So Close to Heaven
Even the ancient Greeks and Romans travelled to the countryside in summer to tend their land. Over time, the tradition of swapping the muggy city for the refreshing countryside developed from an economic necessity of nobility to the holiday tradition of bourgeois society.

The term “Sommerfrische” (summer retreat) was indeed a term coined in South Tyrol: Already for quite some time, the various elevations of the region have been appreciated. Nature and culture in the Burggrafenamt district go hand in hand and are just waiting to be explored. In this pleasant climate, it’s not surprising that much of life takes place outdoors. If it is particularly hot, we do the same as our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents and escape to new heights: up to the Alpine pasture, to the herbs, flowers, and grazing animals. The air is pleasantly fresh.
At first, we stay in the valley, at 250 m above sea level, only to later, very gently, ascend to 1,900 m above sea level. With its lively village life, Lana is a popular starting point for all kinds of excursions. You can go for walks or longer tours through vineyards, apple orchards, and chestnut groves, past churches, monasteries, and castles. The “Waalwege” paths, which were originally irrigation channels laid out by farmers, wind through woods and meadows and offer not only children a welcome change of pace when racing with the water and marvelling at the waterfall at the end of the Brandis-Waalweg path. By the way, the 12-kilometre Marlinger Waalweg path from Oberlana to Töll is the longest in South Tyrol.

The path into the Gaulschlucht gorge at the entrance to the Ultental Valley promises cool shade for your walk. Swimming is not allowed in the Gaulschlucht gorge: The water is ice-cold and the current is much too strong. For a dip in some naturally refreshing water, we recommend the nearby natural swimming pool in Gargazon. There is also a large outdoor pool in Lana. On some summer days, the lawn resembles a patchwork carpet, ice cream drips onto children’s bellies, and on the beach volleyball court, the players dive towards the ball. There’s splashing, sliding, and splattering all around. But, not everyone is made for the high temperatures. It’s nice to know there’s still fresh air up there somewhere: We are drawn to higher elevations, to breathe deeply. 
Impressive natural spectacles and the largest waterfall in South Tyrol
Fancy a view? After a leisurely hike from the mystical little church of St. Hippolyt at 758 m above sea level between the villages of Völlan and Tisens, we look across the valley to peaks and mountain ranges in the distance. Völlan is known as a popular health resort: Natural springs containing sulphate and minerals help with skin and joint problems at the “Völlaner Badl”. In the small village and climatic health resort, we revitalise not only our lungs but also our spirit and soul. 

Mount Vigiljoch, the local mountain in Lana, has long been a place for holidaymakers and people escaping the city. Wooden holiday homes nestle crouched under coniferous trees on the hillside and tell of days gone by when people used to whizz down the mountain’s hilly larch meadows on wooden skis in winter and come together in summer to hike, relax, and celebrate after working in the woods and meadows.
Where the best childhood memories can be found, there is also the heart somewhere. Nostalgia is not hard to find up here. It drips from cowberry fields, Alpine meadows, and the scent of needles. The Vigiljoch mountain is car-free, from Lana, you can reach the mountain station at 1,486 metres in eight minutes with the cable car.If you want to be whisked away even further up, take the leisurely chairlift, there’s no hurry, it’s easy to understand here. Some paths at the Mount Vigiljoch are suitable for prams, others lead narrowly through the forest. On the way, with children, we welcome the possibility to arrange our routes flexibly: Again and again, paths cross and open up to different ways for us to reach our destination. This could be the “Schwarze Lacke” biotope, the historic St. Vigilius church, or for experienced hikers, the summit of the Naturnser Hochwart. For most children, the playgrounds and the zoo at the Mount Vigiljoch are a delight. Several restaurant inns spoil their guests with South Tyrolean specialities, and even upscale gastronomy has found its way to the top. The panorama towards the Dolomites is breathtaking, and when looking at the opposite side, we ask ourselves: What is it like there? 
The Tschögglberg mountain and the Knottnkino (cinema in the rocks) are right opposite, on a high plateau between Merano, Bolzano, and the Sarntal Valley. From Burgstall, the cable car takes you to Vöran, a spot in the sun at 1,204 metres and starting point for hikes to the Vöraner Alm Alpine pasture and the Vöraner Joch, to Mölten and Hafling, to the “Stoanernen Mandln” (stone men) and to the extraordinary Knottnkino, with its incredible panorama: over 30 chestnut wood cinema seats, arranged on the porphyry of the Rotsteinkogel mountain—a rocky outcrop that borders nothing but air on three sides—invites you to sit back and marvel. We look out over the entire Etschtal Valley, the Penegal mountain, the Dolomites, the Weisshorn mountain, the Ultental Valley, the Texel Group, the Merano Basin, and the Passeiertal Valley, one thing becomes clear: here, too, nature plays the leading role. On the Tschögglberg mountain, we hike past historic thatched roofs, through Alpine meadows and coniferous forest, and climb over craggy volcanic rock. 

Along the way, there is always a place to stop for refreshment, and in the evening, we take the cable car down into the valley. Nature has whetted our appetite for delicacies from the forest and garden, and we look forward to our cosy bed. Because indeed, this also belongs to the concept of a summer retreat. We take the time to look for berries in the forest and proudly bring home porcini mushrooms and chanterelles. The smell of simmering jam whirling through our nose is also part of summer. And, after a long day outdoors, we are delighted to put our feet up. Pleasure has many facets: Sometimes it’s seeing, sometimes walking, and other times smelling, tasting, or simply breathing. During “Sommerfrische”, you can wonderfully combine it all. 
That’s a promise.
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