Road trips are fantastic when you know the best hotels to stay in and the best areas to visit.
After our week of skiing in the Italian Dolomites, we weren’t quite ready to say goodbye to our Italy road trip. We wanted to spend more time in the mountains before continuing our journey to Munich.
Along the Brenner Highway, there are a few areas with historic towns worth visiting. Sterzing, Italy is one of those charming old towns. Whether you’re traveling with family, friends, or a loved one, Sterzing is an ideal stop for an overnight on any Italy road trip.
More About Sterzing, Italy
Sterzing is the northernmost town in Italy and one of the highest towns in the Alps. With the Austrian border located just 15 km away, you can easily combine a trip to this pretty little town with visits to Innsbruck, Merano, and Bolzano.
Sterzing belongs to the “I Borghi più belli d’Italia” association, which aims to promote and enhance the great historical and cultural heritage of small Italian villages. A “Borgo” is a beautiful Italian village, usually fortified with a long history dating back to periods from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. Sterzing is one of the 313 certified “Borghi” of the association.
Staying in Sterzing: A Stroke of Luck at Haus am Turm
Staying at the Hotel Haus am Turm felt like a stroke of luck from the moment we stepped inside. The 12-room boutique hotel is a member of both Selected Places hotels (my first stay at a hotel with that designation) and a member of Pretty Hotels (that I always love to visit).
Beyond these memberships, what truly makes this hotel unique (and what made me happiest about our stay!) is the attention to detail in the service and well-appointed accommodations.
For this hotel review, let’s start with the heavenly comfortable bed. The mattress hugs you when you lay down atop its particularly high-quality, satin-cotton bed linen handmade on Lake Como. As you know, I always feel most at home in nature, so seeing the natural stone in the bathroom and the largest houseplant that has ever graced my hotel room upon entering was a real stroke of luck for me.
The hotel is ideal for all types of travelers with good taste. Though the original windows are small, the clever architectural design with loggias and small balconies makes the rooms airy and flooded with light.
The townhouse of Haus am Turm was built around 1400, and the property has been in the family of owners Veronika and Daniel since the end of 1900. Guests love that the Haus am Turm is perfectly located right next to the city’s iconic tower. It offers travelers that sought-out central location along with cozy, simple accommodations and unique features like an in-house vinotheque (wine cellar).
Haus am Turm Amenities
The boutique Haus am Turm property houses 12 rooms, a rooftop terrace, a sauna, and a restaurant. Despite its small size, the guests of Haus am Turm are offered a complete experience.
Everything about the hotel is authentic and local, from the fresh local products used in the restaurant to the organic cosmetics line available to guests in their rooms. The scent of the cosmetic line reminded me of a summer pasture in the Alps, and I was lucky to be able to purchase a bottle of “Swiss Pine” shower cream to take the memories home with me. Their cosmetic line is free of synthetic and mineral oil ingredients. Instead, the herbs used are collected from the gardens and mountains of the region! I am excited about this initiative to create an exclusive cosmetic line with organic ingredients from the area.
A few great features of the hotel include:
- The panoramic rooftop terrace that invites guests to chill and enjoy 360-degree views over Sterzing,
- A small blue sauna featuring an unobstructed sky view.
- The courtesy bar where you can prepare your own coffee or tea using a Jura espresso machine. (It freshly grinds real coffee beans – no more aluminum capsules that litter our environment!) Juices and fresh fruit are also complimentary.
My husband and I stay in separate rooms while traveling, and we both felt lucky to have such great experiences. I especially enjoyed the absolute quietness in my room. I stayed in the bright Loggia Room with interior loggia. The room is spaciously arranged with a sofa sitting area and a beautiful bathroom with a shower made of natural silver quartzite stone. My husband stayed in the Vinzenz Room with a small step-out balcony, a shower with a floor-to-ceiling window to the balcony, and a separate toilet.
Though we stay separately, when I travel with my husband, he always brings me breakfast in bed in the mornings (on a tray, of course!). There’s something very special about having a lovingly prepared, delicious breakfast set out on a beautiful, large wooden tray when staying in a hotel. I always find pleasure in hotels that invest in high-quality materials, and I can assure you that except for the container for cosmetics, you will not find any plastic in the room – I especially loved that!
Restaurant Vinzenz at Haus am Turm
You may not necessarily expect a fine selection of exquisite fish and seafood in a small town in the Alps, but Restaurant Vinzenz surprises you with its incredibly fresh variety of dishes despite a rather small menu. There is a lot of emphasis on sustainability at Haus am Turm and it’s no different with the restaurant food. The dishes are regional and seasonal. They even grow some of the ingredients in their own vegetable garden! Even the meat is humanely sourced as the animal-friendly rearing and slaughtering of the meat dishes is guaranteed by their trusted butcher.
The wine bar at Restaurant Vinzenz offers a wide selection for almost every palette. A passion and love for wine is evident here, with about 30 different wines offered by the glass every day. You can also buy bottles in the vinotheque or enjoy your selected bottle directly in the restaurant for an additional charge with your meal. Many of the wines on offer are from small local winemakers. Some are even organic!
Veronika (the owner) welcomed us upon arrival, and we met her again a few hours later at the restaurant Vinzenz, where she carefully explained the dishes and wide selection of wines. I love fish and seafood in any form and was delighted to be unexpectedly served exquisite fish and oysters in a small town in the Alps. Oh, and if you like dark chocolate, ask for the extra dark chocolate!
The atmosphere in the restaurant was relaxed yet lively, and the staff was very friendly and eager to help you make the perfect selection for your taste buds.
Exploring Sterzing, Italy and Beyond
If you’re planning an Italy road trip, Sterzing is a wonderful town to include. The Zwölferturm (Twelfth Tower) is the highest building in Vipiteno and a landmark in South Tyrol. According to tradition, the name Zwölferturm comes from the fact that its 12 o’clock strike calls the city’s inhabitants to lunch. I highly recommend a visit during the Christmas market from the end of November to the beginning of January. (If you’re looking for more Christmas markets in Europe, Munich also has some lovely options!)
Around Sterzing, there’s a lot to visit. If you want to combine it with a trip to the bigger cities, you can easily drive to Bolzano or Merano, Italy, for a day trip or Innsbruck, Austria.
There’s also the possibility of visiting different castles while staying in Sterzing. Castle Reifenstein is one that’s definitely worth a visit. As one of the best-preserved castles in South Tyrol, the 12th-century walls are still intact. Near the castle, which can only be visited with a guided tour, is the small church of St. Zeno (built in 1330), where coffins made of tree trunks (from the 4th-8th century) were found. The rich history here is a sight to see!
I’m fortunate to have already visited all of the nearby cities, and since I prefer spending my time in nature, we sought out a new adventure on this Italy road trip – tobogganing on the longest toboggan run in Italy. And let me tell you, that was pure joy!
The Way of K – Italy’s Longest Toboggan Run
While in Sterzing, we walked from the hotel through the village to the Rosskopfbahn / Monte Cavallo. We took the cable car up 1,860 meters (6,102 feet) to the top station to find our next adventure awaiting – the longest toboggan run in Italy! Here, you’ll find 10 kilometers (just over 6 miles) of slopes, where you can whiz through the winter landscape, even at night with illuminated slopes.
The toboggan run leads you through an enchanting forest landscape with magnificent panoramic views, back to the starting point at the valley station in Sterzing. You can rent the toboggans at the cable car station – the fun is automatically included!
Are you planning an Italy road trip soon? What stops are on your wish list? Let me know in the comments below or on my Instagram!
Special thank you to Hotel Haus am Turm for hosting us for part of our stay. As always, the hotel reviews and opinions shared on my blog are entirely my own.