LifestyleThe SIP CruMolveno, Italy – The Perfect Small-Town Getaway

Molveno, Italy – The Perfect Small-Town Getaway

Some of the best experiences are the ones that come to you by quick decision-making. In early 2023, I took a two-month break from my life, leaving the wine bar I had worked at for 3 years, taking all the savings I had, and embarking on a journey to Europe to refine my palate while studying for the WSET Level 3 Sommelier test. Along the way, I discovered a valuable lesson: you can find delightful things in the most unknown corners of the world. 

Although I had lived in Europe before, it took me some time to realize that I was not drawn to the bustling cities but to the enchanting charm of smaller, lesser-known destinations. My discovery of Molveno was by chance; I stumbled upon it while zooming in on random places using Google Maps. The images that popped up were captivating: a shimmering blue lake surrounded by the biggest mountains I had ever seen. Without doing much research at all, I made a spontaneous decision to go here and hike the Dolomites in the Italian Alps. Little did I know I would be hiking some amazing trails and trying some of the oldest wines I’d ever tasted.

Getting to Molveno: The Hard, and Easy Way 

The Hard Way 

Getting to Molveno wasn’t an easy feat for us. I was traveling with my boyfriend, and as two 20-something-year-olds living on a budget, we wanted to save the most amount of money possible. Traveling to this hidden Italian gem required a unique mix of transportation – planes, trains, buses, and cars. While this might not be the conventional way to reach Molveno, it added excitement to our trip.

Our journey began with a 30-euro flight from Madrid to Verona, landing us in the heart of Northern Italy. From there, we hopped on a train that took us through the stunning Italian countryside, passing vineyards and picturesque villages. The train took us North to Trento, where we caught a bus that was supposed to take us directly to Molveno. However, with our lack of Italian language skills, we ended up misunderstanding and taking the wrong bus to San Michele instead. Luckily, we found a hotel nearby where the staff called us a taxi, and ultimately we ended up at the right hotel a few hours later in Molveno. When we finally reached it, we were exhausted but had added another city to our list of places we’d been, so it was worth the adventure! 

The Easy Way

For travelers who prefer a more straightforward route to Molveno without the transportation issues, renting a car from Verona is the way to go. While the roads may be narrow, having your own vehicle provides the convenience of a faster and more flexible mode of transportation. It allows you to explore the Italian vineyards on the way and you can make the trip spontaneous by stopping wherever you want. 

Where to Stay: Hotel Miralagro

During your stay in Molveno, you’ll want comfortable accommodations that offer a true taste of Italian hospitality. Hotel Miralagro, situated in the heart of town, provides just that. I can’t say enough about this place. With its charming décor, cozy rooms, and welcoming staff eager to assist with all your needs, this boutique bed and breakfast will make you feel like a part of the Molveno community. Included in your stay are spa services, discounted prices on local attractions, and complimentary breakfast with spectacular views of the lake and mountains. 

The hotel is run by the Bonnetti Family, and they will also bring you on a culinary adventure. The wine list is loaded with various vintages and varieties from Northern Italy that will surprise even the most experienced wine drinkers. They also have a specialty whisky bar with over 300 to choose from. The food was so exquisite that we ended up spending most of our nights after long hiking days in their dining room. They go above and beyond to ensure your stay is nothing short of exceptional.

Our Favorite Restaurants 

Molveno offers an array of culinary delights that pair perfectly with its exceptional wines. We indulged in local specialties like homemade pasta dishes, gigantic pizzas, and freshly caught fish from Lake Molveno. These are a few restaurants you can’t miss! 

  1. Ristorante Miralagro

One of the highlights of our trip was discovering the local wines from nearby towns. We were fortunate enough to meet a sommelier here who talked us through the local varieties that grow such as Nebbiolo, Pinot Nero, and Teroldego. We were offered some of the most remarkable bottles, including a Pinot Nero from 2008, a Pinot Noir from 1998, (the year I was born), and a bottle of Nebbiolo from 1989. These wines had aged beautifully, and been preserved well. Their rich, complex flavors left an impression on our palates and paired wonderfully with our $35, 5-course meal. The best thing: these bottles were only $60. Drinking a wine this old for such a good price is a rare privilege! 

  1. Osteria del Mas

This restaurant was memorable! Tucked away in a charming alley, and slightly hidden, this restaurant showcased the best of Italian cuisine. The moment we stepped inside, the aroma of freshly made pasta and afternoon espresso flooded us. The staff was overwhelmingly kind and the food was even more incredible. The pasta here was a true work of art, with handmade tagliatelle bathed in a rich truffle cream sauce that left us craving more. 

  1. Ristorante El Filo

Ristorante El Filo is an upscale dining experience. This charming eatery offers farm-to-table dining like no other and is renowned for its commitment to using locally sourced ingredients. Their menu is seasonal, but if they have it be sure to order the fresh burrata, the ravioli, and meatballs! They also have an extensive wine list, and to accompany our meal, we chose a crisp and refreshing Vermentino from the nearby vineyards, which provided a wonderful contrast to our plates.

  1. Pizzico: 

Pizzico is a quaint pizzeria nestled in the heart of the town providing the perfect end to an adventurous day of hiking. After our challenging 15-mile trek through the breathtaking landscapes, we were starving. Pizzico’s wood-fired oven pizzas were incredible and perfect for a night in after a long day. We ended up doing take-out but the restaurant’s ambiance was relaxed and homey for those who want to dine in. (And the pizza was phenomenal!)

Hiking in the Dolomites

Hiking in this area is an enchanting yet sometimes treacherous adventure that immerses you in natural beauty.  During peak season, you can expect that the trails will be well labeled, but pay attention as some of them can get very steep and rigid, especially if you plan to go on longer hikes like we did! We highly recommend bringing compact hiking poles with you, as the hiking can be unpredictable. We hiked over 15 miles each day, yet, remarkably, it still didn’t feel like we had soaked in enough of this beautiful landscape.

(Hiking Tip: Use the app AllTrails to find your hiking paths. If you download the map of the trail you want to go on, it will work without cell service. This tool really comes in handy!)

An Unforgettable Experience

Our time in this wine and nature lovers’ paradise was truly incredible! It offered the perfect mix of natural beauty, rich culture, mouthwatering cuisine, and exceptional wines. Whether you’re seeking adventure like we did or prefer a more leisurely pace, indulging in aged wines and taking in the stunning views of this charming town should be your top travel priority. It’s a journey that will leave you with unforgettable memories, so, don’t miss out on this remarkable experience!

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