© IDM South Tyrol-Alto Adige/Harald Wisthaler

South Tyrol Special: Pustertal & Salten-Schlern

Rugged peaks, picturesque lakes and almost endless possibilities for outdoor enthusiasts: between the Pustertal and Salten-Schlern valleys beats the heart of the Dolomites - where brilliant highlights await nature enthusiasts and travel influencers.

27 June 2022

Fancy a full dose of nature? In the midst of the Dolomites outdoor fans, Instagram hotspotters and adrenaline junkies get their money's worth. The landscape in the Pustertal, also known as the "Green Valley", is first idyllic, then suddenly exciting; extensive alpine pastures are waiting to be discovered at a leisurely pace in many places. The perfect vacation photo can be taken at one of the secluded lakes along the hiking trails.

A place of bliss: In summer, lush green alpine meadows nestle against rugged rock faces on the Alpe di Siusi (top). On the bike, in the shadow of the Dolomites, you can ride along kilometer-long bike routes (r.). If you want, you can cycle from Pustertal over the Staller-Sattel Pass all the way to East Tyrol. ©IDM South Tyrol-Alto Adige/Harald Wisthaler/Thomas Grüner/Daniel Geiger

Outstanding is the Pragser Wildsee - a highly romantic natural monument, in whose green-blue shimmering water the most beautiful peaks are reflected. A must-take for travel bloggers are also the Three Peaks, and it doesn't matter whether the breathtaking view is photographed from above or the mountain massif serves as a backdrop for dramatic images.

In the Pustertal valley, breathtaking mountain landscapes and the finest delicacies come together. Numerous places - such as the hotel "Alpen Tesitin", are specialized in offering those seeking relaxation the perfect setting - infinity pool included. ©Harald Wisthaler


Climbing and high-altitude tours, paragliding, canyoning and a mountain bike trail network that is second to none: those who love nature, adventure and adrenaline kicks are in the right place in Pustertal. But the region also has a lot to offer art and culture fans. The small medieval town of Bruneck is the heart and soul of the valley. It is famous for its top-class jazz festival, which starts on June 24 this year and lasts a week. The neighbouring Salten-Schlern region is also located in the Dolomites, the mountain group that was declared a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2009.

The Lumen Museum of Mountain Photography has captured the beauty of the mountain region by means of Reinhold Messner holograms and in the form of mirror room installations, among other things, and the view from the museum on the Kronplatz summit is also picture-perfect. ©Manuel Kottersteger, Paolo Riolzi, skirama Kronplatz

Spectacular rock formations such as the Catinaccio, the Sassolungo massif, the Sella group and the Sciliar massif characterize the face of the landscape. 350 kilometers of hiking trails of all levels of difficulty invite you to explore, 33 mountain bike trails crisscross the high mountain landscape of the Seiser Alm. In summer, visits to the Wolkenstein castle ruins, Karneid castle or the Weißenstein monastery in the Brantental valley are worthwhile; they are all stone witnesses of past eras. In winter, the slopes and cross-country ski trails deliver fantastic vacation experiences in the snow-sure winter sports region.

In the "Hotel Aeon", on the other hand, modern design and rural farm have entered into a perfect symbiosis; exclusive togetherness determines everyday vacation here, from the hideaway garden to the panoramic pool. And then there are the extensive hiking trails, the majestic Dolomites always in view - beautiful. ©Hannes Niederkofler

Gourmet tips


Young chef Mario Porcelli creates for the gourmet restaurant varied cuisine from high-quality, fresh products. A mix of Mediterranean cuisine and Ladin alpine specialties, which can be seen!

High enjoyment with a local touch: between the Alps and the Adriatic Sea: with the utmost finesse, Mario Porcelli creates exciting moments of enjoyment from local ingredients in the "Alpenroyal Gourmet Restaurant". ©Daniel Töchterle 


Great wines and modern cuisine, which is oriented to local specialities, but also likes to look beyond the plate to other regions: the chic South Tyrolean Stube convinces with culinary delights between tradition and innovation.

Culinary you get to know the flavors of the region and season at "La Stüa de Michil". It is highly recommended to pay attention to local wines - they reward it with an excellent bouquet. ©Gustav Willeit


Those who dine here can look forward to the traditional flavours of the mountains in the midst of an exclusive alpine ambience, because chef Norbert Niederkofler draws both his inspiration and his ingredients directly from the region.


In the elegant Tilia, with its chic glass facades, you will encounter contemporary cuisine - inspired by South Tyrolean cooking and created with local products - that knows how to convince. Here you eat exclusively, a reservation is recommended!


Sustainably good: the creative dishes at 1908 are composed according to Chef Stephan Zippl's "Re:vier cuisine" sweet, sour, spicy and crunchy; of course from the best local or regional ingredients. That is quality that you can taste.


Shopping tips

Natural sports equipment
From pull-up bars to rings: Fitalps produces locally and resource-saving innovative training equipment for leisure and rehab from resilient beech wood. At € 63,-.


Best cheese
For two generations, the Eggemoa manufactory has stood for the best South Tyrolean cheese specialities, refined with fine herbs and made entirely from the best raw milk from cows and goats. From € 42,-.

©Gerd Eder

Alpine fragrance moments
The resistant stone pine, which is said to have an antibacterial effect, finds its new purpose in Zirm Alpin as a finely carved, pleasantly aromatic fragrance carrier. From € 64,-.

©Zirm Alpine

Master engraving
At Klenkdesign, the focus is on the CO2 laser - with this, the agency creates individual, creative engravings on really any material, including pine. From € 24.90.



Hotel tips

Eco Hotel Saltus

Sustainable luxury: South Tyrol's first eco hotel blends perfectly into the picturesque landscape of the Salten plateau. ©Eco Hotel Saltus

Time out in harmony with nature at the Salten: With only 28 rooms, the "Eco Saltus" is a charming boutique hideaway in Jenesien above Bolzano. Managed by the mother-daughter trio of the Mumelter family, the elegant house is dedicated to vacations in harmony with the surrounding nature. Materials such as wood, lime, clay and stone, muted colors and a blurring of inside and outside through the large panoramic fronts let the house become one with the forest around. South Tyrol's first eco-hotel does completely without disposable plastic, and the spa is virtually chemical-free. To ensure complete relaxation, the Forest Spa is located on the lower floor of the house in the middle of the green forest, while the 17-meter infinity sky pool on the top floor shines with fantastic views over the Dolomites. Yoga, meditation and Qi-Gong are practiced here regularly as part of the "Saltus Relaxation Program", ensuring holistic rest and relaxation. Quiet luxury runs through the entire house, the stylish rooms shine in warm earth tones, on the comfortable window sills you sit with a direct view of the surrounding nature. Who arrives climaticfriendly with the public means of transportation, is fetched by the hotel shuttle in Bolzano and enjoys five per cent discount on the overnight stay price. The adjacent "Tschögglbergerhof" parent hotel is a culinary highlight. To avoid waste, breakfast is ordered from the menu and freshly prepared. In the evening, regional and seasonal delicacies are served. 

Eco Hotel Saltus****S
Freigasse 8, 39050 Jenesien, South Tyrol, Italy
Tel.: +39 0471 1551190
Price: double room from € 338,- per night



Ecological luxury: Regional and natural materials create a feel-good atmosphere in the "Cyprianerhof". ©Hannes Niederkofler, Helmuth Rier

Luxury hideaway in the Schlern-Rosengarten Nature Park: Close to the Seiser Alm and at an altitude of over 1100 meters, the Cyprianerhof is idyllically situated with the best view of the Dolomites. Environmentally conscious cuisine, ecological construction and a nature-loving philosophy characterize the five-star house and make the vacation a sustainable experience. In the "Similde Spa" a rustic "Schupfensauna", a natural bathing pond, an outdoor and indoor pool and cozy relaxation rooms are waiting for you to relax. By the way, the pools are cleaned chemical-free by a salt electrolysis system. From Thursday to Saturday, the spa landscape becomes a ladies-only area. For cosmetic treatments in the beauty oasis, only natural products from Vitalis Dr. Joseph, Alpienne, Trehs and Silberquarzit - all from South Tyrol - are used and ensure radiant and well-groomed skin. Natural dishes made from regional ingredients dominate in the kitchen, where traditional recipes from "grandma's kitchen" are interpreted in a modern way and served as an evening five-course gourmet menu. The fine creations can be re-cooked after the vacation, by the way, because the recipes of chef Monika Damian are available collected as a cookbook. Lots of wood, cozy sitting areas and fine furnishings round off the sleeping experience in the hotel's rooms and suites - and right outside the door awaits the Rosengarten group, which invites you to the first hikes and bike tours from spring onwards. 

St. Zyprian 69, 39050 Tires on the Catinaccio, South Tyrol, Italy
Tel.: +39 0471 642143
Price: Double room including half board from € 187,- per person



Spa with a view: sun worshippers get their money's worth in the adults-only area on the roof of the "Hotel Winkler". ©Winklerhotels

Four exceptional houses with a wide range of offers. One family, four houses: The hotels of the Winkler family are known beyond the country's borders for their excellent service and the wide range of offers. Whether it's a luxury riding vacation, a golf trip, a hiking and biking stay or a family getaway: in the four Winklerhotels -Hotel Lanerhof,Chalet Purmontes,Hotel WinklerandHotel Sonnenhof- something is offered for every taste. Since 2021, the five-star Hotel Winkler in St. Lorenzen am Kronplatz has been resplendent in special splendour. On the roof of the house, in the new adults-only outdoor area, a 17-meter-long infinity pool now awaits guests. The four new pool suites, in turn, score with their own infinity pool and elegant, minimalist interior. The "Cozy Suites" are cozy: on warm days, relaxation-seekers enjoy the sunny hours on the comfortable loungers and let their gaze wander into the distance. The hotel's bar has also been extensively renovated and serves excellent drinks. Children are delighted with a wide range of childcare options, which include horseback riding, climbing, soccer and an animal and adventure park. Golfers receive a free green fee for the Pustertal Golf Club through the hotel. A mental reset is made possible by yoga, meditation and forest bathing; for exploratory tours, the hotel's own guides are available to accompany guests on guided hikes. Or you can rent an e-bike from the hotel and explore the Pustertal on your own with electric propulsion. 

Winklerhotels - Premium Spa Resorts Dolomites
Montal 42, 39030 San Lorenzo, South Tyrol, Italy
Tel.: +39 0474 403133
Price: double room including three-quarter board from € 130,- per person


Alpin garden

Green paradise: The garden of the "Alpin Garden" is the ideal retreat to unwind in summer. ©Klaus Peterlin

Exclusive Adults-Only Refuge in Val Gardena: Stylish, charming and with great attention to detail, the completely renovated luxury refuge "Alpin Garden" presents itself. The Adults-only cuddle hotel at the foot of the Langkofels dedicates itself completely to the romantic Auszeit in the mountain world of South Tyrol. Adults from 16 years are welcome in the luxury hotel. The golden sauna and the art in the steam bath are just two of the many artistic touches in the "ART" spa, newly opened in 2020 - black and golden accents run as a guiding thread through the house, which scores with unique architecture and art. Relaxation rooms, an extensive sauna world and several pools provide a break from everyday life. The indoor pool is open around the clock so that everyone can take a dip at the desired time. Ayurvedic massages and high-quality cosmetic products promise radiant skin and relaxed muscles. Aperitifs, digestifs and cocktails can be ordered in the casual "Viola Lounge & Bar" or at the "Golden Bar" before high-quality gourmet cuisine is served in the "Maison" restaurant. Designer furniture, eccentric design and panoramic views of the mountains await in the cozy artist lounge. The rooms and suites of the "Alpin Garden" are no less exclusively furnished: Natural materials dominate the modern rooms, accessories in alpine style skilfully round off the feel-good atmosphere. A highlight: the new suites with large panoramic windows. In summer, guests rest in the flowering garden or climb the mountain peaks of the Dolomites. 

Alpine Garden Luxury Maison & Spa*****
J.-Skasa-Str. 68, 39046 Ortisei, South Tyrol, Italy
Tel.: +39 0471 796021
Price: double room including breakfast from € 357,- per night


Hotel Drumlerhof

Pure nature! From the Swiss stone pine wood in the rooms to the cuisine: At the "Drumlerhof" they pay attention to naturalness. ©Tiberio Sorvillo

Nature hotel in the sense of the common good in the rustic Ahrntal. Unique, different, familiar: the hotel Drumlerhof is a nature hotel in Sand in Taufers in the original Ahrntal. For over 20 years landlady Ruth Innerhofer cooks here healthy and above all gluten-free. Holidaymakers can look forward to tasty and carefree enjoyment - so that guests can even take the culinary delights home with them, she has compiled the recipes in a cookbook. In general, one has been living in harmony with nature at the Drumlerhof for many years, long before sustainability became a trend. In addition, the actions of the host family are not focused on pure profitability, but on the common good of nature, people and animals. Annually, the own common good balance is put to the test, and so in the Drumlerhof not only the interior materials, but also the ingredients for the delicious dishes come from the local area. The Swiss stone pine wood in the stylishly designed rooms spreads a gentle scent and, according to studies, supports sleep. The spa area is heated with biogas; the beauty products for the massages are made from honey, Swiss stone pine, herbs and mountain pines and are as natural as possible. Small but nice and with extremely cordial service, the Drumlerhof is an insider tip in one of the less-visited valleys of South Tyrol, which invites its visitors to go biking, hiking and enjoying. Tip: With the code #drumlerhof_feel_nature guests receive a five percent discount when booking.

Hotel Drumlerhof****
Town Hall Street 6, 39032 Sand in Taufers, South Tyrol, Italy
Tel.: +39 0474 678068
Price: double room including half board from € 108,- per person

Text: Marie-Theres Auer, Marion Genetti and Michaela Hessenberger

This article appeared in the Falstaff TRAVEL issue Spring 2022.

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