South Tyrol has enjoyed self-government rights since 1972 and is therefore called a country, has about 550,000 inhabitants and the capital is Bolzano. Most settlements are located 300 to 1200 m above sea level and South Tyrol has high alpine pastures and forested areas between 800 and 1800 m above sea level. South Tyrol is poor in raw materials and therefore tourism plays a major role in the economy. In recent years, winter sports centers have proliferated and adventure vacations are in high demand in the summer. The UNESCO World Heritage Site Dolomites attracts many tourists in summer and winter and in the Eisack Valley you can hike leisurely through the low mountain range from hut to hut or undertake a summit climb. In the Vinschgau Valley, the apple orchards and apricot trees almost reach the glacier, and the Pustertal Valley attracts visitors in winter with numerous ski areas.
If you want to spend a sporty vacation in South Tyrol, you can go mountain biking through the low mountain range and the alpine landscape or float above the valley on a paraglider, go tubing or climb steep walls. Or you can visit the blooming gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle above Merano, where Empress Sissi twice spent the winter. The famous garden houses ancient cultivated plants, cacti, a tea and rice terrace landscape, and South Tyrolean landscapes are recreated. Here is also the Touriseum, which shows 200 years of tourism in 7,000 exhibits.
Spring offers visitors in the southern parts, such as Bolzano and Merano, many sunny days for cycling or hiking already from the end of March. In May, there are already summer temperatures at 200 to 500 meters above sea level, but in the higher ski resorts of Vinschgau, Puster, Val Gardena and Badia in the Valle Isarco, winter sports can still be practiced. If the temperatures in March to May in Bolzano already reach 15°C to 23°C, the temperatures in May in Dobbiaco and at the Reschen Pass just rise to 14°C at the highest, and in March to 7°C to 8°C. In summer, the temperatures in Bolzano can sometimes reach 35°C and it is best to take the Kalterer See or the Montiggler Seen to cool down, or let the cable car take you to the higher regions, which can still have a good 25°C in high summer. Autumn is ideal for hiking on the plateaus or in the valleys. In Bolzano the thermometers still reach 26°C in September and 11°C in November, in Dobbiaco and at the Reschen Pass they just reach 14°C in September and 4°C in November. The snow amounts in the valleys around Bolzano are not very big and when it snows, the sun quickly thaws the snow away, but the ski resorts are usually well supplied with snow for a long time.