I’ve been visiting the Dolomites annually since 2004 in many ways:
- As a hiking guide
- As a cycling guide
- On cycling trips solo or with friends
- Hiking hut-to-hut
- At amateur cycling races
- On vacation with my husband and extended family
- On vacation with 1, 2, then 3 little boys
Each trip includes some time on the UNESCO World Heritage site of Alpe di Siusi, one of the most gorgeous parts of the Northern Italian mountain area.
Fun Fact: Alpe di Siusi (Seiser Alm in German, Mont Sëuc in Ladin) is Europe’s largest high alpine plateau at over 52 square kilometers. That’s an area as big as almost 10,000 American football fields!
Like the rest of the Dolomites, the trails are well-marked, public transport is top-notch, and the scenery is spectacular. However, it’s easy to get overwhelmed when planning a visit – there are so many options!
This guide summarizes what I believe is most important for a visit to Alpe di Siusi. I hope it helps you organize you’re your visit so you’re there at the best time for you, hiking the trails (or doing other activities!) that are best for you, eating meals you’ll love, and feeling relaxed and stress-free as you stare out at the incredible mountains surrounding you.
Andiamo – let’s go!
If you’re on a family trip, check out our 8 Tips for Visiting Alpe di Siusi with Kids!
Note: This guide focuses on the summer season. I’ve also visited during the winter, and the snow season warrants its own guide!
How to Pronounce Alpe di Siusi and Seiser Alm
Alpe di Siusi is pronounced AHL-peh dee SYOO-zee.
Listen to it here:
Seiser Alm is pronounced SIGH-sehr ahlm.
Listen to it here:
Where is Alpe di Siusi (Seiser Alm)?
Alpe di Siusi is located in the Dolomites in Northern Italy. It’s a part of the autonomous province of Bolzano in the autonomous region of Trentino-Alto Adige (aka Süd Tirol or South Tyrol).
Distance / Time to Alpe di Siusi (by car):
|Bolzano||35 km (45 min)|
|Merano||50 km (50 min)|
|Innsbruck (Austria)||120 km (1 hr 40 min)|
|Cortina d’Ampezzo||75 km (2 hr)|
|Venice||300 km (3 hr 15 min)|
|Milan||310 km (3 hr 30 min)|
Map of Alpe di Siusi
When to Visit Alpe di Siusi
For the hiking and warm weather season, I’ve found that the best times to visit are from mid-June through October. More and more people are visiting in May and early June, but the weather can be ‘iffy,’ and you don’t want to hang out on the Alpe di Siusi in ‘iffy’ weather.
Best for Wildflowers: June, July
Best for Fall Colors (the larch trees change colors): October
My Favorite Time: second half of June, July, September
Worried about crowds? Don’t be. Even in the busiest moments of the season (July and August), you’ll be able to find some space and enjoy the quiet and beautiful views without people right next to you (take that, Venice!). The areas around the main cable cars can be busy, but as you leave Compaccio, people will spread out. That being said, if you’re used to hiking all day without seeing another soul, the Dolomites in July and August may not be the place for you.
The mountain huts are usually open from June through October. Some may be open a little early/later or close a little earlier/later. Contact the hut (by phone or email) to find out the exact dates.
Alpe di Siusi Weather
|January||28°F (-2°C)||11°F (-11°C)|
|February||30°F (-1°C)||13°F (-11°C)|
|March||39°F (4°C)||21°F (-6°C)|
|April||49°F (10°C)||30°F (-1°C)|
|May||55°F (13°C)||35°F (2°C)|
|June||65°F (18°C)||44°F (7°C)|
|July||69°F (21°C)||48°F (9°C)|
|August||68°F (20°C)||48°F (9°C)|
|September||60°F (16°C)||40°F (5°C)|
|October||51°F (10°C)||33°F (1°C)|
|November||40°F (5°C)||27°F (-3°C)|
|December||31°F (0°C)||16°F (-9°C)|
Mountains You Can See From the Alpe di Siusi
Everywhere you look, you’ll see a dramatic mountain landscape. Some of the most notable mountain peaks and groups you’ll see from the Alpe di Siusi are:
- Sassolungo (Langkofel)
- Sassopiatto (Plattkofel)
- Sciliar Range (Schlern)
- Marmolada (Marmolata)
- Puez-Odle Nature Park (Naturpark Puez-Geisler)
- Catinaccio Group (Rosengarten)
- Sella Group (Sellagruppe)
10 Things to Do on Alpe di Siusi
Go for a Hike
There are over 400 kilometers of trails on Alpe di Siusi! The area is a true treasure for walkers and hikers.
You can do day-hikes or hike hut-to-hut. Both are worthwhile, and your choice will depend on your style of vacation.
My favorite hikes are:
- Day Hike: Compatsch -> Denti di Terra Rossa -> Rifugion Alpe di Tires -> Rifugio Bolzano -> Rifugio Alpe di Tires -> Rifugio Molignon -> Compatsch.
- Family Hike: Compatsch -> Bullaccia Funivia. Lunch, play on toys, walk around. Bullaccia Funivia -> Compatsch.
Good To Know: When you’re looking at trails on the Alpe di Siusi, note that some have a letter after them (trail 12 or trail 12A).
Ride a Bike
Alpe di Siusi is a dream for mountain bikers. Bring your own, or rent one at the bottom of the Cabinovia Alpe di Siusi or in Ortisei (depending on your Alpe di Siusi access point).
These days, you’ll see more mountain e-bikes than regular mountain bikes. E-bikes are a great way to explore the Alpe, especially if you have different fitness or cycling levels in your group.
Road cyclists will love the 9.5 km access road climb between the hours of 9:00 am and 5:00 pm when it’s closed to tourist traffic (except for those staying at a hotel on Alpe di Siusi, but that’s still not much traffic). There are paved roads on Alpe di Siusi, but if you don’t want to ride on the gravel at all, be sure to plan your route using a good map like the Tabacco 05 Alpe di Siusi map.
Good To Know: A nearby classic (and challenging) road cycling loop is the Sella Ronda, a 53 km ride over four mountain passes (Sella, Pordoi, Campolongo, and Gardena) for a total of 1,637m. Every June, it’s closed to traffic for one day.
Good To Know: If you’re riding with kids, you can ride on Alpe di Siusi with trailers or kids bikes, but there are some steep areas. You’ll want to have strong legs or e-bikes! Otherwise, look into riding on the Dolomites’ valley cycling paths – they’re perfect for families!
Photograph the Alpe di Siusi and Surrounding Mountains
Photographers flock to Alpe di Siusi, and some of the Dolomites’ most famous marketing photos are from its grassy hillsides. A few notable places to photograph:
- Any of the area around Bullaccia/Puflatsch – views of the entire Alpe and the Sciliar/Schlern, Sassopiatto (Plattkofel), and Sassonlungo (Langkofel).
- Denti di Terra Rossa – views of the Alpe di Siusi and the Catinaccio Group
- Meadow area between Compaccio and the Sciliar – views of the meadows and the Sciliar (Schlern).
Good To Know: Do you want to take photos during the sunset? If you’re visiting during the summer months when the sun sets later in the evening, you’ll need to bring a car up. The last cabinovia ride down is at 6:00 or 7:00 pm, depending on the time of year.
Bring your own alpine flower book or buy one (I use the green Kompass pocket-size guide) in the shops at the base of the chairlift (in Siusi or Ortisei) or in Compaccio.
The Alpe di Siusi explode with wildflowers in the late spring through mid-summer (May, June, July). Even non-flower enthusiasts will find joy in the colorful blossoms. Identify them, photograph them, or just slow down and appreciate their unique shapes, beautiful colors, and fun names (“Hey, did you see that bearded bellflower?”).
Some wildflowers to look out for:
- Orange lily
- Bearded bellflower
Go for a Ride in a Horse Carriage
If your legs are tired from yesterday’s hike, catch a ride on a horse-drawn carriage on the Alpe di Siusi. You can get one at the top of the Cabinovia Alpe di Siusi in Compaccio, or arrange a pick up in another location.
Relax at a Spa
Alpe di Siusi has a few luxurious spa hotels. Some of the best places to relax or recharge are:
- Alpina Dolomites – 5-star; Leading Hotels of the World member; indoor and outdoor pools
- Seiser Alm Urthaler – 5-star; peaceful Alpine garden; focus on sustainability
- Hotel ADLER Lodge Alpe – 5-star; glass wellness area has day and night views
- Rosa Eco Alpine Spa Resort – 4-star; family-run; use the Finnish sauna after a long hike!
If you don’t want to stay on Alpe di Siusi but still want a spa experience, you can stay at one of many spa hotels in Fiè allo Sciliar, Siusi allo Sciliar, Castelrotto, Ortisei, Santa Cristina in Val Gardena, or Selva Val Gardena.
Good To Know: My favorite spa hotel with easy access to Alpe di Siusi is Romantik Hotel Turm in Fiè allo Sciliar.
Eat Hearty Mountain Food at a Hut
Dolomites hiking and hearty mountain food go hand-in-hand. As much as I love picnics, I highly recommend stopping at a mountain hut for a mid-day meal. Be sure to try one (or more!) of the following:
- Sausages with potatoes and crauti
- Apple strudel
See our recommended places to eat below.
Visit the Witches’ Benches
One of Alpe di Siusi’s most famous landmarks is the ‘Witches’ Benches’ above Bullaccia. The large stones look like benches (complete with backrests and armrests) and are said to be the stomping grounds of the mythical Alpe di Siusi witches.
You can reach the benches on foot from Compaccio (Compatsch) or Castelrotto (Kastelruth).
Interesting Fact: Nine women were actually accused of being witches by one of the Lords of nearby Prösels Castle.
Try a Via Ferrata or Go Rockclimbing
There are a few vie ferrate, or ‘iron ways,’ on Alpe di Siusi, but none are classified as easy. The area has several areas for rock climbers.
If you’re a beginner or would like help planning your climbing, contact one of our recommended local guides. They can help organize rock climbing or climbing on a via ferrata. Each one is experienced, fun, knowledgeable, and happy to chat about daily life in the Dolomites.
- Helmut & Brigitte of ArcAlpin, based in Fiè allo Sciliar. The website is in German but you can see their contact info on the page, and they speak English.
- Heidi Vittur of Vico Travel, based in San Cassiano (Alta Badia).
Good To Know: A via ferrata is a route in the mountains made up of steel cables, fixed anchors, ladders, and bridges. You can experience exposed and difficult parts of a mountain climb if you’re not an experienced climber by clipping your harness into the steel cable that runs along the route. Many of the vie ferrate in the Dolomites were installed during WW1.
There are multiple companies that offer paragliding trips. You don’t need to have any experience to tandem paraglide. You’ll see many paragliders launch from Spitzbühl.
If you’re hiking on Alpe di Siusi, you’ll see them in the sky during the day.
Good To Know: I would also recommend checking out paragliding from Seceda in nearby Val Gardena.
Getting to the Alpe di Siusi (Seiser Alm)
Cable Car / Cabinovia Alpe di Siusi
The best way to get up is by cable car! There are two cable car access points – Cabinovia Alpe di Siusi (next to Siusi allo Sciliar) and Mont Sëuc cable car (Ortisei). You should choose based on where you’re staying or coming from. I much prefer the Cabinovia Alpe di Siusi (from Siusi allo Sciliar). Remember to buy round-trip ticket if you’re just visiting for the day.
Good To Know: The cable car season dates are not always the same. Check the Seiser Alm / Alpe di Siusi official site for the exact dates.
Driving to the Alpe di Siusi isn’t always allowed.
If you want to drive all the way up to the Alpe di Siusi (where you’ll start your hike, visit rifugi, etc), you’ll take the main access road for cars, which is between Siusi and Castelrotto. It’s a 9.5km winding uphill that occasionally passes under the cable car (Cabinovia Alpe di Siusi / Seiser Alm Bahn). The hitch is you cannot drive UP the road (towards the Alpe di Siusi) between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm. So, if you want to drive up, you need to be on the road before 9:00 am. You can drive DOWN the road at any time. You do NOT need to wait until 5:00 pm to drive down.
Once you get to the top, you’ll be in the small ‘town’ of Compaccio/Compatsch and you can park in the large gravel lot (P2) on the right. It is a flat rate of €19 (2022).
Slept in and missed the 9:00 am deadline? Don’t fret! Just take the bus or cable car up (allowed between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm).
If you want to drive to the base of the Siusi allo Sciliar cable car, you can arrive whenever you’d like, park your car in the huge gravel lot (free) or the paid covered parking garage. Then, walk for 1 minute to the base of the cable car.
If you want to drive to the base of the Ortisei cable car, you can arrive whenever you’d like, and park your car in the paid covered parking garage.
Good To Know: If you’ve booked a hotel on the Alpe di Siusi, you can arrive at and depart from your hotel at any time of the day. And, if you want to drive to Compaccio/Compatsch (the main ‘town’ of the Alpe di Siusi), you are allowed to before 10:00 am and after 5:00 pm (you get a bonus hour in the morning).
If you’re planning on driving in Italy, check out our posts on:
Renting a Car in Italy
Italian Gas Stations and Getting Gas in Italy
Important Italian Road Signs
Driving in Italy
International Driving Permit for Italy
Renting a Car in Italy with a US Driver’s License
You can take the excellent local buses. Check the often-updated info and timetables on the Alpe di Siusi website.
If you’re traveling to the area by train, the best arrival point is Bolzano, which is fairly well-connected to main train lines. From Bolzano, you can catch the local bus from the bus station (next door to the train station). You can buy your bus ticket from a human being, so you can ask questions and make sure you’re getting on the correct bus.
Your airport choice will depend on if you’re arriving on an international flight or if you’re coming from within Europe or Italy.
If you’re arriving on an international flight, the best airports to fly into are:
- Verona (VRN)
- Milan Malpensa (MXP)
- Venice (VCE)
- Munich (MUC)
If you’re arriving from within Europe or Italy, check out flights into:
- Milan Linate (LIN)
- Bolzano (BZO)
- Venice Treviso (TSF)
- Innsbruck (INN)
- Bergamo (BGY)
The airport you choose will depend on cost, flight schedule, and other factors that are important to you. From the airport, you can get to Alpe di Siusi by rental car, private transfer, or public transport.
You can climb 9.5 km on the access road that’s located between Siusi allo Sciliar and Castelrotto. The climb is gorgeous, winding, and mostly traffic-free, since the road is closed to almost all traffic between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm.
Elevation gain: 750 m
Average grade: 8%
Max grade: 16%
It’s a beautiful climb!
Mountain bikers can ride up to Alpe di Siusi, but most take one of the lifts up and ride on the plateau.
Alpe di Siusi – Where to Eat
While Alpe di Siusi is a gorgeous setting for a picnic, I recommend you indulge in a mountain hut meal. Where you eat will depend on where you hike.
Good To Know: ‘Huts’ can go by many names in the area, including: Malga, Rifugio, Alm, Schwaige, and Baita.
- Gostner Schwaige – sample cheeses from their farm or the gorgeous mountain salad with edible flowers
- Rauchhütte – regional specialties made with care; excellent wine selection – Salute!
- Rifugio Alpe di Tires – a favorite for amazing food at a high mountain hut
- Malga Sanon – have polenta or canederli with the incredible view
- Tschötsch Alm – enjoy the speck and relax!
- Ristorante Bullaccia – classic mountain food that arrives quickly – great for families with small children
- Dibaita Puflatschhütte – they really do have some of the world’s best strudel
You may want to read our popular guide to Tipping in Italy!
Alpe di Siusi – Where to Stay
You can spend the night on the Alpe (in a hotel or rifugio) or visit for the day. I’ve done both, but prefer visiting on a day trip. The gondola ride up never gets old and I like the conveniences that come with staying in the nearby villages (great grocery stores, selection of restaurants, evening activities available).
On the Alpe di Siusi – Where to Stay
Rifugio Alpe di Tires (on the Sciliar massif) – Cozy and comfortable rifugio at 2440 meters. Hike up and earn your birra and hearty dinner, watch the stars, and have an amazing night of sleep. Judith and Stefan will take care of you!
ADLER Lodge Alpe (near the top of the Ortisei Mont Seüc cable car) – Luxury in a mountain setting. Spectacular views, beautiful spa. One of a few spa hotels on Alpe di Siusi.
Near Alpe di Siusi – Where to Stay
Romantik Hotel Turm (Fiè allo Sciliar) – My favorite hotel in the Dolomites (and possibly all of Italy). Run by Stephan and Kathi and worth a visit for its restaurant, views, unique décor, creative spa and gym and more. I highly recommend staying here.
Schgaguler (Castelrotto) – Sleek, mountain chic hotel run by the kind and hospitable Schgaguler family. Beautiful views and the spa is wonderful after a day of hiking!
Abinea Dolomiti Romantic Spa Hotel (Castelrotto) – I’ve heard great things about this hotel and the rooftop pool looks like the perfect place to relax and soak up Sciliar views!
What to Pack for a Visit to Alpe di Siusi
- Solar charger – If you’re taking photos with your phone, it’s likely you’ll run out of battery (that’s how photogenic the area is!).
- Rain jacket and extra layer (fleece) – Storms can descend on the Alpe at any time of the year, and temperatures can drop quickly. It’s better to have it tucked in your pack and not need to use it than to be cold and drenched.
- Water bottle or water bladder – You can refill in a few places and you can also buy water at rifugi (mountain huts). But, it’s best to be prepared and pack the water that you think you’ll need for your hike.
- Snacks – You’re never too far from a hut, shop, or restaurant, but when you’re hungry, one kilometer can feel like 100. Pack a simple snack (fruit, dried fruit and nuts, and granola bars are all easy to find in the area) so you won’t have to worry.
- Camera – You don’t need a fancy camera – your cell phone will do. Alpe di Siusi is incredibly gorgeous. You could close your eyes and take photos or delegate the photos to your 2-year-old child, and you’ll still end up with fabulous images.
- Hat and Sunscreen – On sunny and cloudy days, you’ll want to be protected.
- Appropriate Footwear – If you’ll be walking on paved paths pushing a stroller, I won’t scold you for wearing normal athletic sneakers (I do). But, if you’re planning on hiking, make sure you’ve got supportive (and worn-in) hiking shoes or boots. Non-slip soles are important if you’re caught in the rain.
- Paper Map – Don’t rely on your phone (see solar charger above). The free map you’re given at the cabinovia isn’t amazingly detailed or accurate. The best paper map available is the Tabacco Map #5 – Val Gardena / Alpe di Siusi (scale 1:25,000).
- Hiking Poles – If you have experience with them and you’ll be hiking (vs. strolling), bring your hiking poles.
Alpe di Siusi with Kids
There are so many places in the Dolomites that are perfect for kids – and Alpe di Siusi is one of them. Reasons I love visiting with children:
- Stroller-accessible hikes
- Plenty of public toilets (clean, with changing tables)
- Kids love the gondola
- Playgrounds and animals at some of the mountain huts
- Convenient to reach
- Amazing family photos without even trying
- Quality shops in case you’ve forgotten anything
- Activities to satisfy all ages, from babies and toddlers to teens
Nearby Alpe di Siusi
|Siusi allo Sciliar||farmer’s market, town center|
|Castelrotto||architecture, folk music|
|Fiè allo Sciliar||hay baths, aperitivo at Romantik Hotel Turm, Prösels Castle|
|Ortisei||woodworking, shopping in pedestrian center|
|Bolzano||markets, Ötzi the Iceman|
|Plegerhof Organic Farm||beautiful herb farm with small shop|
|Vigilerhof Golf Course||golf|
|Laghetto di Fiè||one of Italy’s cleanest lakes|
I hope you have a special visit to Alpe di Siusi / Seiser Alm!
Check out our 200+ Essential Italy Travel Tips!
Can you drive to Alpe di Siusi (Seiser Alm)?
Yes, you can drive to Alpe di Siusi, but you can only drive up the access road before 9:00 am or after 5:00 pm unless you’re staying at a hotel on the Alpe (and even then you must drive straight to/from your hotel).
The best way to visit Alpe di Siusi by car is to drive to the base of one of the cable car stations (Cabinovia Alpe di Siusi near Siusi allo Sciliar or Mont Seüc Cable car in Ortisei). From there, you can take the cable car up to Alpe di Siusi and enjoy your day on the expansive alpine meadow.
What’s the best way to get to Alpe di Siusi (Seiser Alm)?
Alpe di Siusi (like most places in the Dolomites) is easily accessed by car (to the base of the cable cars) or public bus.
How can you get to Alpe di Siusi (Seiser Alm) from Bolzano?
You can drive from Bolzano to the Alpe di Siusi cable car (near Siusi allo Sciliar) in about 30 minutes. Or, take the public bus from the Bolzano bus station and arrive at the base of the cable car in about 35 minutes. If you want to take the cable car from Ortisei, you can arrive by car in about 40 minutes, and bus in about 1 hour and 10 minutes.
What are the trail rules on Alpe di Siusi (Seiser Alm)?
- Don’t pick the wildflowers.
- Always stay on the marked trails. This helps to prevent unnecessary damage to the area.
- Don’t bother the animals (wild or domesticated). That means no petting, getting to close, or making loud noises around them.
- Don’t litter! There are a few trash bins, especially at lifts, in Compaccio, and at some mountain huts.
- Don’t light a fire.
- Don’t wild camp.
- Close gates behind you so the cows stay home.