Winter has nearly arrived in South Tyrol! It goes without saying that skiing, sledging and snow shoe walking are on the cards. Along with admiring the fantastic mountain backdrop from glittering white slopes and warming up with the help of hot tea from a thermos flask. Anyone planning a holiday in South Tyrol should let locals give them a few pointers. In the rustic valleys and charming little towns there are plenty of winter cultural events, too!
Here are three exciting winter tips away from the ski pistes, from genuine insiders, our winter specialists:
Yelling and clanking of chains in Stilfs
In the tiny village of Stilfs, you'd better keep your eyes open, but be sure to cover your ears. For the Saturday before St. Nicholas' Day is the day that the 'Klosn' run amok. Brightly-clad monsters run through the village ringing enormous bells and yelling. They wear chains to drive the evil out of wicked people – a process also known as 'oklosn' – and generally cause a huge, all-round commotion. Unimpressed 'Santa Claus' makes his way through their midst and rewards the good people in return!
“In contrast to the 'Krampus' demons, the original costumes are worn“, reports Frau Astrid Reinstadler from Haus Verna in Sulden. On 5th December, before St. Nicholas' Day, 'Krampus' demons wreak their havoc in nearly every village in Venosta Valley. Holiday here at your own risk! :-)
The Ritten 'choo-choo train'
When fear gets the better of your curiosity, the Ritten plateau sets the scene for a peaceful, idyllic alternative. You can get into the Christmas spirit far from the madding crowd on the 'Rittner Christbahnl' narrow-gauge railway. Even St. Nicholas takes the chance to have a ride on the 'Bahnl'.
“Of course, you can also burn off energy doing winter sports on Ritten or stroll along the romantic scenic path before enjoying a look around the Christmas market“, tells us Frau Evi Bauer from Haus Bauer am Ritten.
“On your shovels, get set, go!“ in Innichen-San Candido and St. Vigil-S. Vigilio
Building a snowman means fun for all the family. In S. Candido and S. Vigilio, however, he even gets crowned at the start of the year. At the International Snow Festival, artists demonstrate their skill with saw and shovel and conjure up incredible works of art from compacted snow. Spectators act as the jury and can vote for the 'iciest' sculpture. A must for any visitor of the Dolomites, don't you think?
Anyone wishing to experience these insider winter tips at first hand would, of course, find staying with a private host to be the perfect accommodation.