The most extraordinary, heated outdoors infinity pool in Dolomites belongs to Alpin Panorama Hotel Hubertus in Olang/Valdaora valley, South Tyrol. Hotel Hubertus is a destination of your dreams, it’s not for passing by and stopping over.
I love to roam the world spending every night in
a different place. Coming across the offer of five days minimum stay in one
place made me pause and think twice. What will I do in such a remote place for
five days? Will I be bored to death?
I committed to the booking after a couple of
weeks of hesitation and constantly coming back to the pictures of the Sky pool.
The beauty of the scenery was haunting me in my sleep. The images of the
infinity pool were the deciding point and I must say the reality was
The most extraordinary Infinity pool in Dolomites
With its width of 5 meters, length of 25 m and the depth of 1,30 m the Skypool can be seen as completely unique in the water world. Thanks to the glass front, the glazed window on the ground and its height of 12 meters, the swimmer gets the impression to float weightless in the fairytale surroundings. The spectacular Skypool resembles a mountain lake in the middle of the unique mountain scenery of the DOLOMITES. World Heritage Site.
So happy to be wrong
Well, I thought, at the very least I might have some extra time on my hands to publish my book, if there is nothing else to do at Hotel Hubertus destination.
I was so wrong!
I was busy running from one activity to another, sometimes with a difficult choice to make between different hikes or saunas, or swimming or SPA treatments, or evening stretching classes.
I must confess that even with extending my stay to nine !!! days, I did not manage it all.
One day at a time
Here is a snapshot of just one day to give you a
taste of my experience:
In the morning I woke up with the gorgeous view
of the mountains and the Sky pool! Each room has a balcony with a view of the
I then had a choice of Aqua fitness in the
inside pool or a leisure swim in the Sky pool before a generous breakfast to
kick start the day.
The rest of the morning was dedicated to different hikes that started with a shuttle bus drive from the hotel. The competent guides were available to discuss the difficulty of the hikes and to help decide which is right for you. For a long hike, it was recommended that you take a packed lunch with you. In the bedrooms you had a very comfy backpack waiting for you with a water bottle. The shops in the nearby village had any other hiking gear/clothing supplies that you might need so you can come unprepared.
There is also a well-equipped gym onsite in case
it rains heavily, or you are aching from the hike before.
There is a buffet lunch: soup, salads and cakes
are served from 12 till 5. You can manage the time regardless of which
activities you pick for the day. The cake buffet is amazing: filled with
several home-baked cakes that leaves your mouth watering.
In the afternoon there were stretching classes in the gym and sauna infusion rituals in the panoramic sauna. At the end of the day you can take a dip in the salt water pool or take selfies in the Sky pool. Apart from the six pools (if you can call a bubble bath a pool) there are seven saunas and four inside areas for relaxing. Of course, you have all at your disposal when the weather is nice.
It’s possible to relax in the sauna world with steam bath, herbal sauna, infrared sauna, Dolomite steam bath in grotto, alpine sauna, the barrel textile sauna and Blockhouse sauna with panoramic view to the mountains.
In the Alpenreych Spa take some time to relax and immerse yourself in a world of relaxing Alpine, Ayurvedic and traditional wellbeing treatments.
The evening highlight
The evening highlight was a dinner: salad buffet, four dishes of a la carte cuisine, cheese selection and dessert. Each evening had a theme with live music very often.
The Wine Cellar is a very special kind of delightful experience: renowned wine labels of regional, national and internationalclassics, cult wines and rarities waiting to be discovered by you as wine lovers and connoisseurs during your holiday in South Tyrol.
The staff were incredibly friendly and
competent, the true hospitality of South Tyrol.
The fine weather guarantee
You can find a good weather guarantee on the hotel website. I was kind of hoping for rain but experienced crystal clear days – perfect for taking pictures. I visited Hotel Hubertus in mid October, the last week before they close and prepare for winter season.
There are two low price periods at Hotel Hubertus, October and May. The other times are high season with different price ranges.
The hikes I took illustrated with amazing pictures are described in the blog post, click on the pictures for more. The 3 hotel guides accompany you to 15 hikes a week, the different difficulty levels suitable from beginners to experienced hikers.
The life after
I finally managed to finish my book a couple weeks after returning from Hotel Hubertus. The book is on Amazon now. It’s all about work-life balance and the art of living. Perhaps I need to write another book about the pleasures of life with the Sky pool on the book cover.
Inspirational road trip itinerary across Tuscany for the scenic drives.
Taking epic pictures right from the car? Scenic drive through the countryside? Vineyards, thermal springs, UNESCO World Heritage? Look no further than Tuscany.
Plan vs reality
I had very precise road trip itinerary planned across Tuscany. How difficult can it be to follow the plan? However I made the plan while I have never been in Tuscany before. Overwhelmed with the beauty of nature I could not resist changing the driving directions. I also learned about new places from fellow travellers. And I spotted signs while driving. Here I am – driving back and forth instead of following the plan.
The main deviation from the plan was. A: I did not drive to Adriatic coast as I was desperate to the iconic beauty of Tuscany. B: skipping thePortoferraio island. C: adding Cinque Terre national park.
For the next time I would go directly to Luxor Chianti Village Camping. It is conveniently located next to Siena offering easy drive to all directions. Is is worth staying longer to explore the villages of Val d’Orca. The picture on the right is the real drive with the green star for Luxor Chianti.
The historical charm
Bassano del Grappa was the starting point where the preserved medieval charm with a striking mountain backdrop simply lures you in to stay. Dating all the way back to the year of 998 and fast-forward to the 16th century, a small town became known for its flourishing industry, especially ceramic works grappa (the strong Italian aperitif) and today it is most recognizable for its symbol – the old & soulful medieval bridge spanning over the river Brenta. Whether it’s those little piazzas, that crisp mountain air or lovely churches with ancient castles and intriguing museums, staying in Bassano del Grappa will be your authentic and unforgettable experience and a perfect way to kickstart the around Tuscany road trip exploring vineyards and beaches .
Adriatic coast beach road
Stops 1&2 , (see the map at the end) covering 235 km – just enough for a day’s drive.
From one idyllic coast to the other, in one road trip with no hassle at all. Italy is one of the few of those unique countries that can offer that. We start off by riding along the northernmost arm of the Mediterranean Sea, the turquoise and beautiful Adriatic Sea. First, we pass through and stop to admire Delta Po for a while, one of the largest wetland areas in the continent. Not only its where nature and people live side by side, but it is also home to more than 400 species of birds. A true paradise for nature lovers! The road trip continues with driving close to the shore until we reach a lively and vibrant area of Lido di Savio, lined up with restaurants, camping sites, and hotels. A perfect place to finally unpack that tent!
Two days in the fabulous Tuscany vineyards
The next destination is only 200 km from the Adriatic cost. The two days break in itinerary. Absolutely worth of spending two days (stops 3&4) relaxing in the beautiful scenery, flying drone and tasting wine🍷 .
One cannot claim being in Tuscany without visiting the famous wine tasting venues . It is now becoming a well oiled industry and extra marketing channel for small local vineyards. It is very nice to listen to the history and old legends while sipping wine.
I visited Villa Trasqua which is continently located 400 m from the Luxor Chianti Camping Village offering vine tasting tours. Villa Trasqua is not merely a wine, but a experience that takes root in the heart of Tuscany. Its proximity to the confines of the Chianti Classico, has enabled the Estate to unite the traditions of this ancient territory with the innovation of a more worldly outlook since more than fifty years. Book your tour in advance by calling the winery.
Luxor Chianti Camping Village
Luxor Chianti Village is the solution for your Camping in Tuscany. It is located near the top attractions including Florence, Siena, Chianti and local villages. Easy drive to Siena. 400 meters till the wine tasting- what else can you wish for.
The 95 pitches, ranging from 60 to 100 square meters, ideal for camping in tents, campers and caravans. The campsite extends over medium-sized grounds bordered by oak trees that characterize the forest. Not all pitches has electricity but you can plug in your devices in the utility building or ask bar/ reception to charge your unit. The WiFi is at the restaurant area but I could not get it working at a reliable download speed. The utilities are in excellent condition, free showers and free access to pool with extra charge for washing machine.
Excellent campsite, enough trees and shade, clean facilities. I loved evenings in the restaurant next to swimming pool. The pool itself was big enough to accommodate all holiday lovers.
Cascate del Mulino
Only 127 km away the thermal springs are waiting, I hope for a cool weather to relax in the naturally warm water …
Just a few kilometers away from a small village Saturnia, natural and heaven-like waters spring to life. The stream rushes down to create thermal waterfalls that are cherished and admired by both locals and visitors. Rich in Sulphur and other minerals the water comes from an underground source. There is nothing quite like enjoying a truly natural and healing phenomenon that warms your body and soul. To make it even better, the place is accessible at all the times and free of charge! And to add the cherry on top, how about that Old Mill, perched just above the waters? All surrounded by the green lush with mountainous landscape as a backdrop to all of this? Wow!
The Cascate del Mulino (in the photograph aboveThe composition of the deposits, from the scientific point of view, are composed of “a sulphurous-carbonic, sulphate-bicarbonate-alkaline mineral water, and includes among its peculiarities the presence of two dissolved gases such as hydrogen sulphide and carbon dioxide“. The thermal waters have a temperature of 37.5 °C and therapeutic and relaxing properties.) are probably the most famous natural springs in Tuscany. The waterfalls are made of several natural pools of warm thermal water, as well as a relaxing waterfall. They are open to the public and free throughout the entire year.
Terme di Saturnia SPA & Golf Resort
The Saturnia spring origin is located in the Terme di Saturnia SPA resort. The SPA is absolutely amazing place! The luxury built around the origin of Saturnia thermal spring. The outdoor pool has a natural bottom that is 3,5m deep. There are air bubbles slowly coming to the surface along with the spring water gently tickling you 🤗 There is also some debris floating around that apparently is good for you as people are rubbing the stuff in the skin🤣
I would highly recommend to indulge yourself with the well being even for the short period of time if the itinerary does not allow to settle. The best time for visiting is late autumn or early spring when one can benefit from cold, crispy air and the warms of the water bubling up from the depth of Earth.
Portoferraio 2 Nights break from the around Tuscany road trip
Here we go – another excitement the stop 6 after 171 km and a shot ferry ride
As vineyards and thermal waterfalls fade away in a rearview mirror the road trip is progressing. As lovely as those places were, something lovely is coming up on the horizon and it is only right that we dedicate 3 beautiful days and 2 peaceful nights in the island of Elbo, and its biggest city – the historic Portoferraio. The former exile of Napoleon has truly a lot to offer, especially for nature enthusiasts and active travelers. Anything from exploring small picturesque villages, strong fortresses and intriguing museums to hiking up the mountains. Spending time in some of the finest beaches or even diving to discover shipwrecks. You name it! Founded in 1548, the town of Portoferraio itself offers a diverse choice of accommodations. But there’s nothing quite like those buildings perched on steep slopes while surrounded by mountains and the sea. Island of Elbo is truly a diamond in a rough, just one step off the coast of Tuscany!
Cecina the next road trip itinerary across Tuscany
Can you feel the gentle breeze already? We are closing into the long-awaited coastline of Ligurian Sea.
From the first glance, Cecina might seem like a small and quite simple coastal town. In reality, it’s a treasure chest worth millions, waiting to be discovered! Where waves rise and fall, you will find golden sand beaches surrounded by a centuries-old pine forest. The beautiful trails that invite for a fantastic outdoor recreation, whether it’s hiking, biking or horseback riding. Take your preference and discover great diversity in vegetation and wildlife together. And to wrap it all up for nature lovers, there are campsites to pitch your tent and sleep under the stars! It’s also an ancient land. The history goes so far back, even to the Neolithic period. There are of archeological sites, exhibitions, artefacts and ruins with roots digging deep into our world’s past.
Pizza – cannot plan the road trip itinerary across Tuscany without it
After unlocking as much treasure from Cecina as possible during our stop there, we continue onwards to our next pass-through stop, the city of Pisa. Sounds familiar? If you have a chance to visit the iconic city and even more legendary leaning tower of Pisa, you take it! The city is must see as it hosts an unmatched sightseeing experience with history and timeless architecture. Charming rivers and mountains are present in the distance providing beautiful views.
To wrap it all up, head up to climb the famous tower that just keeps on leaning to catch some premiere vistas of the city and take the mandatory selfie 😄
Appennino Tosco-Emiliano National Park as the last stop for the road trip itinerary across Tuscany
255 km and two sightseeing stops will be busy day, a quiet evening in with two days of wilderness adventure ahead to conclude my vacation
Nature-lovers rejoice! Another jewel is on the way. A big one, in fact, taking over more than 26,000 hectares together with some of the highest peaks in the region and unique flora and fauna that thrive in these high mountain areas. The glacier craters are sparkling with pristine lakes and wild rivers run through striking valleys. This UNESCO Biosphere Reserve breathes life with wolves roaming through rare orchids and golden eagles flying above looking down on plants and bushes that date back to the glacial era. It presents an extraordinary chance to wake your inner adventurer up and venture out, whether it’s hiking or biking! The park is also equipped with an extensive variety of choices for accommodations, including various campgrounds, mountain huts, and even hotels. Find your peace here, in the vastness of pure nature.
As much as the wild and breathing natural surroundings invite and tempts us for wild camping overnight to get even closer to nature, unfortunately, it is illegal in Italy. The vast area of the park hosts multiple campsites that are just as wild and close to nature as it can be, with some of them providing mountains views of a lifetime.
The roads are getting smaller and smaller. It is unpaved road now. The clouds of dust does not indicate approaching one of the most exclusive resort in Tuscany. The last turn and the reception building emerges with the car park hidden on the slope of the steep hill. Not long now. The good vibes of tranquility and relaxation takes over and wraps you in the sense of well-being as soon as you enter the reception of Castiglion del Bosco. The village is perhaps the best preserved estate in Tuscany. The best infinity pool in Tuscany certainly belongs here and is striking with the discreet elegance and timeless charm not to mention the view.
Gigantic cypress trees are guarding the entrance and shading the place from the outside world. The peaceful tranquility is by large the result of keeping the cars outside. No engine noise belongs to Castiglion del Bosco.
The size that matters
The 4.000 acres or 16 square kilometres is what makes the place unique. The outdoor space is like extension of your suite or villa providing manicured gardens, golf course and wilderness at your fingertips.
The village is self contained with restaurants, several bars, swimming pools, SPA and garden. The small picturesque villages of Val d’Orcia is in short reach when you just had enough of relaxation
The tranquility of the infinity pool
There are several pools at the disposal of villas. The most fabulous is the main infinity pool which is the most tranquil pool across all Tuscany. The tranquility and relaxation in the turquoise blue water with the magnificent view over Val d’Orcia. The fence of wild lavenders is guarding the swimming pool. The picture of the pool was what attracted me in the fist place. I had to make the dream reality to stop the tranquil image of the pool hunting me.
The SPA and golf course goes hand in hand as guest entertainment. I am not a golf fan. The SPA however exceeded all my expectations. They have thought of everything. Interior, dressing rooms, toiletries, bathrobe and slippers of was the top quality. The personnel was very attentive, discreet and highly skilled. The massage was heaven on the earth. The rest was offered in the intimate relaxation area with two saunas and day beds after the massage.
The lost hat
I have to prise all Castiglion del Bosco personnel. They went beyond their direct responsibilities. The sudden breeze blowed away my beloved Saks Fifth Avenue straw hat. The hat was brought back to me from the steep slope just when I started to plan the shopping trip to replace it.
The historical fact: Massimo Ferragamo, who runs the U.S. operations of his family’s fashion empire, and his wife, Chiara, bought the 12th-century hilltop village and surrounding 4,000 acres a decade ago and opened it to guests in 2010.
Castiglion del Bosco belongs to Rosewood hotel family and is true masterpiece of the discrete elegance. I barely left and I am looking forward to my next visit already.
Wait a minute. A chance to visit the iconic city of love? Venice is one of those places to visit at least once in a lifetime!
Before you go to Venice, you absolutely must watch movie “The Tourist” 2010 American romantic triller staring Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp. The story is unveiling in Venice with the utmost luxury hotel The Danieli as the centrepiece where the room cost from €600 till €9000 for Doge Dandolo Royal Suite. You can always have a cold refreshments in the lobby bar even when not staying in the hotel. Enjoy 🥂chin-chin
And now the Venice how I see it: unique, with character and charming.
I always keep thinking how on earth they buy and move furniture? The grocery shopping without a car?! There are two options how to move around: walking or by boat.
Not many parks and green places there and although on the water- there is nowhere to swim.
The weather catastrophies can be rather dramatic- from floods till dried out canals – what disaster and smell that brings- the whole city must be paralysed.
The spectacular centrepiece ofVenice, St Mark’s Square, nowfloodsmore than 60 times a year.
Anyway- pack your suitcase and go, just out of the tourist season please as it’s truly crowded (20 mil tourists annually). The municipality even are putting up the crowd control barriers.
However if you step aside to the smaller streets- you can enjoy some quiet time and who knows- maybe even paddling.
With limited time here, and eyes already set on the next stop, it is more than important to make it count. A few classics of Venice should do the trick!
Head to the pulsing heart of the floating city, the St. Mark’s Square and marvel at stunning scenery all around you alongside buzzing tourists and children chasing pigeons. Hosting iconic and most beautiful landmarks such as St Mark’s Basilica and many more, it is a place impossible to miss in Venice.
The second trick is, of course, a soothing sail through the famous Grand Canal. Whether it’s a classic Venetian Gondolas, water bus or taxis, discover charming buildings from the 13th century to the 18th as it is one of the best ways to admire and explore Venice. You can take the waterbuss for €8 for one journey or ~€20 for a day ticket. Enjoy!!!