Does this sound familiar?
You’re riding through the twisties without a care in the world. There’s no traffic, the surface is immaculate, and the weather is perfect. You couldn’t ask for anything more.
And then as you round a bend, a breath-taking and unexpected view meets your eye and you feel compelled to stop and explore.
Indeed, you hadn’t planned to stop here. In fact, you didn’t even know it was here.
But despite your schedule, the wow feeling this place gives you forces you to park up and enjoy the moment.
And that’s what this little series is all about.
It Isn’t All About The Riding
I’ve said plenty of times in the past that motorcycle touring isn’t all about the riding.
Of course, it’s the premise of the riding and the roads that get us there. But oftentimes, our happiest memories are those that are formed during days off – or during moments off the bike.
Our “Off-Bike Gems” series will look at some of the unplanned and unexpected treasures we happened across during our travels.
If you’re near any of these places on a motorcycle tour, schedule some time off to enjoy these locations.
Drink in the quiet and absorb the silence.
Take pictures and explore the surroundings.
Allow yourself an afternoon to just ‘be.’
And to kick off this mini-series, we’ll start with the beautiful Alpe di Siusi in the Italian Dolomites.
Motorcycle Touring In The Alpe di Siusi: An Overview
Located in the South Tyrol province of the Dolomites, the Alpe di Siusi is the largest high-altitude Alpine meadow in Europe.
And with backdrops featuring Langkofel, the Sciliar massif, Marmolada and the Sella Group, the Alpe di Siusi makes for one the most natural photo opportunities on the planet.
Where Is It?
This often-overlooked location sits slightly west from the heart of motorcycle touring territory.
Extending between Val Gardena in the north and the Sciliar massif in the south-east, the Alpe di Siusi is accessible to riders visiting the Sella Group.
Motorcycle Touring In The Alpe di Siusi: What Will I See?
The Alpe di Siusi is unique in that the jagged mountain peaks synonymous with the Dolomites blend with the serene settings of the meadows.
As well as the mountains and meadows, you’ll see many isolated huts along the pastures which make for incredible photographic subjects.
But what makes the Alpe di Siusi incredible is the weather and the conditions.
With an altitude that ranges from 1,680m to 2,350m, the plateau forms a perfect catchment for rolling mist and fog.
As a result, diffused lighting crosses fog-filled pastures with enigmatic mountains in the background.
And whichever way you look at it, that’s pretty epic!
When To Visit
The summer season is prime time for bikers and spans from early June to late October.
For the best conditions to accommodate both riding and outdoor exploration, I’d recommend the last week in September.
At this time of year, the weather will be sunny during the day without being too hot – making for ideal riding conditions.
In contrast, it’s worth noting that mornings and evenings will likely be cool.
And whilst you would be unlucky to encounter ice, the morning dew can be slippery underfoot whilst the temperatures can be on the colder side for early starts or late finishes.
Motorcycle Touring In The Alpe di Siusi: What To Do
Outside of the winter months, the thing to do is hike and indulge in photography. Use your time here for leisurely strolls through a truly idyllic setting.
The area is awash with luxury hotels and spas, so it’s certainly catered towards relaxing weekends.
Most of the hotels are on the expensive side, but in my experience, they’re worth it as a luxurious treat.
Eat in the hotel restaurants which (again, in my experience) are very good.
As a hiking destination, the trails are well-marked and there are plenty of routes you can take to enjoy the scenery.
If you want an all-day hike, the Rifugio Alpe di Tires loop will take you from Compaccio to Rifugio Bolzano.
For a shorter route, take the trailhead from Alpe di Siusi to Monte Pana.
Additionally, if you don’t have the kit for mountain hikes and scrambles, stick to the Hans and Paula Steger trail.
Purposefully designed to be accessible, it’s an easy trail from Compaccio to Saltria and doesn’t include any steep accents or technical sections.
It’s worth bearing in mind a few things when visiting the Alpe di Siusi:
- Use the many marked trails and paths. Not only will this prevent you from trampling the meadows and pastures, but it will also prevent you from getting lost.
- Be mindful of trespassing. Many of the huts you see are privately owned.
- As far as I’m aware, wild camping is not permitted. Consequently, fires are also not allowed.
- Be mindful of nature and wildlife. Refrain from approaching cattle and/or damaging the habitat of wildlife.
- Finally, take your litter back to the hotel!
Motorcycle Touring In The Alpe di Siusi: Conclusion
If you’re visiting the Dolomites, the roads are fast, technical and exhilarating.
But that also makes them tiring and taxing.
Find a little time to relax and enjoy the stunning scenery around you.
From short strolls through the pastures to all-day hikes in the peaks, motorcycle touring in the Alpe di Siusi is one of those off-bike gems you really don’t want to miss!
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