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Ritten Railway (Rittnerbahn)
Ritten Railway (Rittnerbahn)

Ritten Railway (Rittnerbahn)

A must for rail enthusiasts, the Ritten Railway has served the stretch between Bolzano and Ritten in northern Italy since 1907. The historic car climbs more than 3,240 feet (almost 1,000 meters in just 3.4 miles (5.5 km, offering spectacular mountain views over the area’s unique natural rock formations.

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Via del Paese 5, Railway station, Ritten, Italy

The basics

Originally built as a tramway, the Ritten Railway (also known as the Renon Railway or the Rittnerbahn in German) connects Bolzano to Soprabolzano (Oberbozen) and Collalbo (Klobenstein) on the Ritten plateau above. The only historic rail line still running in South Tyrol’s Dolomites, the route includes a modern cable car that runs directly from Bolzano to the historic upper rail route beginning in Soprabolzano, where train cars continue to Collalbo on the scenic plateau above. Catch this cable car and rail line for some of the most dramatic scenery in the Dolomites, including the “earth pyramid” rock formations, the Corno del Renon peak, and the Costalovara (Wolfsgrubner) Lake.

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Things to know before you go

  • The cable car ride from Bolzano to Soprabolzano takes 12 minutes; the train ride from Soprabolzano to Collalbo takes about 15 minutes.
  • The cable car and train timetables are coordinated.
  • The train also stops in Costalovara (Wolfsgruben), Stella (Lichtenstern), and Rappersbichl.
  • The cable cars are accessible to wheelchair users, but some of the historic trains are not. Confirm in advance.
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How to get there

You can access the Ritten Railway by taking the scenic cable car from Bolzano, or by driving up to Soprabolzano and catching the train directly from the station.

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When to get there

The Ritten Railway runs daily all year round. For lush Alpine scenery, catch the train during the summer months. For dramatic winter views, ride from November to April.

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The History of the Ritten Railway

The original Ritten Renon rail route began with a tram in Bolzano, which was coupled to a cog engine to climb the 3,000-plus feet of rack railway to the Ritten plateau. Once on the plateau, the car would uncouple and continue on from the village of Maria Himmelfahrt once again as a tram. The rack railway was replaced with a cable car in 1966 after a fatal derailing, and the lower tram route was permanently discontinued, though the upper route still takes train enthusiasts and tourists to the Ritten plateau today.

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