Bolzano, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, Italy

Bolzano is an Italian alpine town, the capital of the homonymous autonomous province in the Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol. 74% of the population is of Italian language, a little more than 25% speaks German and a 0.68% is of the Ladin language. Bolzano is located on the eastern part of the vast basin that comes from the conjunction of Isarco, Sarner and the Adige valleys. Basin is bounded on the West by the chain of Maier, the Altopiano del Salto at noth-west (1500 m), the Round mountain at north-east-and by Mont Pozza (1619 m) in the south. A small rocky cliff of the latter, called Virgolo is located behind the city. The city is connected to the three closest mountains, through cable cars that exceed each about 1,000 metres. From the city, you can see the mount Rosengarten (3004 m) which is part of the Dolomites with the Vajolet Towers. The historic centre of the city is located in the triangle bordered to the West by the Talfer torrent, on the South by the Isarco River and on the Northeast by Mount Tondo. To visit: the Romanesque and Gothic styles Cathedral dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta in Walther Square; the archaeological museum which preserves the body of Ötzi, the man of the ice era; the International Museum of the mountain; the Stabile Theatre (1950) and also the beautiful gardens for walks. Bolzano is also much visited for its Christmas market, the oldest in Italy.

Tips

The area is a paradise for hikers or climbers, whether beginners or experienced. The trails are all well marked and easy to follow. The surrounding landscapes are breathtaking.

If you like the winter, there are several ski slopes, spas, restaurants with excellent alpine food and wonderful desserts. Enjoy the traditional meal ‘polenta’, good cheese, sausages and smoked meats and good wine.

If you go there in December, don’t miss the ‘Christmas market’, it is the most important in the area, you will find many crafts even as typical products sold by their producers. Note that at this time it is very cold and you will find mountain cold to endure all day outside, cause the market is in the open air; so be careful and dress warmly. You can warm in one of the typical cafés with a hot chocolate or several kinds of coffee and delicious pastries.

Bilbao, Biscay, Spain

Bilbao is the capital of the province of Biscay and the comarca of the Greater Bilbao located at the estuary of the river Nervion, in the north of Spain. This is a city that has gone through a lot of development, being other times a harbor and industrial city, with a lot of pollution. Today is a city considered as an example for several other cities that would like to change their urban planning problems. The urbanized part of the city is limited by two small mountains; Pagasarri to the south and Artxanda to the north. The old town has a medieval and Renaissance style, with seven streets leading to the Market Square of La Ribera. To see: the Cathedral of Santiago (14th and 15th century), the Basilica of Begonia (1620), the Convent of the Incarnation, the Academy of the Basque Language, the Guggenheim Museum, the Arriaga Theater (1890), the Town Hall (1892), among others.

Tips

The best time to visit the city and find it full of activities is during the celebration of the Great Week that takes place for 9 days and 8 nights, starting on the first Saturday after August, 15th. Spectacles of street, fairs, concerts, everything is there for the occasion. To get around the city by public transport, get the Creditrans which is a standardized pass that allows you to travel through the different fare zones. To get a nice view of the city, take the funicular that will take you to the mountain of Artxanda where you will also find a park. There are also two metro lines and a tram with which you can reach the Guggenheim Museum.

The Grignetta, Lombardy, Italy

The Grignetta or Grigna south or Grigna of Champion is a mountain in Lombardy (2177 meters) and is part of the group Grigne, being the highest the Grigna or Grignone. Its form is quite regular and there are two sides: one to the south (with a view of Lecco and the Resinelli valley) and another to the north (which connects it with Grignone). There are also other well-defined ridges such as the Sinigaglia Ridge (it can be reached from the Porta refuge) and the Segantini Ridge which connects the Valsecchi hill to the summit, showing a degree of difficulty III. It is a very important place well-known by local and international climbers. The torrent Grigna, born at Canalone Porta, flows into the Caldone and ends at Lecco. The normal route of ascent is the Cermenati ridge (easy walk). The Cecilia trail connects with the Rosalba hut at the top and there are trails with chains. The highway connects the summit of Grignetta to the summit of Grignone.

Tips

The paths for regular walkers are marked with the letter E, while those for experienced climbers have a double E. These are very difficult and physically demanding tracks, it is necessary to calculate an average of three hours to climb and two hours to go down.

Trails are free and there is no control to record climbers; so be careful if you do not really have experience; taking the trails is just at your own risk.