Castle in the Dolomite Mountains, Italy
If you want a unique, cross-cultural experience, try driving from Verona (Italy) to Innsbruck in Austria. It’s only at the very end–when crossing into Innsbruck–that you arrive in Austria. Yet, arriving in in South Tyol (also known as Alto Adige or Sudtirol) in northern Italy, it already feels Germanic–and Italian at the same time (and everyone is bilingual)! These mountains hold some of Europe’s most precious, unexplored gems: a trip through the Dolomite’s, especially outside of ski season, feels like a trip back in time to the age of exploration. And even better, the Dolomite region of Italy has the highest concentration of medieval castles in Italy, with 400 fortresses, castles and medieval structures rising up from its hills. Whether you play “I spy a castle” from your window while traversing the region, or whether you find a snug mountain town or village to use as a home base to discover the region on foot, the Dolomite mountains, especially South Tyrol, is not a region to miss!