Published on: 23 April 2018 | Last updated: 23 April 2018
Brixen (Bressanone) was the capital of the Prince-Bishopric of Brixen. It was a more-or-less independent state for almost eight centuries. The Prince-Bishop ruled much of the area around Brixen and neighbouring Bruneck (Brunico).
The Dom (Duomo)
The interior of the Dom is a baroque extravaganza. The ceiling of the nave has a 200 m2 fresco by Paul Troger. For me though, the highlight is the cloister. Work started in 1390, and a number of artists worked on it over the next century or so, decorating fifteen of the twenty arcades with frescoes that have been beautifully restored.
If you enjoy the cloister, one of the artists, Leonhard von Brixen, painted a fantastic fresco of the Coronation of the Virgin (Krönung Mariens) on the south façade of the parish church (Pfarrkirche Sankt Georg) in nearby Vahrn (Varna) which definitely looks worth a short detour.
According to valleisarco.info there are free guided tours of the cathedral and cloister on weekdays at 10:30 and 15:00 between Easter and the end of October (although it doesn't say whether these are also offered in English.
The Kloster Neustift (Abbazia di Novacella)
The Kloster Neustift is surrounded by terraced vineyards. It has been making wine since 1142 and is of the oldest active wineries in the world, and the Stiftskellerei is the area's major wine producer. TheStiftskeller (wine cellar-bar) is, literally, a cool place to enjoy a glass of wine on a hot summer afternoon. The wine is very reasonably priced. Opening hours: 10:00 - 19:00. Closed on Sundays and religious holidays. The stiftskeller also offer guided wine tastings for groups of 10 or more.
The stiftskirche (monastery church) is another fabulous baroque extravaganza. You can get a good view of the interior of the church through wrought-iron gates, but you can only go inside, as part of the organised tours of the abbey.
You can, however, wander round the cloister. According to wikipedia the frescoes are by the artist Michael Pacher, although according to the abbey's website the artist was Friedrich Pacher. Either way, they are worth a look, even if they aren't as extensive or as well-preserved as the frescoes in the cathedral cloister. Michael Pacher was also commissioned by the abbey to pain the Kirchenväteraltar (altarpiece of the Church fathers) which is now in the Alte Pinakothek in München.
Also look out for the engelsburg (Angel Castle) by the entrance to the monastery complex. The (little) castle gets its name from the figure of Saint Michael the Archangel holding a pair of scales in which there are two human figures. There's also the Brunnen der Wunder an eight-sided well decorated with pictures of the seven wonders of the world, plus, of course, a picture of the abbey itself.
Places to stay
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Booking.com pages for places on this section of the route:
About these links
If you use these links to book accommodation Booking.com will pay me a small part of their commission. This helps support the costs of producing this site.
I use Booking.com to find and book places to stay when there are no campsites in the area. The large majority of hotels and many hostels are now on ‘Booking’. I like it because it means that I can get almost-instant confirmation. The rating system is also a reliable guide to the quality of the accommodation.
I’ve never had a problem finding places to keep my bike —even if it’s a cupboard or store room. I always use the ‘special requests’ field on the booking form to tell the hotel that I’m travelling with a bike, which gives them the opportunity to let me know if there’s a problem.
Many properties offer free cancellation but it’s a good idea to check the conditions as these vary from property to property.
There's a hostel in Brixen: the Jugendherberge Brixen.
There are a couple of campsites near to Brixen. I stayed at the Löwenhof hotel/campsite which is conveniently located for both Brixen and the Kloster Neustift, but it is on a road which means that parts of the site are affected by traffic noise (and there's an electricity substation that makes a very quiet humming noise). There's also the Camping Vahrner See, which promises a more peaceful but more out-of-the-way location.
Transport and services
Tourist information websites
- suedtirol.info: Valle Isarco Eisacktal (de/it/en/nl/cs/pl/fr/ru) is the section of the main regional tourist information site suedtirol.info about the Brixen area
- naz-sciaves.info (de/it/en) Is the tourist information site for the area around the villages of Natz and Schabs.
Places and attractions
If you're interested in the frescoes in the cloister there are useful articles on Wikipedia. They are only available in the German, but they are worth running through Google Translate.
Acquarena swimming pool
- Acquarena (Brixen) (de/it/en)
Kloster Neustift (Abbazia di Novacella)
- Kloster Neustift (Abbazia di Novacella)
- kloster-neustift.it: guided monastery tours
de.wikipedia.org: Kloster Neustift (also available in Italian)