Located between Austria and Switzerland, you’ll find the South Tyrol region located in northern Italy.  This is a unique region in Italy, known as the “sunny side of the Alps”, with striking landscapes and plenty to do.  While it is a great place to visit any time of the year, skiing and winter sports are particularly popular here as there are over 750 miles of ski trails across the South Tyrol region.  The summer is also bustling, as many people visit from northern Europe for the sun.  If you want a comfortable climate and fewer people, however, the spring and the fall are the best seasons to visit the region.

Here are 5 things you should not miss when visiting South Tyrol:

1. Italian Alps

South Tyrol Region - Italian Alps

The Italian Alps are incredibly unique, and while many trips to the mountains somewhere can lead visitors with at least similar experiences, two groups can have incredibly different experiences visiting the Alps.  With 300 days of sunshine each year around the Merano valley, for example, versus the Dolomites with 26 rugged mountain ranges, visitors can spend time in the Alps with different terrain and landscapes to surround them.  Regardless of what season you choose to visit in and which part you choose to go, the Italian Alps make a visit to the South Tyrol region a must.

2. Lake Resia

South Tyrol Region - Lake Resia

Located in Val Venosta, Lake Resia is a beautiful artificial lake that submerged the town of Graun back in 1950.  Today you can still see the church steeple peeking out from the lake which makes for an eerie view but also a drawing one.  The lake is surrounded by gorgeous lush mountain nature, a perfect backdrop for trekking, hikes and any other outdoorsy activity.

3. Tyrol Castle

Visit Tyrol Castle to see the incredible history and for a peak into the history of South Tyrol.  What was once the political headquarters today is the South Tyrol Museum of History.  It is located just 30 minutes by car from the north of Bolzano, and you’ll see characteristic homes and vineyards around the area as well.

4. Stelvio Pass

Make your way up the windy road of the Stelvio Pass for incredible views.  It takes you up 9,000 feet, with over 40 hairpin turns, and rewards those up for the drive with incredible views of the region.  If you’re an avid biker up for the challenge, there is also the annual Stelvio Bike Day.

5. Amazing Food

South Tyrol has amazing food, and more Michelin stars in one place than anywhere else in Italy.  While Italian food is already known for being incredible all around the world, the food in South Tyrol is unique due to its position between Italy and northern Europe.  Some most try’s while you are here are the traditional spinach dumplings, smoked speck, and South Tyrolean breads and cheeses.

If you visit during the holiday season, the Christmas Market of Merano is a beautiful and traditional spot to visit and celebrate the holidays.  The market runs along the Passer Promenade, and you’ll be surrounded with festive sights and smells, along with the cheer and Christmas spirit.