The Widmann bridge in Brixen
The starting point of your tour is not in the city center of Brixen, but the Widmann bridge. Walk out of the city in the direction of Köstland, cross the river Eisack and begin your tour on the other side of the river. You should see a solid road ahead of you right after the bridge on your left, walk towards it and follow the road Rienzdamm. At the first possible opportunity turn right. You should see the Karnolbach creek and a trail marked with the number 6 ahead of you, which you will follow now for a while. The first couple of miles you will be walking through a forest steadily uphill. Once you have reached a small village called Karnol you should stop and take a quick break, eat and regain some energy. In Karnol you should definitely visit the St. Johann church, which is famous for its astounding frescoes.
Historic churches on the side of the road
After you passed through the village you will no longer be hiking on trail number 6. Once you have reached the main street find the intersection to the crossroad Karnol. This road runs parallel to the main street and leads you past the Mairdorf village all the way to the foothills of St. Andrä. Here you can make another quick stop admiring the St. Andreas church and even visit the inside if you want to. Take a right on main street onto the path marked with the number 12. Down this path the St. Johann church is another highlight waiting for you.
Through the woods back to the start
Right behind the church is a path marked with the number 7, which you follow for a very short time until you reach a path marked with the number 8. This one leads you to the St. Nikolaus church in Klerant, which you should not miss on this church tour. The trail is now relatively easy and you walk mostly downhill and through tiny villages. After reaching the town of Rifnoler you change onto trail number 7. On this path you will pass by the church “Maria am Sand” (translated: Maria at the sand) where you will find an exciting and beautiful ceiling design. Your hike continues through the district of Milland, passing the last church on your tour and return to Brixen.
Where to eat
On this tour there are plenty of opportunities to get food and drink, so technically you would not need to bring anything with you. The numerous cottages all have restaurants where you can eat, drink and relax. In Karnol a good place to take a break would be the Torgglerhof. In Tyrol there are also many possible stops, such as the Gasserhof in St. Andrä. Last but not least there is a place called Fischer in Klerant where you can grab a bite to eat.
- You're traveling a distance of 6 miles on this easy trail. Average length of all hikes in South Tyrol is 7 miles.
- You're facing an uphill climb of 358 vertical meters on this hike. The high point of the hike is located at an elevation of 3255 ft.
- This easy hike is perfect for the whole family. The hike is also perfect if the kid’s wanna bring their dog on the trip. (See all dog friendly hikes in South Tyrol.)
- Hiking boots are not required, but the hike might be more enjoyable with sturdy footwear (especially in wet conditions). If you get hungry along the way, there are places to rest and get food. Nevertheless it’s recommended to also have enough water and food in your backpack when hiking or biking.
Highlights of the tour
The hike is about 10 kilometers (6.2 mi) long and leads you through the foothills of Brixen. Although the trail sounds long, it is definitely a hike for families. This day-trip is also manageable with smaller kids. The many sights, attractions and rest-stop alongside the path are always inviting to take a quick break and look around, eat something and rest. The tour does not seem as long when you stop multiple times to enjoy the beautiful buildings and landscapes. The first church is the St. Johann church in Karnol, a couple of villages after Brixen. It resides on top of a rather steep hill so you will certainly not miss it on your tour. It was built in 1133 but has been remodeled over the years. During the 15th century even the style changed to a late Gothic style and frescoes were added over the years.
The following church highlight resides in Mellaun. You will not only find an interesting building in St. Johann, but the blue skies of the church are what will really fascinate you. The church is famous mostly because of its frescoes, which were made by Leonhard of Brixen. You will be able to gaze upon actual cultural heritage. If at this point you still crave more beautifully embellished religious sites, you should stop in Klerant to find another interesting church. At first the St. Nikolaus Church seems ordinary, but inside you can find more frescoes by Leonhard of Brixen, who notably worked on the church choir in 1470.
If you start seeing the foothills of Brixen, you will be led to the pilgrimage church “Maria am Sand”. You will recognize it from far away with its colorful designed rooftops. But on the inside even more so, the church has many things to offer. The black altar with gold embellishments is definitely worth a visit. At the end of your tour you should visit the parish church to Saint Josef. Built in the 80s it represents a more modern design of a religious site, compared to churches in Baroque or Gothic style.
Another highlight might be the Karlspromenade (translated: promenade of Karl). This part of the trail was constructed in honor of archduke Karl, who was the last emperor of Austria and ruled in this position until 1922.
You can also walk the round-trip the other way around, meaning you turn left after the Widmann bridge. You can also change the tour when you walk north at the church “Maria am Sand”, traversing the Karlspromenade and finally reaching the Lüsen-Straße street, which would be the starting point of your tour.
Starting in InnsbruckLeaving the city of Innsbruck you first drive onto the Inntal Autobahn (highway) A12. Whenever possible drive onto the Brennerautobahn (highway) A13, which you will follow for 34,5 kilometers (21.1 mi). After that you will continue driving on the E45. Take the exit in the direction of Brixen-Pustertal, from where you will be led over the SS49 onto the SS12, which will take you directly to Brixen.
Starting in BruneckLeave the city in the direction of Sonnenburg and drive on the SS49 until the exit Natz-Schabs. Over Schabs, Neustift and Vahrn you get to Brixen.
Starting in BozenLeave the city driving in southern direction and onto the SS12. When possible drive onto the Brennerautobahn (highway) A22, which you need to follow for 24 kilometers (15 mi). At the exit Klaus-Gröden you will be led via the SS242d onto the SS12. Stay on the right side of the road until the Venetostraße street leads you directly to Brixen.
Possible parking spaces are for example at the parking garage Stufels in Elvaserstraße street.
By public transportation
Starting in Bozen there is an EC (Eurocity) leaving regularly to München Hauptbahnhof (central station). This train will get you to Brixen in about 30 minutes. There are also through-trains to Brixen starting in Innsbruck, so you should have no problem finding the starting point with public transportation.