Nestled in a gorgeous valley of the Trentino-Alto Adige region is Merano, an alpine spa town and one-time retreat of Habsburg royalty. Soaring snowy peaks rise above the City of Flowers, so called for its mild Mediterranean climate that allows sub-tropical flowers to flourish year round. Spend your days in Merano exploring riverfront trails, lingering at pretty squares, picnicking in botanical gardens and relaxing in therapeutic waters.
Merano Historic Center stretches north from the Passer River with a series of cobblestone streets framed by art nouveau landmarks. Enter via Porta Passiria or Porta Venosta, two of the last-surviving monuments of the city walls. Visit St. Nicholas Church on Piazza Duomo, from where the graceful arcades of Via Portici connect with Piazza del Grano. Ancient art and archaeological artifacts reveal Tyrolean history at the Palais Mamming Museum.
Riverfront Passeggiata Lungo Passirio (Winter Promenade) invites you to enjoy the best of the town’s architectural and natural landscape. Admire the ornate art nouveau-style Kurhaus and attend Baroque recitals at the Evangelical Church. Cross the river to the 700-year-old Church of the Holy Spirit, at the entrance to the tree-shaded Elisabeth Park. Take a dip in thermal pools at Merano Thermal Baths.
Follow Sissi’s Path, a route once traversed by Empress Elisabeth of Austria during her visits to the town. It leads from the historic center to Trauttmansdorff Castle. In the grounds of the castle is Trauttmansdorff Castle Gardens, a magnificent collection of botanical displays, landscape gardens and art exhibitions.
Experience more of Merano’s natural charms along Tappeiner Walk, where lookouts afford unprecedented views of the Adige Valley. Alternatively, ride the Merano 2000 Cable Car up to Merano 2000 Ski Area. Dabble in snow sports in winter and go hiking and mountain biking in summer.
Merano is located in Italy’s northern Province of South Tyrol and a short drive from the Austrian border. Trains connect Merano with major cities in Austria, Italy and Switzerland via Bolzano. Time your visit to Merano to coincide with festivals such as the Merano Grape Festival and Merano Music Weeks.