A few hours south of Tirol in Austria lies another Tirol. Südtirol in northern Italy.
Südtirol is home to turquoise lakes, rustic pizzerias and the legendary Dolomites mountain range. A sprawling expanse of peaks in the Italian Alps and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The temptation of exploring a new region was too hard to resist, so we drove 165km from Oberndorf to enjoy an Italian lakeside lunch surrounded by mountains.
Lake Misurina sits at 1,754m above sea level and is the perfect spot for chilled wine, good food and indulging in the alpine lifestyle. The water reflects the mountains in the sunlight and in every direction there is a new peak to discover.
The lakeside is dotted with restaurants, hotels and wandering tourists so we quickly grabbed a table on the terrace at Quinz Locanda Al Lago.
The traditional style café and hotel is meters from the water and has an extensive menu of Italian and international options. We ordered a delicious feta cheese and olive pizza, a Caprese salad, crisp Sauvignon Blanc and sparkling mineral water for my boyfriend (and driver – safety first).
Quinz also became a great spot for people watching as tourists posed for photographs alongside famous mountaineering locals, and cyclists gathered for lunch before setting off again along the trails.
After espresso in the sun it was time to head back along the highway towards Austria, and I spent the journey daydreaming of hiking adventures. There is just so much breathtaking scenery in Austria and Italy. It has to be explored.