Le call it the “garden city,” and it is no accident: Merano, the second largest city in South Tyrol, thanks to the thermal heart is as lush as a botanical garden, and it almost doesn’t feel like an Alpine resort until you look up at the towering peaks of the Texel Group, which dominate the landscape beyond the pointed roofs of the houses.
In addition to being beloved for its pedestrian-friendly old town made up of colorful streets and squares with a fascinating mix of ancient and modern, Merano has always been a holiday resort of the Austro-Hungarian Empire: Empress Elisabeth of Austria herself and, after her, nobles and intellectuals from all over Europe, chose the city of Passirio for their spa stays, and even today those seeking a vacation dedicated to health and wellness cannot but choose Merano.
To enjoy the city’s beneficial waters, you can spend time at the Merano Thermal Baths, a true jewel of design set in the heart of the village: the cube of steel and glass embellished with warm wooden elements fits into its surroundings in perfect harmony, and all around it stretches the five-hectare park much appreciated especially in summer, for the tree-lined corners in which to find some refreshment.
Inside, in addition to a wide range of activities, the spa offers a rich array of exclusive treatments based on local products, such as the malt and hop peeling, hot herb pad massages, and the buttermilk bath, much loved by Empress Sissi.
From Merano Spa to the magic of Villa Eden
In the outdoor park then you can enjoy one of the best-kept outdoor pools in the region, and it also has a pleasant Kneipp path(termemerano.it). If you prefer a more intimate and private retreat, a stay at Villa Eden is a must: from the panoramic swimming pool – beautifully overlooking the Adige Valley and the surrounding mountains – to the indoor pool, set like a pearl in a purely charming setting, from the Turkish bath to the infrared cabin, from the Shiatsu area to the whirlpool and the reading corner, everything is devoted to giving guests ideal relaxation.
All this is enhanced by the silence and green embrace of the centuries-old park in which the villa is nestled, as well as a series of activities aimed at healthy and effective remise en forme, such as aqua aerobics classes in the pool, fitness and yoga classes, as well as bike tours, walking and hiking (villa-eden.com).
And don’t leave Merano without trying these two goodies: a visit to the spectacular Trauttmansdorff Castle and especially to its gardens, considered among the most beautiful in the world due to the presence of more than eighty botanical environments with plants from all over the planet, complete with art pavilions and viewpoints, and a visit to the Tappeiner walk, route that leads to the cool Gilf Gorge and its magnificent panoramic view of the city (visitmerano.it).