“ City: Meran / Country: Italy / World Region: Europe „
Meran is a sleepy little town in South Tirol in Italy. Well, actually it is the second largest city in South Tirol with roughly 40000 inhabitants but the city easily manages to receive this quiet, peaceful feeling many smaller mountain towns have. I spend many childhood holidays there and will always remember it for the nice walks, breathtaking mountain scenery and delicious ice cream (The last one was the most important to me when I was 10)
South Tirol is a region in Italy's north and shares borders with Austria and Switzerland. Unsurprisingly German is more wildly spoken than Italian. This mixture between Italian laid-bach lifestyle and German efficiency is quite unique.
How to reach Meran:
Bolzano is the closest airport to Meran with Bolzano being the capital of South Tirol. Trains to Meran leave every 30min from the main train station in Bolzano. Trains in Italy are surprisingly on time and quite cheap.
You shouldn't pay more than 3 Pound. Same goes for buses although I personally prefer going by train has you have a better chance seeing the breathtaking mountain scenery.
Meran is easily accessible by car via he Brenner pass coming from Austria or via the Freeway from Bolzano. Please remember that Meran is in the mountains so if you plan on going there in Winter make sure your car is suitable. The Brenner Pass is closed when weather conditions are too bed.
Meran profits from the warm mediterranean climate and is due to the mountain ranges protected from rain and cold weather.
You are in a great region if it comes to food and wine. Both red and white wines are advisable with the Meranese di Collina (red) being my favourite.
The food is quite hearty with lots of Speck, bread and cheese. Amazing pasta comes from the Italian influence and this mixed with the more 'fatty' Austrian cuisine is a good mix. Don't miss the 'Schuetelbrot', a dry bread with caraway with speck.
My personal favourite is the 'Hoeller Schnaps' - a light noble brandy made from elderflower.
Italian ice cream is of course the best in the world :-)
Where to stay/eat:
Meran offers lots of great hotels with all amenities but who lack the charm of the smaller Guesthouses you find further up the mountains.
Restaurants are on every corner and are usually very good.
What to do:
These are some of my favourites and not all-embracing.
-go to one of the many markets and drown in colours, scents and flavours. Try big rd cherries and huge peaches, see the amazing selection of homemade brandy and honey and buy fresh or dried mushrooms.
-Meran has two Spas, both equally good and priced. Relax in the hot mediterranean sun and have a swim from time to time.
-the area is great for mountain biking and you find tour suitable for every level of fitness
-Hiking. Ok, this is probably the reason why you came here. I'm looking back with fond memories on all the hikes in this region, some breathtaking over rocks in the pure sun, other under the shade of trees in a more comfortable pace. The best is to go to the very good and helpful tourist information and ask them for suggestions and cards.
These are some of my favourite hikes but some require a car from Merano:
Go to St. Leonhard and from there to Stulz. In Stulz leave your car and follow the Waalweg through lush green valleys and stop ever so often to eat and drink in one of the many huts.
The Seeber lake was and is my favourite spot. You walk for hours expecting to see a small lake, then you go round a curve and find yourself in front of a huge, silver-blue mountain lake. Breathtaking!
Have a look at the following websites for more information:
A small town in the mountainous province of Bolzano-Bozen, Italy.