We’re expecting snow in Bolzano‘s Val Pusteria or Puster Valley, so why not spend a long weekend in this gorgeous area?
If you are looking for some ideas, this article is perfect for you! I propose the trip I took a couple of years ago (unfortunately, the only snow that year was on the nearby ski slopes).
Our first destination was Brunico– the historical and economic capital of Val Pusteria. The Christmas market is lovely, as are the shops in the town center. I remember admiring a very special advent calendar, created on the windows of a historic building. Since it was a sunny day, we headed toward the castle. Along the ascent, you can enjoy a magnificent view of the valley.
The second destination of our trip in Val Pusteria was Lake Braies. It was the first time I saw a frozen lake and I must say that it had a unique charm. Nestled in the mountains, this body of water is truly a pearl. On its banks stands the Hotel Pragser Wildsee which is tied to Emma Hellenstainer- a charismatic hotelier, excellent cook, as well as the pioneer of alpine tourism.
As long as you have a good pair of trekking shoes, you can walk all around the lake on an accessible path. On the western shore, the path is wide and leads to the foot of the Croda del Becco, which at 2,810m marks the border between the Ampezzo and Tyrolean territories. On the eastern shore, the route is steeper with sections equipped with wooden stairs. I can attest to the fact that this part of the trail is much more challenging; in fact, some parts of the trail were icy and slippery which made the stairs almost impassable.
If you have children, make sure to check conditions before venturing out onto the complete trail. The sound of cracking ice is quite dramatic. It’s a dark, deep sound- sudden and powerful. Walk out on the ice and take some pictures of yourselves lying on the ice for a photoshop effect of being suspended on the water. While we were having fun like children slipping on the ice, some musicians arrived in traditional clothes with their alpine horns. The low sound spread over the surface of the lake and echoed between the walls of the mountains. Instant goosebumps!
During your journey in Val Pusteria, I recommend you also visit San Candido, a small town of about 3,000 people. Treat yourself to an evening stroll through the street markets. The center, the shops and the wooden houses are all lit up warmly for the season. You will find a truly unique and cozy Christmas atmosphere. To ward off the cold, make sure to drink a couple of glasses of Gluhwein– a warm and spicy mulled wine.
Both the lakes of Braies and San Candido were the set for the successful Italian television series “Un Passo dal Cielo“. You might want to search for it on the internet before your trip so that you can recognize Peter’s house on the shores of the lake and the square of San Candido.
The Krampus Parade in Dobbiaco will be on Saturday, December 9th. If you’re going to be in the area, you should definitely add this destination to your trip. To get all the information, read my article on the Krampus.