Less known and emblazoned with other South Tyrolean valleys, the Aurina Valley (Ahrntal) is one of the best kept secrets of the Alps. Breathtaking mountains, prodigious nature, waterfalls, fairy-tale villages, thousand-year-old stories and good food. Need anything else?
Of the more than 80 mountains over 3000m in altitude dominating the Valle Aurina-Ahrntal, many belong to the Zillertal Alps rising to the north, west and south-west, though some lie within the beautiful Rieserferner-Ahrn Nature Park. In this area there is water wherever you look. Thundering mountain streams, crystal-clear lakes and spectacular waterfalls draw hikers, mountaineers and mountain bikers. In winter the frozen waterfalls and lakes can be explored on snowshoes or touring skis. Two ski resorts, Speikboden and Klausberg, are also easily accessible from this quiet corner of South Tyrol.
The traditional local food served in the region’s huts is a reflection of the landscape itself: fresh, honest and hearty. Delicacies from the region such as Schlutzkrapfen and Käseknödel are made using produce sourced from the valley, much of which is still made and sold on site at the farm. Cheeses, as Ahrntaler Graukäse, made using milk from sheep, cows or goats are often manufactured in small local daries.
It is little wonder that the people of this remote region appreciate good, hearty food. After all, for many centuries the main source of income in the area was mining. Visitors today can visit the mines in Prettau where men would search underground for copper. The mine closed once the copper reserves had been exhausted, forcing the population to find other ways of earning a living. Many women turned to lace-making.
Discovering the Ahrntal Valley is a privilege that must be communicated, perhaps by participating in one of the most important food-related events in Europe: the Käse festival, Cheese Festival.
From 13 to 15 March 2020 visitors will have the opportunity to meet over one hundred exhibitors with almost a thousand types of cheese, local and European, for what is the most significant event in the Alpine region.