From Bolzano you can take cars, taxis, or buses to 3 castles (they are also within hiking distance I believe, although I assume it’s a rather long walk!). The tourist office, located right on Walther Square, can help you arrange transportation to any of the three castles.
The three castles that are close to Bolzano are: Castle Maretsch, Runkelstein Castle and Firmian/Sigmundskron Castle.
I visited Runkelstein Castle which I reached by car* (arranged via the tourist office), and then walked up a steep hill (about 20 minutes). The castle sits on a high rock, has a moat and drawbridge and dates back to the 13th century. The castle is mostly known for its frescos, painted in the late 14th century (artists unknown) and was commissioned by the Vintler merchant brothers. You can see the frescos after getting your tickets, you’ll go right upstairs and see scenes of King Arthur, his knights, and more. The long covered balcony between buildings features an interesting fresco of giant figures! And further rooms illustrate the history of the castle and its various owners. The castle was donated to the city of Bozen in 1893, with restorations to the buildings and frescos in the late 1990’s.
*Note that the castle ticket office can call the car when you are done with your visit, thus giving you time to climb down and be picked up (the drive from town takes about the same amount of time it does for you to climb down!). Rather a nice arrangement!
Entry Fees: 8 euros for adults, 5.50 euros for children and seniors, with specials for families and groups (As of Summer 2016)
Castle hours are: Tuesday to Sunday 10am to 5pm (6pm in the Summer)
For the official Runkelstein Castle website click here: http://www.runkelstein.info/runkelstein_en/the_castle.asp
Read previous posts about see the Otzi Iceman in Bolzano and other information about what to see when in Tyrol Valley, Italy by clicking here.