Alpine Bob: tobogganing fun above Meran
There's nothing better for you than whizzing down the mountain on a toboggan? You don't have to wait for winter: a toboggan run with the Alpin Bob is possible almost all year round. We tried out the rail toboggan run on Meran 2000 in August, but it is still open until 5th November in the 2023 summer season. So you still have time for some autumn tobogganing fun in Meran and Environs.
You don't know Meran 2000 yet and are wondering why this area is called that? It's easy to explain: “Meran” refers to the proximity to the city of Meran and “2000” to the altitude of this sun-kissed plateau at the foot of the Ifinger. And up there you will also find the Alpin Bob: a 1.1 km long toboggan run on which you can reach top speeds of up to 40 km/h and which we want to test this time. You can get to the Meran 2000 adventure area either from Meran with the Meran 2000 mountain ropeway (Naif valley station) or from Hafling with the Falzeben cable car. We opt for the mountain railway.
Fantastic view of Meran
The Naif valley station is only around 15 minutes by car from the Meran city centre. At 8.15 a.m. there is not much going on here. No wonder – the ropeway doesn't start operating for another quarter of an hour. Together with a mixed group, we take the first cabin. While chatting, we learn that the group is made up of paragliding pilots and tourists on their way to tandem flights. We exit at the mountain station on the Piffinger Köpfl, a fresh breeze is blowing, and soft clouds are drifting across the blue sky. We still have some time left. So we watch in fascination as our ropeway companions take off with the tandem paragliders from the meadow next to the mountain station and slowly float down towards Meran. Beautiful weather, a marvellous view and the smell of freshly mown grass – the day is off to a good start.
Please fasten your seatbelt!
The start of the toboggan run is just a few steps away from the top station of the Falzeben cable car and the ropeway. The run doesn't actually start until 10 am, but there are extra rides for us before then. Safety is a top priority at Alpin Bob: Right next to the starting point, there is a large board on which the most important rules for safe use of the toboggan run are summarised in German, Italian and English and illustrated with pictograms. A Meran 2000 employee sets off with the first toboggan. Adam, the bravest of us, sits on the next toboggan and another member of staff explains the most important things to him, such as how to brake correctly. Then they check that Adam is properly strapped in. When the traffic lights turn green, the employee releases the brakes and Adam whizzes off.
Speedy toboggan ride
Adam has the camera in his hand and only brakes sporadically, which is why he is travelling quite fast. The rest of us use brakes more often: then there aren't quite as many adrenaline kicks, but the lofty height of the narrow track (up to 12 metres above the ground) alone guarantees a certain thrill. The instructions before the start and the instruction 30 metres before the finish to reduce speed and drive onto the braking belt at walking speed at the end of the track ensure a safe arrival at the finish.
We didn't have any children with us, but we're sure that a ride on the Alpine Bob is fun for the whole family: whether you're a teenager or a grandmother with a grandchild – everyone can regulate the speed to their liking using the brakes. By the way: Children from the age of 3 are allowed to use the track when accompanied (minimum age 16) and children from the age of 10 can also use it alone. Once you arrive at the finish, you can get pulled up to the starting point (where you can have a souvenir photo taken if you wish) or alternatively, in summer, continue on to Falzeben. We choose the easy option.
A variety of experiences in every season
Meran 2000 is a popular excursion destination for Meran and environs at any time of the year. In spring, summer and autumn, hiking and biking tours as well as a via ferrata await. While in winter, skiers and snowboarders get their money's worth, and tobogganists can choose between a classic toboggan run on snow and the Alpine Bob. In winter, however, the rail toboggan run is only open daily during the Christmas holidays (from 26 December) and the carnival holidays. Otherwise, it is open from Friday to Sunday. Whether summer or winter – Meran 2000 always offers a wide selection of cosy places to stop for refreshments and impressive panoramic views. Our recommendation for particularly expansive views on Meran 2000 is the Naifjoch VISTA viewpoint.