The source of the moutain river Passer is at the Timmelsjoch, which is part of the European watershed, at the area between Italy and Austria. The Passer leaves the Passeier Valley to the north of Merano at the narrow and wildly romantic Gilfschlucht gorge, where it plunges through a narrow corset of granite rocks. The mountain stream, which is quite small at the beginning, enlarges on its way towards Merano through numerous tributaries and flows into the Adige (Etsch) after about 42 kilometers. It is interesting to know that the water of the Passer has drinking water quality class 1.
In earlier times, there were always devastating floods in the area around Merano. Even today, several boulders can be seen in front of the Holy Spirit Church, which were washed there by the raging waters during the last great flood in 1419. In the middle of the 19th century, the city authorities decided to straighten the river. Today, it separates the old town centre on the right bank from the newer parts of town, such as the Obermais villa district.
Merano's spa promenade runs parallel to the Passer River and at the widest point of the river an impressive viewing platform with glass balustrade has been built, offering a fantastic view. Exactly on the opposite side stands the Merano Thermal Baths. It offers a total of 25 swimming pools, 10 of which are distributed in the spacious outdoor area of the facility and are open during the summer season. Indoors, in addition to another 15 pools, a large sauna area and a wellness department.
Not far from the complex, the Passer terraces provide comfortable access to the water. On the steps, hikers, cyclists and walkers like to take a break and enjoy this beautiful spot.
The entire course of the Passer River is lined by the Merano Promenades in the city area. These are extremely well-maintained and beautifully Mediterranean planted walkways that are points of attraction for locals and guests alike. During a stay in Merano, you should definitely take some time to visit the excellently preserved Roman Bridge and the so-called Stone Bridge, which replaced the previously existing wooden bridge here in 1616.
Passionate cyclists will be thrilled by the Passeier Valley Cycle Path, which starts at the thermal spa square in Merano. This family-friendly route is in large parts natural ground and leads over a length of about 20 kilometers to St. Leonhard i.P..
Rafting is also one of the activities guaranteed to make the hearts of adventurous visitors to the region beat faster. Under expert guidance, the raft descends rapidly through the various rapids in the Passeier Valley, where the river is still decidedly wild. The rock walls in the gorges in this part provide a perfect backdrop for fun sports such as canyoning and tarzaning, where sliding, rappelling, swimming and sometimes even diving are part of the fun.
The Passer river is an ideal spot for canoeists and especially white water paddlers. For many years Merano has been a regular venue for international competitions. This fact proves how exciting the conditions here are even for professional athletes.
Those who are looking for action and cooling down, but prefer to stay on land, can climb over various metal constructions such as bridges or gratings on a path directly along the torrent. The 6.5-kilometer-long Passerschluchtenweg between St. Leonhard and Moos is guaranteed to provide unforgettable experiences for adventurers with a head for heights.
The Passer is a true paradise for all anglers and especially for friends of the trendy sport of fly fishing. The water is extremely rich in fish and various trout species and also brook trout cavort in large numbers in the river. Due to the different flow speeds and changing substrates, neither beginners nor professionals will get bored.
Whether by bike, on foot or in a boat - the Passer offers active excursionists and vacationers countless exciting opportunities for leisure activities.