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The Vinschgau Valley is the upper part of the Adige or Etsch river valley, in the western part of the province of South Tyrol, Italy. Closely linked with Switzerland and Austria, much of the region is German speaking. It extends from Naturns near Merano up to the Reschenpass (near Scuol in eastern Switzerland), and includes the Stelvio National Park / Pass. It’s a pretty area, with peaky mountains and apple orchards in close proximity. No major towns. Standard Tyrolian food. I wouldn’t put it on the top of your destination list, but it’s a good 1-2 days if you’re passing through.


Burgusio

Burgusio isn’t a huge town, but it’s a pretty spot with a standout hotel. A perfect stop before the Stelvio Pass (I’d give it two days – the spa is that good).

  • ***Hotel Weisses Kreuz : very nicely renovated historic property with new construction on top. Our historic room was huge and elegant. Food is very good (the town doesn’t offer much else). There are indoor and outdoor pools, and a sauna complex with great views. https://www.theaficionados.com/hotels/italy/south-tyrol/val-venosta/weisses-kreuz
  • **Marienberg Abbey is within easy walking distance of the hotel, and highly visible from the valley floor. It’s worth a 30 minute stop, a peaceful place with a thoughtful museum. It was founded in 1149 or 1150, has a long and complex history, and, at 1,340 m, it is Europe’s highest abbey. It retains a Baroque style with Romanesque elements, and has some well-maintained frescos.

Nearby sites:

  • ***Castel Coira (Sluderno): a worthy visit. You can only see by guided tour (1 hr), so pay attention to the open times. It’s not huge, but very well preserved, and the views are impressive of the surrounding area. Castel Coira owns the biggest private collection of armour in Europe – 50 perfectly kept armours, swords and other weapons. 
  • **Forsterbräu – FORST in Mals is a good local lunch spot.

Merano

Don’t miss ***Braugarten Giardino FORST – huge biergarten and brewery straddling the road (literally). Fun place to stop.


Stelvio Pass

A clown car of a drive – but so fun! It’s switchback central and completely packed with hikers, bikers, motorbikers, and cars. The top is great, a circus of people with great views down both sides of the pass. We did the west side only and then backtracked to the crossroad to Mustair. Scenery-wise not as pretty as most passes, largely above treeline.

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