Here are some of the best things to do in val venosta, Italy.
The valley has plenty to offer and there is truly something for everyone!
🗺️ Where is it?
The Val Venosta valley is located in the northernmost Italian province of alto adige, which is also known as South Tyrol or Autonomous Province of Bolzano.
The Val Venosta is also called the Vinschgau valley. South Tyrol was annexed by Italy after the 1st world war, the region was part of Austria before that, so German and Italian are both official languages.
Therefore, most places, villages, lakes, mountains, and valleys have two names, one in Italian and one in German, in South Tyrol.
South Tyrol shouldn’t be confused with North Tyrol and East Tyrol, which are part of Austria. However, combined they have been awarded an Euroregion status.
The valley is bordering Austria to the north and Switzerland to the east.
🍷 What is the Val Venosta known for?
The Val Venosta is known for beautiful mountain landscapes, untouched nature and crystal clear lakes. It’s a holiday area in the Italian alps.
The church bell tower in the lake is located in lake resia in the north of the Vinschgau valley. It’s the region’s most well-known attraction.
The valley is also known for growing some of the best apples in Europe. It has long been called apple country! The apples, especially the Red Delicious, have received a protected geographical indication.
The apple tradition is so old, the Romans used to transport apples northwards over the passes to Austrian cities like Innsbruck and German cities such as Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
⛪ Lake Resia (Reschensee)
Lake Resia, located near the Resia pass or Reschenpass in the north of val de venosta, is the icon of the valley.
Originally, there were two lakes. The Italian regime ordered to merge and flood both lakes to build a hydroelectric plant, after WW2.
Most of the area was pasture land for the local farmers and there was the village of Alt-Grauen, also known as Curon.
The villagers were forcibly moved and homes blasted. Only the bell tower was left and that’s what one can see today.
Lake Resia is a magical place with a fascinating and sad story.
🏕 Vallelunga (Langtaufers)
The Vallelunga, also known as Langtaufers valley is located above the main val venosta valley. To get there you will have to take the road from Grauen im Vinschgau to Vallelunga.
The area is known to be gorgeous, especially in spring when the first colorful flowers honor with their beauty.
This side valley is also a little secret, and you will only find a handful of people and tourists here. From there you can easily plan a couple of tours and enjoy a beautiful walk in nature with a stunning Mountain View.
🌅 Haidersee Lake
The Haidersee lake is the located near the lake resia. Originally, the Italian government had planned to turn this natural jewel into a hydroelectric plant. But it never came to this!
Today the Haidersee lake is a protected wild life refuge. The biotope at the other end of the lake has various types of animals and plants living in a perfect unison with each other.
You can take a relaxed walk around the Haidersee or sit to enjoy the view of untouched nature. The biotope makes for a perfect learning ground for children, signboards explaining about the wildlife are set up at various stations.
🏞 Seebodenspitze Mountain
The Seebodenspitze hike is a popular hike up the mountain top. You can either walk up from the valley or take the Haideralm cable car to the Haideralm.
From there you can take a break and enjoy local food before you pick a trail up to the Seebodenspitze.
The hike is on a medium difficulty level and the best tour is from the “Green Lake” (Grüner See) to the Seebodenspitze and the way back over the “Drei Seen”.
🙏 Abbey of Monte Maria
The abbey of Monte Maria is located above the village of Burgusio/Burgeis, on the Monte Maria (Marienberg). The village was long known as an important Roman route point of the via claudia augusta.
This 12th century Benedictine monastery has been around for over 900 years. The crypt and abbey church with their Romanesque art are known to be special in the alps.
The abbey can be visited with a guide and the museum will take you to another time and place!
💧 Schlinig Waterfall and Trail
The Schlinig waterfall and trails are located above the Schlinig/Slingia village, a small almost forgotten village up in the mountains.
The waterfall is located in a wildlife sanctuary, and you will have to hike up to it from the village which is a moderate walk, taking about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
But the walk is well worth it to see this precious waterfall coming down the cliffs with the surrounding greenery. You can also continue the trail to cross over to Switzerland.
The medieval city of Glurns/Glorenza is a little surprise on your way from the north to the south, you just can’t miss it. It’s one of the smallest cities, besides Rattenberg in Tyrol, in the alps.
Colorful buildings, the city walls and age-old gates welcome you to a true gem in the Italian alps.
Glurns already existed during roman times, when it was a hub of the via Claudia Augusta. During the medieval ages its people became rich due to the trade between the nearby Müstair valley in Switzerland and the dukes in Tyrol, Austria.
Glurns is also known as the Rothenburg ob der Tauber (a Bavarian German city) of South Tyrol.
🏘 Schluderns Town
Schluderns/Sluderno is located near Glurns and is a small quaint town in the val de Venosta.
In this town, you can visit the Vintschger Museum, which tells the tale of the region.
The 13th century Churburg castle (Castel Coira) is also located in Schluderns and can be visited. It’s a well-maintained castle with Renaissance complex. The armory is the highlight of the castle tour.
The three-day-long knight games are held every year in Schluderns in August.
🏰 Castello Di Montechiaro Ruins
South Tyrol is the land of ruined castles and the most magical of all is the Castello di Montechiaro (Schloss Lichtenberg) in val de venosta.
The castle ruin can be visited for free, and you can explore the ruins on your own risk. The view from there is stunning too, making it a perfect spot for Instagram photos.
You can park near the ruins, next to the church. The walk-up is about 30 minutes long.
💡 More Places to visit
- Matscher Tal (Val di Mazia) – Another side valley worth exploring if you are looking for nature and mountain trails.
- Malles/Mals – A small village with an unusual tower called Torre Frohlich.
- Tschenglsburg – A castle turned into an inn. Come here to eat local South Tyrolean food and to drink the best local wine.
- Ortles Messner Museum – The Reinhold Messner museum dedicated to mountaineering in Solda/Sulden.
- Goldsee WW1 Front – A 4-year-long battle took place here near the Swiss border at the Fort Goldsee.
- Stelvio Pass – amazing mountain road experience with beautiful views to the glaciers in the Stelvio national park.
- Freilichtmuseum des Lorenz Kuntner – a whimsical and quirky art museum in the outdoors.
- Aquaprad – An Aquarium in Prad with local water creatures from the region. Great for families with kids.
- Val Martello – Another popular side valley for winter sports and hiking.
- High Rope Course Laas – Great parkour for adults and kids alike.
- Aquaforum – A public spa in Latsch with pools and sauna.
- Schlanders/Silandro – the main place of the area where you get everything.
To get to val venosta by car, you will take about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. By bus, it will take you 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
People mostly speak a dialect of German, related to the Tyrol and German Bavarian dialect. Younger generations speak Italian too and English.
All seasons are wonderful in the Vinschgau valley! The area doesn’t lack ski resorts in winter, and summers are a popular time to visit for families with kids. Spring and fall are the most beautiful seasons, with flowers taking over the fields in spring and colorful foliage in fall making a statement. But keep in mind that hotels and restaurants tend to close down for a few weeks in spring and fall, usually it’s right after Easter and in November.