sit, relax and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere and the lovely view.
A particularly distinctive feature of the Tappeinerweg is its Botanical Garden. Indeed, a variety of Mediterranean and alpine plants, including palms, cypresses, olive trees, ivy, and many other species, can be seen along the route. This incredible botanical diversity makes the Tappeinerweg one of Europe’s most beautiful outdoor botanical gardens.
The trail ends in Quarazze, a small village located west of Merano, and from here it is possible to return to Merano by a short bus ride or continue on the Castani Promenade, another famous Merano trail.
Texel Group Nature Park
The Texel Group Nature Park is a nature lover’s paradise located in the heart of South Tyrol. It is the largest nature park in the region and stretches from the Rombo Pass to the Adige River in the Merano Valley.
The Texel Group Nature Park offers an incredible variety of landscapes. From dense coniferous forest to rocky cliffs, from alpine pastures to mountain peaks reaching 3,000 meters above sea level, this park offers an enviable biodiversity.
One of the unique aspects of the Texel Group Nature Park is the wide range of wildlife it hosts. Here you can spot deer, chamois, marmots, eagles and, if you are lucky, even the rare grouse or bearded vulture, a huge bird of prey that has been successfully reintegrated into the park.
On a botanical level, the Texel Group Nature Park is home to a variety of rare and colorful alpine flowers, including the Edelweiss, St. Bruno’s Lily and Aconite Napello. The vegetation is especially lush during the spring and summer months, when meadows and slopes are filled with a multitude of colors.
The Texel Group Nature Park offers numerous hiking trails for all levels of difficulty. These include the famous Meraner Höhenweg (Meraner Höhenweg) trail, which winds through the entire mountain range of the park and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and the valley below.
Lake Vernago is a charming alpine lake located in the municipality of Senales, South Tyrol. The charming lake is famous for its turquoise waters, its beautiful surrounding mountains, and the extraordinary tranquility it offers.
The lake is a reservoir that was formed when a massive dam was built in 1956. It is located at an elevation of 1,689 meters above sea level, and despite being man-made, the lake blends seamlessly with the surrounding landscape, creating an environment of incredible natural beauty.
Vernago Lake is easily accessible by car and offers a range of outdoor activities suitable for all seasons. In the summertime, visitors can take walks along the path around the lake, a very pleasant trail that can be walked in about an hour. There are also numerous more challenging hikes that start from the lake and lead to the surrounding mountains.
Fishing enthusiasts can enjoy a quiet and relaxing experience at the lake’s edge, as it is rich in trout, barbel and perch–fishing is allowed while respecting local regulations.
In addition, the lake is a great place for a picnic because of the many picnic areas available. From the water, the majestic peaks of the Texel Group and the glaciers of the Senales municipality can be seen, offering a breathtaking panorama.
During the winter, Vernago Lake offers a different but equally fascinating experience. The surrounding area is transformed into a winter paradise, with the lakeshore covered in a soft blanket of snow and the surrounding mountains glistening in the winter sun.
Waterfalls of Parcines
The Parcines Falls, also known as the Partschins Waterfall, is one of the most fascinating places in South Tyrol. Located in the municipality of Parcines, near Merano, these waterfalls are among the most impressive in the region, offering a truly magnificent sight.
The main waterfall has a height of about 97 meters and its maximum flow is reached in spring, when the snow on the surrounding mountains begins to melt. The water rushes down in a swirl of white foam, creating a light mist that envelops the surrounding area and gives the environment a magical, almost surreal atmosphere.
The waterfall is easily accessible by a well-marked path from Parcines. Along the way, visitors can appreciate the lush vegetation of South Tyrol and the surrounding mountain landscape. The trail leads to a vantage point from which you can have an unparalleled view of the waterfall.
In addition to the main waterfall, there is also a smaller waterfall, the Lower Waterfall, which is located along the same stream and has a height of about 10 meters. Although less impressive than the main waterfall, it still offers a very fascinating water show.
During the summer, the Parcines Waterfalls are a great place to have a picnic or just relax and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere. The area around the falls offers numerous benches and picnic areas where visitors can sit and enjoy the view and the soothing sound of flowing water.
In winter, the falls turn into a winter wonderland, with the waterfall partially freezing, creating a truly spectacular view. However, access can be more difficult due to snow and ice.
Skiing in Merano
If you are looking for a magnificent winter destination with simply outstanding ski slopes, Merano in South Tyrol is the place for you. With slopes that cater to skiers of all levels, breathtaking scenery and rich local culture, skiing in Merano offers an unforgettable experience.
Merano offers an excellent skiing environment for both beginners and experts. The Merano 2000 ski resort, with a convenient location on the mountain slopes just a few kilometers from the center of Merano, boasts more than 40 kilometers of well-maintained and varied ski and snowboard trails, from easy, wide runs suitable for beginners to more challenging slopes for advanced skiers.
Ski Schools and Lessons for Beginners
Whether you are a beginner or just want to hone your skills on the slopes, there are numerous ski schools in Merano 2000 with qualified instructors ready to assist you. There are individual or group lessons, and children’s courses, which can be a great introduction to skiing for little ones in a safe and fun environment.
Beyond the Slopes: Freeride and Snowpark
For freeride enthusiasts, Merano offers a number of off-piste routes where experienced skiers can test their courage and skills. For snowboarders and freestyle sports enthusiasts, the Merano 2000 snow park, with its jumps and structures, is an exciting proving ground.
Relaxation after Skiing: Spa and Wellness
After a busy day on the slopes, nothing beats a little relaxation. Terme Merano offers a wonderful opportunity for relaxation with a wide range of thermal baths, saunas, spa treatments and more. You can soak in a thermal pool, enjoy a rejuvenating massage, or simply relax in one of the many relaxation rooms.
Culture and Cuisine: a Taste of South Tyrol
Skiing in Merano is not just fun on the slopes. The city itself is rich in culture, with numerous museums, historic churches and a beautiful city center. In addition, you will have the opportunity to savor the delicious cuisine of South Tyrol, which combines Italian and Austrian influences in unique and tasty dishes.
In short, Merano offers the perfect combination of snow adventure and high-quality relaxation. So why not put your skis (or snowboard) in your travel bag and come discover the wonders of winter in Merano?
Where to sleep in Merano
Merano offre una vasta gamma di opzioni per quanto riguarda l’ospitalità, adatte a tutte le tasche e a tutte le esigenze.
Se preferite la comodità e il lusso, ci sono numerose strutture alberghiere di alto livello, molte delle quali offrono spa e centri benessere interni, perfetti per un po’ di relax dopo una giornata passata a esplorare o a sciare.
Per chi cerca qualcosa di più intimo e accogliente, Merano vanta una selezione eccellente di bed & breakfast e case vacanze che vi faranno sentire come a casa.
Gli amanti della natura possono scegliere tra vari camping e agriturismi che offrono un’esperienza più immersiva nel paesaggio dell’Alto Adige.
Infine, per i viaggiatori attenti al budget, ci sono ostelli e alloggi a prezzi accessibili che non compromettono sul comfort o sulla qualità.
È consigliabile prenotare con anticipo, in particolare durante l’alta stagione, per garantirsi la sistemazione che meglio risponde alle proprie esigenze.
How to get to Merano
Merano is easily accessible from various points in Italy and Europe via various modes of transportation.
If traveling by plane, the nearest airports are Bolzano, Innsbruck and Verona. From each of these airports, one can take trains or buses directly to Merano, or rent a car for an even more comfortable trip.
If you prefer to travel by train, Merano is well connected to the Italian and Austrian rail network. Trains from major Italian cities such as Milan, Venice, and Rome arrive at the Bolzano train station, where it is possible to take a local train to Merano.
Those traveling by car will find the journey to Merano particularly scenic. If you are coming from the north, you can take the A22 Brenner freeway to the Bolzano Sud exit, and then follow the signs for Merano on the MEBO (Merano-Bolzano Expressway). If you are coming from the south, you can follow the A22 to the Merano Sud exit.
Finally, for bus travelers, there are regular services from several Italian cities, such as Milan, Bologna, Florence, and Rome, that go directly to Merano or Bolzano, from where you can take a local bus to Merano.
Remember to check travel details in advance as train and bus frequencies may vary by season and day of the week.
LODGINGS in Merano