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Prepare yourself for some of the most breathtaking alpine views in all of Europe as you cruise alongside the towering windswept peaks of the Ortler Alps on this driving adventure of a lifetime!
Your journey begins in the cultural mountaineering hub of Bolzano, capital city of Italy's South Tyrol region, where you'll have the opportunity to tour world renowned museums, galleries, and marketplaces. Immerse yourself in the charming Alpine culture then set out along the Adige River through endless vineyards set against a backdrop of dramatic snowcapped bluffs and cliffs. Make a pit stop at the lovely village of Merano or Prato allo Stelvio before taking on the exhilarating hairpin turns of Stelvio's pass as you enter the vast pristine wilderness of Stelvio National Park. Finally, you're invited to discover the mountainside winter wonderlands of Bormio and Livigno to cap off your unforgettable road trip through Alto Adige.
Auto Europe has compiled a comprehensive itinerary for a fantastic driving tour through the South Tyrol region of Italy, encompassing all of the best attractions and sights along the way. The itinerary outlined below is designed to allow for enough time to experience as much as possible in each exciting location, but please remember that the agenda is by no means restrictive. There's so much to see and do in Alto Adige that we urge you to use this road trip itinerary as a guide while leaving room for spontaneous adventures. With the convenience and versatility of a rental car you're free to tour at your own pace and to choose your own direction!
Read on to Drive to Discover the adventures that await you in Italy!
Arrive at the Bolzano F. Baracca Airport and you'll suddenly find yourself entranced amidst grandiose Alpine mountains and farmland valleys in a city that is considered the "capital of the Alps." Beautiful scenery aside, Bolzano is home to dozens of fantastic museums and hosts a number of annual music festivals covering everything from contemporary arts to Renaissance and Baroque classics. Visit the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology and see the famous Iceman Otzi or stop in the New City Theatre and catch an opera, ballet, or musical. Discover the rich history of the area on an architectural tour of sites like Runkelstein Castle, Dominican's Church, and Maretsch Castle then take a walk down Arcades and browse the Italian fashion outlets. Don't miss out on the stunning views you can have while hovering thousands of meters above sea level on a heart-stopping cable car ride at Funivia Renon! If you're visiting during the holidays you'll also have the chance to shop at the world-renowned Christmas markets, Winterwald and Christkindlmarkt, which earned Bolzano the title of "Italian Capital of Christmas."
Bolzano has all types of tempting cuisine, from Chinese take-out to ethnic fusion restaurants, but you won't want to miss the authentic local fare while visiting this melting pot of Italian, German, and Austrian culture. Street stands selling German wurst and doner kebabs are scattered about the city and visitors are always met with a warm welcome at local Tyrolean restaurants like Casa Al Torchio, serving specialties like spatzle (spinach dumplings), speck (a traditional smoked ham), strudels, and all sorts of scrumptious pastries and breads. Stop in at a pizzeria like Spizzico for a quick lunch or splurge on some fine dining at Zur Kaiserkron to try a meal crafted by some of the most prominent chefs in the region.
Casual eateries are commonplace in Bolzano so you'll have no trouble finding a hearty home-cooked meal at a good value. Beer gardens and wine halls are prominent and almost all serve cheap regional dishes along with delightful selections of locally-brewed beers and wines. Forsterbrau Central, Hopfen & Co. Wirsthaus & Brauerei, and Paulaner Stuben are a few great places to stop if you want to get a taste of the brew house experience in Bolzano. The area is also home to an astonishingly booming nightlife and dance club scene, attracting celebrants young and old from as far away as Trento on the weekends. Jubilate at one of the popular local disco clubs like Halle28 or Miro and find out why the city is host to one of Italy's fastest growing party scenes!
Bolzano is a well-developed center of tourism in Alto Adege and travelers should have no trouble in finding suitable accommodations, from low-budget hostel rooms to high-end luxury suites. Look to Citta Di Bolzano-Stad for an affordable stay right in the center of the city or Hotel Post Gries (Freiheitsstrabe 117, Bolzano, IT), located a few minutes from downtown and a short walk away from the South Tyrol Archaeological Museum. Gardenhotel Premstaller offers a reasonably-priced 4 star stay just outside the downtown area where you'll have easy access to the city's many museums, art galleries, and restaurants. Live in the lap of luxury at Parkhotel Laurin, surrounded by an endearing park in the historic district, or, if you plan on splurging, check out Hotel Greif (Piazza Walther Platz, Entrance Raingasse, 39100 Bolzano, IT) for an indulgent 4 star stay in unique rooms that have been individually designed by local artists!
This iconic section of steep winding road wanders between the mountains of the Ortler Alps, offering a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the exhilarating capabilities of a powerful Italian luxury or sports car rental. Test the limits of your vehicle on the hairpin turns or take a more leisurely cruise, soaking in the scenery provided by the surrounding alpine peaks. Regardless of your pace, traversing the highways of Stelvio's Pass will take your breath away as you tour the ethereal beauty of the magnificent Italian Alps in awe-stricken glee!
Take a break from the exciting drive along Stelvio's Pass and stop by one of the picturesque mountain towns along the way. You'll be able to enjoy a myriad of outdoor activities at Prato allo Stelvio or Trafoi, from hiking and snow-shoeing to camping in Stelvio National Park and more. Take the longest sleigh ride of your life down a 3km winding forest trail on a traditional toboggan or ski the powdery slopes of Solda. Unwind with some apres-ski drinks in a Jacuzzi as you admire the resplendent wilderness after a full day of exploration and you'll quickly realize why the Alto Adege region has come to be known as the quintessential place to experience the Italian Alps.
The area of land spanned by Stelvio's Pass is mostly pristine wilderness but there are still a number of fantastic places to grab a bite to eat. Check out one of the local pizza parlors, such as Pizzeria Café Panorama or Pizza Point for a quick meal while in Prato allo Stelvio or stop in at the stylish Eurobar Prad for a few drinks in the evening. Be sure to try some pastries at a local bakery like Café Am Platzl or Niederl Astor & Co. to get a taste of delectable strudel and crunchy fried krapfen. Prato allo Stelvio is the gateway to Stelvio National Park and from here you'll head south into the beautiful mountain pass amidst forested valleys.
Your first stop while heading into Stelvio's Pass will be Gomagoi, adjacent to the village of Stelvio. This peaceful rural area is home to a number of family-run accommodations which typically feature restaurants that are open to the public, offering excellent opportunities to sample some authentic home-cooked local cuisine. Hotel-Restaurant Gallia serves tasty Tyrolean specialties in an elegant setting nestled between the ridges and peaks of the surrounding Italian Alps. Hotel-Restaurant Traube also offers local fare at reasonable prices in a warm family-friendly atmosphere. Head South to Solda to try a yak steak, among many other unique and tempting dishes, at Yak und Yeti; this restaurant is frequented by local mountain climbers who are always willing to share adventure stories for eager audiences.
The rustic villages nestled between the Italian Alps of Stelvio's Pass offer a genuine portrait of the native mountaineering culture with a variety of delightful family-owned venues. Let Auto Europe's friendly team find you the guaranteed best rate on a rental car and you'll be able to explore the area in the comfort and convenience of your very own vehicle!
A rural setting against a backdrop of the brilliant Italian Alps in Stelvio's Pass provides a captivating atmosphere for an enchanting stay most travelers could only dream about! Charming alpine chateaus and gasthaus, German-style inn and taverns, are commonplace in Stelvio National Park and you'll delight in the warm welcome you receive at family-run accommodations like Gasthof Waldruhe (Forststrasse 59, 39029 Solda, IT) and Pensione Trushof (Strada dello Stelvio 28, 39020 Stelvio, IT). Check out Nives (Hauptstrasse 71, 39029 Solda, IT) or Hotel Alpina (Forststrasse 111, 39029 Solda, IT) for an affordable room in Solda, located right at the base of the ski slopes for easy access to adventurous winter activities, or splurge on a luxury stay at Zentral (Zentrum 48, 39026 Prad am Stilfserjoch, IT) or Garden Park Hotel (Via Pineta 35/A, 39026 Prato allo Stelvio, IT) in Prato allo Stelvio.
Stelvio's Pass isn't only a winter destination and farmstays are an excellent way to enjoy the beautiful Ortler Alps during the warmer summer months. Spend a night on the family farm Mitterhof (Agums 65A, 39026 Prato allo Stelvio, IT) where you can sample homemade fruit jams, mountain cheeses, and herbs all harvested and produced right at the cozy family-run homestead. Visit the Wallnofer family at Hof am Schloss (Schlossweg 11, 39026 Montechiaro, Prato allo Stelvio, IT) among ancient castles in the stunning Venosta Valley at Montechiaro; here you can find a perfect base of operations for exploring the area via hiking, biking, or a scenic drive. Feelig inspired? Try your hand at some farm work and meet the farmstead's animals.
You'll be surrounded by the ravishing beauty of the Italian alpine landscape when you stay a night or two in this enthralling and welcoming land, regardless of what season you choose to travel in! Walk-ins are common among the casual accommodations found around Stelvio's Pass, but be sure to plan ahead and book accommodations in advance for the holiday season. Stelvio National Park is internationally renowned as a top winter getaway so hotels fill up quickly and availability is limited during the ski season.
Your journey southward through Stelvio's Pass in Alto Adige will lead you to the lovely town of Bormio, located on the Southern border of Stelvio National Park in the Lombardy region of Italy. This little-known hidden gem is host to an array of intriguing natural thermal springs supplemented by many renowned health and wellness spas where you can reap the benefits of the organically heated mineral water with everything from mud baths to steam inhalation treatments. Treat yourself to a massage at one of the local beauty and health centers after a vigorous day on the slopes of Bormio Ski Resort or continue your adventure as you explore the pristine back country on a hiking tour. Take the family along to the Palaghiaccio ice skating rink, go on a snowshoeing adventure, or escape the elements and stop in at one of the fascinating museums in town. The Civic Museum of Bormio offers a slew of ancient medieval artifacts and the Minerological and Natural Museum of Bormio will take you on a journey through time, dissecting the physical history of the Alps.
Bormio isn't just a destination for snow lovers - this popular locale offers plenty of sights and attractions for those who prefer traveling in the warmer months, when the forests and valleys erupt in a verdant splendor. Visit the lush foothills of Lombardy in the summer and enjoy golfing on one of the most beautiful courses in Italy at Bormio Golf Club. Take a daring downhill mountain biking ride through Bormio Bike Park or cycle the smooth hilly roads outside of town as you admire the panoramic landscapes around you. Camping is also a great way to save money on a night's stay while you immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Stelvio National Park.
Bormio is a quaint but thriving tourism center offering fantastic access to Stelvio National Park and all the treasures of the surrounding Alpine landscape. Get a guaranteed best rate on a rental car through Auto Europe and you'll be able to see and do it all in Bormio at your own pace and convenience!
Influenced by the high altitude mountain climate, local fare in Bormio is characteristically hearty and there are a myriad of great restaurants where you can feast after a full day of adventuring. Stop by Mary and Co. right in the center of town for an ample home-cooked meal at a great value or the highly acclaimed Al Filo for excellent locally-inspired dishes in a casual and welcoming atmosphere. Chalet La Rocca is lauded for having the best pizza in town if you're in search of a worthwhile lunch spot and Agriturismo Rini serves notoriously generous portions of authentic Italian food with a wide selection of both domestic and imported wines.
You'll have no trouble finding a homey spot for a casual meal in Bormio, but the region is also renowned for its impressive selection of fine and high-end dining establishments. Luca Chef Le Prive is perhaps the highest rated restaurant in Bormio, serving exquisite and beautifully plated twists on Italian classics, as well as ingeniously confounded unique creations from two of the region's top chefs. Ristorante Rezia is well-known by locals and offers fantastic Italian and Mediterranean cuisine and freshly-made pastas. For a truly exclusive and uncommon experience be sure to stop at the properly named Heaven 3000, located at the pinnacle of the Cima Bianca and Valbella cable car lines. Here you can dine in the midst of one of the most fantastic views in the area while perched over 3,000 meters above sea level!
Bormio is quickly establishing itself as a premier location for vacationers and sightseers in Italy, known for a wide selection of accommodations to suit any traveler's style and budget. Hotel Nazionale (Via al Forte 28, 23032 Bormio, IT) offers great value for their 3 star location in the center of the city and provides a free shuttle bus service to the nearby ski lifts. If you're looking to stay even closer to the slopes, Hotel Funivia (Via Funivia 34, 23032 Bormio, IT) is an excellent choice with a rustic, cozy atmosphere, fantastic in-house restaurant, and free wi-fi - all located right at the base of the Bormio ski resort! Hotel Piccolo Mondo (Via Coltura 18, 23032 Bormio, IT) has great prices for travelers on a budget and Hotel La Genzianella (Via Zandilla 6, 23032 Bormio, IT) offers special discounts on ski packages for kids and families.
The natural hot springs at Bagni Vecchi and Bagni Nuovi are Bormio's claim to fame and provide an indulgent place to relax after a day on the slopes where you can pamper yourself at one of the many health and wellness spa attractions. For a lavish 5 star stay second to none, Terme Bagni di Bormio (Via Bagni Nuovi 7, Valdidentro, IT) eagerly provides guests with a sumptuous seat in the lap of luxury at either of two spa resort locations; Terme Bagni Nuovi or Terme Bagni Vecchi. Spend a night in a posh suite at either of these distinctive hotels or just visit for the day and enjoy an array of exclusive spa treatments, natural steam cave saunas, ancient bath houses, and panoramic pools where you can reap the healthful benefits of the natural mineral-fortified thermal waters while marveling at stunning views of the surrounding Italian Alps.
Bormio is a bona fide utopia of natural attractions where you can take advantage of Mother Nature's ample bounties while staying cozy in your choice of dozens of fantastic accommodations.
Upon arriving in Livigno, known fondly as the "Little Tibet" of Italy, you'll discover a wonderful city full of friendly locals, trendy shops, and fun activities to enjoy year-round. Cycle the iconic road around magnificent Lake Livigno or challenge yourself to an exciting ride on the mountain bike trails at Mottolino Fun Mountain. Hike your way through gorgeous forest pathways to a scenic panoramic view or take an easier way up on one of many cable car rides that depart right from downtown.
The colder months transform Livigno into a winter wonderland where you can enjoy some of the best snow in the world while taking part in a diverse selection of winter sports. Ski downhill or cross-country amidst thousands of acres of pristine alpine powder or snowshoe through an ethereal white-blanketed landscape. You can even visit the Sleddog Husky Village to try your hand at something new and "mush" your own dog sled! Don't forget to take some time to relax at Aquagranda Wellness Park, the premier wellness spa in Livigno, where you can awaken your senses and stimulate both body and mind in a soothing and sleek modern atmosphere. Livigno is also home to incredible shopping opportunities, with over 250 chic duty-free outlets in town.
The lovely locale of Livigno is truly a perfect place to cap off your excursion through the Italian Alps. Spend a few days exploring the town, tour around majestic Lake Livigno, or even continue your journey with a day trip into nearby Switzerland. All the treasures of nature and chic Italian culture are yours to behold in Livigno and with a great rate on a rental car with Auto Europe you can explore the entire area at your own pace and direction!
Livigno is host to a wide selection of great places to eat, most of which are hotel-based and run by local families. You'll have no trouble finding a quaint spot to get some authentic home-cooked Italian fare but a local favorite is Berghutte, located right at the bottom of the Carosello 3000 ski lift, which serves fantastic pasta. A ride up the lift will bring you to Rifugio Carosello 3000, a self-serve restaurant, where you can grab a quick bite while enjoying fantastic views of the valley below. Stop in at Tea del Vidal to enjoy some apres-ski drinks accompanied by good music in a friendly and welcoming atmosphere or The Kuhstall, located under the Bivio Hotel, for live bands and performances. Although the nightlife is relatively tame in Livigno there are a few disco/dance clubs like Cielo, if you still have enough energy to let your hair down and celebrate at the end of the day.
A majority of eateries in Livigno are casual restaurants but there are a few fine dining establishments worth your while when you're looking for a more high-end experience. Bivio Cantina, part of the Bivio Hotel, is lauded as one of the best restaurants in town and offers an elegant atmosphere, local meats, fresh fish, and hundreds of domestic and foreign wines. Make a reservation at Ristorante Pepe Nero and sample one of the distinctively creative culinary creations offered by the classically-trained chefs, or stick to Italian staples like lasagna, prepared with fresh pasta and cheeses, or pasta ali olio. It's all delicious.
The dining scene in Livigno offers a great opportunity to try some traditional Italian cooking in any number of local restaurants. Sample a few to find your favorite and you'll be talking about the fantastic meals you enjoyed in this authentic culinary haven for years to come!
Livigno is filled with hotels, bed & breakfasts, and vacation rentals for visitors looking to stay a night or two while they explore the region. The downtown area abounds with family-run accomodations like Hotel Capriolo (Via Borch 96, 23030 Livigno, IT) and Hotel Piccolo Tibet (Via Rin 420, 23030 Livigno, IT), where you can get a good value on a comfortable room with easy access to the city center and ski lifts. Hotel Nevada (Via Saroch 35, 23030 Livigno, IT) is an excellent choice for vacationers on a budget or, if you plan on staying for more than just a few days, look into vacation rentals at Chalet Beatrice Apartments (Via Canton 345, 23030 Livigno, IT) or Park Chalet Village (Via Teola 515, 23030 Livigno, IT). Pensione Derby (Via Rasia 186i, 23030 Livigno, IT) is one of many local bed & breakfast taverns where you can get a cheap but comfortable stay for a night or two in between ski trips or hiking journeys.
There are also a few larger luxury resorts around town that offer a premium vacation experience for those visiting Livigno. Bivio Hotel (Via Plan 422/A, 23030 Livigno, IT), located just a few steps from the ski lifts, features tempting amenities like an outdoor Jacuzzi and spa massage treatments included in nightly rates as a welcomed respite for tired skiers. Check out the 4 star Hotel Baita Montana (Via Mont dala Nef 87, 23030 Livigno, IT) and you'll discover a wonderful spa resort great for families with friendly staff, featuring a lively in-house restaurant/bar. Rooms at Hotel Baita Montana are spacious and comfortable and, if you don't feel like spending the day outdoors, you are always welcome to visit the modern spa, sauna, and steambath.
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