“We’re going to the Alps!” What is your first reaction to this sentence? Sure, we’re heading for the snow-covered slopes…. and did you know that there are more than 1,600 agritourism farms waiting for you in South Tyrol, ready to accommodate young and old alike? Today about an interesting idea for a trip to the Alps!
We were not drawn to agritourism. As a rule, we treated our accommodations only as a resting place, and spent our days in the field. Until then! Traveling with children changes a lot in the style of travel, and we would be hypocrites if we wrote that our trips are still the same.
Absolutely not! Our travel puts the attractions for the little ones first, and only secondarily those for adults. We go where we know we will find something that will also interest the youngest part of our little team. Besides, we don’t see the point in traveling to fulfill only our parents’ ambitions. Unnecessary tension, haste, stress…. Why do we need it? Traveling is all about spending time together and exploring the world together.
It is this spending time together that we place above ticking off more “must see” sites. We are slowly learning to travel consciously with children, who really need little to be happy. Sometimes all you need is a yard or a playroom, animals on the farm and good company, and a great time is guaranteed. Of course, we wouldn’t be ourselves if we locked ourselves in one resort for a week, it’s just that traveling together is the art of compromise, and we’re writing about one such compromise today :)
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What is Roter Hahn?
Since Olive has become more aware, we not only choose places where there are interesting attractions in the area for toddlers, but we also look at making the hotel suitable for us. It all depends on the place, of course, but we like how there is the mentioned playground or some games on site (unfortunately, the truth is also that we spend quite little time in hotels, and when we are in them we fall down from fatigue ;-)). Not long ago, we also began to look more intensively for guesthouses, resorts or agritourisms that offer more than just a playground with a swing and a sandbox.
And this is where Roter Hahn, the South Tyrolean agritourism organization, came to the rescue. And we will write here right away and emphasize very strongly that this is not a portal in the style of Slow Hop, which is well-known in Poland. It is more… Roter Hahn supports agritourism, promotes it, helps it develop, but also imposes certain standards.
It has its own scale measured in flowers (something like hotel stars), so you can easily compare different places and offers. The organization makes sure that these are places that cultivate local crops and cultures. One of the requirements is that 70% of the products served in restaurants should come from local crops, 30% of which should be from a specific farm. In addition, depending on the flowers, the breakfast must include a certain number of products from a specific farm. And the hosts make sure that everything a guest is served is the freshest and best.
Another example of one of the requirements to ensure tranquility and a good atmosphere is the limitation on the number of rooms/apartments per farm. Well, within the associated places you will not find any that has more than 5 apartments/rooms.
Some requirements apply to all farms, and some depend on the number of flowers. Thus, for example, in each the host must live on site, and in those with five stars at least one family member must be available around the clock. Those with the most flowers, for example, must have wooden floors in the bedrooms or serve at least six products from the farm for breakfast. Anyway, you can see for yourself on the Roter Hahn website how many criteria you can choose from when searching for the perfect vacation farm.
And believe us there is a lot to choose from! We have been to three, completely different places, and each had its own vibe (from animal husbandry to herbalism to winemaking). Below are our observations and impressions :) We write about them so that you can see how many interesting accommodations there are in the area and the wide range of attractions they offer. We are confident that everyone will find something interesting for themselves.
Organic farm – Oberpalwitter in Barbian
Christine is the owner of the farm in Barbian where we stayed overnight. She is an incredibly hospitable woman who seems to know everything about plants, and her home is full of plant accents. This sizable building is erected on a slope. Guests live on the floors of the house, while the hosts live downstairs.
This building is not surrounded by a large area where animals graze…. On the contrary, it is located on a not very busy local road, there is a large carpenter’s shop next door, and only around you will find small pens and cages with animals. Cristina primarily raises chickens, but also has quail, rabbits, guinea pigs, a goat and cats. Children can help with cleaning and feeding the animals, but also play with them.
But animals are not its main asset. Christine is a specialist when it comes to herbs and spices. Across the street is a fenced-off area where 150 (!) species of plants (including 50 types of mint alone!) are harvested and prepared for sale as potted or dried herbs and spices. You can stock up on fresh herbs and teas at her store next door.
The landlady is a very open and willing to help. He gives tours of his estate, talks about the plants he knows all about, and organizes various activities and workshops with plants for the youngest. On top of that, he travels to local farms and helps with cooking workshops. He will soon open another garden, this time for educational purposes – wild plants both edible and poisonous will be grown here.
We spent the night in a spacious two-bedroom apartment with a kitchen and a huge terrace. We had fantastic views from both the windows and the terrace, over the valley with Bolzano below. Our only regret is that we missed a little better weather, because we dreamed of eating breakfast or dinner on the terrace with such a view! :)
We were also impressed with the breakfasts themselves. We were very surprised initially by the way the food was ordered and served. Well, each family gets a sheet on which each day they mark what they would like to get for breakfast the next day. When morning came, around 7:30-8:00 a.m., a basket with fresh produce would appear at our door, from which we could prepare breakfast. Among them were, of course, such things as cottage cheese with herbs, herbal tea and cake with edible flowers!
Staying here was a great experience. Even in the heaviest rain, Olive was eager to go outside to play with toys and help with the animals. She also participated in a mini workshop using plants to create different patterns and imprinting them on materials.
Farm with animals – Widmannhof
It is a family-owned, large farm that features a riding school and wellness. It has been passed down from generation to generation, and its origins date all the way back to the 14th century! Initially there were modest guest rooms here, but over time the place has grown and now offers suites enhanced with a wellness area.
We had the opportunity to talk to the owners of the farm and learn about their business along with all the residents. And believe us there was someone to greet with :)
There are more than a dozen cows here, as well as a bull. We were lucky that we just happened to arrive after the night when the calf was born, so we were able to see the cow with less than a day old “baby”. – although such a small one it was no longer :)
Unlike large farms, everything here is done naturally, with the owners merely assisting and on standby should something go wrong. The cows here are fed only organic feed and thus give much less milk than cows on mass farms. Anyway, the ones here are a special breed that are smaller than those bred just for the most milk. Thanks to their lighter weight, they can be easily grazed on sloping land and do not damage the ground with their weight.
In addition to cows, the farm has horses and ponies, on which the youngest can learn to ride in a fenced paddock and an indoor riding arena. In addition, rams and donkeys live here, and slowly, cats run around the farm. Each animal is given a name and treated like a member of the family. Of course, guests living here can take part in feeding the animals or cleaning the pens.
What other attractions are prepared here for the youngest? A playroom awaits the children … In the hay! One room was set aside here, a swing was installed, a climbing wall, lots of hay was added, and the kids are having an amazing time. There is also a room with toys, foosball, and painting walls, but it is the one with hay that is by far the more popular. We (or more precisely, Olive) particularly liked the wooden house with a playground.
What about for adults? When children are playing adults are relaxing! Here you will find a beautifully arranged wellness area with saunas and loungers for relaxing with such views:
Winery – Rielinger-Hof
That’s right! You can even live among the vines and get a sneak peek at how the local wine is made in agritourism resorts. Located at the end of the road, the farm offers not only beautiful views, but also delicious food. As in other places, we will also meet farm animals, see vegetable beds and playgrounds, and this is not just a place for wine lovers.
The place we visited is unique for many reasons.
The first is the one already mentioned – wine is produced on site, and the building with apartments is located above rows of climbing vines. The vineyard is located on a sunny slope, which provides the best conditions for the vines. The owner is happy to give a tour of the vineyard and reveal secrets and trivia about viticulture. We were surprised to learn that about 2,000 bottles of wine are produced here annually.
Second – the views! It was here that we had some of the most beautiful views of the valley. It is the perfect place to sit on a bench with a glass of wine and enjoy the scenery. It’s worth taking a closer look, because down near the farm are the ruins of a castle visible from the hillside, first mentioned in the early 13th century.
Third, there is a restaurant on site, so even if you don’t decide to stay overnight, we recommend you come to try the local delicacies. Of course, most of the products from which the dishes are prepared come from local crops and farms.
Fourth, you don’t have to come here specifically, but you can stop here along the way, as a walking trail passes through the farm. Many people make a stop here and sip wine in beautiful natural settings.
And these reasons we could list quite a few more, but we are mainly interested in showing you how diverse accommodations can be found in the area.
As you can see, the region offers a very wide range of accommodations. With the standards provided and clear criteria, travelers have an easier time selecting farms that meet their requirements.
Although perhaps the choice, however, is not an easy one, because the number of accommodations, their variety and the attractions on site make you want to stay for at least a few days in each of them!
We liked it and we liked it a lot! Time spent in the countryside, among the animals, with workshops, delicious organic food, plus a view of the Alps is an unforgettable time.
You can see the entire offer on this page.
Finally, one note: with reservations in some houses can be a problem, because visitors like to book well in advance and return to their favorite places ;-)
The entry was created in cooperation with the Roter Hahn organization.