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On the Move of the “Waalwege“

In the past, the irrigation channels were used to irrigate the fields, today they are typical walking paths that run along the foothills and are also well suited for children.

Spa promenade in Merano
Spa promenade in Merano

Above all, in the Burgraviate and in the Vinschgau, farmers have always had to struggle with dryness. The regions are surrounded by high mountain ranges and the average precipitation is only about 500 mm per year. Therefore, so-called "waale" were developed here for the irrigation of the orchards, which transported and distributed the water accordingly. Long irrigation canals were dug, for which "kandeln" (wooden pipes) served as conduits. This form of irrigation began as early as the 12th century, and some waale are still used for this purpose today. In order to be able to control and maintain the waale, waal paths were laid out, and the constant flow of water was indicated with the help of "waalschellen." However, since maintaining the waale was extremely laborious, the majority was replaced by a system of new pipelines. Today, the waal paths are very popular with both locals and guests for leisurely hikes.

Many of the paths have only a slight incline and can be walked in normal footwear. Along the way, you can enjoy the beautiful view of the surrounding mountain world, and the waal paths are highly recommended for families with children. For example, the "Algunder Waalweg" in the Burgraviate is beautiful, which is a total of six kilometers long and runs from Oberplars to Gratsch. The starting point of this hike is the village of Töll, and from Oberplars you then walk through orchards with a wonderful view of Plars Castle. The old village of Algund Mühlbach, surrounded by vineyards, is also very beautiful. The route then continues towards Merano, where the landscape is characterized by fruit trees, cypresses, and palms, reminiscent of Tuscany. For those who still want to continue hiking, they can choose the Tappeiner Promenade with a descent to Merano Obermais. From Merano, you can then take the bus back to Töll. Another leisurely path runs above the villages of Tscherms, Marling, and Lana. The entrance in Raffengasse is initially relatively steep, but then it continues on a level path, and there is also the opportunity to stop along the way to rest and take in the nature. Therefore, especially in the autumn, the waal paths are a perfect opportunity to enjoy the last rays of sunshine and the colorful South Tyrolean landscape before the cold winter months.

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