Castel Rafenstein, from Bozen / Bolzano
Castle Rafenstein is a suggestive and still impressive ruin of a medieval castle, strategically located on the western slopes of the entrance of Sarntal / Valley of Sarentino.
You can reach it by car, but any hiker who is eager to enjoy the beautiful scenery and the breathtaking panorama of the city, will definitely decide to go up on foot.
From Bolzano, following the SS508 towards Sarnthein, you find parking places next to the valley station of the cable car for Jenesien / S. Genesio.
You take the paved road that goes up, on the right (north) side of the stream that comes down close to the cable car station:
You go up on a steep slope, viable by car, although with little traffic.
Soon, on the right you can see Schloss Runkelstein / Castle Roncolo:
You go past the first fork, straight away. Or if you wish, taking a left, you reach the church of St. Jacob:
Back to the original route, you keep going uphill. You can see, in addition to the mentioned church, also the church of St. Georgen, a little more distant:
The view on Bozen is already beautyful:
Continuing to climb, you go past a second fork, and soon after you come in sight of the castle:
After a few more turns you reach it. Unfortunately it can not be visited. Close to it you find the restaurant of the same name. You can enjoy a very enchanting and extended view of Bolzano:
You go back along the path forward.
■ gb, 2014-03-30