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Side by side photos of mountains and alpine meadows in Alpe di Siusi and Seceda in the Dolomites in Italy.

Alpe di Siusi or Seceda – Which Should You Choose?

Updated on January 15, 2024

If you’re here, you’re trying to decide which area to visit – Alpe di Siusi or Seceda. 

I’m often asked this question, and my easy response is… both!  Both Alpe di Siusi and Seceda are spectacular and worth a visit while you’re exploring the Dolomites.  I’ve been visiting the Dolomites since 2004 for work and play, and both Alpe di Siusi and Seceda are at the top of my list when I’m in the area.  When possible, I visit both.

However, I recognize that time is limited, and you may need to choose one of them. 

So, read on for info that will help you decide which area to visit, based on your desires and expectations. 

I’m sure that whichever destination you choose – Alpe di Siusi or Seceda – you’ll have a fabulous day in the belle Dolomiti!

Locations – Alpe di Siusi and Seceda

As you can see on the map, Alpe di Siusi and Seceda aren’t physically that far from each other.  (Alpe di Siusi is the yellow marker on the left, and Seceda is the yellow marker just above it on the right.)

They’re both located in the Dolomites (in South Tyrol in northern Italy), between the peaks of the Sciliar-Catinaccio (Schlern-Rosengarten) and the Puez-Odle (Puez-Geisler). 

You can access both from the Val Gardena town of Ortisei (Sankt Ulrich in German, Urtijëi in Ladin). 

Depending on where you’re coming from, you can reach one of them quicker:

From Bolzano, you can access Alpe di Siusi from the Seiser Alm cable car (about a 30-minute drive).  You can reach Seceda from Ortisei (about a 50-minute drive). 

From Cortina d’Ampezzo, you can reach Seceda from the Col Raiser cable car in Santa Cristina Valgardena (about 1 hr 30-minute drive), but I recommend taking the cable cars up from the Seceda base station Ortisei (about 1 hr 40-min drive).  You can reach Alpe di Siusi in about 20 minutes more from Ortisei or 30 minutes more from Santa Cristina Valgardena.

WINNER:  Tie.  Depends on where you’re coming from. 

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Ease of Access

Getting Up to Alpe di Siusi

You can reach Alpe di Siusi by cable car, car, bus, or bicycle.

Cable Car – This is our favorite way to get up to Alpe di Siusi.  Take the Seiser Alm cable car from Siusi or the Mont Sëuc cable car from Ortisei. 

Car – You are allowed to drive the road from Telfen (between Siusi and Castelrotto) up to Compatsch (on Alpe di Siusi) before 9:00am or after 5:00pm.  Once in Compatsch, you must park in the lot and pay a daily rate (€26.50 at the time of writing).  Note that if the parking fills up, the road will close before 9:00am.  Before driving up, check the Seiser Alm website for the latest hours and info.

Bus – You can take a public bus from Siusi up to Compatsch. 

Bicycle – It’s a fun, quiet ride up to Compatsch on the same road that you can drive up.  It’s a big climb but gorgeous – my husband and I love this climb!

Getting to Up to Seceda

Seceda is best reached by cable cars from either Ortisei or Plan da Tieja (next to Santa Cristina Valgardena).

The main cable cars run from Ortisei to Furnes Station (where you switch to a big cable car) to Seceda Mountain station.  Note that the second cable car typically opens in late-June.

WINNER:  Alpe di Siusi offers more options and timing.

Hiking Options

Alpe di Siusi Hiking Options

Alpe di Siusi has hiking options for everyone.  You’ll find stroller-friendly paved paths for families, epic trails for hearty hikers, and everything in between.
I’ve hiked in Alpe di Siusi with babies, toddlers, clients, my parents, and friends – and I’ve never had a problem finding a hike!

Seceda Hiking Options

Seceda also has hiking options for all ages – I’ve hiked there with toddlers and enthusiastic hikers.  However, there are less options available, and there aren’t any stroller options available like those at Alpe di Siusi.  Also, you’ll likely find yourself carrying babies and toddlers for some or all of the hikes at Seceda – sometimes the ‘easy’ trails have hilly sections or small drop offs.

WINNER: Alpe di Siusi has many route choices for all levels.

Cycling Options

Mountain bikes on the side of a gravel road at Seceda in the Dolomites, Italy.
Seceda’s main viewpoint

Alpe di Siusi Cycling Options

You can ride on the road all the way up to Compatsch on the Alpe di Siusi, and once you’re there, there are (limited) paved roads for road cycling.  Mountain bikers of all levels will find suitable trails.  I see a ton of mountain e-bikes up here now, and the wide paths make it easier for all abilities. 

Seceda Cycling Options

There are mountain biking routes on Seceda, but most are single-track.  You will share narrow trails with hikers.

WINNER: Alpe di Siusi has many route choices for all levels.  Wide paths make it easy to share routes with hikers.

If you love cycling, check out
Dolomites Valley Bike Paths

Cost to Get to Top

Mother and three kids walking on dirt trail with Seceda and other mountains in the background.
Hiking to Malga Pieralongia with my boys (from the top of the Seceda cable car)

Alpe di Siusi Cost

A round-trip ride on the Seiser Alm cable car (Siusi-Compatsch, my favorite way up to Alpe di Siusi) is €24 for adults, with reduced rates for kids and kids < 8 years old traveling for free.

A round-trip ride on the Mont Sëuc cable car (Ortisei-Alpe di Siusi) is €28 for adults, with reduced rates for kids and kids < 8 years old traveling for free.

Seceda Cost

A round-trip ride on the Seceda cable car (Ortisei-Furnes-Seceda) is €39.50, with reduced rates for kids and kids < 8 years old traveling for free.

WINNER: Alpe di Siusi

Cable Cars

Alpe di Siusi Cable Cars

As you ride up the cable car from Siusi allo Sciliar to Compatsch, you’re treated with views of Siusi and lush green grassy and tree-covered mountains.  It’s a peaceful and beautiful ride up.  Sometimes you can see paragliders near the top.

The cable car from Ortisei to Alpe di Siusi is also a lovely ride, full of views of the Gardena valley (Val Gardena).

Seceda Cable Cars

The first cable car to the Furnes station offers beautiful views of the Gardena valley and surrounding peaks.  At the Furnes station, you switch to a large cable car and travel with the group up to the Seceda Mountain station.  The views are impressive, especially as you get close to the wall of the mountain near the top!

WINNER: Seceda, for its dramatic second cable car.

Mountain Views and Scenery

Alpe di Siusi Scenery

Alpe di Siusi’s landscape is gorgeous.  When you get to the top of the cable cars, you can see the expansive green alpine plateau ringed with mountain ranges and peaks, including the unique Sciliar and the Sasso Piatto and Sasso Lungo. 

Seceda Scenery

As dramatic and breathtaking as the views on Alpe di Siusi are, Seceda manages to top them.  From the moment you get off the chairlift at the Seceda mountain station, you’ll be amazed by peaks and alpine meadows.  And, a quick 10-minute walk up a steep hill brings you to the viewpoint with incredible views in every direction you look. 

I found it hard to put my camera away at Seceda – it’s just spectacular.

WINNER: Seceda’s 360° incredible views are hard to beat!

Dining Options

Alpe di Siusi Dining Options

On Alpe di Siusi, you can eat at multiple bars and restaurants in Compatsch or head out on a walk and eat at a rifugio or malga (mountain hut) along your route.  Rifugi serve up classic mountain fare (think polenta and sausage), but some have ‘fancier’ menus.

Seceda Dining Options

Many people eat at the restaurant at the top of the lift, but you can also walk to a mountain hut on Seceda for a meal or a snack.

WINNER: Alpe di Siusi, for its wealth of dining options.   

Best for Families

Alpe di Siusi with Kids

Alpe di Siusi is one of our top places to visit in the Dolomites with kids.  Why do we love it?:

  • It’s a perfect set up for all ages – even if you need to push a stroller. 
  • There are a ton of kid-friendly hikes (including to huts with playgrounds).
  • There are a lot of lifts on Alpe di Siusi (which allow you to adjust or shorten hikes).
  • There are special kid-friendly hikes.
  • Compatsch has shops in case you need anything (gear, snacks, etc).
  • You can also use buses or a horse and carriage.

Seceda with Kids

We enjoy hiking on Seceda as a family, especially to Malga Pralongia (its playground has one of the best views on the planet!).  There’s also an excellent playground at the top of the cable car. 

I did worry a bit hiking with my toddler – there are a few drop offs (especially up by the Seceda ridgeline and climbing up to the main viewpoint).  Seceda isn’t stroller-friendly.

WINNER: Alpe di Siusi – it’s one of the most kid-friendly spots in the area.   

Read more about
Alpe di Siusi with Kids
Seceda with Kids

Photographer’s Dream

Photography on Alpe di Siusi

I think you could close your eyes and photograph Alpe di Siusi and you’d still come out with print-worthy images.  Many photos are taken of the Sciliar range from Alpe di Siusi.

Photography on Seceda

Just like with Alpe di Siusi, it’s tough to take a bad photo on Seceda.  The most popular place to take a photo is on the left side of the Seceda ridgeline.  You’ll also find plenty of inspiration at the circular metal viewpoint by the top of the lift (10-minute walk on the steep gravel trail).

WINNER: Seceda (but it’s close), for its dramatic scenery.

Things to See & Do Nearby

View of funicular track and mountains at Resciesa, Dolomites.
Riding the funicular up to Resciesa

Things to See & Do Near Alpe di Siusi

Things to See & Do Near Seceda

WINNER: Tie.  Both Alpe di Siusi and Seceda are near other gorgeous, interesting, and fun destinations in the Dolomites.

And the Winner Is…

boy standing in alpe di siusi in the italian dolomites
My son checking out the flora on Alpe di Siusi

If I had to choose between Alpe di Siusi and Seceda, I’d choose Alpe di Siusi.  It’s easy to get to, it’s got something for everyone (easy and hard hikes, cycling routes, etc), and there are plenty of dining options.  Oh, and it’s insanely gorgeous.  However, if you’re really focused on finding the best views in the Dolomites, I’d travel to Seceda first.  I think it has one of the best (if not the best) views in the area.

The good news is that they’re both great options.  If you can, visit them both!  If not, I hope this info has helped you make the best choice for you!

Divertitevi – have fun!

Alpe di Siusi or Seceda FAQ

Boy hiking on packed dirt path on Pieralongia trail in the Dolomites.
My son hiking at Seceda
Which is best for a day hike with kids – Alpe di Siusi or Seceda?

I prefer Alpe di Siusi for a day hike with kids because there are so many options (even with a stroller), and you can utilize lifts, buses, or horse carriages if you need to alter, shorten, or lengthen your route. 

Is hiking on Seceda challenging?

There are definitely challenging hiking routes on Seceda, but there are also plenty of less-strenuous hikes.  You can also do an out-and-back hike.

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