The appeal of South Tyrol’s Isarco Valley is as vast and diverse as its stunning landscape, the super fun trails to ride, and the relaxing vibes stemming from its collection of old towns like Sterzing, Brixen and Klausen. This Spot Check sums up everything that shouldn’t be missed on a visit to this Valley of Trails.

Hoch über Brixen warten grandiose Trails nur darauf erfahren zu werden.
Sublime trails await high above Brixen for some serious riding.

How to get there

Everyone who has ever driven along the Brenner motorway towards Italy has been here already – you just might not realize it. On route to Trento, the A22 weaves its way through a large chunk of the Eisacktal, or the Isarco Valley as it is often referred to. You could call this first real place where South Tyrolean flair can be experienced in a truly Alpine setting. It’s often overlooked – perhaps you’re guilty of it too – but, as we found out recently on our Spot Check, it more than deserves to become your next point of call.

Grüne Wiesen, graue Berge und davon eingerahmt eine urige Almhütte.
The green meadows and white peaks of the Dolomites frame an ancient mountain hut.
Uphills lassen sich entweder aus eigener Kraft,  mit der Gondel oder einem Shuttel bewältigen. Oder man kombiniert einfach die verschiedenen Arten zu einer ausgiebigen Tour.
Take on the uphills with your own strength and willpower, or opt for a gondola or shuttle. Alternatively, combine all these means of ascending and set out for a long ride taking in multiple climbs.

The region’s best trails

A true trail highlight is the Plose Flowtrail, that opened last year. It drops around 1,000 vertical metres from the mountain station of Plose, Brixen’s local mountain, and back down to the valley station. Multiple runs are therefore not a problem. And that’s a good thing too, as it’s wise to take your first ride on the well-built trail at a more moderate pace so that you can then gauge the more technical sections.

Mit der Gondel geht es entspannt und schnell den Berg hinauf.
Nice and relaxed with the gondola to the top of climbs.
Raus aus der Gondel, rein in den Trail.
Out the gondola and onto the trail.
Pirmin und Philipp im Geschwindigkeitsrausch.
Pirmin and Philipp in true speed blur.
Mit Vollgas Richtung Tal – auf dem Plose Flowtrail kein Problem. Die erste Abfahrt sollte jedoch mit Bedacht gefahren werden.
Full gas down to the valley – not a problem on the Plose flow trail. But you’d be wise to go carefully the first time you ride it.
Links, rechts, links, die zum Teil gut gebauten Anlieger sorgen für ein dickes Grinsen im Gesicht.
Sweet burms make this a super fun trail as you swoop from left to right!

But the Isarco Valley has more to offer than just these flow trails. The possibilities are as diverse as the terrain. Follow the Brenner Border Route (the Grenzkammrunde), which follows the old military roads, right through to the alpine trails above the tree line. Depending on which side – and at what altitude – of the valley, you might find the trail characterized by rocks and roots, but there is also soft and damp woodland to be ridden on.

The cows are unimpressed as Pirmin and Philipp take the corners.
The cows are unimpressed as Pirmin and Philipp take the corners.
Geniale Trails oberhalb der Baumgrenze – im Eisacktal keine Seltenheit.
Amazing trails above the tree line are far from a rarity in the Isarco Valley.
Aber auch feinster Waldboden lässt sich mancher Orts entdecken.
And there are some super woodland trails too.
Von der modernen Skihütte ...
From the modern ski huts …
... bis zur urigen Almhütte. Das Angebot und die Dichte der Hütten ist hervorragend.
… to the ancient mountain ones. The selection and quality you’ll find at these refreshment stops is second to none.
Typisch Südtirol: Käse, Speck und Schüttelbrot.
So very South Tyrol: cheese, ham and Schüttelbrot.
Am Domplatz von Brixen ...
At Brixen’s cathedral square …
... lässt sich nicht nur entspannt ein Glas Hugo genießen ...
… why not enjoy a nice glass of Hugo?
... sondern auch etliche lokale Köstlichkeiten einkaufen.
… as well as buying some tasty local delicacies.
Die Palmen am Domplatz sind der beste Beweis für das milde Klima der Region.
Surely the palm trees in the cathedral square are proof enough of the region’s mild climate.
Egal ob mit dem Bike oder zu Fuß, die kleinen Gassen laden zum flanieren ein.
On bike or on foot, the cute little alleyways of Brixen are perfect for a spot of flâneuring.

Where to stay

From farm stays to luxury hotels or campsites, there are tons of options for accommodation in the Isarco Valley, and they’re listed on Riders can check out the website to find suitable bike-friendly hotels that suit their holiday needs.

Eine Aussicht die begeistert!
Who wouldn’t be excited by this view?!
Was Biker lieben: Ein grandioses Panorama und flowige Trails.
Everything a rider loves: stunning views and dream flow trails.

Isarco Valley’s 3 Must-Dos:

  • Ride the Plose flow trail
  • Wander through the alleyways in the towns of Sterzing, Brixen or Klausen.
  • Do a huge day-long ride with tons of vertical metres – both up and down!
Spotcheck Südtirol Eisacktal (50 von 84)
Das Eisacktal wusste zu überzeugen – wir kommen wieder, keine Frage!
The Isarco Valley knows how to please and we’ll certainly pay a return visit!

More information

For more information on the region and hotel bookings, head to:

Don’t miss our other spotchecks from South Tyrol:
Spotcheck: Alpe di Siusi – All Levels, All Ages in the Dolomites
Spotcheck: Val Gardena – A Stunning Valley in the Dolomites

Words & Pictures: Christoph Bayer

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