The picturesque village of San Genesio is located on the Salten plateau above the city of Bolzano in a beautiful landscape at 1100 metres above sea level. It is a paradise for hikers, nature lovers and horse enthusiasts. A fairy-tale place with meadows, larch trees, rhododendrons, pastures with free galloping horses and breathtaking views of the valley and the peaks of the Dolomites.
Places and experiences not to be missed
San Genesio is a sunny panoramic terrace quickly reached from Bolzano via the road of the same name or by public transport (bus or cable car). In spring, you can admire the crocuses in bloom; in summer, you can rest from the city's heat and enjoy the coolness in the shade of a larch tree; in autumn, the landscape is full of colours. In winter, everything is white. In all seasons, this peaceful place, far from the city traffic, offers the possibility of pleasant outdoor activities, ideal for adults and children. Countless hiking trails invite you to explore the landscape, on foot, on horseback or even by mountain bike. Let's see the best experiences and places to visit in San Genesio!
Salten Plateau: Europe's most extensive larch plateau
The most extensive expanse of larch trees in Europe stretches out between San Genesio and Meltina at around 1300/1400 metres. The Salten Plateau offers beautiful hikes, easy and with gentle climbs, particularly suitable for families with children and because of its unique and relaxing landscape and atmosphere, its ideal for Nordic Walking.
On foot, by bike or on the saddle of the "blond" Haflinger horses, native to this area, you can explore the plateau while enjoying the breathtaking panorama of The Dolomites, the Adige Valley, the Mendola and the Ortles. In addition, local restaurants will welcome you for a pleasant break with typical dishes.
Hiking trails: Legend trail and Guggnweg trail
300 km of hiking trails are waiting for you on the Salten Plateau. One of the most popular is the legend trail, with 16 legends about San Genesio and its surroundings. The path between larch trees and grazing cows is simple, pleasant, practicable all year round and very popular with families with children. At the end of the trail, there is a small local restaurant for an excellent lunch and a nice playground!
From the centre of San Genesio, an almost 8 km trail starts the 'Guggnweg', also known as the Tschaufen trail, named after this historic area of the plateau. It is a path with boards describing the unique features of the Salten Plateau: the larch meadows, the Earth Pyramids and the Haflinger horses. Along the way, we also find some lovely picnic areas. This hike is stunning in autumn when the landscape turns orange and yellow, and cows and horses graze freely in the fields.
Lumberjack-Trail, St. Martin's trail and Castle trail
St. Martin's is a "meditative" walk, a circular route of about 3 km that starts from Cologna, one of the hamlets of San Genesio. The path will lead visitors, especially children, to get to know and have direct and profound contact with the Universe and its Creator in this beautiful and peaceful landscape. The path, which takes its name from the patron saint of Cologna, among a beautiful panorama, a labyrinth and a prayer carved in the rock, invites everyone to pray, sing, eat and talk together, encouraging sharing and community spirit. To end, you can combine the walk with an excursion to the ruins of Castel Grifo, also known as Pork Castle.
Ideal for castles lovers, the Castle Trail (Castelronda), is approximately 20 km long and connects castles and ruins in Bolzano, San Genesio and Terlano. The trail starts at Roncolo Castle and ends at Neuhaus Castle (Maultasch), passing by Rafenstein Castle, Grifo Castle and Helfenberg Ruin.You can choose to begin the path at any of the three locations or shorten it if you need to. This trail is accessible all year round, although the best times are autumn and spring for the intense colours and scents and the mild temperatures.
The little stone men (Stoanerne Mandlen) – a place of strength and mystery
On the summit of Mount Schöneck (2003 m) in the Sarentino Valley, we find the legendary little stone men, an expanse of individuals made of stones, standing upright like soldiers. The path to this unmissable place, full of mystery, strength and energy, starts in Valas (the hamlet of San Genesio) and offers a beautiful panorama over unspoilt valleys, with a 360° view of the Sarentino Valley, the Venosta Valley and the other peaks of the Dolomites. There are various theories and legends about the origin of these little stone men. Old decorations on the rocks and flint tools prove that this place was already frequented in the Stone Age and Middle Ages. This lookout was probably a Celtic cult site.
In Montoppio, a small hamlet of San Genesio, we find the Earth Pyramids in the Wieser Lahn area at about 1,270 m. Here is also the source of the Rio Margherita, which flows through the Adige Valley to Settequerce. Over the centuries, the erosion of red clay soil created the pyramids that can be seen on a circular hike up the Salto from Schermoos. The walk is awe-inspiring in autumn, when the red clay soil contrasts with the green meadows and woods, highlighting the earth pyramids. About 20 km away, in the village of Meltina, we can find other earth pyramids, 30-metre high. Meltina is also a popular destination for mountain bikers, thanks to its vast pastures.
Typical products and food and wine events in San Genesio
In San Genesio, eating well and drinking a good glass of wine is very important! In restaurants, inns and pizzerias, you can taste typical local dishes. Throughout the year, you can buy local products directly from the producer.
In spring and autumn, various festivals and food and wine weeks take place. Not to be missed in October are the gastronomic weeks dedicated to chestnuts. San Genesio is the municipality with the highest number of chestnut trees in South Tyrol! On this occasion, you can taste many chestnut specialities. The extensive programme of events includes many exciting activities such as guided tours to farmsteads and beekeepers, walks in the chestnut groves, wine tasting, grappa and South Tyrolean speck tasting.
A stay surrounded by nature
For a stay to remember, immersed in the uncontaminated nature of these places, we recommend the Saltus hotel, an Eco hotel designed for a sustainable holiday in harmony with nature, protecting the environment and discovering the South Tyrolean territory and its culture. A hotel created to admire the forest in all its facets, listen to its sounds, breathe the scent of moss and morning dew, with the Dolomites in the background and a peaceful state of mind.
At Hotel Saltus, nature and aesthetics come together perfectly. Rooms and suites are built with natural materials from the region, such as larch wood, quarry porphyry, clay and lime. A variety of wellness facilities are also available to guests. You will find the sky pools on the roof for relaxing baths with views of the treetops and the Dolomites. After a refreshing bath in the fresh mountain water of the infinity pool, you can relax in the sun on the panorama terrace! A meditation path through the wood leads to the Forest SPA: saunas, a relaxation room, and a yoga room with a view of the forest and mountains await you.
Hotel Saltus offers an extensive Relaxation Programme included in the room price. Yoga or meditation sessions, hiking or bathing in the forest, muscle relaxation or running along the paths surrounding the hotel, you will discover the best way to recharge your batteries! Reducing stress through movement, surrendering to the therapeutic effect of the forest is what you need to regain energy, strengthen the body's defences and combat ageing. For an unforgettable and healthy holiday, take a look at the package and holiday offers proposed by the hotel Saltus!