Trentino-Alto Adige is renowned for its outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, skiing, and other winter sports, as well as its dramatic mountain scenery, with part of the iconic Dolomites and their sawtooth peaks in this region. There are sparkling alpine lakes, rivers, glistening glaciers, and stunning natural parks. It’s divided into large valleys like Val Gardena, Val di Fassa, Val Badia, and Val di Fiemme and home to a number of impressive cities as well. The largest include the capital of Trento, and the cities of Bolzano, Merano, and Rovereto.
When it comes to where to stay, the wide range of choices can be almost overwhelming. You’ll first want to choose the best town based on what you plan to do, such as skiing or hiking, wine tasting, and touring, or spending time on one of the lakes. This guide will help you make the best decision for your stay in Trentino-Alto Adige.
There are many reasons to choose Trento if your primary goal is sightseeing. The capital of the province, even if you plan to do lots of hiking or skiing, you might want to spend a couple of days here first. It’s a small, picturesque city that’s rich in culture, history, and art. In its historic center, the winding alleyways are enjoyable to stroll with everything from colorful Renaissance buildings to medieval walls.
Stay in this area and you can enjoy spending time in the main square, Piazza Duomo, which is home to the majestic 13th -century Cathedral of San Vigilio, Buonconsiglio Castle, and the imposing Fountain of Neptune. There is a wide range of accommodation options and you’ll be steps from a wealth of outstanding shops and eateries. Rovereto is another good option as the region’s third-largest city, is home to numerous cultural and historical sites, including narrow streets and squares that date back to the Middle Ages.
Many visitors come to Trentino-Alto Adige to enjoy its famous lakes, including Lake Garda which stretches across three of Italy’s regions, Trentino, Brescia, and Verona while enjoying a stunning mountain backdrop. During the warmer months, there is a wide range of water sports available, including windsurfing, paragliding, canoeing, and even diving.
Trails in the hills and mountains provide hiking and biking while many picturesque towns line the lake’s shores, including Riva del Garda. One of the most beautiful in Trentino, it’s a great base with the magnificent Varone waterfalls a few minutes drive away while the Tempesta Busatte path can be accessed for tranquil walks with lake views. Accommodation options are many, including a large resort hotel, one of the few on Lake Garda, and a five-star palace that’s particularly ideal for active families. Braies (or Prags) is another good option on Lake Braies with some fabulous budget-friendly guesthouses and farm stays in the area.
Livigno is in the heart of the Alps right next to the ski slopes. When the snow has melted, it’s a hiker’s paradise with over 932 miles of trails. There are numerous hikes winding to high mountain peaks, including options for guided walks with everything from short treks to multi-day routes. The ski lifts can be used in the summer to quickly reach high altitudes and enjoy panoramic views overlooking the town and beyond. The ski boom in the 1960s is what really put Livigno on the map.
Today, there are 32 lifts, six gondolas, and more than 71 miles of slopes for everyone from beginners to the advanced, who can also enjoy heli-skiing. No matter what the season, you’ll find some fabulous spa hotels and opportunities for fine dining, that make it worth sticking around a while. Shopping is renowned here too, with over 250 duty-free retail stores.
One of the most famous valleys in the Dolomites, Val Gardena is ideal for those who want to enjoy hiking in the warmer months or skiing and other snow sports in the winter. There are three small towns here, including Selva di Val Gardena (a favorite), Santa Cristina di Val Gardena and Ortisei. This is one of the most spectacular areas of the Dolomites, with pristine landscapes while being tucked away from main roads but close enough that it makes it easy to explore other areas.
It’s home to the Puez-Odle Natural Park known for its gorgeous winter ski slopes, and abundant wildlife like deer, chamois, and eagle owls. When it comes to accommodation, there is a wide variety of options from budget friendly to luxurious, with many hotels and various rentals boasting jaw-dropping views of the mountains. Plus, you’ll some stress-melting spas here that are ideal after a day of play.
The small but very charming town of Castelrotto has a wonderful medieval atmosphere with a little town square and the region’s typical architecture. It’s one of the best places for those who want to enjoy more authentic Italian charm, including lots of delicious local cuisine. It also offers shuttles to the Alpe di Suisi, the largest high-altitude alpine meadow in Europe, renowned for its skiing and hiking. You won’t have to get behind the wheel at all unless you really want to with the easy ride just steps away.
Another one of the big plusses about Castelrotto is that it has so many different types of accommodation, with something for every budget. There are affordable, mid-priced options right in the right of the village. You’re likely to find everything from simple guesthouses and B&Bs to self-catering apartments and homes, and high end luxury hotels along with just about all you can think of in between.
Wine enthusiasts who want to do lots of touring and tasting might want to start exploring the vineyards of Alto Adige by staying close to “wine street.” Known as Strada del Vino in Italian and Weinstrabe in German, its stretches for about 25 miles between Bolzano and Salorno. There are many wineries along the road – Cantina Kurtatsch is here and one of the oldest winemakers’ coops in Italy, with nearly 200 winegrowers, each of whom has a small farm along the slopes of the Alps.
When deciding between the two, Bolzano is a great base for visiting the Dolomites and offers breathtaking views, a lovely church, Luftlmalerei-embellished homes, and fairytale-like castles nearby. Salorna is the southernmost village of South Tyrol at the border of the German-Italian language boundary. It offers spectacular landscapes and is one of the few in the region in which the number of Italian citizens exceeds the number of German-speaking people.
Trento is the capital of Trentino. Small and picturesque, the city is surrounded by lush nature and makes an ideal base for your getaway with a magnificent blend of Italian and German influence. It boasts plenty of rich history as the place where the Council of Trent was held in the 16th century starting the Catholic Reformation too. Plus, it’s wonderfully uncrowded with plenty of places to park and it’s easy to find reasonably priced accommodations here, many of which are boutique hotels housed in centuries-old villas. The historical center is particularly idyllic with its medieval walls, meandering alleyways, and colorful Renaissance buildings. You’ll want to spend time in Piazza Duomo, the main square, which is home to one of the city’s top attractions, Buonconsiglio Castle, and its cathedral too, the 13 th -century Cathedral of San Vigilio. Plus you’ll have a wealth of mouthwatering dining options and shopping venues at your doorstep.
Rovereto is the third-largest city in Trentino-Alto Adige with refined cultural offerings that include museums, palaces, and monuments. It’s close to Lake Garda and just a short drive south of Trento, providing an ideal spot for those who want to combine sightseeing with relaxation and outdoor adventure. It’s also perfect for those who want to ski the Brentonico plateau.
You’ll find numerous historical sites here, including narrow streets and squares dating back to the Middle Ages. Stay here to explore landmarks like the Castello di Rovereto which offers an awe inspiring view over the entire valley. The medieval castle is one of the finest examples of late medieval alpine fortification and it hosts one of the most important museums focused on the First World War, Museo della Guerra. You could easily spend an entire afternoon at the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MART), with one of Europe’s most impressive permanent collections of its kind, featuring 20,000 works.
Nestled in the foothills of the Dolomites, Bolzano makes an ideal base for exploring the region’s most famous mountains and for wine enthusiasts who want to explore “wine street,” Strada del Vino in Italian and Weinstrabe in German, stretching from here to the town of Salorno. It has a unique blend of Italian and Austrian culture with pretty Luftlmalerei-embellished homes and one can easily visit a number of castles nearby.
The Duomo is a gem of Romanesque-Baroque architecture and a symbol of the city with a gothic tower and a multicolored roof similar in appearance to St. Stephen’s in Viena. Inside you’ll find gorgeous frescoes and the “treasure of the Duomo,” the most extensive collection of Tyrolean sacred art in the region. Basng yourself here also means you’ll easily be able to see the famous “Iceman” at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology, an over 5,100-year-old corpse found naturally mummified, frozen in a glacier.
Riva del Garda is one of the most picturesque towns in Trentino-Alt Adige. Located on Lake Garda, you’ll be surrounded by nature by staying here, including the spectacular Varone waterfalls that are only a few minutes drive away. Enjoy scenic walks with lake views along the Tempesta Busatte path and all sorts of other outdoor activities like sailing paddleboarding, hiking, and mountain biking.
With its incredible setting and luxurious hotels, Riva del Garda is ideal for honeymooners and romance-seekers of all types, but it’s also great for families with everything from a five-star place to one of the few large resort hotels on the lake. Many offer panoramic views of the water and the mountains. But with a wide variety of options here, there are lots of mid-range and budget accommodations too.
Val Gardena is one of the Dolomites’ most famous valleys and it includes three different small towns to choose from. All make an ideal base for those who want to enjoy hiking or skiing, with Selva di Val Gardena a favorite, although Ortisei and Santa Cristina di Val Gardena are well worth considering too. It’s home to Puez-Odle Natural Park with beautiful slopes for winter skiing, and no matter which town you choose, you’ll be surrounded by pristine natural beauty.
The area has a secluded feel, away from major roadways, yet it’s still convenient for exploring many other places in the Dolomites. As it ticks so many of the boxes, it’s one of the most popular destinations in the area to stay in which means the best and most affordable accommodations are often booked months in advance, so be sure to secure yours as soon as you know you’ll be visiting.
Castelrotto may be small, but it’s jam-packed with charm, complete with an enchanting medieval atmosphere, pretty architecture, and a lovely town square. If you’re looking for authentic Italian with easy access to outdoor adventures, it’s a great pick. All of the building’s facades were painted by a German artist who aimed to transform the town into a work of art. While strolling the streets you can admire whitewashed homes, the Baroque church tower, and stop to relax in Piazza Krausen.
Dominating the village from atop Punta Santna are the ruins of an ancient castle that can be reached on foot by following the marked path. Those who stay here will have access to the shuttles to Alpe di Suisi, Europe’s largest high-altitude meadow, renowned for hiking and skiing. When it comes to accommodation there’s something for everyone too, from quaint B&Bs and guesthouses at budget-friendly and mid-range prices to self-catering homes and apartments, and luxurious hotels.
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