The Most Photogenic Mountain Huts In The Italian Dolomites

Mountain hut culture is highly widespread in the Italian Dolomites. With several hundred huts to choose from, it’s not an easy task to narrow it down to only a few. 

Yet we all tend to have our favorites and so do I! During the 7 months of research for my photography and hiking guide to the Dolomites, I spent many evenings hanging out by the fire in some local backcountry hut. 

They all had one thing in common. The location they were built upon and the surrounding views would make me collect my jaw off the floor every time. 

Staying in a mountain hut should be high on your Dolomites bucket list! They are very affordable and present easy access to many via ferratas, which these ranges are famous for. 

Before you plan your stay, make sure to also read my article about everything you need to know about staying in a dolomiti rifugio. 

15 mountain huts In The Italian Dolomites Worth an Overnight Stay

1. Rifugio Nuvolau

Nuvolau hut - best mountain huts in the Italian Dolomites
Nuvolau hut photographed from Mont Averau

When looking at rifugio Nuvolau my instant thought was “this building defies gravity”. It is perched right near a few hundred meter cliff. Just the idea of spending a night in this hut might steal your sleep. 

The Nuvolau hut lies along the Alta Via 1 – the famous multiday day trek in the Dolomites. It also offers great access to two nearby beginner via ferratas: Ra Gusela and Averau. 

Reservations in this rifugio are very hard to come by, and the hut’s website is extremely outdated. Unfortunately I haven’t had a great experience with making the booking.

The customer service is lacking and the facilities are limited, but the owners are aware of the fantastic location the hut has and that it will continue to draw in business regardless of their attitude.  

Club Alpino Italiano (CAI) member: YES

Price per night with half board: Euro 60 (10 Euro off with Alpine Club membership). 

How to reach the hut: From Passo Falzarego along path nr 441 or 419. From Passo Giau along path nr 438. See Tobacco map nr 3 for best reference. 

Summer season opening times: Mid June until the last weekend of September 

Nuvolau hut photographed from the summit of Ra Gusela. Best mountain huts in the Italian Dolomites
Nuvolau hut photographed from the summit of Ra Gusela

2. Rifugio Lagazuoi

Rifugio Lagazuoi. Most photogenic mountain huts in the Italian Dolomites

Rifugio Lagazuoi compared to the previously mentioned Nuvolau is like Hyatt put against a Super 8 Motel. This privately owned rifugio is by far my favourite hut experience I’ve had in the Dolomites.

The beds are comfy, facilities are great and the booking process, which can be done directly through their website, is seamless. Naturally it all comes at a slightly higher price. 

The rifugio also lies along the Alta Via 1 and offers great access to the advanced via ferrata Cesco Tomaselli. 

CAI member: NO

Starting price per night with half board: Euro 68

Summer season opening times: June 8th – October 12th 

How to reach it: Through Lagazuoi tunnels hike, the via ferrata Kaiserjäger or simply by taking the cable car from Passo Falzarego. 

TIP: Send your luggage/backpack with the gondola for just 5 Euros and hike with only the essentials for a more enjoyable day. 

3. Rifugio Locatelli / Dreizinnenhütte

Rifugio Locatelli. Top backcountry huts in the Italian Dolomites

Rifugio Locatelli, located in the Tre Cime National Park, is the most famous mountain hut in the Dolomites. Unfortunately fame can have its negatives and in this case it’s overcrowding.

On a beautiful summer day you can expect hundreds of people coming through, buying lunch and enjoying the nearby view of the Three Peaks and Monte Paterno. 

So far I have stayed three times at rifugio Locatelli and I was very impressed with how friendly the staff were, even though they are put through immense pressure during the season due to the volume of people visiting. 

There are two fantastic via ferratas accessible from rifugio Locatelli: Torre di Toblin and De Luca. The hut also lies along the Alta Via 4 – a multiday traverse across the Dolomites. 

For reservations you can email or phone directly with the exact information required. They are listed on the hut’s website. 

CAI Member: YES

Price per night with half board: Euro 60 (10 Euros off with Alpine Club Membership) 

Summer season opening times: 29.06 – 29.09

How to reach it: Along the Tre Cime Circuit hiking path or through Val Fiscalina

4. Rifugio Passo Principe / Grassleitenpasshütte

Rifugio Passo Principe in the Rosengarten Nature Park. Top backcountry huts in the Italian Dolomites.

If you are after an off the beaten path experience in the Dolomites you should add a stay in the Passo Principe hut to your list. Passo Principe is one of the mountain passes located in the Rosengarten/Catinaccio group in the western part of the Dolomites. 

This tiny hut was built into a rock wall and it is run by a very friendly local along with his ageing dog – a border collie named Chiaco.

The food is delicious, they even bake their own bread and the atmosphere couldn’t put you any closer to the mountain culture. Even the showers are included in the price, which is very uncommon. It’s the small things that make it so perfect. 

The via ferrata to the summit of Catinaccio – the highest peak of the group, starts right at the doorstep of this rifugio and shouldn’t be missed! 

To reserve the hut you can write an email request with your info and the dates at 

CAI member: NO

Price per night with half board: Euro 46 

Summer season opening times: End of May – Mid October (weather depending) 

How to reach it:  From Vigo Di Fassa take the cable car to Ciampedie then walk the path nr 540 to rifugio Gardeccia (45min) then switch onto path nr 546 to rifugio Vajolet followed by path nr 584 toward Passo Principe. 2,5 hours total. 

5. Rifugio Re Alberto Primero / Gartlhütte

Gartlhütte - one of the most photogenic mountain huts in the Dolomites
Gartlhütte as seen from Passo Santner

I couldn’t imagine more dramatic location for a mountain hut then the Gartlhütte. It was built at the foot of the Vajolet towers, popular amongst climbers and photographers. 

It’s one of the most remote huts in the Rosengarten group. You can reach it by scrambling along the via ferrata Passo Santner or by a few hour long and challenging hike starting at the top of the König Laurin chairlift, which I covered in a separate article. 

There is a seasonal lake near the rifugio where you can capture the perfect reflections of the Vajolet towers. It creates itself in the spring during the snowmelt, but usually disappears by the end of the summer season. 

CAI member: NO

Price per night with half board: Euro 55

Summer season opening times: June 15th – September 29th 

6. Rifugio Fonda Savio

Rifugio Fonda Savio in the Italian Dolomites

The dramatic backdrop, the no nonsense local lady running the place and one of the best apple strudels I’ve had to date. This sums up the rifugio Fonda Savio in one sentence. 

Fonda Savio hut is located within the spires of Cima Cadin right near the border of Tre Cime National Park and along the famous Alta Via 4. 

If you happen to plan an overnight visit in this hut, make sure you check out the nearby via ferrata Merlone. It’s one of my favorites in the Dolomites!

CAI member: YES

Price per night with half board: Euro 53 (Euro 49 with Alpine Club membership) 

Summer season opening times: Mid June – End of September 

How to reach it: path nr 115 from a parking lot near Lago D’Antorno. 1,5 – 2 hours one way. 

7. Rifugio Lavaredo

Rifugio Lavaredo near the Lavaredo pass. Best mountain huts in the Dolomites

Rifugio Lavaredo and Cima Cadin in the background

Another gem located in the Tre Cime National Park. Rifugio Lavaredo is often overshadowed by the previously mentioned rifugio Locatelli only an hours hike away. 

The Lavaredo hut offers perfect access to Forcella Lavaredo – the iconic photography spot in the Dolomites, where you can grab the perfect picture of the Three Peaks. 

It also has one of the best views of the dramatic spires of Cima Cadin right in front of it. If you can’t score a spot at rifugio Locatelli, this will be a great alternative!

CAI member: NO

Price per night with half board: Euro 65

Summer season opening times: June 15th  –  September 29th

How to reach it: Half an hour into the Tre Cime Circuit hike, when walked counterclockwise starting at a parking lot near rifugio Auronzo. 

8. Rifugio Rosetta

Rifugio rosetta. Top mountain huts in the Dolomites

Rifugio Rosetta is like an oasis within a moon like landscape surrounding it. This stunning mountain hut is located in the Pale Di San Martino range and lies along the Alta Via 2 – a long distance trek that runs across the Dolomites. 

To get a perfect view of the rifugio hike the nearby Monte Rosetta (90 minute round trip). From the top you can see down into the town of San Martino Di Castrozza. Looking the other way you will be able to see Mount Civetta, Monte Cristallo and even the Tre Cime! 

The easiest access to the hut is through a two-tier cable car from San Martino di Castrozza – Col Verde – Rosetta then walk for 15 minutes. Alternatively you can reach it from the other side by hiking from rifugio Volpi al Mulaz (nr 14 on the list) along the Alta Via 2. This takes around 4-5 hours.

If you don’t have two weeks to walk the whole traverse, I recommend the shorter traverse through Pale di San Martino group. 

CAI member: Yes

Price per night with half board: Euro 53 (12 Euro discount with Alpine Club membership)

Summer season opening times: June 15th – September 22nd, afterward every weekend until October 13th

Rifugio Rosetta in the Pale di San MArtino group at dusk

9. Rifugio Lorenzi

Rifugio Lorenzi - one of the most photogenic mountain huts in the Dolomites

If you are into abandoned buildings, you should check out rifugio Lorenzi. The hut was closed in 2016, along with the nearby Staunies gondola, and it doesn’t seem like it will reopen any time soon.

In fact the decay is so advanced, that I hardly doubt it will be worth remodelling. If you do plan on visiting, make sure you stay away from the deck, which sometimes feels like it’s on the verge of collapsing. Falling a few hundred meters into the abyss is not very appealing. 

It’s truly a shame, because forcella Staunies, where the hut was built on gives fantastic access to two very famous via ferratas: Marino Bianchi and Ivano Dibona.

Rumor has it, that the rifugio is currently on sale, so if you’ve got a couple of million euros and a desire to live high above everyone else, you should look into it. 


10. Rifugio Palmieri/Croda Da Lago

Rifugio Palmieri and Lago Federa. Top backcountry huts in the Dolomites

Unlike the rest of the mountain huts on this list which tend to close their doors to hikers at the end of September, rifugio Palmieri stays open as late as early November. There is a good reason behind it. 

Surrounded by a valley filled with larch trees it attracts many visitors during the autumn foliage. Depending on the season the best time to see this spectacle is between mid October and the first week of November. 

The best way to reach the hut is by hiking the Croda da Lago Circuit – one of my favourite day hikes in the Dolomites! 

The hut itself is a standard mountain hut with basic amenities, bunk beds and a restaurant to fill your appetite. What makes it stand out is the little outdoor sauna, pictured below!

Can you think of a better way to soothe your tired body than spending an evening in a sauna looking at the stunning views surrounding you? I sure can’t! 

CAI member: YES

Price per night accommodation only: Euro 22 or Euro 16 with an Alpine Club Membership. Food served a la carte. 

Summer season opening times: Mid June – start of November

Little Sauna near rifugio Palmieri.

11. Rifugio Alpe De Tires / Tierseralphütte

rifugio Alpe De Tires in the Rosengarten group. Top mountain huts in the Dolomites

Rifugio Alpe De Tires underwent a full renovation only a few years ago. Today it’s one of the nicest and cosiest mountain huts I have stayed at. 

Located within the Rosengarten range, in the lesser known western part of the Italian Dolomites, the hut is the perfect place to tackle the nearby via ferrata Sentiero Massilimiano, one of my favorite via ferratas I’ve done to date. 

CAI member: NO

Price per night with half board:: starting at 56 Euros in a dorm

Summer season opening times: May 31st until October 20th 

Getting there: visit their website for detailed info.

Rifugio Alpe Di Tires from the summit of Terrarossa reach through via ferrata Sentiero Massimiliano
Rifugio Alpe Di Tires from the summit of Terrarossa reached through via ferrata Sentiero Massimiliano

12. Rifugio S.Agostini

Rifugio Roda Di Vael at sunrise. Top mountain huts in the Dolomites

Located in the Adamello Brenta Nature Park, in the lesser known (at least on an international scale) Brenta Dolomites stands a real gem amongst the Italian alpine huts – rifugio S. Agostini. 

I stayed here during the 5 day hut to hut traverse of the Brenta Dolomites. My first impression of the hut was badly influenced by the awful storm, during which I arrived at the shelter.

After an afternoon nap I woke up to clear blue skies. I walked outside and was greeted by the towering peaks of Cima D’Ambiez and Cima Tosa bathed in the last sunlight. A jaw dropping view, after hiking in mist and low cloud for most of the day. 

The white and blue shutters common for the huts belonging to the Italian Alpine Club adorn the building, making it recognisable from afar.

CAI member: YES

Price per night with half board:: 52 Euros (41 with an alpine club membership)

Summer season opening times: Mid June – End of September

13. Malga Geislerarm

Malga Geislerarm at dusk. Most photogenic mountain huts in the Italian Dolomites

A Malga is a backcountry restaurant, but unlike rifugios it doesn’t offer any accommodation for the night. NeverthelessI felt compelled to include Malga Geislerarm on this list, simply because of its location. 

It’s surrounded by the breathtaking spires of the Odle ridgeline with two famous peaks: Sass Rigais and Furchetta towering over it. You can even summit the first one along the via ferrata Sass Rigais. 

If you ever dreamed of getting married in the mountains, I’ve got some great news for you. The Malga offers wedding receptions!

Another cool thing about this place is that it has its own little outdoor cinema, although I am not sure I could focus on a screen with views like this right behind it! 

Summer season opening times: Tuesday to Sunday from May 15th until November 4th. July and August open every day. 

How to reach it: There are a few ways, all described on the website of the Malga Geislerarm. 

14. Rifugio Volpi al Mulaz

Rifugio Volpi Al Mulaz as seen from Passo Mulaz along the Alta Via 2

Another gem in the Pale di San Martino group offering refuge to the tired trekkers along the Alta Via 2 is rifugio Volpi al Mulaz. It’s one of the oldest rifugios in the Dolomites. 

Its location is particularly appealing due to the access to Passo del Mulaz overlooking the dramatic spires of Forcella Farangole. 

You don’t need to walk the whole Alta Via 2 to experience a night at this rifugio. It’s also accessible via a day hike across Passo Mulaz starting at Passo Rolle. It’s one of my favourite day hikes in the Dolomites. 

I highly recommend trying the flaming creme brulès, which you can order from their restaurant. I couldn’t believe my eyes when they brought them out to us! 

CAI member: YES

Price per night with half board:: 52 Euros (41 with an alpine club membership)

Summer season opening times: 17/06 – 24/09

15. Rifugio Capanna Fassa

rifugio Capanna Fassa at sunrise

How often do you get to have a 3 course dinner followed by a glass of wine all whilst sitting near a fire place, looking through the windows and having a 360 degree view over the surrounding mountains? 

My guess would be very rarely and for some of you probably never. You can change that quickly with booking a stay at rifugio Capanna Fassa. 

Situated right on the summit of Piz Boè, the tallest mountain in the Sella group, and at an altitude of 3152 meters, this hut is the second highest mountain hut in the Italian Dolomites! 

The approach isn’t too difficult either and it only takes 1-1,5 hour from the top of the Sass Pordoi Cable Car station. There are a few cable protected sections, but not difficult enough to class them as via ferrata. 

CAI member: NO

Price per night with half board: 55 Euros

Summer season opening times: end of June – end of September

Have you stayed in any mountain huts in the Dolomites? Have you got any questions? Share them in the comments! 

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