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Farm Holidays in Ulten: an original valley

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Farm holidays in Ulten
Tradition still very much kept alive and unspoilt nature: anyone spending a Farm Holiday in Ulten will understand why commotion and turmoil are unknown concepts here.

Plenty of water and original – this is how Ultental valley could be described. Numerous mountain lakes, several reservoirs, healing springs, steep meadow slopes and dense coniferous forest form part of this area, which covers around forty kilometres from the glaciers at the end of the valley to the Gaulschlucht gorge in Lana. Several farmsteads are a few centuries old and have traditional shingle roofs. The lifestyle of this valley is a rural one. Ulten locals lead a quiet, modest existence, mainly earning money from livestock farming. You can choose between various villages for a Farm Holiday in Ultental: St. Pankraz, St. Walburg, Kuppelwies, St. Nikolaus and St. Gertraud.

A Farm Holiday in Ulten: Tradition and sustainability
The five Pilshöfen farmsteads in St. Gertraud can show people today how hard life once was for mountain farmers in South Tyrol. The extremely steep mountain meadows are still farmed by hand. There used to be around 50 inhabitants here, but today there is just a young couple and a few elderly people. The Ulten locals have not let themselves get taken over by the hectic pace of modern life and the mania for innovation. The farmers keep hens, cows, pigs, sheep and goats. Lots of them still smoke their 'Speck' in 'Selchkammern' curing cellars, which used to be found on every farm. In spring, they plant vegetables and herbs and in summer, when the cattle are grazing on the high mountain pastures, fragrant hay is harvested in the valley. The famous 'Almabtrieb' takes place in autumn. This involves cows adorned with large bells and elaborate wreathes being led back down to the valley, welcomed by a big festival where 'Goaßschnöller' put on a show of cracking their leather whips. The 'Ultner Einscheller' also play a part. On their shoulders they carry old yokes of draft animals with bells on which set the pace with their ringing. In Kuppelwies, sheeps' wool, which is considered a waste product elsewhere, is made into useful and warming products such as blankets, slippers or jackets by the farmers of the small 'Bergauf' social cooperative. A visit to the museum in St. Nikolaus on a Farm Holiday in Ultental will provide even more insight into the history of rural life. Traditionally-furnished living quarters and workshops along with old machines and tools are on display, demonstrating in an impressive manner how people here used to live and work.

A hiking paradise amidst meadows, woodland, mountain pastures and mountains
A holiday flat in St. Walburg, St. Nikolaus or St. Gertraud serves as a good base for hikes all over Ulten valley. The easy 'Sunnseitnweg' path halfway up the mountain leads fron St. Walburg to Kuppelwies. Kuppelwies sees the start of the somewhat more challenging 'Höfeweg' path from St. Gertraud, where the walk may stop or the return journey be done on the shady side of the valley. The routes in Schwemmalm hiking area range from easy to of medium difficulty, while Alpine hikers will love Stilfserjoch National Park. Ultental is also well-known for its over 30 farmed pastures, which produce their own butter and cheese, and for the bathing, diving and fishing options provided by its 44 lakes. A holiday in Ultental is just as fascinating in winter as at other times of year: snow-covered meadows and slopes await snow shoe walkers and ski tourers, while one of the finest cross-country ski runs in South Tyrol caters for cross-country skiers. Schwemmalm is not just family-friendly and not usually too busy, but is one of the areas of South Tyrol where snow is pretty much guaranteed – a real insider tip.

Ancient giant trees – the 'Urlärchen' larches of Ulten
In deepest Ultental, in St. Gertraud, there are three mighty natural monuments – the 'Ultner Urlärchen' trees. However, they are not over 2,000 years old as legend would have it, but have withstood nearly 1,000 year of the elements. The highest is 36.5 metres high and measures over eight metres in diameter, meaning that it takes five men to encircle it with outstretched arms. 'Lahnersäge' visitors' centre is nearby, in keeping with the theme of forest and wood: it offers guided themed walks and lots of exhibitions along with tree cutting demonstrations, which take visitors the whole way from tree trunk to ready-made plank.

Culinary treats from Ulten
As well as allowing you to go hiking in peace and quiet or do winter sports, a Farm Holiday in Ulten will also cater for your culinary needs. Apple strudel or poppy seed 'Krapfen' are a great snack at any time of day. These 'Krapfen' pastries have a sweet filling made of Ulten poppy seeds and are traditionally baked on special occasions. They play a major role in an ancient custom – 'Krapfenlottern'. Every year, on All Saints' Day, children go from door to door reciting traditional begging rhymes and get these sweet treats in return. Twice a year, in summer and in winter, you should save your appetite for a real treat: the 'Ultner Genuss' series of events includes a dinner in a cable car, cooking on ski slopes and brunch on a mountain meadow.

Why take a holiday in Ulten?
  • Ideal for hiking, mountain climbing and skiing
  • A valley full of rural traditions
  • Worth seeing: 'Urlärchen' natural monument

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