Caldaro (or Kaltern in German) was the second stop of our first weekend away, after the visit to Limone sul Garda. It is located in one of the most important wine areas in South Tyrol, where the homonymous lake located between the Mendola massif and Monte di Mezzo is surrounded by an enchanting landscape, made up of vineyards, woods and fruit fields.
We spent 3 fantastic days and we want to collect in this post 4 experiences not to be missed.
Caldaro offers numerous paths surrounded by nature. We have chosen the hike through the Rastenbach Gorge. A very cool and mostly shaded path, which in some points crosses the characteristic Path of Peace. We started from the convenient Müllereck car park and from there we started a downhill path next to a stream, which, through stairways and bridges, led us to reach a small waterfall. Along the way there are countless panoramic points over the lake and benches where it is pleasant to stop for a break. The route is quite simple in the first section and includes some more complex sections in the ascent phase.
You can find the complete itinerary of our trail on Gaia GPS. Moreover, from this link you can download the itinerary in GPX / KLM format or print it.
The alternatives for hiking and walks are truly endless. On the website kaltersee.com you can find out which one is right for you!
Local wine and Wineries
The area around Lake Caldaro (Kalterer See in German) has a real wine vocation. Here there are almost 800 hectares of vineyards, where various vines are grown including the native Schiava and Pinot bianco. This tradition has its roots in the distant past: wine was grown here as early as 500 BC, which was exported to Rome and in the Middle Ages also to Austria and Germany. You can therefore understand that a visit to a local winery is definitely an experience that you cannot miss (always if you are a wine lover).
In this regard, we would like to suggest four different experiences in the area.
The first is a visit to the Franz Haas winery, which has been producing quality wine for 7 generations, standing out also for bottles with characteristic and original labels. Visits to the winery (by reservation, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday) are not to be missed to get to know their production approach in depth. They are then completed with a pleasant and complete tasting on the veranda, where we were able to take a real journey through their wide range of products. Among the wines that struck us most: Gewürztraminer, Manna and Lagrein.
Completely different experience from Elena Walch, the Lady of Wine in South Tyrol. It is not possible to visit the winery on Saturdays, so we opted for a light lunch at his Garden Bistro. Here you can eat in the garden and then have simple free standing tastings. The wines that struck us most are certainly the various proposals by Gewürztraminer and the rosé 20/26.
At the Kettmeier winery you can have a truly local experience. Here the locals gather in company, on the outdoor tables, to sip a cold glass of Schiava: that's right, even though it is a red, being a sweet and light wine, it is also appreciated fresh. Inside the winery, it is possible to have guided tastings at the table. Among the wines that won us over: their Pinot Bianco and the "Lago di Caldaro" (Schiava grape, typical of the area). For lovers of bubbles, do not miss their classic method.
A few kilometers away, on the road we traveled from Limone sul Garda, is the Monfort winery. Here we visited their cellars and participated in an excellent tasting with the well-prepared Federico, who accompanied us on our journey to discover their wines. The bottles that impressed us the most: Blanc de Sers Brut (classic method), Sotsàs and Pinot Nero Vigna Cantanghel.
Stroll through the historic center
Although small, the center of Caldaro is worth a visit. Its main square, the Market Square, represents the heart of the village (Kaltern Dorf). Here there is a beautiful Baroque-style fountain with the Column of the Madonna and the Parish Church of Santa Maria Assunta with the Gothic bell tower. We went there later in the afternoon and after dinner, when the town comes alive with the various outdoor bars.
A short distance away is also Termeno (Tramin in German), a village that gave birth to the white wine known in the world, the Gewürztraminer (or Traminer). The center can be visited in a short time and a visit to the beautiful Gothic-style parish church is worthwhile.
In this valley surrounded by vineyards, there are several restaurants ideal for a romantic dinner. We very much enjoyed dinner in the garden of Panholzer, which overlooks the beautiful vineyards. Excellent beef tartare and perfectly cooked tomahawk served on soapstone.
If you want to go a few more miles for a fabulous dinner, don't miss the restaurant Haselburg at Castel Flavon, which stands on a hill above Bolzano about 25km from Caldaro. We opted for the Princess menu, which accompanied us on an interesting journey into taste.
All the dishes tasted won us over and reporting only one would not be correct. We saw the sun set and the city began to light up. Without a doubt a restaurant where location and great food combine perfectly.
Before your trip
- How many days? Caldaro is suitable for different types of holidays: from a few days to a week, we are sure that there will be no way to get bored
- When to go? We were in Caldaro at the end of June, when you can appreciate the different hiking trails. However, it certainly has its own charm in spring and early autumn as well
- Where to stay? We stayed at Hotel Tannhof. The property is in an excellent position overlooking the lake and the village of Caldaro. The hotel rooms unfortunately have carpet in the room, but there are also apartments available, recently renovated and very comfortable
- Do I need to book anything in advance? For visiting the wineries, we recommend you book in advance to check availability. For simple tastings it is not necessary