As we are travelling with kids, we always try to find a holiday destination where we hope our kids will find their happiness… if the kids are happy that basically means that the parents have a more relaxing holiday 😉 finding a spot like this is another thing. A region that checks most of the boxes is Alto Adige (aka Süd Tirol) as not only is it well-known for it child-friendliness, its fresh/healthy air, the fact that it is sunny for more then 300 days a year, but also for its good food and for having some of the best white wines of Italy. The only check-box that didn’t get checked is the closeness of the sea (my wife loves to have the sea close)… but then again the region has lots of lakes where swimming is allowed and there is also something called a swimming pool 😊 😊 so basically all boxes are checked.
Something I always found intriguing is the fact that in Alto Adige the most spoken language is German (but everybody does also speak Italian). For me the region is the perfect mix of Austria and Italy.
To find an actual accommodation we called in the help of “Red Rooster” (aka Gallo Rosso, Roter Hahn). Red Rooster is the ‘tourist office’ of the Farmer’s Union of South Tyrol for farms offering Farm Holidays in South Tyrol. What I found good about Red Rooster’s way of working or choice of accommodation, the fact there is something for everybody and for every budget. I mean I’m personally not too much into animals, my preference went for wine/fruit growing farms and also I ( or better we) prefer having an apartment (this way we have the option to cook), we do like a bit of extra comfort, etc… and luckily all of these things are search filters.
My wife always finds it funny that I start planning our summer holiday that much in advance (about 8-10 months in advance). I actually didn’t start that early when we didn’t have kids, but ever since we have to go on holiday in the high season it seems that even that early is not early enough for some regions… For a few years in a row I tried to find a free accommodation in Alto Adige, but without success. That is why this year I decided to try another holiday period. Luckily for us with success 😊
I’m pretty sure all of you think we chose a vineyard 😊 but noooooooo sir, we stayed at an apple farm that goes under the name of “Grieserhof” and is located in Nals (12km from Bolzano). The Mathà family, who owns “Grieserhof” has been growing apples in Nals (or Nalles) for a few generations. It was in 2016 they decided to renovate their house (that dates back to the Middle Ages) with respect for tradition, but also adding some modern architectural touches to the building. This resulted in creating 4 beautiful 2 floor apartments where they only made use of very qualitative materials to make sure they give the maximum comfort to their guests. With the below as (for me well accomplished) result
From the moment you arrive at “Grieserhof” you immediately feel at home. First of all because of the warm welcome you get from Judith and her family, but also because of the good vibe that hangs in/around “Grieserhof”. When my kids saw there is a whole floor full of toys (and books), an outside playground and a rabbit to pet… they couldn’t wait to ditch us 😊 😊 so we also got their blessing for the location/accommodation 😊
A very handy ‘tool’ in the Süd-Tirol region is the “winepass” you get (in most farms you find via Red Rooster). This pass allows you to take the train for free in the region, enter museums, visit vineyards, visit the many castles in the region or use cableways in the region mostly for free or at reduced price. You can actually see it as a tool to discover all the hidden treasures in the region. One day (a rainy day) we used it to visit the miniature train museum aka Mondo Treni that was fun for the kids as they cold push on buttons to start the trains, but also for adults it is very nice to see. As they rebuild (in scale models of course) the most important parts of the region. Very impressive!
Something I didn’t know is that the village next to ours, Terlano, is very known for white asparagus… as it happens both me and my wife a very big asparagus lovers. And as if if faith wanted it, the season for eating them already started😊 . It was Judith (our host and who also happened to be a food/wine lover) to advise us a very nice (child proof) restaurant called Oberspeiser. The advantage about eating in a restaurant in Italy it that it never takes too much time… not that me and my wife don’t enjoy a longer dinner, but kids are like a ticking timebomb 😊 😊 they’ll stay quiet for a while, but they might exploded any minute 😉 . We really enjoyed our meal at Oberspeiser. Perfectly cooked asparagus with a few slices of local cooked ham and accompanied with a Sauvignon by the Terlan winery that only gets bottled during the asparagus season and fits perfect with this white gold and also is sold under the name “Sauvignon Asparagus” 😊
Two places (next to the many wonderful farms where you can eat or top restaurants) I also recommend you to visit and/or even have a meal there is “Pür” or “Italy & Amore”. Both these restaurants have a similar approach they both sell products bought directly from the growers/farmers, with difference that “Pür” focusses on products from Süd-Tirol and “Italy & Amore” products from all over Italy. You can also eat at both locations as buy products. I enjoyed both of them and didn’t leave empty handed 😊
As I had already put a lot of time in the organization of the ‘Best Sommelier of the world” contest, I promised my wife I wouldn’t be visiting any vineyards during our stay in Süd-Tirol. I kept this promise 😊 but I just happened to pass 2 vineyards (Cantina Terlano and Margreid Nals) while doing some errands while my son was taking a nap, my daughter was playing and my wife was reading at the apartment… and I needed to stretch my legs. In my defense, it were very shore visits and they were insisting for me to try some of their wines 😉 😉 . Both very nice vineyards and worth visiting and I’m a big fan of both their wines. Hope you get the chance to visit them or at least taste their wines.