Kastelruth (Italian: Castelrotto) is in South Tyrol. Perched at about 1,000m above sea level in the Dolomites, this small town is a good place to stay while exploring the nearby Seiser Alm (Italian: Alpi Di Siusi) alpine meadow and the surrounding peaks.
There are two major sources of income - tourism and agriculture. There are two tourism seasons - summer and winter (for the skiing). From January to March, there is little to no activity in the town. During the summer, the hills are green everywhere, with only the tallest and distant peaks of the Dolomites being bare. Like most towns in South Tyrol, there is a dual cultural and culinary identity: German and Italian. Natives are fluent in both languages, and outside of people directly dealing with tourists, spoken English is a rarity.
The town is 50 minutes by bus from Bolzano along a very winding and scenic view. In the summer, the 170 bus goes stops at Kastelruth but continues onto Ortisei during the day. However, in the evenings, the route gets truncated to end in Kastelruth. Winter schedules may be different. The bus timetables are accessible via the internet and should be consulted before finalizing plans. The town of Seis is higher in altitude than Kastelruth, but comes before it on the 170 route. The main bus stop is in the center of town. Buses are fewer in frequency on a Sunday. The bus stop, in Bolzano, for the 170, is right outside the train station, a little to the right (when facing away from the station). Tickets can be purchased from the bus driver. Other train station stops close to the town are the Intercity and Eurocity stops at Brixen (Italian: Bressanone) and Klausen (Italian: Chiusa).
The town itself is quite small and very walkable. Tourists staying in town and in the region can get (for free, from their hotel or lodging) the "Live" / "MobileCard". This may not be provided automatically, so ask! This card allows one free travel on the regional buses from / to Seiser Alm and below. The card cannot be purchased from Bolzano. So one will have to buy the bus tickets to get into town, from Bolzano, but once one gets the "Live" card, one can return to Bolzano for free.
Kastelruth is a small town and there are no major sights. There is a bell tower (for the Church of Saints Peter and Paul) that dominates the town skyline, and eating establishments that cluster around it in the center of the town. In the nearby village of Seis am Schlern one can visit the ruins of Castelvecchio - which is a castle that dates back to medieval times. For a brief period in its history, the Tyrolean 14th century poet Oswald von Wolkenstein lived in this castle. One of the central streets in Kastelruth is named after him.
- Marinzen chair lift. In the summer, this lift can take hikers up to the Marinzen alpine meadow. Its base point is located close to the center of town. This is different from the Marinzen ski lift which operates from a nearby ski resort area during the winter
- There is plenty of hiking that can be done. The cable car at the nearby town of Seis (Italian: Siusi) - which is reachable by the 3 / 3A bus service - will take one up to Compatsch (Italian: Compaccio), from where there are numerous hiking trails on the Alpi Di Siusi. There are "huts" to be found along many of these trails - which can in many cases be a restaurant that provides hot food.
- Fallhof farm (Italian: Maso Falhof). This family farm produces and sells various artisanal cheese at various degrees of aging.
- Restaurant Saalstuben, V. Oswald von Wolkenstein, O.-von-Wolkenstein-Strasse 12, 39040 Kastelruth. Good food and service at this full-service restaurant that is close to the town center.
- Hotel zum Wolf (Hotel al Lupo), Oswald von Wolkenstein street 5 (right behind the busbahnhof in the center of town). Mid-range place that has good rooms, with included breakfast, and a self-service bar that operates on the honor system
- There are many agriturismo establishments in the area. These are bed and breakfasts with the added twist of being part of a functioning farm. Some of these may be close to regional bus stops, but many are reachable only by car. The accommodations will be rustic, and not as polished as a hotel experience might be. However, staying at a farm can be a great experience, and on selected days, the produce of the farm (cheeses, fruits, etc) may be directly available for purchase.
- 1 Hotel Villa Kastelruth, Via Platten n. 9 (in the center), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Built in 1903 as an alpine nursing home. 28 renovated rooms in the town centre. Sunny garden, year-round heated outdoor pool & jacuzzi and panoramic saunas. The lifts to the Alpe di Siusi (Dolomit Superski area) can easily be reached by car or (free) shuttlebus. The hotel offers guided hikes in summer and skiguiding and snowshoe hikes in the snow in winter.
The Seiser Alm is, of course, the big attraction. But there are other nearby towns and villages that have their own charm. The nearest village - Seis am Schlern (Italian: Siusi allo Sciliar) is at the foothills of the Schlern, and which lends its name to the Seiser Alm. It has a couple of interesting churches and castles which are worth exploring. The nearest towns that could be a next visit destination are Sankt Ulrich, and Klausen. A little further to the north, is Brixen, and much further to the north, is the Austrian city of Innsbruck. To the south-west, lies the closest city: Bolzano - where there are museums and other city attractions.