Today I woke up with a feeling – a peculiar feeling, really. A mix of wanderlust and homesickness. That’s how I know it’s time to plan my next trip to South Tyrol. Which reminded me that I’ve still not told you my favorite places that I got to discover the last time we were in the Meraner Land, a very special region of Alto Adige/Südtirol. For those who’ve missed it, here’s my write-up on holidays in the Meraner Land.
We spent our second and third night at the wonderful boutique Hotel Miramonti. I am always very cautious of Design Hotels. Although they do offer a lot of custom comfort, the service tends to be as anonymous and distant as in big franchise hotels.
But the Miramonti is not another cool, aesthetically overdriven resort. It’s an intimate, family-run business, where you’re not just a resident of the hotel, but a guest. From the service staff in the lobby and restaurant to the actual owners of the Miramonti, you’ll have a pleasant chat with everybody and experience the “Südtiroler Gastfreundschaft” first-hand. All while preserving your well-deserved privacy.
Now obviously, the biggest draw to the hotel – besides the spacious rooms and the lavish spa with saunas and jacuzzis – is the stunning view.
The regions of Alto Adige all have very different, but generally mild climates and are therefore very popular for various productions of fruits, wines and delicatessen such as cheese and ham.
In a charming mix of sunny Italian flavors and Austrian-Alpine rusticity, you’ll be able to enjoy home-made raspberry jams, intense cheeses and the best wines in Merano. But it can be tedious to go from farm to farm and get the products right from the source, which is why we found a very convenient hub that collects only local and seasonal things (from fresh veggies to cured meats) in one store and sells them to residents and tourists alike. Usually, I find more joy in gather my souvenirs from their place of birth, but you really don’t want to drive up and down the mountains just to find that one raspberry jam. They’re all fresh, they’re all incredibly high quality, and the Pur Südtirol store in Meran was a perfect last stop before take-off to bring back some of the things that we fell in love with (really can’t stress the raspberry jam enough).
Merano Flea Market
Every last Saturday in Meran, the Winterpromenade at the river turns into a lively and charming flea market. It’s nowhere near as crowded as any Berlin alternatives, but there are very beautiful things on sale. When we got to Meran, we only stumbled upon the market by chance and were pretty late to the sale, but it was a beautiful and calming afternoon and I ended up buying some knick-knacks of Italien ancestry. I have to add to it: you have to be somewhat open for romantic kitsch. I wonder why not more Rom-Coms were filmed in this particular space.
The traditional Alpine cuisine finds its climax of taste in Alto Adige. All over South Tyrol, you will be spoiled with incredible food with influences of Austrian, German and Italian ancestry (with more stress on the sensual and delightful Italian heritage). I hear you calling for that authentic food stop, but let me tell you something: nothing’s not authentic. Every Gasthof, every mountain-top may have its own particular variation of the classic dishes, every restaurant in the city another interesting take on pizza and pasta.
For a rustic variation in a spectacularly familiar and cozy atmosphere, I can not press Gasthof Bichl enough. You will dive into the marvelous Knödel and the wonderful Kaiserschmarrn (Kaiserschmarrn has become my only reason to live in some of my darkest days, so take my word of advice and have it as entrée, main and dessert). The Waldbichl is not only a restaurant: like every significant place in South Tyrol and especially the region of Merano, the Waldbichl Gasthaus is a family-run business with a rich history. Three sisters run the company, which is a guesthouse (with fantastic, self-made rooms!), the restaurant and a proper farm.
Berlin’s got Casolare and South Tyrol? Pizza Pirri. I don’t even know what to say much, this place looks like any other random pizzaria in rural Germany or Austria, but then, incredibly enough, it’s the best I’ve ever had. Simple as that. Of course, that doesn’t say much because every pizza is the best I’ve ever had, but for someone who doesn’t compromise on basic things and eats with all the senses and ruins their clothes happily over spilled tomato sauce and chili oil, you’ll have to take my word on it. If one thing’s for sure, it’s that I’ll return here, and I mean I’ll specifically book a vacation just so I can come by and grab a slice or two or five hundred.
- For a modern take of the South Tyrol cuisine, the Restaurant Miil is absolutely worth a visit.
- If you’re staying in Meran, check out the Hotel ImperialArt. One special room boasts a jacuzzi on its rooftop. I still cry thinking about that.
- If you’re looking for a lively night out (I mean, consider “lively” to be a stretch – we’re still in the Alpes, you’ll not find a worthy club here), Bar Rossini in Meran has amazing staff who know how to mix a solid drink, and a youthful atmosphere.
- Contrary to popular belief, we did not just eat and drink. We also also ate and drank on a Mountain. Go up to Meran 2000 for skiing and, most importantly, aprés-ski. In the summer, you can scratch that and go for a nice hike instead. But also aprés-hike, I guess.