Castles and palaces in the Vinschgau

Castles and palaces in the Vinschgau along the river Etsch

Castle Juval between Naturns and Tschars

Castle Juval at the entrance to the Schnals valley near Merano in South Tyrol.

Castle Juval can best be reached from Tschars via the Tscharser resp. Schnalser Waalweg or the Stabener Waalweg.

Based on written recordings from 1278, was the castle from the 13th century owned by Herren von Montalban. During history it changed the owner several times and in the course of time dilapidated to a ruin.

Since 1983, the renowned South Tyrolean mountaineer Reinhold Messner is the owner of the castle. He continued the restoration works of the previous owner and renovated the castle completely. It has been converted into a collective work of art, merging castle, museum, winvery and bio-farmstead.

Castle Kastelbell by Kastelbell-Tschars

The original castle complex dates from the early 13th century and had first been documented in 1238. It was built by the once very influential nobility Montalban, who had been fought against by the earls of Tyrol.

In the course of time the castle had been extended several times and changed its owners a few times. The most extensive architechtural alterations were carried out by the earls of Hendl, who received the castle in 1531 as fief. The Hendl family owned the castle until 1956. It is now owened by the Italian state.

Kastelbell Castle has been restored extensively and can be visited. Worth mentioning are the old kitchen, belonging to the oldest part of the castle complex, and the castle’s chapel with its Romanesque frescos.

Churburg Castle in Schlunders

This castle is one of the mightiest and best preseved castle complexes in South Tyrol. Churburg Castle was built by the bishops of Chur and first mentioned in 1259 in a deed from Bishop Heinrich.

In the 16th century the then built castle in a Romanesque style had been extended. At the beginning of the 16th century new dwellings in a gothic style were added and in the 2nd half the conversion into a Renaissance castle took place.

The visitor’s eye can nowadays see a residential Renaissance castle with an arcade courtyard, a Romanesque chapel and other rooms with objects of art and precious pieces of furniture from various epochs.

Castle Juval between Naturns and Tschars seen from the Meraner Höhenweg. (Photo: R. Jakubowski)Kastelbell Castle at Kastelbell-Tschars in the Vinschgau in South Tyrol.Churburg near Schluderns in the Vinschgau in South Tyrol.
  • Left: Castle Juval at the entrace to the Schnalstal seen from the Meraner Höhenweg hiking trail. Today the castle is the domicile of the renowned South Tyrolean mountaineer Reinhold Messner.
  • Centre: At Kastelbell Castle old Romanesque frescos can be seen in the castle’s chapel. The castle is situated on a rock near the Etsch and can be seen very well from the road into the Vinschgau.
  • Right: Churburg Castle near Schlunders at the exit of the Matscher Valley dates from the 13th century.

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Meraner Höhenweg

The Meraner Höhenweg is one of the most beautiful hiking trails of the alps. The full hike leads around the Texelgroup near Meran and takes several days to walk.