look for special train deals
When I finally got word that my father and sister were coming to Munich for a visit, I started looking for things to do in Bavaria and also neighboring countries. I wanted to take them to Italy but the southern part where my father's family came from was too far. I had also received an e-newsletter on scenic train trips and one of them surprised me as it was right on my doorstep. It was the trip from Munich to Innsbruck and as it turned out that was the same one you could do en route to Bolzano, which is technically Italy even if with tons of Germanic flair.
At any rate, we decided to do it and make a stopover in Mittenwald on our way to staying overnight in Innsbruck before our final destination of Bolzano. We had been to Mittenwald to hike two years prior and thought it might cure my Dad's urge to go to Switzerland, another place deemed a bit too far with such little time.
With a bit of pre-booking, it was relatively cheap. We paid only €78 each for the round trip fare from Munich to Bolzano. This is part of the Europa-Spezial Italien Ticket that Deutsche Bahn offers. You can’t book more than three months in advance but aside from that, it’s best to book as early as you can and to check different departures and prices vary with the times. You can travel direct for the same price or you can do stopovers for free as we did. Since we wanted to do the very scenic train trip from Munich to Innsbruck, we routed ourselves that way to Bolzano even though there are more direct ways to get there. It took longer but was incredibly scenic.
If you pre-book it, you can get off and on the trains at various places. We did a three hour stopover in Mittenwald (two hours from Munich), which was enough time to get a feel for it, have a look around and even eat lunch in the local brewery! We then took an hour trip to Innsbruck, where we spent the night. The next day we continued on to Bolzano (2 hours) in the mid-afternoon. On the return, we traveled directly from Bolzano (4 hours) back to Munich in the early evening.
The routes from Munich to Mittenwald and Innsbruck are on regional trains so seats cannot be reserved. There was no problem getting four together, especially on a very early morning departure. The route from Innsbruck to Bolzano and from Bolzano back to Munich could be reserved and we did just that for 4€ per person per journey section. This was not a big factor from Innsbruck to Bolzano but on the return trip to Munich, the train was packed and we were very glad we had pre-booked the seats!
This was in 2013 but just checked and prices are similar this summer of 2014.
Pick up some things for the train trip here
- Budget Travel
Trains to Bolzano/Bozen
When you are on the Trenitalia website trying to find a way to get to this area you will see that you enter Bolzano in the search phrase and it will come up with nothing.
This is because all names in this area are listed in both languages. hence you put in Bolzano Bozen and you will find what you are looking for.
- Budget Travel
Moving on- nearby destinations
1. Bolzano/Bozen is the regional hub for transportation for all of SudTirol/Alto Adige. Efficient bus connections to cities in the mountains and valleys. Get more information on your destination at the Tourist Office.
2. Innsbruck, Austria- 120 km away (1.25hours). Easily accessible on the train.
3. Verona, Italy- 150 km away. (about 1.5 hours). Verona has a well connected airport. I landed here and got the airport bus to the train station. (it seemed like a tight connection, but it wasn't as tight as i had expected)
4. Munich, Germany- A lot of Germans seem to like to visit this region. Munich is 250 km away, about 3 hours. Good train connections.
5. Venice- This was my next stop personally. Train goes through Bologna. Takes about 3 hours to Venice if you go early in the morning. Make sure to use the left luggage services at Venice train station, it was a lifesaver
I was waiting outside Bolzano/Bozen train station for the bus that would take me up to Castelrotto. The bus driver parked his bus and came outside to have a cigarette and wait.
He had the most incredible resemblance to Richard Gere that I have ever seen.
Funny thing was that he had no idea who Richard Gere even was, but he was more than amused
when I told him how much he looked like the actor.
Has anyone else seen this bus driver?
Fun things you see waiting for the bus!
Bozen/Bolzano has a train station that connects the city with all major cities in Italy. There are 3 tracks and there are trains to Meran, but also international trains to Munich or other places. In the entrance hall you have ticket counters.
The bus station is right next to the train station and the Bahnhofstrasse leads directly into the center of Bozen.
One of the first sights in Bozen/Bolzano was this bicycle rent station not far away from the central train / bus station. My first thought was that I had to take a picture for my VT friend Nemorino, and so I did!
Bozen seems to be very bicycle friendly - there are numerous tours offered by the tourist office, so do check them out! On our way from the river back to town we even passed a bicycle counting station - around 2 p.m. there had already been more than 3000 bike passing this station on that particular day!!!
Bolzano/Bozen is perfect to walk - it is absolutely flat and so walking is very easy! Since it is surrounded by mountains it is difficult to walk up there - but then they do have buses and funiculars to get to the surrounding castles.
Just be sure to wear good walking shoes, because walking on the pavement - even if it is flat - is quite tiresome to your feet!
Since we stayed in Nova Levante/Welschnofen in the Dolomites, we took a bus to Bolzano. It only took half an hour - through a stunning landscape, so this was a real treat!
The bus station is right next to the train station and not far from the center of Bolzano.
We had obtained a weekly pass for public transportation in the Bolzano region (for incredible 8 €), so we only had to punch our ticket in the bus and off we went!
Bolzano is easily reached by train from Brennero, Austria, and Germany in the north and Trento and Verona is the south. When you arrive at the train station, you are within walking distance to the major sites like Piazza Walther and the Duomo. The castles require additional walking. Buses may serve those places, but I'm not sure. There are parks near the train station where you can relax.
By your own car
In wintertime there is a bus stop directly in front of Hotel Portillo. So you don't have to drive with your own car during your stay. For the bus you get your free ticket from the Hotel!
More pics taken in March 2001 see my travelogue
There's an airport but I never...
There's an airport but I never used it; I usually drive there from Milan (3 hours ride). The motorway has two exits dedicated to Bozen ... just choose the one you prefer, the city is not as big as you might think :-)
This trip to Italy i travelled...
This trip to Italy i travelled by bus. Cant say i really liked it, i do prefer train or car or airplane.
Although the drivers were very nice.
But the trip itself was sometimes freighting cuz i was sitting in the back of the bus , saw many cars and other vehicles lying down in some roads below!
Coming from Holland-Germany and Austria,we used the Brennerpas.
On the skis...
The best way for getting from one valley to another is putting your skis on and go on the Sella Ronda route.
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