Motorbike itinerary: Brennero route

The itinerary starts from the Brenner Pass and, past Terme del Brennero, driving downhill you get to Colle Isarco/Gossensass, an important summer and winter resort located at the entrance of Val di Fleres and surrounded by pine forests; then you reach the wonderful Vipiteno/Sterzing, a town with an unmistakable style mirriring the Habsburg influences. Christmas is certainly the most fascinating period for visiting the streets of the old town centre, the pedestrian walk with its Mitteleuropean charm and the well-known Christmas markets. However, the fascination of this town can be discovered all year long. The Mines and Multscher museums, the parish church built in the XV century, the church of the Holy Spirit and the medieval hospital are, in fact, charming attractions for the tourists. Moreover, you can take a tour to the nearby sites, such as the Mareta/Mareit baroque castle, unique in its kind in South Tyrol, or to Val Racines/Ratschingstal where you can admire the Stanga/Stange waterfalls created by the Racines stream in a narrow rocky gorge. Not far you find the Monteneve mine, that until 1979 had been exploited for its zinc and lead deposits.

Back to Vipiteno/Sterzing, continue along the main road to Passo di Pennes/Penser Joch. The drive along this stretch is exciting thanks to the winding road, and from the Pass you enjoy a splendid view on the Breonie Alps. The distintive Pan di Zucchero pyramid, the Cima Libera, the Parete Bianca, the Tribulaun, the Croda Alta and the Gran Pilastro come into sight along the border line, showing their beauty and majesty.

From here descend to the valley bottom of Val di Pennes/Penser Tal and enter the Val Sarentina/Sarntal. Now you can have another stop and drive towards Valdurna/Durnholz, an ancient little village on the lakeshore, with a richly freascoed parish church. Nearby there is the village of San Martino/Reinswald, with local arts and crafts varying from leather to herbs liqueurs distillation. Back on the main road you will meet Sarentino/Sarnthein, a little charming village with a typical South Tyrolean style and its characteristic streets, where you can buy an excellent speck. Along the road towards Bolzano/Bozen, you get to the Renon/Ritten area through a narrow and winding road leading to the steep slope of the valley. Renon Valley is well known for Collalbo/Klobenstein and the red Earth Pyramids, incredible pinnacles that are indeed a true geologic miracle. In Collalbo take the time to visit the XVII century church of Saint Anthony with its valuable paintings. From Collalbo continue to Longostagno/Lengstein to get to the Earth Pyramids/Erdpyramiden, the true attraction of the area. You can get to the pinnacles on foot: it takes about 10 minutes. Back again on your bike, now the road you have to drive along to get to Bolzano/Bozen winds among the vineyards, via Auna di Sotto/Unterinn, offering an exciting drive to the more skilled bikers. A few km from Bolzano/Bozen you find the so-called Giardino del Sudtirolo/Südtirols Süden.

In the south of South Tyrol people used to discuss their relevant issues while sipping a glass of wine. This tradition was already well-rooted in Goethe's times. Later, around the sixties, when the Wine Route was created, and even nowadays, the same tradition persists. Moving from winery to winery is not recommendable when you have to drive. Nevertheless, if you buy a couple of bottles and taste them at home, you definitely won't regret it! The villages located in this area are close to each other and characterized by rural traditions; most of them are devoted to wine-growing, like Appiano/Eppan, an active little town and quiet oasis immersed in the green, lush nature, surrounded by vineyards - it is also a nice resort, especially in autumn.

Choosing an interesting alternative route, you get to Caldaro/Kaltern, another important wine town, and to its lake. Driving uphill, the view on the Adige valley and on the Dolomites is fabulous. Past several hairpin bends you cross the Passo della Mendola/Mendelpass, a pass covered by forests and located between the Mounts Roèn and Pénegal, then you enter the Alta Val di Non. Continue downhill to Fondo, a nice hamlet located in a wide valley, safe from the cold winds. Ascend the Passo Palade/Gampenjoch, a pasture area at the foot of Mount Luco that towers the Val di Non - going on, at first you meet Castel Monte Leone, and after a long tunnel, you get a beautiful view on the Adige valley, from Merano to Bolzano, and on the Dolomites. The road winds among meadows and forests, then you arrive at Lana, located on the valley floor of Val d'Ultimo and called "the orchard of Tyrol". Merano/Meran comes into sight among the orchards. Merano/Meran, located at the confluence of the rivers Adige and Passirio, is an international, well-known spa with a wonderfully mild climate. Strolling in the old city centre, along the characteristic via Portici, you reach the Cathedral, built in Gothic style in 1263 and consecrated to St. Nicholas. On the outskirts there is the Prince Castle built in the XIV century and restored in 1480. The manor is a rare example of Gothic building.

The residential area of Maia Alta is really nice and there you find the race-course, one of the meeting points par excellence, famous for its exciting Haflinger horses races; every year, in September, the Grand Prix takes place here. Walking along the river Passirio is very pleasant, both in winter and summer. The town is famous for its wine cure in autumn, for its thirty castles located among the vineyards and for the beautiful outskirts. Tirolo/Dorf Tirol is really interesting - its popular castle overlooks the picturesque Scena/Schenna valley.

Leaving Merano/Meran from Porta Passiria, follow the road along the brook that flows through the valley, and past Rifiano you find San Martino/St. Martin, at the foot of the Passirio Alps. Drive uphill past San Leonardo/St. Leonard, located at the confluence of two valleys, Alta Val Passiria and Val di Vannes, at the foot of the high pass connecting Mount Croce and Mount Giovo. Turning left to reach Passo del Rombo/Timmelsjoch, Italian/Austrian custom, and continuing on you get to Ötztal. Turning right and following the hairpin bends, you pass by Vàltina and enter the alpine Val di Vannes. Past the last bends in the pastures, you arrive at Passo del Giovo/Jaufenpass. Driving downhill on the opposite slope you can enjoy a fabulous view on the mountains. Passing by Calice, continue to Casatéia, Val Ridanna. Then follow the road to Vipiteno/Sterzing, Colle Isarco/Gossensass.

Schematic Route

  • Starting point: Brenner Pass.
  • Continue to Terme di Brennero, Colle Isarco/Gossensass and Vipiteno/Sterzing
  • At Vipiteno/Sterzing, take the main road s.s. 44 in the direction of Merano.
  • After 2 km turn to Val Ridanna/Ridnauntal; at the junction turn to Val Racines/ Ratschingstal and continue to Stanga/Stange waterfalls.
  • Turn back to Val Ridanna/Ridnauntal and, past Mareta/Mareit continue to the Monteneve mines.
  • Drive back to Vipiteno/Sterzing.
  • Enter the main road ss. 508 to Passo di Pennes/Penser Joch.
  • Drive to Val Sarentina/Sarntal
  • Turn towards Valdurna/Durnholz.
  • Drive back and then continue to San Martino/Reinswald.
  • Enter the SS 508 towards Sarentino/Sarnthein.
  • Turn left to Vanga/Wangen
  • Before getting to Collalbo/Klobenstein turn left to Kematen.
  • Drive back to Collalbo/Klobstein and turn left to the earth Pyramides/Erdpyramiden in the direction of Longostagno/Lengstein.
  • Drive back to Collalbo/Klobstein and turn to Auna di Sotto/Unterinn.
  • Continue to Bolzano/Bozen.
  • Drive in the direction of Appiano/Eppan - Wine Route
  • Go on to Passo della Mendola/Mendelpass
  • Descend to Fondo, in Val di Non
  • Continue to Passo Palade/Gampenjoch
  • Descend to Lana and drive in the direction of Merano/Meran
  • Enter the Val Passiria - San Martino/St. Martin - San Leonardo/St. Leonard
  • At Passo del Rombo/Timmelsjoch turn left, in the direction of Austria
  • At Passo Giovo/Jaufenpass turn right - descend to Vipiteno/Sterzing (and come back to Colle Isarco)

Hotel Brennero and environs