Right after Italy opened the borders to Austria after Corona lockdown beginning of June 2020 we travelled to South Tyrol to the little town Lana nearby the city of Meran. The situation just after the lockdown was different than it usually occurs to the visitor: no tourists around, neither strolling through the alleys nor populating the hiking trails. Perfect for enjoying the early summer, the southern alps landscape with its beautiful nature and agricultural jewels - wine and apple farming.
The first impressions are from a village above Lana called Völlan, were our residence Niederhof was situated with a perfect view from the living room all over the Etschal and Merano (with Merano in the center of the image).
Up near the village of Völlan there is a quiet path on a hillside fringed by old chestnut trees that invites you for a beautiful morning nature walk.
At the end of the chestnut path you can find a little chapel surrounded by the typical apple plantations.
After another one hour hike from Völlan you can reach the little church St. Hippolytus on a hilltop offering a perfect view down to the Etschtal (Val d' Adige). Numerous finds from the Neolithic, Bronze Age and Iron Age prove that the hill of St. Hippolytus was already inhabited several thousand years ago and was used as a place of worship.
Waale are artificially created irrigation canals, which were built from the 13th century onwards. The name probably derives from the Latin word "Aqualis" (watercourse). For the maintenance and care of a waal, a mostly narrow footbridge was built, the Waalweg.
A specially responsible Waaler ensured the proper functioning and fair distribution of the precious water in the summer dry lowlands of western South Tyrol. Today, the paths along the irrigation channels have become popular hiking and walking paths. The paths nearly make no difference in height, so you can walk along the water on a constant level for hours above Merano, often having scenic views over the valley, or getting some cool air when the way dives into the forests.
The next pictures show some spots of the Marlinger Waalweg, ascending from Lana and finally descending to Merano.
A short stop on half the way, then the trail leads us to the city of Merano, were we take the bus back to Lana.
The Brandis Waalweg is a shorter trail down in the Etschtal, starting from Lana
and ending at a cascade in the Brandis gorge. Short after leaving Lana, there is a small bench with a bookshelf underneath forgiving and taking books.
The cascade is the terminal waypoint of Brandis Waalweg.
The Gaulschlucht starting from Lana is a gorge that you can explore on footbridges in a jungle-like environment.
On the way back in Lana, you can follow the path along the river until after about one hour you will reach an idyllic biotope called Falschauer.
Trauttmannsdorff Castle is a place near Merano worth visiting because of its beautiful botanical gardens, artwork and an exposed viewing platform. Plan half a day for the visit.