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Your base camp in Dolomites: Bolzano the door of the Dolomites

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Before and after your climbing trek in the Dolomites, you will pass in Bolzano. It is the central town of the Dolomites region, and the place where I was born and my family has lived for the last 100 years... or probably more. Consider some of these unique proposals to live the magic atmosphere of my town...

Bolzano is not only your "base camp" in the Dolomites, it is also an amazing historical town. You can spend some days in Bolzano to rest or visit many and important cultural attractions. 

Operation "number one": Download the printable PDF file of this map (ready A4 format) and take it with you when you will go around in the old town.



Cultural day - in bicycle to visit two castles

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In one day it is possible to visit two important castles by bicycle! Yeah... I know that it sounds incredible... but is possible and it's a very amazing experience!

Here is the plan:

07.00 hrs. Breakfast at your hotel.

08.00 hrs. Walk from your hotel to Walther square. On the southeastern edge of the square you will find "the Municipal rental bike point". Rent your bicycles here for the daily fee (few Euros). The staff will ask you for a document for the deposit.

08.15 hrs. Consult the map of Bolzano (look below) and ride back into Walther square and continue west to traverse the "old town" in the "restricted traffic area" (pedestrian zone) until you arrive at the Talvera river. Cross the river on one of the pedestrian bridges and find the bicycle path on the other (west) side. Head north (right) and continue on this bicycle path to where it ends at the base of the historic "Runkelstein Castle".
(from tuesday to sunday: 10 am -18 pm, closed monday)

09.00 hrs. Park the bicycles near the bridge and walk up the steep path to the door of the castle.

09.15 hrs. Begin your visit of the castle. Runkelstein castle has two important particulars: 1. For strange historical reasons, the original form of the first medieval structure has been preserved. It is rare to find an intact medieval building in Europe. 2. The castle has one of the most extensive collections of medieval frescos in Europe. Ask at reception for an English-speaking guide and allow about 1,5 hrs to visit this amazing castle.

10.45 hrs. Coffee break at the castle bar/restaurant, why not? :-)

11.00 hrs. Walk back to the parking lot.

11.15 hrs. Jump back on your bike and head south on the bicycle path. Continue on the path to the junction with the big Isarco/Eisack river (about 2,5 km), continue to the right on the bike path along the river, passing under 3 car bridges (about 3 km). Go a bit farther until you pass under the railway bridge, then watch on the right for the Adige/Etch river bicycle path (about 1 km). Take this bike path (heading northwest toward Merano/ Meran). Off to the left, you will see the Sigmundskron/ Firmian castle (the biggest castle of the South Tyrol) on the skyline. In about 1 km you will find a metal bridge (ex-railway bridge) on the left. Cross this bridge over the river and begin the steep climb to the Sigmundskron/ Firmian castle. If the hill is too much, walk this short section to arrive at the door of the castle. (monday, tuesday, wednesday, friday, saturday and sunday: 10 am - 18 pm, closed thursday)

13.00 hrs. Enter the walled compound of the castle, pay the entrance fee for the "Reinhold Messner Mountain Museum" and go directly to the restaurant inside the museum (good local specialties and good selection of local wines).

14.00 hrs. Begin your visit of the spacious "Reinhold Messner Mountain Museum. Wandering along the walls, paths, stairs and towers of this big castle to find various exhibits.

16.30 hrs. Wrap up your visit and bicycle back to Bolzano.

17.30 hrs. Arrive back at your hotel.

Note: this day-long tour is fantastic, but it is not a rest day! It's a full day, with about 3 hrs on bicycles and 2 lengthy castle visits. Check the weather forecast the day before. 



Rest day ‚ visit and relax at the Merano Thermal Spa

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In one day it is possible visit (and rest) at the biggest spa of the Alps.
Here is the plan:
After trekking, climbing, or experiencing the via ferrata routes in the Dolomites, it is possible that you are a bit tired :-) Your intense vacation in Italy will continue in the following days, but now you need a rest day before the new adventures begin! OK, I have a solution!
On the morning of a free day, go to the Bolzano railway station and buy a ticket for the local train to Merano. This train leaves every half hour (minutes: .05 and .35), and takes about 30 min from Bolzano to the terminal station of Merano (NOT: Merano Maja Bassa).
Exit at this station, walk 15 min to the huge and luxurious spa complex (see the map below) and relax all day there.

Note: the Merano spa was completely rebuilt about 15 years ago with very high level facilities. It has 17 swimming pools, variously with hot, warm, cold, and salt water: 5 indoor and in-out pools, 12 outdoor pools (open only in summer), even a flume! There is an enormous fitness center, beauty center, massages, different types of saunas, gourmet restaurant, and more.
Don't miss this unique experience - Perfect for a luxury rest day after a hard climbing week in the Dolomites! 

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Watch my others programs for via ferrata in the Dolomites:

Via Ferrata for total beginners

A dedicated soft program for not trained people without hiking experience. Yes... why can do! Logically with a moderate program.

Via Ferrata for family

A tailor made program for families with kids, short and easy via ferratas, a pure enjoy for kids and terrified moms 

Via Ferrata trek in the Central Dolomites

The most classical via ferrata trekking, hut to hut, in the Dolomites in modular form: from 2 to 10 days 

Via delle Bocchette (Western Dolomites)

The famous 3-5 days traverse of the Brenta group along the concatenation, hut to hut, of the Via Ferrata delle Bocchette.

Via Ferrata Cortina (Eastern Dolomites)

A modular program dedicated at the via ferrata around the Cortina area, from the easiest to the most difficult, the complete range of Via Ferrata of Cortina.

Via Ferrata trek in the Pale di San Martino (Southern Dolomites)

A long distance concatenation of via ferratas, hut to hut, in the Pale di San Martino, for trained hikers. 

Via Ferrata trek in the big walls of the Civetta (Southern Dolomites)

The most difficult via ferratas trek of the Dolomites, great walls, longest via ferratas, all for a unique experience 

Via Ferrata in winter, autumn, and spring at Garda Lake

The program dedicated at the winter, autumn, or spring possibilities. This modular program open a new reallity to climb via ferrata all round year. 

The Via Ferratas of the First World War (WW1)

Different programs dedicated at the via Ferratas build during the World War One. From long and high altitude via ferratas, to short and easy via ferratas perfect for family with kids.