The Grödnertal valley, which in Italian has the beautiful name Val Gardena, lies between Brixen and Bolzano and it has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its natural treasures, such as the Langkofel mountain, the Sella group and the nature park Puez-Geisler. Eagle owls, rock ptarmigans and eagles inhabit the forests and meadows of the Val Gardena.
Even Reinhold Messner supposedly once said that such impressive rock formations as in the Dolomites cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
Just the look of the mighty peaks and rugged cliffs of the Dolomites is breathtaking. As soon as you explore the Val Gardena on foot, while climbing or with your mountain bike, you will soon find out that in contrast to the ragged mountains the people here are quite cheerful. At each encounter with the locals, South Tyrolean cordiality will warm your heart.
As it is said that the way to one’s heart is through the stomach it might also be the pleasant aromas wafting from the South Tyrolean kitchen which make your heart beat faster. If you really want to enjoy your hiking trip, you also have to savour a hearty bacon snack, succulent dumplings and Schlutzkrapfen, a traditional dish with stuffed pasta.
As the German name might suggest, Wolkenstein is the village which comes closest to heaven. The picturesque village lies at 1 563 metres above sea level. Today its castle ruin accommodates an eyrie which is absolutely worth seeing and you can also learn the story of the count of Wolkenstein. In addition to German and Italian, the locals also speak their own, much older Ladin language. Those who are interested can study Ladin at Wolkenstein every Monday in a two-hour taster course.
Sankt Ulrich, the centre of the Val Gardena, is located at 1,237 metres above sea level and with its romantic houses, charming alleys and the bustling pedestrian area it invites you to stroll around and do some shopping. Sankt Ulrich is not only famous for the mountaineering legend Luis Trenker, but also for its traditional handicrafts. Even today woodcarvers pass on their knowledge to the next generation. The local mountains around Sankt Ulrich are the Raschötz, the Seceda, the mountains of the Seiser Alm, the Pitzberg and the Mittagsspitze.
Located at 1 428 metres above sea level, Sankt Christina is directly next to Wolkenstein and with its exceptional locations it invites you to sunbathe. The locals in Sankt Christina will not only tell you where to find the best tours at the close-by Langkofel, but they also gladly invite their guests to their own festivities. Several times a year they celebrate lively parties in the village.
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