A whole valley following in the footsteps of Ötzi going to Europe
Schnalstal/Val Senales is one of the most multi-faceted hiking areas in Europe, starting at the vineyards in Vinschgau and extending up to the three-thousand meter glaciers in the Ötztaler Alps. The visitor hikes through a land of contrasts, from the orchards at the southern entrance of the valley in Naturns, to the high Alpine mountain landscapes and the white glaciers at the end of the valley. The hiker discovers here mystical monasteries, traditional mountain farms, cascading waterfalls and emerald green mountain lakes, and a magnificent flora and fauna.
Schnalstal/Val Senales is characterized by a unique combination of experience-able cultural history, Alpine competence, and modern outdoor activities. As part of the Tessa Natural Park, it is a paradise for vacationers in search of rest and relaxation. The centuries old mountain culture can be enjoyed in a contemporary fashion through varyingly designed theme trails – through mountain restaurants, natural climbing and high ropes courses, and classic mountain farms and pastures with their regional specialties.
Starting in the valley in Kurzras (2,011 m) and on to the valley in Naturns (526 m), an exciting trail leads through pastures and meadows to the 700-year-old snack-bar/resting lodge Finailhof (1,973 m), once the highest Kornhof in Europe. The beautiful mountain trail around the Vernagter reservoir, whose emerald waters provides for an impressive natural spectacle, goes then on past old farms and Raffeinhof Tisenhof to Vernagt (1,700 m). Here you will find the annual sheep drive, an UNESCO heritage event. You then cross the dam and by following the forest road no. 15 you come to the village ‘Our Lady’ (1500 m), where it is worthwhile to visit the Archeoparks and the 700-year-old pilgrimage church.
Behind the church of Our Lady starts the theme trail “Silentium”, which invites you to consciously be aware of the silence around you. The trail, number 19 (later number 21) leads to Raindlhöfen and then continues on to the village Karthaus (1,323 m). The hike continues, after touring the monastery towards Katharinaberg. By taking trail no. 26, you can hike through the valley to Neuratheis (960 m). From here it goes up to Katharinaberg (1,245 m). The well-known long distance trail “Meraner Höhenweg” (trail no. 24) takes you high above the valley Vinschgau where you can enjoy a magnificent view of the Castle Juval, home of Reinhold Messner. From Unterstell (1,300 m) you go on to Naturnser Sonnenberg Mountain and from there, either by cable car or by hiking, back to the village Naturns (526 m).