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Brenner Pass - 10 Things to Know Before Visiting

Mountain Passes

About Brenner Pass

The Brenner Pass is a mountain pass that connects the Austrian and Italian Alps. It is one of the major passes in the Eastern Alpine range, carrying both goods and passengers between the north and south. The pass is the lowest Alpine pass in the area, at 1,370 meters above sea level. The pass itself is relatively flat and well-maintained, making it an ideal route for heavy traffic.

Top hotels near Brenner Pass

Best hotels to stay near Brenner Pass.

Things to Do at Brenner Pass

Drive across it. That's all there is to do mostly. It's not the most eventful destination, but the views are nice if you're into road trips. In the valleys beneath the Brenner Pass and on the mountains above it, dairy cattle graze the Alpine pastures in summer. Since the pass is located at lower altitudes, farmers plant crops and harvest hay for winter fodder. 

The central section of the pass consists of a four-lane motorway and railway tracks. The village of Brenner consists majorly of small shops and basic amenities, with only a population of about a thousand people.

The motorway E45 begins in Innsbruck, runs through the Brenner Pass, Bozen/Bolzano, Verona and finishes outside Modena. Roughly halfway between Brenner Pass and Innsbruck is the Europabrücke (Europe Bridge)- the large six-lane Autobahn over the valley of Sill River (Wipptal). The bridge has a height of 180 meters and a length of 820 meters, and it is a site where bungee jumping is extremely popular.

Top activities near Brenner Pass

Best day trips and activities aroud Brenner Pass and the near by Austrian city Innsbruck, popular for winter sports.

History of Brenner Pass

The Brenner Pass has been an important strategic point for centuries, due to its location at the border between Austria and Italy. 

The pass was used and controlled by the Roman Empire from the 2nd century AD until the end of the empire in the 5th century AD. During this period, Alamanni- the confederation of Germanic tribes tried crossing the pass to Italy but they were stopped by the Romans at the  Battle of Lake Benacus.

Brenner Pass was part of an important imperial road linking the Kingdom of Germany with the Italian March of Verona during the high middle ages. The pass was controlled by the Counts of Tyrol within the Holy Roman Empire since the 12th century and the pass was already a trackway for mule trains and carts. A carriage road was laid out at the pass in 1777, thus beginning a modernisation.

Under the Austrian Empire, the modernisation of the pass continued. Brenner railway became the first trans-Alpine railway without any major tunnel and at a high altitude when its construction was completed in 1867. The completion of the railway helped the Austrians to move troops more efficiently to secure the territories of Venetia and Lombardy but lost them to Italy following the Second Italian War of Independence in 1859 and the Austro-Prussian War in 1866. After World War I, the control of the pass was shared between Austria and Italy.

Best Time to Visit Brenner Pass

The Brenner Pass is a beautiful mountain pass that offers stunning views of the Alpine scenery. The pass is open all year round, but the best time to visit is from June to September. The weather is at its most stable, and the days are long enough to enjoy all that the pass has to offer. The views from the pass are simply breathtaking.

Tips for Visiting Brenner Pass

  1. Expect high traffic as freight and leisure traffic has been causing long traffic jams at busy times even without border enforcement.
  2. If you are looking for a bit of adventure, check out the bungee-jumping from the Europa Bridge

Interesting Facts and Trivias About Brenner Pass

  1. Brenner pass is one of the most important transit routes between Northern and Southern Europe.
  2. The pass has been under frequent use since the prehistoric eras- from the most recent Ice Age.
  3. Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini met at the Brenner Pass to celebrate their Pact of Steel on 18 March 1940. 
  4. The Brenner Pass was part of the ratlines that were used by nazis to flee Europe after the German surrender in 1945.

How Much Time Did Visitors Spend at Brenner Pass

If you are looking for the whole experience of passing through the Brenner Pass, it will take roughly 4 hours (364 kilometres). You will have to start the journey at Innsbruck in Austria and drive through the scenic Alpine route to reach Modena in Italy.

How to Reach Brenner Pass

From Innsbruck in Austria, you can drive for 30 minutes to reach the pass(40 kilometres). There are also trains from Innsbruck to Brenner Pass, which will take only 40 minutes. From the Italian side, you can drive to the pass or take a train from Sterzing - Pfitsch station to reach the pass. It will take only 25 minutes.

Entrance Fee of Brenner Pass

There is no fee for entrance to Brenner Pass.

Opening Hours of Brenner Pass

Brenner Pass is open daily 24 hours.

Attractions Near Brenner Pass



7.46km from Brenner Pass

The Isarco is a river in northern Italy, born in the ' Alta Vall' Isarco in South Tyrol, near the Brenner Pass, passes through the village of Vipiteno, before descending along the Isarco Valley. After a course of over 90 kilometers along the homonymous valley, it flows into the Adige near Bolzano, as its main left tributary, presenting a greater flow than the upper segment of the Adige itself.

Serlesbahnen Mieders

Serlesbahnen Mieders

20.38km from Brenner Pass

The Serlesbahnen Mieders Skiing Area is above all ideal for beginners and families, as it is not too large - with 6 km of slopes - and thus very manageable. Those who love ski tours, however, will trawl the off-slope territory around Mt. Serles, one of the most popular recreation areas in the surroundings of Innsbruck.



20.91km from Brenner Pass

Mount Cuzzo is a mountain in the eastern Alps located between the valleys of Altafossa and Fundres, in the locality Maranza top 2,512 meters, including a ski area of the same name. The shoulder to the west of the mountain is called Kleingitsch, 2,262 meters high, while to the east there is the 1,827-meter Stollberg. The ski area includes slopes that are approximately 22 kilometers long. The mountain is crossed by a total of two cable cars, 4 chairlifts, and four ski lifts.



22.14km from Brenner Pass

A majestic mountain in Tyrol perfectly groomed ski slopes, surrounded by the beautiful, untouched nature of the Tux Alps. The Glungezer ski area is twelve kilometers from the provincial capital Innsbruck and can be easily reached by bus or car. 23 kilometers of slopes invite you to enjoy winter sports until spring.



22.45km from Brenner Pass

A beautiful lake, which has its source in the Blauer See and flows through the Viggartal in the Tux Alps in a north-southwesterly direction and flows into the Sill below Ellbogen . The stream has a length of 10 kilometers. The raging brook retains water quality class I throughout its course and is particularly dangerous during floods and heavy rain. However, because surrounding communities are a little further from the body of water, there is less risk to housing developments.

Europa Bridge

Europa Bridge

23.48km from Brenner Pass

The Europa Bridge is a 820-metre-long bridge carrying the A13 Brenner Autobahn 190m over the Wipp valley just south of Innsbruck. The bridge spans the Sill River, and forms part of the main route across the Alps from western Austria to South Tyrol in Italy. It is also part of the main route between southeastern Germany and northern Italy.

Discover More Attractions in Trentino-South Tyrol, Home of Brenner Pass

Trentino-South Tyrol

Trentino-South Tyrol

93 attractions

Home to the spectacular sawtoothed Dolomites, the semi-autonomous provinces of Trentino and South Tyrol are packed with stunning landscapes. The region has long enticed hikers, climbers, poets and fresh-air fanciers, with the scenic Sella Ronda remaining one of the world's most iconic skiing and cycling circuits.

Location of Brenner Pass


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