Passo Sella (Dolomites): Guide and tips for the most beautiful hikes

passo sella dolomity

Passo Sella is a mountain pass in Italy, located near Passo Pordoi in the western Dolomites. It is a great place for breathtaking views, hiking and winter skiing. Here’s everything you need to know before visiting Passo Sella – how to get there, parking at Passo Sella, hiking routes in the area and other handy tips.

Interesting facts about Passo Sella

Passo Sella is situated at an altitude of 2,240 m and is one of the highest mountain passes in Italy. This pass connects Val Gardena (Gröden) in South Tyrol with Val di Fassa in Trentino.

The Passo di Sella area is dominated by the famous Sella massif and the majestic peak of Sassolungo (Langkofel), translated as the Long Rock (see photo below).

passo sella dolomites

When to visit Passo Sella?

The best time to visit and hike in Passo Sella is June to early July and then September-October. In July and August, there are the most tourists and the car parks tend to be crowded – for this reason, it’s a good idea to arrive early in the morning to park comfortably.

In June and July, the Alpine meadows bloom beautifully, and in autumn they turn into warm tones. Every period has something to offer. If you plan to take the gondola to Sassolungo, the best time to visit is between mid-June and mid-October, when the cable car is in operation.

passo sella dolomites

Parking at Passo Sella

There is free parking right at the highest point of the Passo Sella mountain pass. It’s relatively spacious, but it doesn’t meet demand in high season, so it’s a good idea to arrive early in the morning (it can be completely full by 10:00).

If you want to enjoy hiking in addition to the beautiful views, it is better to park a little lower, where there is a paid parking lot, cable car and hiking trails. The prices are as follows: up to 3 hours 3 € per hour, from 3 to 8 hours 1,5 € per hour and 0,5 € per hour over 8 hours. Even though the car park is paid, it is already crowded early in the morning. There’s also a valet to correct parking.

passo sella dolomites

Hiking routes and trips in the area of Passo Sella

Most visitors to Passo Sella just drive through or stop for a view, which is a great pity. There are hiking trails of varying difficulty and a cable car with spectacular views. Below you will find some of our tips.

Note: Hiking routes are calculated in the direction of there, unless otherwise stated.

Historic cable car to Sassolungo

Would you like to enjoy an extraordinary experience? Take the historic gondola to Sassolungo (Langkofel) for fantastic views. It is the only gondola in South Tyrol.

Its cabin can accommodate a maximum of 2 people. Entry and exit are in motion. In case of limited mobility, the staff will suspend the cable car so that you can board in peace.

The price is higher compared to other cable cars, but on the other hand, you are not in a cabin with other tourists and you enjoy uninterrupted views.

passo sella dolomites gondola sassolungo

The cable car takes you to the Rifugio Toni Demetz mountain hut at 2,685 metres above sea level, located between the Sassolungo and Sassopiatto peaks in the Forcella del Sassolungo mountain range.

From the top station, you can continue to the Rifugio Vicenza mountain hut – a journey of about an hour, enjoying the beautiful alpine surroundings. From here you can continue on to circumnavigate the entire Sassolungo massif – the circuit takes 3-5 hours depending on the route you choose.

There are 26 climbing walls near the Toni Demetz refuge.

Operating hours of the cable car to Sassolungo in 2024:

  • 13th June to 10th October 8:15-17:00

Price of the cable car to Sassolungo in 2024:

  • 23 € upwards, 18 € downwards, return ticket for 30 €
  • youth 16 € upwards, 12,50 € downwards, return ticket for 21 €
  • dogs are allowed for 5 €

Hiking route to the Toni Demetz hut

Would you like to climb Sassolungo on your own? Take the trail no. 525, which follows the cable car on your right.

The trail runs centrally through rubble and sloping terrain. Halfway up, the path turns into a regular, steep curve to Toni Demetz’s hut, which is wedged between the rocks. From here you can continue on along the route between Sassolungo and Sassopiatto to the popular mountain hut of Rifugio Vicenza.

passo sella dolomites

Trek around Sassolungo and Sassopiatto

  • Length: 6 hours (16.2 km)
  • Time requirement: easy, suitable for families with older children

The following hiking trail is suitable for those looking for an easy route. You go around the whole mountain range, slightly ascending and descending again, and you can stop for refreshment in one of the mountain huts located on the circuit.

From the paid parking area at the Passo Sella pass, take the 526 trail to the right. You walk through a small rock town, past the Rifugio Emilio Comici hut, until you reach a signpost.

Here you continue straight on – the trail marking changes to no. 527. You go around Sassopiatto and the mountain hut with the same name. All the time you have the Sassopiatto on your left and you pass through other mountain huts where you can refresh yourself and enjoy a rest on the sunny terrace. Gradually you come back to the Passo Sella pass.

The most beautiful places in the Dolomites

passo sella dolomites

Trek around Sassopiatto

A beautiful all-day route goes around Sassopiatto. I have already outlined it in the previous points, here I will develop it more.

The route around Sassopiatto will offer you a dramatic change of scenery. The rocky and steep terrain gradually slows down until it turns into meadows dotted with mountain huts.

The first clue is the Rifugio Toni Demetz, which can be reached in just over an hour or you can shorten the journey by cable car (see above). If you opt for the cable car, you will save almost half of the climb and reduce the total time by an hour.

passo sella dolomites

From the top station of the cable car, take the 525 trail, which will take you to the Rifugio Vicenza in about an hour. You have completed the most difficult part of the route, which runs on uneven terrain between the rocks. However, if you have experience with alpine terrain, this part will not be a problem for you. No belaying is needed, just more caution like anywhere else on a rocky surface.

From the hut you continue down to the signpost where you turn left along the 527 route. You go around Sassopiatto on your left, passing a few mountain huts, and on easy terrain across the alpine meadows you come back to Passo Sella.

sassolungo passo sella

Hiking route to the Rifugio Emilio Comici hut

Rifugio Emilio Comici is one of the best mountain huts on Passo Sella. Located at the foot of Sassolungo, it offers not only delicious food, but also a terrace with spectacular views.

Moreover, it is very easy to get here. From the car park in Passo Sella, turn right along the Sassolungo on the 526 trail. Pass through the small rock town and in less than an hour you are at the Rifugio Emilio Comici.

You can go back the same way or continue on one of the trails – you can choose from easy routes or a full-day trek around the mountain massif, or you can take the trail to the top of the mountain. you can ascend to the Rifugio Vicenza to the Sassolungo saddle.

Sassopiatto a sassolungo passo sella

Easy routes around Passo Sella

There are plenty of mountain huts in the Passo Sella area, with easy paths through meadows leading to them. It is an ideal place for families with children, where you can walk for hours, enjoy the beautiful views and delicious food.

passo sella dolomites

Most of them are accessible in just a few dozen minutes from the parking lot, and some of the trails are also partly passable with an all-terrain stroller.

Among the best are Rifugio Friedrich August, Rifugio Salei (self-catering hut) and Baita Rodella Hütte with a children’s playground. All have a terrace with views of the Dolomites.

☞ Read more about Passo Pordoi, located near Passo Sella.

Where to stay near Passo Sella?

1. Accommodation in Arabba near Passo Sella

If you only want to stay in one place and from there you can take trips to both sides of the Dolomites, Arabba is ideally located in the heart of the Dolomites.

Arabba is a small, picturesque town in a valley that provides a peaceful backdrop. Nearby are Passo Pordoi, Marmolada, Passo Gardena, Cinque Torri, Lagazuoi and Passo Giau.

The best accommodation in Arabba, Dolomites:

  • Chalet Barbara: Beautiful, cosy Alpine-style accommodation with excellent service, wellness and free parking.
  • Hotel Portavescovo: Pleasant 3-star hotel in the centre of Arabba with swimming pool, sauna and free parking. Possibility of half board.
  • Apparthotel Sellaronda: Cheap accommodation in fully furnished apartments for couples and larger families and groups. Free parking, playground.

Accommodation in the Dolomites 😴

dolomity ubytování
Aparthotel Sellaronda

Equipped apartments at a great price

dolomity ubytování
Hotel Portavescovo

3* hotel with swimming pool and half board

2. Accommodation in Val Gardena, Dolomites

Val Gardena is a great base for exploring the western part of the Dolomites. The imaginary main village of the area is Ortisei, where you can take the cable car to Seceda, the cable car to Alpe di Siusi and the cable car to the Resciesa plateau.

Ortisei - where to stay in the Dolomites

Selva di Val Gardena is slightly smaller than Ortisei, but is more picturesque and still provides good facilities. It is located just a short distance from Ortisei. Halfway to Santa Cristina, you can reach Seceda and everything for a relaxing holiday is nearby.

There are plenty of hikes and walking routes in the Dolomites around Val Gardena – Sassolungo, Passo Pordoi, Marmolada, Sciliar and more.

The best accommodation in Val Gardena:

  • Garni Aritz: Pleasant hotel near Val Gardena with great value for money. Excellent facilities including its own parking space, gym, bar and restaurant. Rooms and larger apartments available.
  • Smart Hotel Saslong: Modern and minimalist hotel in Santa Cristina with excellent restaurant, full facilities and free parking.
  • Apartments Boè: Cheap accommodation in fully equipped apartments that provide everything for a pleasant holiday, including covered parking and a location in the centre of Santa Cristina. Suitable for larger groups.
  • La Cort: Stylish accommodation exclusively for adults – with a rooftop spa, an infinity pool with a view and a cosy café.

Accommodation in the Dolomites 😴

dolomity ubytování
Garni Aritz

Popular hotel in Val Gardena at a great price

dolomity ubytování
Apartments Boè

Cheap and fully equipped apartments

Passo Sella in the Dolomites on the map

HOW TO USE THIS MAP: Above you will find a map with tips for Passo Sella in the Dolomites in Italy. Click at the top left of the map to see separate layers with highlighted locations. You can hide and show the different layers or click on the icons on the map to see the names of the places I mention in the Passo Sella guide. If you want to save the map, star it. For a larger version, click on the icon in the upper right corner.

These were our tips for hiking routes and guides for Passo Sella in the Dolomites. Do you have a question? We’ll be happy to answer it in the comments below. Have a safe journey!

More information about Dolomites

DOLOMITES: Get inspired by the most beautiful hikes and tours in the Dolomites. We have prepared a detailed guide to the Dolomites (prices, food, transport and other tips).

Passo Giau is our favourite pass in the Dolomites, as is Passo Pordoi. No visit to the Dolomites is complete without Tre Cime and the iconic Lago di Braies.

Would you like to combine hiking with swimming? Here are tips for Lago di Garda or the more westerly Lago di Como.

AUSTRIAN ALPS: What to see in the Austrian Alps is covered in a separate article. Here are the most beautiful lakes in Austria.

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