During our trip in the Dolomites, visiting Alpe di Suisi was at the top of our bucket list. How to visit Alpe di Suisi is another question, as it was one of the more complicated places to see. So with a bit of digging, we figured out the system.
Alpe di Suisi is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. The green alpine meadow and the largest in Europe, covers the land all the way to base of the Sassolungo mountains. All over the meadows are these wooden huts, used by locals as summer getaways and winter ski cabins. It’s incredibly picturesque, making it one of the best places to visit in the Dolomites.
With the rules around driving and such, I wanted to share a quick guide on how to visit Alpe di Suisi. It’s somewhere that cannot be missed.
For more Dolomite information, check out my ultimate guide to the Dolomites.
How to Visit Alpe di Suisi
Accessing Alpe di Suisi
You essentially have three options for reaching Alpe di Suisi and each are rather straightforward. The most complex is driving as the road into Alpe di Suisi is not open to the public unless you’re staying at a hotel which there is still other rules that apply.
If you try to drive out to the photography spots and don’t have a hotel reservation, it’s a hefty fine of 120-150 euros. It’s not worth it.
Option 1: Driving to Compatsch
You can drive to the Compatsch parking lot before 9 am and after 5pm. Once you’re there, you can exit at anytime (don’t worry you can leave!), but cannot come up the road, even past the road gate to that point between those hours. If you’re wanting to shoot sunrise, you’ll drive up here and use parking lot 2 (it’s the closest), see below for information on sunrise photography. It’s 17 euros to park and the parking booth opens at 8 am but if you arrive before, it’s likely you won’t have to pay.
Option 2: Staying in Alpe di Suisi
If I were to do it again, I would book a night in Alpe di Suisi at the scenic Adler lodge or cheaper option of Hotel Icaro. It means you don’t have to hike at sunrise for photography and can enjoy sunset here. Even when staying at the hotel, you can only drive in one time initially during the hours of 10-5 to your hotel for check-in. After you check-in, you can only depart before 10 am or after 5pm. It seems strange but will make sense when you see how small the road is and how busy it gets.
Option 3: Gondola
Most people will opt for the gondola and this is the best option if you’re keen to not have an early start. You can grab the gondola at Ortisei for 17 euros a person roundtrip and it runs on a seasonal schedule which you can find here.
How to Photograph Sunrise at Alpe di Suisi
This is what we had wanted to do the most — seeing the sun rays hit the alpine meadow and light up the peaks of Sassolungo. Since we did not have a hotel reservation, we had a fun morning adventure in the dark to catch the light. It’s really an easy walk and takes about 45-55 minutes pending how fast you walk (one or two uphills). Here’s how to photograph sunrise in Alpe di Suisi from the famous spot:
- Park at Compatsch P2. There will not be anyone here, so don’t worry about buying a parking ticket. Allow yourself 45-55 minutes to make the walk.
- Walk on the concrete road in the direction of Adler LODGE Hotel. Google Maps will take you there.
- Soak in sunrise from right below Adler Lodge or at the bench that is around 200 yards before on the same road. Here’s the exact Google location.
Really easy and so worth the early hike!
Where to Eat in Alpe di Suisi
There’s a few restaurants in the main Compatsch parking area so you’ll have some options there. We randomly found out about Malga Sanon when we walked into the Adler LODGE (only open to guests) so we hiked down there to this cute place. It was the most scenic view for breakfast and the food was delicious!
What to do in Alpe di Suisi
Hiking is the main attraction and there are a ton of trails. You can’t miss them, we hopped on one and made a loop around the valley. There are also bikes for hire as well if you want to go this way. During the winter, this is a major ski area as well.