Facts and useful information about the Gitschberg Jochtal area
The Gitschberg Jochtal Ski and Holiday Area is the perfect holiday destination for hikers, skiers, families, sporty holidaymakers, culture vultures... well, actually for everyone! Whether you prefer to spend your holiday exploring fascinating natural landscapes, challenging your limits on a punchy mountain climb or taking leisurely strolls through the historical centres of picturesque Alpine villages, memorable experiences are guaranteed. Even if you are not an active type and your idea of a perfect holiday has more to do with restful enjoyment, you will get your money’s worth here, with plenty of quiet, panoramic corners inviting you to sit back and enjoy a picnic.
Ok, this is enough for an introduction… but perhaps you still have questions. To help you get to know our holiday resort better, we have drawn up a list of frequently asked questions about the area and its highlights and opportunities. Have fun browsing!
Where is the Gitschberg Jochtal area?
The Gitschberg Jochtal Ski and Holiday Area is located north-east of Brixen at the entrance to the Pustertal valley, in South Tyrol. Here is a map where you can view the exact location of Meransen, Mühlbach, Pfunders, Rodeneck, Spinges, Terenten, Vals, Vintl and Weitental and find out details about each village. You can get to all of them by taking the Brixen-Vahrn exit on the A22 Brenner motorway and driving past Schabs into the Pustertal valley. A tip: in some cases, the roads into the villages or to the starting points of hiking paths are narrow. If you would rather avoid these, we recommend using public transport – the local network is reliable and very well organised.
How high is Mt. Gitschberg?
The summit of Mt. Gitschberg reaches 2,512 metres. If you would like to climb to the top, we recommend the Gitschberg lift, which takes you to an altitude of 2,113 metres. From there, you can follow the easy path that takes you past the Gitschhütte hut and across a panoramic meadow all the way to the summit. The panorama from up there encompasses over 500 different peaks – a real spectacle!
Fun fact: Mt. Gitschberg is not just a panoramic mountain, it’s also viewed as “one of the family” by the citizens of Meransen.
What summer activities can I do in the area?
In summer, the Gitschberg Jochtal area is first and foremost a hiker’s paradise. There is something for everyone, from leisurely family walks like the Elves’ trail, leading you through peaceful woodland, to challenging but highly panoramic climbs like the Big Five – i.e. Wilde Kreuzspitze, Napfspitze, Eidechsspitze, Seefeldspitze and Astjoch, the five highest peaks. The area is equally attractive for passionate cyclists, with a wealth of cycle paths leading through lush green landscapes. Speaking of landscapes… when you think you’ve seen them all, that is the perfect time to book a paragliding flight, and see the villages and the wide alpine meadows from a new perspective.
What winter activities can I do in the area?
In winter, the Gitschberg Jochtal ski resort welcomes skiers and snowboarders of every age group and skill level. You can show off your prowess or learn the ropes, while your children are well looked after and having a good time in the ski kindergarten or learning their first moves on the skis under the supervision of qualified instructors. There are plenty of cosy Alpine huts where you can warm up with a good meal or just a hot beverage. Naturally, you don’t have to be a skier or snowboarder to enjoy the snow – there are lots of experiences you can enjoy off the busy slopes. For example, you can exercise and improve your cardiovascular system on three cross-country ski trails, race your loved ones to the bottom on four toboggan runs, and take a walk on the many well-signposted and perfectly maintained winter walking paths. A few peaks are also accessible in winter, offering elating views of the snow-coated mountains all around. Ski-touring enthusiasts can look forward to rewarding ascents and thrilling descents on the powder snow!
How many kilometres of ski pistes are there?
The Gitschberg Jochtal ski area features 25 pistes with a total length of 55 kilometres, and it is served by 15 lifts. As you reach the starting point of your snow adventures, don’t forget to take in the unique panorama from the cable car!
Almabtrieb – the cattle drive in Meransen
The cattle drive takes place in Meransen between late September and early October, depending on the weather. It is one of the largest drives from the Alpine pastures in South Tyrol and it never fails to attract numerous spectators from near and far. After a summer spent on the lush green Alpine pastures, the herds of cows, sheep and goats are decorated with headdresses of flowers and ringing bells and driven back home to the valley. The head cow, the one leading the herd, wears the most elaborate headdress of all, as a sign of gratitude that the herd has been safe from harm throughout the summer. The event is usually accompanied by a colourful festival, with traditional music, whip cracking shows, Schuhplattlern folk dance and traditional local fare such as Tirtlan – a type of fried dumpling with savoury filling – or sweet Krapfen.
The Brixnerhütte hut
Brixnerhütte is an Alpine refuge at 2,282 metres in the Pfunders mountains. It was established in 1909 by the South Tyrolean Alpine Club, which developed the existing structure of an old hunting lodge. At that time, it was still an unmanaged, self-catering hut, and it was expanded in 1911. During the Second World War, the hut was run by the Italian Alpine Club. It fell into disrepair, but was eventually rebuilt and reopened on 2 September 1973.
The Brixnerhütte hut is an excellent destination for a family hike, as it is easily accessible from Vals. You can get there by walking (or taking the shuttle) first to Fane Alm, the most beautiful Alpine village in South Tyrol. From there, all you need do is follow the signposted path to the Brixnerhütte hut. It sleeps 35, and is open from the end of June to the beginning of October. The hut is also the perfect overnight stop when touring the Wilde Kreuzspitze peak. Spend a night there, watch the sun rise spectacularly over the mountains and then continue your ascent to the highest peak in the Pfunders mountains. You will also come to the Brixnerhütte hut if you decide to walk the Pfunders High Mountain trail, a 71.7 kilometre, six-stage itinerary from Sterzing to St. Georgen.
The Wilde Kreuzspitze peak
At 3,132 metres high, Wilde Kreuzspitze is the highest peak of the Pfunders mountains. It towers over the Wildensee lake, commanding a fantastic panoramic view of the Zillertal Alps. To climb to the top of Wilde Kreuzspitze, you can start off at the Fane Alm car park, or get to Fane Alm by shuttle. Fane Alm is officially the most beautiful Alpine village in South Tyrol, and always worth a visit. From there, you can continue to the Brixnerhütte hut (2,282 metres), where you can either catch a breather before continuing your ascent or spend the night. Whatever your choice, the view from the Brixnerhütte hut is great and includes the majestic Wurmaulspitze to the right. From the hut, you can continue along the Pfunders High Mountain trail to the Rauhtaljoch saddle (2,807 metres), which is usually still covered in snow fields even in summer (you don’t have to cross them, but they deserve a photo!) and affords a wonderful view of the Pfunders mountains. From there, you will reach the summit in about 45 minutes. Let the panorama work its magic and savour that unique feeling of freedom you can only experience standing 3,000 metres above sea level. To get back, you can either retrace your steps or choose the alternative route that goes past the crystal-clear Wildensee lake and the Labesebenalm pasture.
A paradise for families
The Gitschberg Jochtal holiday area is nothing short of a paradise for children. Summer or winter, you can take your pick from countless exciting activities and attractions. For example, have you ever heard of the Jochtal Adventure Park? It is an adventure trail leading from the Jochtalbahn cable car mountain terminal to the Steinermandl panoramic platform, with several stations along the way designed to keep the little ones enthused and amused, with a petting zoo, a water park, a balance course, a climbing feature, hammocks and much more. Another park entirely dedicated to children and families is the Gitschberg Sun Park, located right by the mountain terminal of the Nesselbahn lift. The park is pram-friendly and offers children a whole host of entertaining and educational attractions, such as the Sun bridge, a giant slide, the Sun throne and the Sun telephone. Near Vintl there is the Elves’ trail, where you and you little explorer can observe wild animals from up close and marvel at the 43-metre-high Vintl waterfall.
“And what about winter?” you might ask. Rest assured: the Gitschberg Jochtal ski resort is extremely family-friendly. There are ski kindergartens where children can play and enjoy the snow and ski schools where they can learn how to ski, while their parents carve their way down the slopes. If your children are already familiar with the moves, take them to the Gimmy Fun Ride terrain park, where they can let off some steam with jumps, tunnels and other features.
Are you in the mood for a toboggan ride with the family? Then head off to Terenten, where you can choose between the beginner-friendly run right in the village centre or the longer toboggan run that descends from the Pertinger Alm back into the village. Naturally, the ski area has its own tobogganing run, too – the Brimi Winter Run is a two-stretch launching platform towards a world of fun.
Surprise your children with a memorable mountain holiday!
The Dance of the Vampires
The name might remind you of Roman Polański’s cult film, but this is something different. Here in the Gitschberg-Jochtal holiday area, the Dance of the Vampires is a much beloved ski party that is held at the Jochtal mountain restaurant every Tuesday night during the winter season. On those nights, the Jochtal cable car runs from 8.00 p.m. until 11.00 p.m. and the ski hire shop stays open until midnight so that you can get the equipment you need for the party – not just skis and snowboards, but also touring skis and snowshoes. The Dance of the Vampires is fun to take part in and also beautiful to look at, when chains of lights snake upwards in the dark along the lift route and hiking trails.
Important notice: between 5.00 p.m. and 6.00 p.m. the pistes are closed for maintenance, and ski-touring is also only allowed from 6.00 p.m. Make sure you get back to the valley by 11.30 p.m. as the pistes are closed again for maintenance after that hour.