Bolzano Travel Tips
Bolzano is a popular tourist spot for many reasons and for all kinds of budgets. No matter how big or small your wallet is, you’ll find plenty of things to do and experiences to enjoy during your stay. Once you are in the city, you will discover that a lot of famous sightseeing spots and interesting locations are situated within walking distance of each other which makes it very easy to experience the city on foot or by renting one of the city bikes available.
Bolzano is a small city and – as mentioned before – it’s best to get around on foot, especially because the city center is closed to traffic. If you are interested in exploring the surrounding areas, it makes sense to buy a local travel card (called “mobil card”). It’s valid from Innsbruck (Austria) to Trento (60 km South of Bolzano) and on all public transport for 1, 3 or 7 days (including some of the cabin ways to the mountains). Please note that many hotels offer the card for free when booking with them. Otherwise, you can buy one for 15€, 23€ or 28 € (personally I’d skip the first option. You travel cheaper buying single tickets for 1 day). Note that there’s also a version that includes free entrance to the aforementioned museum. For all info concerning the travel pass, visit this site: http://www.mobilcard.info/en/default.asp.
You can rent a bike in Viale della Stazione, 50 meters South of Piazza Walther: rent one for 2 € (up to six hours) or 5 € (whole day). Please note that you will be asked for a valid ID and you’ll need to leave 10 € as a guarantee (which will be returned to you when you bring back the bicycle).
Parks and Museums
All parks in and around the city are public. You can take a walk along the so called Talferwiese/Prati del Talvera: starting from the city center it’s a 3 km walk that ends at the Roncolo Castle, the only medieval fortress with pagan frescoes in Europe. If you prefer to stay in the core of Bolzano’s city center, you can enjoy local culture by visiting the Museion, Bolzano’s museum for modern and contemporary art or go and see Ötzi, the 5.300 year old mummy resting in the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology. Both are situated literally around the corner from the Free University of Bolzano in less than 100 meters distance.
Shopping and Eating in Bolzano
There’s no doubt about where to shop in Bolzano: walk down the medieval arcades called Lauben / Portici and you’ll find yourself surrounded by anything from local souvenirs to international fashion, books, accessoires, toys, Italian design, etc. Visit the market square called Obstmarkt / Piazza Erbe for local produce and delicacies, a slice of pizza on the go or stop for a delicious cup of coffee in one of the many cafes in the city center.
You are getting hungry but don’t want to go too far from the conference venue? Cross Universitätsplatz / Piazza Università and walk down Via Leonardo da Vinci. Stop for an “aperitivo” at the popular “Franzbar” in order to get the perfect mix of Italian “antipasto” (starters) with South Tyrolean delicacies. Hungry for more? Try the “Forst” on the left street corner, a typical restaurant with South Tyrolean and international dishes. Not really hungry? Visit Michi and Walter at their hot dog booth 20 meters further down the street - they have been collecting awards for many years as one of the best street food joints in Italy. If you’d like to eat a more complete meal, just turn left at the crossroads and walk towards Obstmarkt/Piazza Erbe. On your way you’ll find the “Vögele” which still has its original furnishings from the 16th century, the “Hopfen” and the “Paulaner” with the Bavarian style cuisine, the “Hostaria Argentieri” with its Mediterranean delicacies, etc. Within 300 meters of the University your only problem when it comes to food will be the multitude of choices you have.
Please note that some shops (especially the smaller ones) are closed during lunch hours, meaning anything from around 12 or 12:30 to 14:00 or even 15:00. Bigger shops are open 9:00 to 19:00, Monday thru Friday. On Saturdays smaller shops are open in the morning, bigger ones the whole day. On Sundays most shops are closed, except for the international chains like H&M etc. Expect supermarkets to always be open, most of them also on Sundays.
In Italy tipping is a sign of appreciation for the service you received. You are not expected to tip but please do so if you are satisfied with the food and the service. Leave anything between 5% and 10%, depending on the amount of the bill. If you pay with a card, have some coins with you and leave some change (2€ or 3 €, not more). Please note, until now I have seen very few terminals that allow you to indicate how much tip you’d like to leave in case you pay by card.
Internet and WiFi
Bolzano has a lot of hotspots for WiFi in the city. Near the University Campus, look for the network called OpenAir on your device (no log-in needed). The Free University of Bozen-Bolzano is also in Eduroam, therefore you should be able to use that network when logging in with your university account. In order to find hotspots in the city with free WiFi, check out this map: https://wifisharing.co/it/italia/free-wifi-bolzano or install the wiMan Free WiFi app on your device. Of course many hotels, cafes and restaurants also offer free WiFi connection.