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The wonderful South Tyrol is worth a trip at any time of the year. Today we will tell you why a (short) trip in spring is particularly worthwhile and why you should choose Schenna in the Merano region as your holiday home!
In the past week we got to know our beloved South Tyrol from a completely new, particularly beautiful side. Just in time for the apple blossom, we visited the charming Schenna, which lies on a sunny hill above Meran.
A trip to South Tyrol: Schenna near Meran
Getting to Schenna
From Munich you can drive to Schenna in a relaxed three and a half hours. Via Innsbruck, the Brenner Pass, Bozen and Meran. We have been traveling to South Tyrol on this route for years. But at this point I would like to tell you about a little travel adventure that we experienced quite unexpectedly this time (mid-April).
Due to a major traffic jam on the motorway between Brixen and Bozen, our navigation system redirected us via the Jaufen Pass. A mountain pass that connects two South Tyrolean valleys. So far so good. But suddenly we found ourselves in a snowstorm at -7 degrees and made it over the pass with our Mini with a bang. In hindsight we could laugh, but while we were in the situation it wasn’t entirely without it.
An important lesson that we would like to pass on to you: In summer, the Jaufen Pass is a very idyllic route with a height of up to 2,100 meters, but in spring you can expect snow en masse in the valley, even with double-digit plus degrees.
But now we come to spring and the beautiful reason for our trip: the (apple) blossom in Schenna. When we arrived, we were greeted by a fascinating picture typical of springtime in South Tyrol: snow-covered peaks and blossoming trees in the valley. Nature comes to life, spring says goodbye to winter.
Schenna blossoms: the apple blossom in spring
Did you know that the apple is South Tyrol’s most important export product? A total of one million tons are harvested annually, which corresponds to 10% of the European harvest. The most popular and well-known is the “Golden Delicious” variety; I personally like the crispy, firm “Gala” variety with less acid.
13 varieties are allowed to bear the European designation of origin “South Tyrolean Apple PGI”, five other varieties are also grown in South Tyrol. Meran and the surrounding area are known for the variety of apples, and in mid-April countless apple trees also begin to bloom around Schenna. Incidentally, there are around 70 fruit growers in Schenna itself.
A real highlight next to the harvest is the apple blossom every year. This takes place in early/mid-April for two to three weeks and bathes the entire area in a sea of pink and white blossoms. A very special natural spectacle! We were lucky enough to be there at the perfect time to see both the beautiful buds and the gorgeous blooms.
The pink buds slowly break open and reveal the white-pink flowers. First the “king flower” in the middle, then the other flowers around it over a period of about a week.
Of course, the flower is not only beautiful to look at, it is also the basis for a good harvest in autumn. Bees are very important for pollinating the flowers, so the South Tyrolean fruit growers pay special attention to the protection of bees. The same applies to protecting the blossoms from frost, for which the apple growers have developed a sophisticated method. Despite the generally very pleasant South Tyrolean climate, April nights can still get very cold and frosty from time to time. The so-called frost protection sprinkling covers the blossoms with water, which then freezes. This wraps itself around the delicate flowers like a protective shell, the temperature inside this shell remains constant at zero degrees. And so not only the blossoms are protected, many fairytale pictures of blossoms with delicate icicles are created.
But back to our stay, where luckily we were spared the frost, even if we would have loved to see the ice blossoms.
Walking in the sun among thousands of trees adorned with white and pink blossoms was an absolute dream. We spent so much time outdoors and together with Fiete we covered many kilometers every day on the paths between the apple orchards.
Accommodation in Schenna
Altogether there are well over 200 hotels, holiday apartments, farms with guest rooms and guesthouses in Schenna, so guests are spoiled for choice from a very diverse range. The village is elongated and hugs the mountain for several kilometers. (Almost) everywhere you have a wonderful view of Meran and the mountain panorama. Therefore, we would always recommend choosing accommodation with a view and a south-facing balcony.
Our hotel in Schenna: the wine knife
Our home in Schenna: the Hotel Der Weinmesser. From our balcony we could enjoy a fantastic view of the thousands of apple trees, the mountains and Meran in the valley every day.
Of course, the wine knife offers more than a beautiful view and has a very special USP. It is the first wine hotel in South Tyrol and is fully dedicated to this topic. Pleasure is considered holistically and comes first. Good food and wellness meet a gigantic selection of wines. The hosts Doris and Christian Kohlgruber are both qualified sommeliers and can tell a lot about the fine wines. Wine becomes an experience, and so while eating, guests can look out over an imposing, walk-in white wine cabinet located directly above the restaurant.
The topic of wine runs as a common thread not only through the culinary art, but through all areas of the hotel. For example, vinotherapy is also used in the spa, which we have already reported on in detail in the past. I was allowed to try a facial with products from the Vinoble Cosmetics brand and was very impressed. The natural active ingredients of the products are extracted from grape seeds and grape skins, and both the textures and the scents are very pleasant. Guests can also look forward to an outdoor and indoor pool and several saunas in the spa. Including a panoramic outdoor sauna.
Our favorite place in our junior suite: definitely the large south-facing balcony with a wow view. It is perfectly protected from the wind and so we were able to sit in the sun in summer clothes even on a very windy and not so warm day. Splendid!
By the way: Theoretically, you don’t even have to leave your room to enjoy wine, because there is a wine fridge with a nice selection.
An important point that we would like to mention here: the culinary offer is generally large and there are always specials such as a barbecue evening, but we would recommend another accommodation if you are vegetarian or even vegan.
The cuisine in Schenna
There is a huge selection of restaurants and cafés in Schenna and there was also a lot on offer for us as vegetarians. We would like to present our two highlights to you today.
Breakfast at Schenna Resort
As an external guest you can also have breakfast in the beautiful Schenna Resort, and the huge buffet is an absolute recommendation! For 30 euros per person you can feast your way through a huge selection of local specialties from 7.30 a.m. to 10.30 a.m. and enjoy many South Tyrolean as well as typical (southern) Italian specialties. From a large selection of juices, fresh fruit, muesli, sausage and cheese to waffles and pancakes, there is really everything that makes your breakfast heart beat faster.
Dinner at the Hotel and Restaurant Schlosswirt (Schlossweg 2)
We had the best dinner during our Schenna trip in the Schlosswirt restaurant, which is picturesquely situated below Schenna Castle. In a cozy atmosphere we had, among other things, tomato bread salad with buffalo mozzarella, asparagus soup and homemade pasta with asparagus. In the restaurant, all the dishes were not only delicious, but also beautifully presented. Also highly recommended for vegetarians!
Excursions, activities and events in Schenna
A look at and ideally also at the two castles is an absolute must during a visit to Schenna. Schenna Castle in particular, which is enthroned on a large rock and dominates the village center, is one of the most important castles in South Tyrol. Goyen Castle above Schenna is one of the oldest and best-preserved castles in the region.
Schenna Castle in the heart of the village is still in the hands of the family and is also inhabited by them. The special feature: the original furnishings have been preserved in most of the rooms. From the furniture to the table service. From April 3 to October 31, 2023, the castle can be visited daily. Also regularly in the evenings, sometimes even in connection with a wine tasting. “Wine and culture in the castle”: a nice concept. The partner for the evening tour with wine tasting is the Meran Burggräfler winery.
A special treat: the likeable Franz Graf von Spiegelfeld, the husband of the Countess of Meran and resident of the castle, personally guides the guests through the castle with a large pinch of humour, a lot of passion and numerous historical yet very entertaining family stories and anecdotes.
Schenna even has another castle to offer! And this is on a forested hilltop and can be combined with a lovely walk along fields lined with apple trees (did I mention how beautiful the apple blossoms are?).
In spring, many cultural highlights take place as part of the series of events “Schenna is in bloom”. During our visit, for example, it was a matinée in the medieval courtyard of Goyen Castle. A beautiful morning with culinary delights, drinks and music from “The Legendary St. Pauls Tschäss Band”.
My personal highlight: the super delicious non-alcoholic apple aperitivo from Sparkling Rocco.
Good to know: There will be another matinée on May 13th. This time in the courtyard of Schenna Castle.
The Mitterplattweg in Schenna
A particularly beautiful, sun-drenched path leads below Schenna through the countless apple trees and vines. On the Mitterplattweg you can walk from the Lido Schenna to the village center, a turnoff leads to the heart of Meran. Many panoramic views included. We not only did a guided apple hike on this beautiful route and learned a lot about apple cultivation, flowering and the different varieties, we also enjoyed the view on our daily walks with Fiete.
A visit to the AlpinArt studio (Ifingerstr. 12-4)
With great attention to detail, Monika Kienzl makes felt slippers, backpacks and often lace or crocheted jewelery in her small studio. Old craftsmanship meets contemporary design. We visited her during our stay in her creative realm in Schenna and got exciting insights into the art of felting. The shoes are all unique and are made by hand from South Tyrolean mountain sheep’s wool. Monika Kienzl not only sells her products at numerous markets in the region, guests can also visit her in the studio. You can find the opening times on the website! PS: If you don’t just want to watch, but also want to learn how to felt yourself, you can also book a workshop with Monika Kienzl.
Marlene’s Salotto (Schennaerstrasse 4)
The prettiest store in Schenna? Marlene’s Salotto! There, fashion is combined with a charming little café. Events also take place there regularly, for example “Pilates and Breakfast”. The concept of the series of events: First, the participants start the Saturday morning with Pilates with trainer Barbara Plattner, followed by breakfast by the young Naturns-based company Holbmittog. Chia bowls, fresh juices, healthy breads and the best carrot cake ever: I was in seventh breakfast heaven! Feel free to stop by here, there are a few more dates in spring!
Have you already visited Schenna and do you have any other tips for us and the Josie loves community? Write them in the comments! Of course we will be happy to answer any other questions you may have about Schenna and the region!