When you think of South Tyrol you probably have a couple of iconic locations in your mind, the Dolomites, Tre Cime, the famous Lago di Braies or the Alpe di Siusi. But Lana usually doesn’t ring a bell. This little town lies nestled in-between Bolzano and Meran, in the same valley – yet it’s a place where most visitors normally pass by. Let’s show you why it’s worth a stop!
5 tips for Lana in (late) autumn
When you visit Lana like us – at the end of November – it’s a wonderful moment to witness the changing of the seasons. While the larch trees in the valley still shine in orange – yet to loose their needles – the mountain tops are already covered in snow.
Changing of the seasons – from autumn to winter!
You can sit in the sunshine and drink a cup of coffee one moment and then hike through deep powder snow the next instant – it’s all just short trips apart. Here are our top 5 tips for a visit of Lana in November:
1. Views from the vineyards
Lana is defined by apple plantations in the valley and vineyards at the slopes of the mountains. When you walk along one of the famous “Waalwege” trails you can see where the grapes and apples grow – side by side. And as a bonus point you’ll get some amazing views of the valley and the mountains surrounding it.
The last apples are still hanging at the end of November, but the harvesting season is closing soon!
2. Snow hike in Val d’Ultimo
Just a 20 minute drive away from Lana starts the valley with the wonderful name “Val d’Ultimo”. It doesn’t only sound like it’s the “last valley”, it also feels a bit like it. We recommend to drive to the very end of the valley to the “Lago di Fontana Bianca” and start your snow hike here.
We hiked with regular boots, but saw trails from snowshoes and met a couple of backcountry skiers here.
As the valley is narrow the winter sun only comes in during some short midday hours, therefore the first snow usually doesn’t melt in November anymore. When we arrived at the lake a winter wonderland greeted us. It was around 10am and the sun had still not risen over the mountain tops around the lake.
Our snow hike brought us to this wonderful little bridge.
From the starting point at the parking spot next to the (closed) restaurant “Knödlmoidl” we recommend to hike to the “Lago dei Pescatori” and then either back the same way or you close the circle through “Fiechter Alm”. As the alpine hut at Fiechter Alm is closed in November this little detour isn’t really worth the while, so we would recommend to skip it in winter. The whole circle took us about 4 hours, but we added multiple photo stops and the snowy conditions slowed us down quite a bit. (In summer this hike is supposed to take 1,5 hours) 🙂
If you’re into snowshoe hiking or backcountry skiing, this is also the place to go!
On the way back to Lana from the valley you can add a stop at the so called “Häuserl am Stoan” (house on a stone), located in St. Pankraz. This century old wooden house is the only one which survived a huge flooding in 1882, because it was (unknowingly) built on a huge stone.
The house is privately owned and can only be seen from outside, but it’s still impressive.
If you’re lucky like us a short stop at “Lago Alborelo” might also be worth the while, when the sun is setting behind the mountains (which happens around 3pm in November!).
This lake (Lago Alborelo) is actually an artificial barrier lake, but still beautiful!
3. Mountain resort & City hotels
We tested three different hotels during our stay in Lana. The first was the incredible “vigilius mountain resort“, a hotel where you check in via cable car – due to it’s remote location on the mountain! Full points go to this mountain resort for quiet, relaxation, architecture by Matteo Thun and the Spa (read our hotel review of vigilius here)!
The Spa at the vigilius mountain resort is one of the most relaxing places we’ve ever been!
The second hotel we tested was the “1477 Reichhalter Eat & Sleep” in the center of Lana. This place is designed to perfection for the Monocle readers & Berlin lovers out there. The old butcher shop and restaurant has been transformed into a wonderfully cozy yet cool bed & breakfast. There’s no half-board here, although the adjacent restaurant is incredible. So yes, we did stay in for dinner here as well (read our hotel review of 1477 Reichhalter here).
Every piece at the 1477 Reichhalter Eat & Sleep is carefully selected – especially the photography on the walls!
After 4 nights in Lana we decided to add another night to our stay, because we liked it so much and felt like we needed another day (the Christmas market was about to open the next day 🙂 ). Therefore we added one more night and stayed in the “Im Tiefenbrunn Gardensuites & Breakfast“.
This hotel is located right in the hotel owner’s apple plantation and features newly renovated rooms and a really nice breakfast selection. With only one night we can’t say more about the offering, but felt it was a very family-oriented (and also family-run) place – so not 100% our cup of tea.
The hotel “Im Tiefenbrunn” was our last night’s stay, but not our favourite in Lana.
4. House mountain: Vigljoch
If you don’t stay at the vigilius mountain resort, we recommend that you still take the cable car up one day for a short hike at the house mountain of Lana called “Vigljoch”. At the end of November the chair lift is closed, so you have to walk the last bit (about 1 hour) to the top, but you’ll be rewarded by beautiful views and absolute quiet as not a lot of people go up there at this time of the year!
Up at the Vigljoch there’s already a bit of snow at the end of November.
5. Castles & other treasures
Last but not least there are a couple of churches and castles, that you can visit when in Lana. Among them are the “Castel Lebenberg”, the “Parrocchia di Lana d’Adige” and the “St. Hippolyt” church. If you’re not into churches, never mind – but passing by might still be worth it for some incredible views!
The churches and castles in South Tyrol are abundant – you’ll find one at almost every mountain top!
The Christmas market in Lana is super cute – while they play Christmas songs and sell everything from wood carvings to regional honey and bread, the palm trees are still glistening in the sun light! You can also buy local delicacies at the Gourmet Ladele (we spent too much money here, but it’s oh so tempting!). If you want to stroll through even more regional specialties the huge “Pur Südtirol” shop in Lana is definitely worth a visit (which could easily end in a 1-2 hour shopping spree, as there’s a LOT to discover).
The “Gourmet Ladele / Dorfladele” in Lana has a wonderful selection of delicacies.
We bought everything from the famous “Schüttelbrot” to honey, cheese, olives, wine, lip balms and much more.
Our verdict: Slow traveling
The last years have brought the renaissance of what is now called “slow” tourism. While destinations have long gone to (and over) all ends to create experiences, action & adventure opportunities for their guests, some regions have discovered that the alternative path might be a good option for them. Lana is one of those destinations. Visitors come here to unwind and allow their senses a pause from the overload of our hectic city life.
Slow traveling includes snow shoe walking instead of skiing, promenading instead of climbing, taking the cable car instead of hiking up… you could say that it’s the rhythm of the retirees. But don’t be fooled, the young generation is yearning for the same kind of change in pace these days. When our jobs become so consuming, that we can hardly keep a weekend free of duties, a place like Lana comes at the right time!