You could give an entire day to these beautiful botanical gardens a little outside Merano (and they do suggest it). Exotic cacti and palms, fruit trees and vines, beds of lilies, irises and tulips all cascade down the hillside surrounding a mid-19th-century castle where Sissi – Empress Elisabeth – spent the odd summer. Inside, Touriseum charts two centuries of travel in the region, exploring the changing nature of our yearning for the mountains. There's also a restaurant and a cafe by the lily pond.
Parking costs €4. Alternatively, take bus 4 or 1B from Merano's train station, or walk – 45 minutes from Merano's centre – up the Sissiweg.