Due to the low and irregular rainfall in Vinschgau / Val Venosta and the Merano / Meran area, farmers here created kilometre-long irrigation channels as early as the 13th century. A dense network of irrigation channels developed around Naturns / Naturno, one of the areas of the Alps with the lowest rainfall. The German name Waal probably comes from the Latin "aqualis" = watercourse. The water is derived from streams in higher valleys. The steady flow of water in the Waal is in some places still controlled by a waal clamp. If the water wheel, which hits a hammer on a clamp, does not turn anymore, the Waal is interrupted somewhere by a mudflow or rockfall. In spring the water is led into the Waal and is available to farmers until the end of September/beginning of October, depending on the weather. For the maintenance and care of a Waal, a mostly narrow footbridge was built, the so-called "Waalweg". Originally, the path along the water was only used by the "Waaler", who is responsible for the maintenance of the Waal and supervises the precisely divided "Roaden". These "Roaden" are water hours that give the farmers the right to draw a certain amount of water from the Waal for a fixed period of time. To this day, a Waaler is responsible for the proper functioning and fair distribution of the precious water. Today, these beautiful old paths have become popular hiking trails without too much incline. On these flat, noiseless and dust-free paths, you can follow the rushing water's ripple and splashing and you will always gain new impressions.
Waal paths around Naturns / Naturno
Around Naturns / Naturno you will find some of the most beautiful Waalwege in South Tyrol. For example the Stabener Waalweg and the Tscharser Waalweg, which make a worthwhile circuit possible, which can also be combined with a detour up to Reinhold Messner's Mountain Museum Castel Juval, the interior of which can be visited in spring and autumn with guided tours. Also impressive is the more than 8 km long Latschander Waalweg, which leads from Latsch / Laces to Galsaun / Colsano and from there can be continued on the Tscharser Waalweg to Castel Juval. In the immediate surroundings are also the Partschinser, Rablander, Algunder and the Marlinger Waalweg, which are among the most beautiful walking paths in South Tyrol. On the way, you can enjoy magnificent views of the Meran / Merano basin with its wide orchards and vineyards. The other Waalwege in Vinschgau / Val Venosta are also easily accessible by public transport. Because of the mild climate, the Waalwege are mostly accessible all year round. Each of these paths has its own peculiarity and along the individual Waalwege you can experience this cultural asset in all its facets. On the paths you will encounter Waalerhütten and Waalerschellen, but also castles, palaces and churches, which offer insights into the culture of the region. Traditional inns invite you to stop for a bite to eat.
Merano Waal Circuit
The Merano Waal Circuit circles the entire Meran / Merano basin on a distance of about 80 km. The trail connects eleven Waalwege, including the Wallburgweg in Naturns. Beautiful hikingpaths or theme paths lead the hiker from one to the next. The route is signposted "Meraner Waalrunde" and can be hiked in several daily stages. But it is also possible to experience only a part of the route as a day tour.