The route northeast of Bolzano along the Isarco (Eisacktal) Valley is one of the main routes between Italy and northern Europe, crossing the border into Austria at the famous Brenner Pass (1375m), the lowest in the Alps. Protestant reformer Martin Luther was one of many travellers to have walked over the Brenner Pass on his epic journey to Rome in 1510. A motorway and high-speed train line to Innsbruck now make light work of the distance, and the ancient towns of Bressanone (Brixen) and Vipiteno (Sterzing) are engaging places on the way to stretch the legs. Nearby is the wild protected area called the Parco Naturale Fanes-Sennes-Braies accessible via the Val Pusteria (Pustertal), a side valley off the Isarco. If you are planning to walk any of the long-distance walking trails known as alte vie (literally “high ways”) you will almost certainly visit the Val Pusteria, as most of the trails launch from there. Train is the best way to reach it, with a line branching off the main Bolzano–Innsbruck tracks at Fortezza (Franzenfeste) and serving the drowsy settlements of the Val Pusteria, the market town of Brunico (Bruneck) and Dobbiaco (Toblach), from where there are buses to Cortina d’Ampezzo.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Italy features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Where to find the best beaches in Italy

Where to find the best beaches in Italy

From secluded coves to lively seafronts, there are plenty of places to sun worship in Italy. But with an increasing number of hotels charging for access to the …

20 Jul 2017 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
Video: the 1 minute guide to Italy

Video: the 1 minute guide to Italy

Italy has long been one of Europe's most popular destinations. From the magnificent remnants of ancient Rome to the coolest in contemporary culture, secret beac…

08 Jun 2017 • Colt St. George videocam Video
Why Turin should be your next foodie break

Why Turin should be your next foodie break

Not so long ago, Turin (Torino) – Italy’s great northern powerhouse – was largely ignored by tourists, unfairly dismissed as little more than a giant Fiat…

26 May 2017 • Edward Aves insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month