While on the train to Rothenburg recently I got this text from my friend Iqbal asking if I’d be interested in going to South Tyrol with a whole crew of awesome Instagrammers during the last week of April. For me this meant having to skip two days of uni and straining the student budget even more for travel. Needless to say I agreed.
If you’re following my Insta Story you already got a real-time glimpse of what was going on. If you’re not following my Insta Story… you should! I’m posting heaps of content while on the road that’ll be gone after 24 hours.
So my day started pretty early at 4.40 am on Thursday to catch the bus to Munich, where I met the rest of the squad: Iqbal, Nana, Eko and Ngoc (her name is pronounced “Nap” – how cool is that? :D). Definitely check out their Instagrams as their photography is downright stunning!
We picked up our rental car and headed south right into the Alps. If you don’t happen to live in the mountains you might know that feeling when you first see those rocky giants appear on the horizon. It always makes me feel so small while I’m constantly staring out of the window in awe.
We had rented a super cozy Airbnb in Auronzo di Cadore as our home base and had made a list of places in the surrounding area we wanted to visit. This definitely makes sense if you want to be more spontaneous. If you have a rather fixed itinerary you might want to look into moving around road trip style and into booking accommodation for the individual places.
As we had decided to explore the area from our home base this included a whole lot of getting up early, driving around and staying up late 😀 It was definitely exhausting but SO worth it. Now let me take you through some of the places we visited. As we were really mainly photographing (plus eating and chasing cats, haha) there will be less text in this post but more stunning nature. Spoiler: I didn’t expect to see that much snow again that far into the year. I really didn’t. Also, I didn’t expect to literally experience all 4 seasons during those 4 days.
Lago di Braies
When we arrived at this Instagram-perfect lake the weather was all foggy and moody – exactly the kind of atmosphere I love for my photos. Plus, as we were total early birds there was absolutely NOBODY there – yay! Because I’m
completely insane a very disciplined and cooperative model I volunteered to walk into the ice-cold lake at 2° C for some shots. I personally think it was worth it – what do you think? 😀 As I was just getting my shoes back on it started snowing really heavily. The fog and the snow muffled nature’s sounds and created a super magical silence.
Tre Cime di Lavaredo
The Three Peaks are another famous spot that’s definitely worth visiting. At first we wanted to drive / hike up before sunrise for some spectacular shots. However, you’ll have to pass a gate which is closed at night. So no sunrise shots here. If you’re planning to visit be sure to check opening times in advance as they also depend on the season.
Lago di Carezza
Woah guys, this place. When we arrived this was a true winter wonderland. Although I wasn’t really in the mood for winter anymore this scenery completely changed my mind. The pure white of the fresh snow really brought out the emerald green color of the lake while the majestic mountains made for a super spectacular backdrop. Apparently the lake seems to be far larger in summer though 😀 We were a bit confused to find a large fenced in area around a comparatively small lake and weren’t sure if it was solid ground or ice down there. We still haven’t found out to this point 😀
Lago di Misurina
This famous lake was pretty close to both Tre Cime and our Airbnb. It’s usually known for its reflection of the mountain range in the background and the hotel at its shore. However, when we arrived the day was so foggy we couldn’t see any reflection at all. As we proceeded to take some photos the fog even swallowed the hotel on the far side of the lake. I personally found the eerily beautiful scenery even prettier than the hotel with its reflection…
This place was awesome. I don’t even know the exact altitude where we stopped but there was so much snow and so much sun. We took some really cool shots although a couple of other people had the same idea. Somebody constantly had to watch out and warn the others by shouting “CAR!!!” while they were busy standing or sitting on the road 😀 But seriously – this location looked like straight out of some outdoor gear catalogue, doesn’t it?
Ortisei / Seceda
A huge must-do on our list was Seceda, a mountain close to the town of Ortisei. We were determined to capture some really stunning shots at about 2500 m altitude as the mountain is a really interesting photo spot. I would actually just show you a picture so you can see why. Except…
As late April is off-season there was no cable car going up. As I mentioned we were determined so we geared up and started hiking. The trail was pretty steep but the fog had cleared and the weather was fantastic. The sun was shining so bright we actually feared we might get sunburnt. At about 1200 m there was still snow and it got more and more the higher we climbed. At 1500 m we were kind of exhausted and rested in the shade of a little cabin where we got to meet its owner. We took the chance to ask him for the best way to get to the top. His answer was: “Don’t go.” Apparently with the amount of snow they had got during the past couple of days the mountain was completely unhikeable. Yeah wow. We battled our disappointment by telling ourselves that the hike was a great workout and did the only reasonable thing: we hiked back into town and had burgers at Café Four in Ortisei. They were delicious.
The bottom line
I’m not gonna lie – South Tyrol is a paradise for nature lovers, outdoor enthusiasts and photographers alike. Be prepared to pull over every two minutes for a photo stop while driving. We were lucky enough to even have a photo drone with us to snap some awesome aerial views of the meandering roads. I could’ve just wandered off into the woods and taken a billion more photos with fog and empty streets and wooden cabins and the mountains always in the background. I’m definitely coming back!
Thanks so much to the whole crew for an amazing time!
Have you been to South Tyrol? Please let me know in the comments!