Merano (German: Meran) is the second largest town in South Tyrol with a population of about 35,000 (63,000 including the metropolitan area). A slight majority (51.5%) of the population is German-speaking, while the others are Italian-speaking. It seems almost everyone can speak both languages but some older Italian speakers may struggle with German. Merano, with its delightfully mild climate, lovely surroundings and rich, varied vegetation, is a famous health spa resort. It is protected from the winds and bad weather by high mountains to the north, east and west and lies in a valley open towards the sunny south. 324 mts. above sea-level, Merano attracts holiday-makers, mainly Germans, throughout the year, with local hotels having 4.739 rooms and known for their high standards of comfort, service and good food. There are 52 romantic, old castles in and around the town, some used as hotels or museums while others are still private residences.
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Merano is located outside of the Brenner line and whether you want to reach the town by plane, by train, by bus or by car you have likely to reach before Bolzano and from this point Merano. Merano is located 33 km (20 miles) north-west from Bolzano.
The nearest airport is located in Bolzano.
Getting to/from the airport
Many hotels offer a transfer from Bolzano airport, especially if you book through a travel agency (in this case you probably have the possibility to have a transfer from other major airports). In the airport you will find some rent-a-car agencies. http://www.taxidriver-tirol.at/
In order to get in Merano by train you have to arrive in Bolzano first and from here you can take the train to Merano (every 40 minutes). When you buy the ticket at the departure station you can have the ticket from Bolzano to Merano included, saying that your destination is Merano. The Merano Central Rail Station is close to the town centre.
Some German, Austrian and Swiss travel agencies offer direct bus connection to Merano. Normally international bus lines stop in Bolzano and from here you can take the bus Bolzano-Merano at the Bolzano Bus Station or other stops inside Bolzano (like Dominikanerplatz). Buses are run by SASA, which uses the same orange buses you can find inside cities, and SAD’s, with grey-coloured buses (they operate on the same line). There is a departure every hour. A fare from Bolzano to Merano costs EUR 4 (only 2.61 with value card).
You have to exit at Bolzano South on motorway A22 and taking the modern freeway, called MeBo. It is named MeBo because it’s the fastest connection between MErano and Bolzano. In Merano there are three exits: Sinich/Merano Sud, Merano Zentrum and Algund (freeway end). If you are coming from Landeck in Austria or Engadin, Switzerland, you can follow the signs along the road.
The best way in order to discover Merano is by foot, but it’s covered by an excellent public transport system, which is composed by buses and a chair lift to the village of Tirol.
In Merano there are 9 bus lines (generally 6 am – 9 pm) run by SASA and 1 of this have also a night service (9 pm – 1 am). Buses pass frequently (every 15-25 minutes). Buses run always on time.
Stamp your ticket at the start of its first use (there are green – on new buses yellow – stamping machines). You have to buy another ticket if you stop and you catch a bus after 45 minutes after the printing (only with single trip ticket or spent value card). Payment is by the honor system and inspectors check for valid tickets. If you don’t have one, it’s an instant EUR 25 fine (plus the fare you were supposed to have paid). All timetables and bus maps you can find free in the tourist offices or in the bus station.
All urban buses stops are request stops (exept end of the line): If you want to get off press the red (in some blue) button, while if you want to get on a bus you have to wave your hand.
Merano is connected with the village of Tirol – located on a hill above the town – by a chair lift, which is in service between April and November.
Taxis are only on call available. Merano’s taxi service is powered by Radio Taxi 24h24 calling 0473 21 20 13. or by privat services called “Mietwagen mit Fahrer” Tel +39 3477523424,”http://www.taxidriver-tirol.at/”
Merano has a good bike trail system – but not so developed as in Bolzano, though – but around the town it’s excellent. Maps are available in tourist offices and online.
Rentals are available in the following places:
- Rail Station
- Spa Building
- Tennis Centre
The service is available from April until mid of October (M-Sa 9AM-7PM) and it’s free. You only have to pay a EUR 5 bail – which is returned if the bike has not been damaged.
The public transportation or your own feet should be enough in order to travel inside Merano. Finding a parking in the town centre can be complicated.
In winter (from November to March) the whole city is forbidden for the EURO 0 cars in order to prevent from air pollution. In cases of high concentration of polluted substances the streets are forbidden also for EURO 1 cars.
All to see
Museums, Galleries, and Memorials
- Touriseum – South Tyrol Museum of Tourism with Botanical Garden – admission €9.80 (students/handicapped people €7.50, over 65 €8.50, after 6PM €5.00, children up to 6 years free) It’s a very interesting highlight. The Museum hosted at Trauttmansdorff Castle reports the long history of tourist tradition in South Tyrol. The ticket includes the visit to the well-kept and quite wide Botanical Garden. The Museum is open only from the first half of March to the first half of September, considering that the Botanical Garden is closed during the cold season.
- City Museum – admission €2.00 (reduced €1.50) It’s located in a former hotel, it shows interesting archaeological and historical founds.
- Princely Castle Museum – admission €2.00 (reduced €1.50) de, it Building from the 15th century located in the old town with an interesting exhibition for lovers of medieval history.
- Jewish Museum – free entry. The small museum located at the only South Tyrol’s Synogogue reports the history and documentation about the Jewish community in South Tyrol.
- Women’s Museum Evelyn Ortner – free entry. Unique museum about women specialized in culture of women’s everyday life.
- Meran Art – City Gallery – free entry. Exhibitions of contemporary art, literature and architecture and other interesting features.
- Monument of Empress Elisabeth – is a statue situated at the Summer Promenade’s entrance, which was modeled with white marble after Sissi’s assasination in Geneva in 1898. The Empress of Austria visited Merano four times – the last time being one year before her death. During the fascist dictatorship it was deplaced, cutting off the statue’s head. After WWII the statue was replaced and the head re-modeled. It shows an interesting parallel with the Monument of Walther von der Vogelweide in Bolzano.
- WHITE Art Gallery – free entry. Contemporary Art Gallery.
- Main Parish Church Gothic bulding with Baroque features in the old town built in different periods between 1302 and the 18th century. Its bell tower is one of the highest in South Tyrol (83 metres) and it shows 7 clocks.
- Holy Spirit’s Church Gothic building built between the 14th and 15th century beyond the Passer river. A building built by Fascist Italy in rationalist style hides the church, because the Gothic style was considered to be a symbol of the German-speaking countries.
- Holy Mary’s Church Located in the district of Untermais it’s an interesting Romanic building built in the 12th century.
Tradition and folklore still play a significant role in the every-day life of the town and its people and visitors to Merano greatly enjoy the weekly folklore evenings of singing and dancing with all the participants dressed in local Tirolese costume. Since the beginning of this century, the golden-coated Hafling horses from the little village of Avelengo or Hafling have competed against one another is a special race for amateur local riders which opens the horse-racing season on Easter Monday and in another race, later in autumn, to celebrate the Grape Harvest. Their riders, usually farmers or farmers’sons, all wear local costume, too. The celebrations for the Grape Harvest are always held on the second Sunday in October and include a procession through the town with bands, orchestras, decorated floats and lorries, folk dancing groups and displays of various traditional costumes.
- Restaurant Kallmünz, Piazza Rena 12.
- Restaurant Sissi – Andrea Fenoglio, Via G. Galilei 44.
- Restaurant & Pizzeria Engele, Via Roma 113, Merano. Excellent food, affordable prices. Local people recommend the restaurant. Walking distance from the town centre.
- Café Forum, Via Leonardo da Vinci 11 (Postgasse). A fine Cocktails and Wine Bar.
- Bar Rossini, Corso della libertà 19,
- Sketch Clublounge, Passegiata lungo Passirio 40,
- Café Bistro Restaurant Sieben, Laubengasse 232. Very good coffee, quite affordable too! Also tastefully decorated.
- Hotel & Apartments Villa Freiheim (3-Star Balancehotel in South Tyrol – Italy), Via G.Parini, 1-4A (Merano), +39 0473-237 342 (firstname.lastname@example.org). checkin: 15 p.m.; checkout: 10-11 a.m.. The Hotel & Apartments is a very special place to pass your Balance-Holidays in South Tyrol – Italy. The Hotel rooms and apartments in wood design and the variety of regional and organic products at the rich vital-breakfast, will make you loving this Aparthotel. – Family Nagler is doing their best to make your dreams come true!
- Wellness Spa Resort Hotel Hohenwart, Verdinserstrasse 5, (email@example.com).
- Hotel Palace Merano – Espace Henri Chenot, Via Cavour 2. The best but also the most expensive hotel.
- Hotel Aurora, Passegiata lungo Passirio 38. This hotel lacks contact information, price range and a short description – please help out if you know this hotel
- Wellness Resort Andreus, Kellerlahne 3A, +39 0473 491330. Hotel near the Golf Club in Passeier
- Hotel Quellenhof, Pseierstr. 47. This hotel lacks contact information, price range and a short description – please help out if you know this hotel
- Hotel Europa Splendid, Freiheitsstrasse. This hotel lacks contact information, price range and a short description – please help out if you know this hotel
- Style und Spa Resort Lindenhof****S, Kirchweg 2, I-39025 Naturns bei Meran, +39 0473668298 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Hotel Westend, Speckbacherstr. 9, 0039 0473 447654. Three star art nouveau hotel close to the city center.
- Dolce Vita Wellnesshotels, I-39025 Naturns by Meran, +39 0473 720165 (email@example.com).