When you drive back to The Netherlands from Venice you have the opportunity to do a small detour and visit the Dolomites. Hielke and I love visiting the mountains and as we certainly won’t be going skiing this year, making a visit to the Dolomites in summer was the perfect idea. The weather in the mountains can be quite unpredictable, so we decided very late where in the Dolomites we would be staying and hiking to make sure we had the best weather. This is how we ended up staying in Bolzano and hiking in Alpe di Siusi/Seiser Alm. We had an amazing experience in the Dolomites and I wish we would have stayed longer, we will certainly be back!
As we decided to stay in Bolzano the day before we arrived, we didn’t have a lot of choice of cheap rooms. The price-quality of the rooms in Bolzano didn’t seem great at first, I thought a lot of hotels looked dated and overpriced. However, if you don’t give up searching you can find a good deal. We ended up booking Bolzano Rooms, which was a little apartment in a central location, definitely recommend it.
Bolzano has an amazing location, it is very closely located to several hiking areas, you will be spoilt for choice. The town itself is very cozy, there are lots of nice beer gardens and restaurants. Definitely a good way to spoil yourself after a long day of hiking! We met up for dinner and drinks with our Dutch friends who we met in Patagonia last year. The Dolomites actually reminded us a bit of Patagonia: the combination of atmospheric, gastronomic towns and the beautiful mountain ranges. What really confused us in Bolzano was the language as people speak Italian and German, you never know how you are going to interact! The gastronomy was definitely German inspired as well, which really added to the mountain vibes. Being pregnant I was also very happy to have some choice in non-alcoholic beers, as classical Italian restaurants usually don’t offer these.
Alpe di Siusi
After obsessively checking the weather website Bergfex, we decided to head to Alpe di Siusi as early in the morning as possible, so we could finish a hike before lunch. Alpe di Siusi is also known as the Seiser Alm and you will see that lots of indications are in German and Italian in the Dolomites.
We parked our car at the Seiser Alm Bahn and took the gondola up to the little town Compatsch. Alpe di Siusi is a plateau surrounded by mountains and Compatsch is located on the plateau. It is possible to stay in Compatsch in a beautiful hotel with mountain views from your outdoor swimming pool. If you’ve got money to spend I would recommend to do it as the area is breathtaking. We might head back with the campervan, as there are also a few parkings where you can stay overnight. Compatsch is not accessible all day and you do need to pay for use of the road to Compatsch, make sure to do your research before you try to drive up the plateau. Alpe di Siusi is really kid friendly; it is easy to hike with kids as you don’t have to climb a lot and you can take a chairlift if you get tired.
We bought a gondola ticket for € 18 per person to go up and down the plateau. It is also possible to hike up to the plateau, which will take you several hours. I wouldn’t recommend that, because it only takes time from the amazing views you could have at the plateau itself.
Our day started a little rough, because there was a fog covering the whole plateau. Luckily, the weather cleared later in the morning and we were actually able to see our surroundings. We were a bit unfortunate with our hiking day as the clouds often covered the mountain range, so we had to hurry to take some pictures when the weather cleared. However, I loved our visit so much that we will go back with the van someday and explore more of the area, despite that we didn’t get the best views now.
Our day turned out for the better when we arrived at the Edlweiss Hütte after an easy hike of about 1 hour. At the Edlweiss Hütte you can have a delicious apfelstrudel with the best views!
After our strudel we walked back in the direction of the gondola and we were happy to enjoy some views from the other side of the plateau. We arrived at our lunchspot Nordic Ski Center, where we were surprised about the amazing quality of the food served.
Other interesting sights and hikes in the area
We did not have enough time in the Dolomites. Unfortunately, we did spend some time at Lago di Braies, which I found a too crowded, overhyped location; I will write a separate blog about our negative experience. I wish we had spend that day differently instead.. I heard really good things about the following locations: Seceda, Val di Funes and Tre Cime park. I would love to visit these next summer when our van is finished!