From the Mediterranean Waalwege around Meran/Merano to the alpine Waale on Sonnenberg/Monte Sole in Vinschgau/Val Venosta. Sophisticated techniques for capturing, transporting and distributing water for irrigation were developed in many alpine regions due to the low levels of precipitation, in order to increase the productive value of the land.
Water was brought down from the natural mountain streams to cultivated land via narrow channels, the so-called Waale, in order to supply water to farms. There used to be 225 Waale, flanked by 600 kilometres of accessible Waalwege, paths used for maintenance purposes. Today irrigation is primarily carried out using pressure pipelines, but many of these channels and neighbouring paths still exist, much to the delight of hikers.
You are particularly likely to come across these irrigation channels in the widespread network established in the precipitation-poor Vinschgau/Val Venosta. Parallel to these channels run tracks, called Waalwege, which were essential for maintenance. Hike alongside these water channels and experience the variety of vegetation zones, including vineyards, orchards and alpine pastures.
The Waalwege in the Meran/Merano network (Marlinger Waalweg, Algunder Waalweg, Kuenser Waalweg) and the Waalwege from Juval to Kastelbell/Castelbello and Latsch/Laces are particularly impressive and beautiful to hike.
Route rating/description: Waalwege in the Meraner Becken/Conca di Merano and in Vinschgau/Val Venosta
Mountain range: mainly Texelgruppe/Gruppo di Tessa
Ideal time of year: April to November