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The Dolomites in Italy are one of Europe’s most beautiful mountain ranges. The steep mountains and turquoise lakes makes you think of Canada but I was so thrilled to learn that you can also find this kind of landscape in Europe only a few hours flight from Copenhagen!
One of the beautiful places we visited on our road trip through the Dolomites was Alpe Di Siusi / Seiser Alm – Europe’s largest mountain plateau.
How to get to the Dolomites
The Dolomites are located in Northern Italy, close to the Austrian border. Planning the trip was a little confusing. First because all the place names are written in both Italian and German, and also because there are so many different flight options. You can fly to Venice or Bergamo in Italy, or to Innsbruck in Austria. From Venice and Bergamo it’s a two-and-a-half hour drive to the Dolomites’ westernmost capital, Bolzano. From Innsbruck it’s a one-and-a-half hour drive. However, we chose to fly to Bergamo, both because it was the cheapest and because we wanted to spend the last few days at Lake Garda, not far from Bergamo.
We found the flights using Momondo’s search engine, which is a brilliant tool for getting an overview of the different airports and finding the best prices.
Alpe Di Siusi / Seiser Alm – The largest mountain plateau in Europe
The rolling green plateau, the small scattered cabins and the mighty Dolomite mountains in the background. Alpe Di Siusi is beautiful! We stayed in the small town of Compaccio / Kompatch which is the only town on the plateau itself and the obvious base for exploring the area. From the town there are both hiking trails and several cable cars that will quickly take you out into the green landscape. A little further out, you can stay directly on the plateau. I dreamed of staying at Hotel Icaro or Adler Lodge (check out that view!). Unfortunately both hotels were too expensive for our budget.
Instead we ended up staying at the more affordable Bella Vista Hotel
Find a hotel on Alpe Di Siusi using the Momondo search engine
Hiking the Bullaccia / Puflatsch trail
If you are visiting Alpe Di Siusi, you should definitely take this day trip. The trip starts and ends in the town of Compaccio / Kompatch and takes you up to a nearby plateau with a stunning panoramic view over the Alpe di Siusi and the valley on the other side. You start by taking the Bullaccia / Puflatch cableway, which saves you an ascent of 300 metres. After that, the trip is just about flat all the way to the end, where you walk 300 metres down again on a small paved road. The trail is clearly marked, 8.5 km long and takes about three hours. But remember to leave time for photo stops and lunch in one of the two cabins along the route. It’s easy to combine hiking with good food and drink all over the Dolomites. During the hike you will certainly meet lots of cute alpine cows and a see wealth of butterflies and flowers.
In summer, the Dolomites’ floral blooms cannot be beaten. You can see the beautiful pink Martagon lilies, among other flowers.
The Dolomites are a paradise for butterflies.
The perfect viewpoint over Alpe Di Siusi
In the evening we drive out onto the plateau through the narrow winding roads to find a particularly nice viewpoint. There are small wooden houses everywhere and you have a completely unspoiled view of the high mountains. We park on the side of the road and have the beautiful view all to ourselves.
I’ve plotted the nice viewpoint on Google Maps here
Access ban for cars – how to get to Alpe Di Siusi
To protect the area, hotel guests are the only ones licensed to drive to and from their hotel during the day. At the entrance to Alpe Di Siusi there is a the little brown cottage where you will recieve your permit to put in the windshield of your car. For everyone else there is a driving ban between 9.00 am and 5.00 pm. If you want to experience Alpe Di Siusi during this time, you must take the cable car from one of the towns, Ortisei or Siusi, where you can park your car. However, the cable car only runs between 9.00 am and 5.00 pm, which means that you can not get down from the plateau after 5.00 pm. This is a little bit frustrating when you want to see the sunset, which was also the reason we chose to stay on the plateau instead of just taking a day trip there.
Map over Alpe Di Siusi
This map gives a nice overview of the area
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