Stunning gardens set on a mountainside overlooking the spa town of Merano (Meran). Found in an an area of Northern Italy relatively untouched by British tourists, the gardens are divided into four sections encompassing Mediterannean, water and forest themes and natural South Tyrolean landscapes (including vines and orchards). You can meander around quite happily all day and the cafe/restaurant sells excellent food and local wines. A wonderful day out and even our small children loved the atmosphere too.
Erika in "Dorf Tirol" (village near the famous Meran city) is a four-star rated hotel. It's perfect for spa and relaxation. The owners family are caring and kindly about the guests and can provide an interesting agenda - if you wish.
39019 Dorf Tirol / Italy,
Station Merano, Italy
Call (+39) 0473 926111
A superb hotel, recently completely renovated, 15 minutes' walk from the centre of this lovely town in Südtirol. Around 70 GBP per person per night for B&B in a junior suite which was truly luxurious, great food, great staff and a setting to die for.
I fell in love with Merano over 15 years ago and have been living there permanently since 2000. It is particularly delightful in spring and autumn and also has a pleasant winter climate with many crisp sunny days.
The old medieval town and the 19th century spa buildings still give the town a special character, despite the efforts of the local building developers to spoil it. But come soon before they do!
The summer can be very hot and humid with evening thunder storms, and the clear blue skies of spring and autumn are lacking. The town fills up with badly dressed tourists and day trippers and there are noisy events such as third rate rock concerts. Outside this period Merano still has much of the atmosphere of an imperial spa with elegant promenades full of exotic plants.
It is not as trendy as it would like to think it is, thank goodness, despite the new thermal baths. It still makes an ideal holiday destination for older active people with an interest in nature, art, architecture and classical music, and going for walks at all levels of difficulty from mountaineering to gently strolling.
The name Merano, by the way, was given to the town after the first world war as part of Mussolini's policy of forced Italianisation. You will get better service from the majority of the population (of Austrian descent) if you call it Meran.
Meran, South Tyrol, Italy www.meran.eu
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