15 Best Mountain Huts In The Italian Dolomites For Staying Overnight

Alpine hut culture is highly widespread in the Italian Dolomites. With several hundred mountain 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 many months of research for my photography and hiking guide to the Dolomites, I spent quite a few evenings hanging out by the fire in some local backcountry hut. 

Why staying in a mountain hut should be on your Dolomiti bucket list?

I can think of many reasons why you should plan at least one overnight stay in a mountain refuge in the Dolomites, but below are the three most important ones.

Affordability

Hotel bills can very quickly add up, especially after the pandemic when the prices have skyrocketed. There are no more affordable lodging options in the Dolomites than the huts.

Prices usually hover around 70 Euros/person/night for a half-board option which includes a 3-course dinner and a buffet breakfast in the morning.

Alpine Club members receive a generous discount. I go more into pricing details in my article about the ins and outs of staying in a mountain hut in the Dolomites.

Accessibility

What I love about staying in alpine huts in the Dolomites the most is the access that they offer to many adventures right at their doorsteps. Particularly, many via ferrata routes which the Dolomites are famous for.

Location

All rifugios have one thing in common. The location they were built upon and the surrounding areas will make you collect your jaw off the floor every time. Think of them as high alpine hotels for a price of a hostel.

My Favourite Alpine Huts In The Italian Dolomites Worth An Overnight Stay

1. Rifugio Nuvolau

Best mountain huts to stay at in the Italian Dolomites
Nuvolau hut photographed from the summit of Mount Averau

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

When I first visited the hut in 2018 the customer service was lacking and the facilities were limited, but since 2021 new young local manager was chosen and the first female manager of Nuvolau ever!

Where is rifugio Nuvolau?

The hut was built right on the top of Mount Nuvolau, hence the name. Its extraordinary history dates all the way back to 1883 when it first opened its doors to visitors. The nearest town is Cortina D’Ampezzo which you can see far in the valley from the refuge.

Things to do near Rifugio Nuvolau

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

From the summit of Nuvolau you can clearly see Cinque Torri – the iconic photo spot in the Dolomites.

How to reach Rifugio Nuvolau

There are several ways you can reach the hut, depending on your starting point. If you plan a trip to this area I recommend purchasing the Tabacco map no. 03 for best reference. The two main routes are:

  • From Passo Falzarego along path no. 452 then 464 ending with 439 (ca. 2.5 h)
  • From Passo Giau along path no. 443 then 438 (ca. 2.5 h)

Rifugio Nuvolau prices and summer 2023 opening times

Club Alpino Italiano member (CAI)Price/night (half board)Price/night for AC members (half board)Summer season 2023 opening times
YES€ 60€ 51TBA

2. Rifugio Lagazuoi

Rifugio Lagazuoi

Rifugio Lagazuoi compared to the previously mentioned Nuvolau is like Hyatt put against a Super 8 Motel. Both are great, but Lagazuoi wins when it comes down to providing luxury. This privately owned rifugio is at the top of the hut experiences I’ve had in the Dolomites.

The beds are comfy, the 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. 

Where is Rifugio Lagazuoi?

The hut was built on Mount Lagazuoi and that’s where it takes its name from. The mountain stands 700 vertical meters above Falzarego mountain pass which connects Cortina D’Ampezzo with towns in the Badia valley.

Fun fact from the terrace of rifugio Lagazuoi you can actually see the previously-mentioned Nuvolau hut.

Things to do around Rifugio Lagazuoi

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

It’s also a great starting point if you would like to tackle the advanced via ferrata Giovanni Lipella.

Most people choose to access the hut via the historic Lagazuoi tunnels, which were created during the First World War and remain one of the biggest tourist attractions in the Dolomites.

How to reach the Lagazuoi hut

The easiest and quickest way is by taking the Lagazuoi cable car from Passo Falzarego. The top station is a 5-minute walk from the hut.

Adventure seekers should consider hiking through the Lagazuoi tunnels or via ferrata Kaiserjäger to reach the hut. You can go up via the tunnels and go down the next day using the via ferrata route.

You can also use the Frontline Trail, which was used by the soldiers during the war. Follow path no. 402 from Passo Falzarego to Travenanzas saddle then turn left and continue on path no 401 up to the hut.

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

Rifugio Lagazuoi prices and summer 2023 opening times

For a complete list check out the hut’s website.

Club Alpino Italiano member (CAI)Price/night in a dormitory (Bed & Breakfast)Dinner with a set menuSummer season 2023 opening times
NO€ 62€ 32June – October

3. Rifugio Locatelli / Dreizinnenhütte

Rifugio Locatelli, also known under the german name Dreizinnenhütte, is the most famous mountain hut in the Dolomites. Unfortunately, fame can have its negative aspects and in this case, it’s overcrowding.

On a beautiful summer day, you can expect hundreds of people to come through, buy lunch, and enjoy 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 was, even though they are put under immense pressure during the season due to the volume of people visiting. 

Where is Rifugio Locatelli located?

The hut was built on the Forcella (saddle) di Toblin at 2405 meters a.s.l. Both are located in the Tre Cime Nature Park, which is part of the Dolomites UNESCO World Heritage Site.

This area of the Dolomites is known as the Sesto Dolomites. The nearest towns are Sesto and San Candido to the North, and Misurina to the South.

Things to do around Rifugio Locatelli

The area around the hut was a very strategic point during World War I and there are still plenty of tunnels around the refuge which were carved in the mountains for the soldiers to station in.

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. 

How to reach Rifugio Locatelli

There are several ways you can reach Dreizinnenhütte. To familiarize yourself with the area I recommend buying the Tabacco map no. 10 (Dolomiti di Sesto)

Rifugio Locatelli prices and summer 2023 opening times

Club Alpino Italiano member (CAI)Price/night (half board) in a dormitoryPrice/night for AC members (half board)Summer season 2023 opening times
YES€ 72€ 60June 24 – September 24

4. Rifugio Passo Principe / Grassleitenpasshütte

Rifugio Passo Principe

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

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. 

Where is Rifugio Passo Principe located?

Passo Principe is one of the mountain passes located in the Rosengarten/Catinaccio group in the western part of the Dolomites. 

The nearest towns are Campitello Di Fassa and Vigo Di Fassa both located in the Fassa valley.

Things to do around Rifugio Passo Principe

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!  The whole route takes around 3-4 hours to complete. If you are after a longer adventure, the hut also lies on the Rosengraten traverse multi-day trail.

How to reach rifugio Passo Principe?

The quickest approach is from Vigo Di Fassa and requires taking the cable car to Ciampedie and then walking path no. 540 to rifugio Gardeccia (45min) then switching onto path no. 546 to rifugio Vajolet followed by path no. 584 toward Passo Principe. It takes 2,5 hours in total. 

Rifugio Passo Principe prices and summer 2023 opening times

Club Alpino Italiano member (CAI)Price/night (half board)Price/night for bed and breakfastSummer season 2023 opening times
NOTBATBATBA

5. Rifugio Re Alberto Primero / Gartlhütte

Rifugio Re Alberto Primero
Gartlhütte photographed from the Santner Pass

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

There is a seasonal lake near the hut 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. 

How to reach Rifugio Re Alberto Primero

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 hours long and challenging hike starting at the top of the König Laurin chairlift, which I covered in a separate article.

Rifugio Re Alberto Primero prices and opening times

Club Alpino Italiano member (CAI)Price/night (half board)Price/night for bed and breakfastSummer season 2023 opening times
NOfrom € 70from € 50June 15 – October 8

6. Rifugio Fonda Savio

Rifugio Fonda Savio

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 rifugio Fonda Savio in one sentence. 

Where is Rifugio Fonda Savio located?

Fonda Savio hut is located within the spires of Cima Cadin in the Cadini di Misurina mountain group, right near the border of Tre Cime Nature Park and along the famous Alta Via 4. 

Things to do around Rifugio Fonda Savio

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!

The via ferrata Bonacossa connects rifugio Auronzo with rifugio Fonda Savio and it is included in the AV4 traverse.

How to reach Rifugio Fonda Savio

The quickest way to reach the Fonda Savio hut is to hike along path no. 115 from a parking lot near Lago D’Antorno. It takes 1,5 – 2 hours one way to reach the hut.

Rifugio Fonda Savio prices and summer 2023 opening times

Club Alpino Italiano member (CAI)Price/night (half board)Price/night for AC members (half board)Summer season 2023 opening times
YES€ 71€ 62TBA
€ 68 (attic)€ 59 (attic)

7. Rifugio Lavaredo

Rifugio Lavaredo Sunrise

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

Things to do around Rifugio Lavaredo

The Lavaredo hut offers easy access to Forcella Lavaredo – the iconic photography spot in the Dolomites, where you can grab the perfect picture of the Three Peaks. The saddle can be reached within 20 minute walk from the hut.

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

You can also do the via ferrata Innerkofler in reverse starting at Forcella Lavaredo and finishing at Forcella di Toblin then return to the hut via path no 101.

How to reach Rifugio Lavaredo

The fastest way to reach the Lavaredo hut is by hiking the Tre Cime Circuit. When walking counterclockwise starting at a parking lot near rifugio Auronzo, you will arrive at the hut within 30 minutes.

Rifugio Lavaredo prices and summer 2023 opening times

Club Alpino Italiano member (CAI)Price/night (half board) in a dormitoryPrice/night in a private room (half board)Summer season 2023 opening times
NO€ 72€ 78TBA

8. Rifugio Rosetta

Rifugio Rosetta

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. 

Things to do around Rifugio Rosetta

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! 

How to reach Rifugio Rosetta

The easiest access to the hut is through a two-tier cable car from San Martino di Castrozza called Col Verde – Rosetta cable car, then walk for 15 minutes from the top of the station to the hut.

Alternatively, you can reach it from the other side by hiking from rifugio Volpi al Mulaz (no. 13 on the list) along the Alta Via 2. This takes around 4-5 hours.

If you don’t have two weeks to hike the entire length of Alta Via 2, I recommend the shorter traverse through the Pale di San Martino group. 

Rifugio Rosetta prices and summer 2023 opening times

Club Alpino Italiano member (CAI)Price/night (half board)Price/night for AC members (half board)Summer season 2023 opening times
YES€ 66€ 50TBA

9. Rifugio Lorenzi

Rifugio Lorenzi

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 remodeling. 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 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. 

STATUS: PERMANENTLY CLOSED 

10. Rifugio Palmieri / Croda da Lago

Rifugio Croda Da Lago

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 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.

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! 

Rifugio Croda Da Lago sauna

Where is Rifugio Croda da Lago located?

The hut was built right on the shoreline of Lago Federa and underneath the sharp peaks of Croda Da Lago. The nearest town is Cortina D’Ampezzo.

 

How to reach Rifugio Croda da Lago

The best way to reach the hut is by hiking the Croda da Lago Circuit. When following the route clockwise you will reach the hut within 2-2.5 hours after leaving the trailhead.

Rifugio Croda da Lago prices and summer 2023 opening times

Club Alpino Italiano member (CAI)Price/night (half board)Price/night for AC members (half board)Summer season 2023 opening times
YES€ 65€ 55TBA

11. Rifugio Alpe De Tires / Tierseralphütte

Rifugio Alpe Di Tires

Rifugio Alpe De Tires underwent a full renovation only a few years ago. Today it’s one of the nicest and coziest mountain huts with a strong Scandinavian feel to it. Located within the Rosengarten range, in the lesser-known western part of the Italian Dolomites.

It’s also a hut that opens its doors to hikers very early in the season, usually at the end of May!

Where is Rifugio Alpe di Tires located?

The hut is located within the Rosengarten range, in the western part of the Italian Dolomites. It also lies within very close proximity to another famous photography location – Alpi di Siusi.

Things to do around Rifugio Alpe Di Tires

The hut is the perfect place to tackle the nearby via ferrata Sentiero Massilimiano, one of my favorite intermediate via ferratas of the Dolomites. The trailhead for this route begins only a couple of hundred meters from the hut.

How to reach Rifugio Alpe di Tires?

The quickest way to reach the hut is by taking the gondola from Siusi to Compatsch and then hiking along path no. 7 then 2. The total hiking time is 2.5 hours

Rifugio Alpe Di Tires connects with many different huts in the area making it easy to incorporate it in a multiday traverse. This is the last hut on my suggested 4-day-long Rosengarten traverse.

Rifugio Alpe di Tires prices and summer 2023 opening times

Club Alpino Italiano member (CAI)Price/night (half board)Price/night for bed and breakfastSummer season 2023 opening times
NO€ 86€ 5726/05 – TBA

12. Rifugio S.Agostini

Rifugio Agostini

I stayed in the Agostini hut during my backpacking trips across 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. 

Where is Rifugio Agostini located?

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. 

The white and blue shutters and red-painted roof common for the huts belonging to the Italian Alpine Club adorn the building, making it recognizable from afar.

Things to do near Rifugio Agostini

The hut seems to be a popular location amongst climbers. There is a massive boulder within close proximity to the hut where a lot of people practice their skills.

Via Ferrata Castiglioni, which is a part of the 5-day Dolomiti Brenta Traverse I described in my other article, starts near the refuge.

How to reach rifugio Agostini

The hut is the southernmost point along the Dolomiti Brenta Traverse and lies halfway between Rifugio Tosa and Rifugio XII Apostli.

Rifugio S.Agostini prices and summer 2023 opening times

Club Alpino Italiano member (CAI)Price/night (half board)Price/night for AC members (half board)Summer season 2023 opening times
YES€ 60€ 51TBA

13. Rifugio Volpi al Mulaz

Rifugio Volpi Al Mulaz

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 the Farangole saddle. 

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

How to reach Rifugio Mulaz?

You don’t need to walk the whole Alta Via 2 to experience a night in this mountain hut. It’s also accessible via a day hike across Passo Mulaz starting on Passo Rolle.

The second option to reach it is by hiking through Val Venegia and then extending the hike to Passo Mulaz. This trail can be turned into a 5-6 hour-long circuit. I describe it in more detail in the article I linked above.

Rifugio Mulaz prices and summer 2023 opening times

Club Alpino Italiano member (CAI)Price/night (half board)Price/night for AC members (half board)Summer season 2023 opening times
YES€ 62€ 51TBA

14. Rifugio Capanna Fassa

Rifugio Capanna Fassa

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

My guess would be not very often, and for some of you probably never. You can change that quickly by booking a stay at rifugio Capanna Fassa. 

Where is Rifugio Capanna Fassa located?

Situated right on the summit of Piz Boè, the tallest mountain in the Sella group. Being at an altitude of 3152 meters, this hut claims the second spot for being the highest alpine refuge in the Italian Dolomites! 

How to reach Rifugio Capanna Fassa?

The approach isn’t too difficult either and it only takes 1-1,5 hours from the top of the Sass Pordoi Cable Car station. 

There are a few cable-protected sections en route, but not difficult enough to class them as via ferrata. For more details go to my article about hiking to the summit of Piz Boé.

Rifugio Capanna Fassa prices and summer 2023 opening times

Club Alpino Italiano member (CAI)Price/night (half board)Summer season 2023 opening times
NO€ 70June 20 – September 30

15. Rifugio Maria Vittoria Torrani

Rifugio Torrani Monte Civetta

This is not only the most difficult hut to reach on this list, but it is also the quirkiest thanks to the guy who runs it.

His love for music, long-night chats, and descent baking skills didn’t go unnoticed. When I made it to the hut music was playing from his speakers at full volume. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was heard all the way down in the valley.

It’s not the most luxurious stay, quite the opposite, it is very basic. Rifugio Torrani has one room equipped with bunk beds, where everyone sleeps and a kitchen where the hut warden prepares meals for the tired hikers.

Where is Rifugio Torrani located?

Built on an altitude of 2984 meters a.s.l. the Torrani hut lies 236 vertical meters below the summit of Mount Civetta, which is the 6th highest peak of the Dolomites.

Thanks to its dramatic-looking North face Mount Civetta belongs to one of the most recognizable peaks of the Dolomites.

How to reach Rifugio Torrani?

There are two via ferratas which lead to the hut: Degli Alleghesi and via ferrata normale. The best way to reach the hut is to ascent by the Degli Alleghesi route and then descend by using the via ferrata normale.

Whilst it’s possible to do it all in one (very long) day I highly recommend the overnight experience at rifugio Torrani.

Rifugio Torrani prices and summer 2023 opening times

Club Alpino Italiano member (CAI)Price/night (half board)Price/night for AC members (half board)Summer season 2023 opening times
YES€ 66€ 50TBA

Frequently asked questions about staying in a mountain refuge in the Dolomites

The world of alpine huts can be intimidating. There are so many of them in the Alps after all. Below are a few of the most common questions I get asked regarding staying in a refuge in the Dolomites.

For a full list check out my article about everything there is to know about mountain huts in the Dolomites. If you can’t find the information you are looking for post your question in the comment section below.

Is there electricity in the huts so I can charge my batteries?

Yes, there is. Most huts have their own generators or create power from solar installations. That doesn’t mean the electricity is unlimited.

You have to check with the staff when you can use the electricity. In some huts, plug sockets for charging are only available at certain hours and usually, electricity is switched off at night, apart from lighting.

Do I need a reservation to stay in a rifugio?

No, you don’t, it is possible to reserve on the spot, however with the growing popularity, especially amongst tourists from overseas, the most popular huts sometimes book out months in advance.

No-shows are quite common though, hence huts started introducing non-refundable deposit payments to ensure they don’t lose out on empty spots. I recommend booking in advance to avoid disappointment.

How to reserve a hut in the Dolomites?

During the summer season, when the huts are open it is best to make a reservation via phone. Contact details are always provided on the hut’s website.

During the winter/spring season reservations are mostly done via e-mail or booking form on the website, unless otherwise stated.

What are the packing essentials for a hut-to-hut trek in the Dolomites?

Thanks to the fact that blankets, sheets, or even duvets are provided in the huts, and there is no necessity to carry food because each hut has its own on-site restaurant, ultralight backpacking is the way to go. The less you carry the more enjoyable the trek will be.

The two most essential items are the sleeping bag liner (the sheets aren’t washed daily) and a headlamp (for when the lights go out at night).

I have a detailed packing list for hut-to-hut hikes in the Dolomites which includes every single item I personally carry with me when I do these types of hikes.

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Marta
Marta

Hi! I am the photographer and creator of www.inafarawayland.com. I come from Poland, but I've been living, travelling and working around the globe since I turned 18. A few years ago, during one of my trips to Scotland, I bought my first DSLR and my adventure with photography began. When I am not stuck to my computer editing photos, you can find me hiking somewhere in the mountains.

35 Comments

  1. Marta, WOW! Your website and this information is amazing! I’ve been dreaming of going to Italy my whole life but of course have only ever imagined the “typicals” like Tuscany, Venice etc! To be honest, embarrassingly, I didn’t even know about the Dolomites region, nor have I ever heard in my life about these mountain hut hikes — so my mind is pretty blown right now! My husband’s one request for our 3-week trip this August was “hiking” so we are now shifting some of our itinerary to the Northern region! I don’t know much about how this works, wondering if you could guide me on getting started? We are planning to: start in Florence, head to the Dolomites and then fly out of Venice. Thinking 3 full days and 4 nights in Dolomites. We were suggested to look into staying in Ortisei or Cortina. Any suggestions on which town to stay in? How would you use the 3 days to incorporate a hut hike? (Which ones? And how does it work exactly?) I really appreciate all of your information and will keep reading through the site as I research! Thanks so much!!!

    • Hi Katy! Thanks so much for your feedback and I am glad it inspired you to visit the Dolomites. It’s lovely out there! Now for your question. Before I answer it, can you let me know if you are looking at staying in a hut overnight, or do you just want to do day hikes? Have you had a look at my article about the best place to stay in the Dolomites? Looking forward to your answers and we can take it from there 🙂

      • Thank you so much for your reply Marta! You’re the best and I’d love to know how I can make a donation/best support your blog!

        To answer your question, I was initially thinking of staying in a town and doing day hikes, however, after discovering the hut hikes we are very interested in doing one overnight. Perhaps since our time isn’t too long in the Dolomites (and we are novice hikers at best) we would only visit one of these mountain huts overnight. I’ve heard you can do hut-to-hut sleeping as you go, but I’m thinking that might not be a good fit for us this time around.

        The Dolomites will be the last stop on our 3-week trip. We are planning on 50lb packs vs suitcases, however, we weren’t planning to bring hiking gear beyond good shoes and adaptable clothing. We are athletic and in good shape, however, we don’t have any rock climbing or advanced hiking skills — I’m not sure we would want to do the via ferratas! Maybe only up to level 1.

        Thank you for sharing the link to that blog post! I just read the whole thing! I’m feeling like Cortina or Ortisei might still give us the best options. Very curious your thoughts! Here’s what we are looking for overall:

        *4-5 nights
        *Moderate budget (prefer not to spend an arm and a leg)
        *Easy to reach our in and out points via public transport (coming from Florence & leaving from Venice)
        *Not planning to rent a car, but we are open to it
        *Accessible, beautiful day hikes with mountain views
        *Not as interested in lake views
        *Option to do an overnight at a mountain hut
        *Would love other activities to do in the town or surrounding area for a relaxing day with no hikes

        Questions:
        – Any suggestions on where we should stay? And overnight mountain hut from that spot?
        – If we did a hut hike, I’m struggling to understand what we would do with our luggage that isn’t for the actual hike or if there’s anywhere to store it? Maybe just back at our base hotel?
        – Do people ever get lost doing the hut hikes? I saw one hut that looked extremely remote and I’m just wondering how people find their way!

        Thank you again x a million!

        • Hi Katy.
          I thought for some time what to recommend you and here are some options:
          1: Val Gardena (any town: Ortisei, Santa Cristina or Selva) will be a good base for these overnight hikes
          option 1: gondola up to Seceda (from Ortisei) then hike to rifugio Genova. Stay overnight and hike back to Ortisei via the Adolf Munkel Trail. This would be a circuit around the Seceda ridgeline. Once in rifugio Genova if you were up for a longer hike you could go to the lower summit of Sass Di Putia.
          option 2: Vallunga to rifugio Puez then the next day hike to rifugio Firenze and down to Santa Cristina.
          option 3: Bus from Ortisei to Passo Sella and hike part of the Sassolungo circuit then veer off and go to rifugio Alpe Di Tires. The next day hike out across the Alpi Di Siusi back to Ortisei.
          A map of Val Gardena would be useful to visualize these options. It’s the Tabacco map no. 05 and you can order it on amazon.. You can search for the names of these places using the search button on my site (for example rifugio Alpe Di Tires you will be shown the article about the best mountain huts in the Dolomites etc, so you can get a clue where these places are and how do they look like). If you book the same hotel before and after the overnight hut hike you can easily leave the things that you won’t need in a hotel. Most hotels have storage rooms. I do recommend contacting the hotel beforehand though to double-check.

          Now overnight hut hikes for Cortina.
          1. Croda Da Lago Circuit and a stay at rifugio Palmieri.
          2. Bus from Cortina to Sesto then hike along the Croda Fiscalina circuit. Stay overnight at Pian Di Ciengia. The next day’s hike from Pian Di Ciengia passes rifugio Locatelli to Rifugio Lavaredo then Auronzo then takes the bus back to Cortina. You can also hike down from Auronzo to Lake Antorno and catch a bus from there. This would probably be my no. 1 recommendation because of the views. However, rifugios in this area are notoriously difficult to reserve.

          Now for your last question. There are so many trails in the Dolomites that it might be confusing. However, if you know where you are going you should have zero problems. There are A LOT of signs everywhere. You just need to know the next point of interest. For example along the Croda Fisalina circuit, you usually have signs pointing to the huts so you need to know the name of the huts that you will be crossing then it is super easy. If you don’t know the name of the place where you are heading then you will get lost. I hope that explains it 🙂

          As for your question about supporting my work in the bottom left corner (if you use a desktop computer) there is a green button that says support me where you can make a donation. Another way is to book your hotel stays through my affiliate links (even if you book different hotels to the ones I recommend)
          Let me know if you have more questions.

          • Thank you so, so much Marta for all of this amazing information!! We just spent the evening looking into all of your suggestions and reading your blog. I wish I would have discovered the Dolomites sooner because as they say, we are having quite a difficult time finding much available on Booking.com for accommodation within our budget. We are looking to be in the area the week of August 14th. It was particularly hard to find much around Cortina. Also, wow the prices in that area! There seem to be at least a few good options for our budget remaining in the Val Gardena area (ideally $200-$350 per night max).

            I was wondering —

            If we stay somewhere like Selva or San Christina and we don’t have a car, can we use Uber to get around? Or are there buses into Ortisei to reach the lifts?

            There seemed to be a lot of accommodations left in Bolzano in our price range — is that an area worth staying in with good day hikes?

            Lastly, the rifugios are amazing and our intention is really to be in nature! The prices are so much more budget-friendly too. Are there any rifugios it would make sense to stay at for multiple nights? I’m thinking if we booked a hotel in town for our first and last night (and stored our luggage there, as you suggested) maybe we could sleep on the cheap at rifugios in the middle.

            Thoughts?

            Again, can’t say thank you enough for your help!

          • Hi Katy. August is the peak of travel time for Italian, as they are all on holiday. The same goes for French hence August is probably the most expensive time. Couple this with the increased prices after the pandemic. I was recently updating this post and was shocked at how much the prices have changed. From 45 Euros per night in 2019 to easily 70 or in some cases even 80 euros/per night in a hut. It is still a more affordable option than hotels.

            I don’t have any experience with uber in the Dolomites, but tbh I wouldn’t count on it. Public transport however is very good, so you will definitely be able to use that. A great app for finding bus connections is Sued Tirol Mobil.

            I wouldn’t recommend staying in Bolzano. It’s a city and whilst it is in a nice location, it is not in the Dolomites, and travel time back and forth would not make it worth it.

            Sure you could book the huts. Apart from the recommendations I gave you, I would also recommend that you check out rifugio Firenze which is a 30-minute walk from the Col Raiser gondola. You could stay there the first night, then hike to Genova the next day and from Genova back to Ortisei or Selva on the third day.

            There are also some huts that are on Passo Sella or Passo Gardena. Zoom in to google maps to see what they are. Wherever you stay there is always going to be a possibility to hike and explore.

            It’s also worth looking into some areas which aren’t as touristy as Cortina or Val Gardena for example San Martino Di Castrozza or Fierda Di Primero, Alleghe or villages in Val Fiorentina or Val Di Zoldo.

          • Makes perfect sense why those areas are so popular, and especially in the warm summer months for hiking! We’re excited to dip our toes in this time and will hopefully make our choices and get our bookings in soon! I’ll continue checking out the blog and let you know where we end up deciding to stay. Thanks so much for the recommendations on other huts and towns to consider as well. I’ll come back here first when booking accommodations to use your links!

  2. Hey Marta, thanks for all of the amazing info. What would you recommend for a 2 night trip? Hoping for amazing views, a via ferrata, and not afraid of challenging hiking but I will only have 2 nights to spare. Thanks!

    • Hi Megan. I would recommend that you do the first 3 days of Alta Via 4 or another option is the Rosengarten Traverse, but starting on the first day with via ferrata Passo Santner then staying overnight in Rifugio Vajolet, then second day hiking from rifugio Vajolet to Rifugio Alpi Di Tires and doing via ferrata Sentiero Massimiliano in the afternoon. On the third day then hiking out to Ortisei. Let me know if I can help you further!

  3. Hi thanks for the info! If we are traveling by bus to Corvara, which rifugio would be the easiest to get to from there? Also, since I am coming to Italy for my honeymoon, is there a place to store our suitcases while on a rifugio 2 day trip (since we would only be taking a backpack for that)?

    • Hi Sara. Thanks for visiting. Most of the time you can just leave your bags at the last hotel where you stayed. They usually have some kind of storage rooms as many people do what you are planning. As for the nearest huts, there are loads. If you want to do a great via ferrata then I recommend VF Brigata Tridentina then a stay in rifugio Pisciadiu. From the hut you can summit Cima Piscadiu as an extension then hike down to Corvara the next day.
      Another one is Rifugio Puez which you can access from Colfosco (you can do via ferrata Sassongher along the way).
      Staying at rifugio Capanna Fassa on the top of Piz Boe (I have a post about it in the day hikes in the Dolomites category), or rifugio Piz Boe which is 300 vertical meters below the summit, is also an option. You can access both huts from Passo Gardena which is easily accessible by bus from Corvara. I hope that helps.

  4. Hello! My partner and I are going to Italy on the 30th of September. We were hoping to do a hut to hut hike for around 4 days – do you have any recommendations? We are concerned about the weather, and places being closed at that time of year. We would consider basing ourselves in one place and doing walks from there if that is more suitable but we would love to have the hut to hut experience! I have loved reading your articles and appreciate any advice you could give us!

    • Hi Hannah! Thanks for stopping by. Whilst It can already be quite cold in the mountains during that time, September is still a very good time to hike in the Dolomites. I actually find the weather in September and October the most stable as by then the summer storms which occur so frequently in June and July and some parts of August are mostly gone and it is also not scorching hot during that time. I myself have done the Rosengarten Traverse at the start of October so I would recommend you check out that article on my site. In the comment sections, you will find my suggestion on how to turn this traverse into a 3 day trip without doing via ferratas, if they are not something you are after!.

      • Hi Marta! Thank you for the tips! Sadly Passo Principe’s last night of opening is Oct 1 and I think the soonest we can get there would be Oct 3rd. Which rifugio would be the best alternative? Also we are coming from Munich and will need to hire via ferrata equipment. Does it make sense to train from Munich to Bolzano, hire gear and drop luggage in Bolzano, then make our way to Carezza? Or is there somewhere else that would be more convenient as we will have to get back there after hiking? Thank you again for your help!

        • Hi Hannah. I just read on the website (german version) that they stay open until mid-October, where did you get the information that they close on October 1st? If that’s the case rifugio Vajolet should still be open.
          You can take a train to Bolzano and then travel by public transport to the Dolomites. I would recommend leaving your luggage at a hotel somewhere in Campitello di Fassa or Moena (wherever you decide to stay). Basically any villages in Val Di Fassa, close to where the hike through Rosengarten begins.

          • Hi Marta! I emailed Passo Principe and sadly they told me this year their last night will be October 1st. I will check out rifugio Vajolet thank you. Do you know if there is any way to get someone to teach us the ropes of via ferrata? Perhaps hire shops would show us? My partner is an experienced climber, I have been climbing a handful of times and neither of us have via ferrata experience. Thank you again.

          • Fingers crossed for Vajolet. Principe should update their site. However, considering that most sites, that belong to the huts in the Dolomites, look like they were designed 2 decades ago, it probably won’t happen 😉 As for the via Ferrata question. I have a beginner’s guide on my site. If you are climbers you will have no problem whatsoever. You can watch a youtube video on clipping in and out of the cables. It’s really just one move with one hand. I recommend getting a lanyard with the quick-release carabiners/handles, not the screw locks. Look into my beginner’s guide it will answer a lot of your questions, then practice at home and when in field, choose an easy ferrata to begin with.

          • Hi again Marta! Hopefully this is the last of my questions. The beginner’s guide to via ferratas was incredibly helpful! We have found availability at Rifugio Santerpass, I know you haven’t stayed yet but it looks like they are open from their renovations! So we are thinking night 1 at rifugio Santerpass and night 2 at Alpe di Tires. Do you think that would make the first day too short if starting from the König Laurin chairlift, or could we incorporate a via ferrata that day to make it longer? Similarly, do you think Santerpass to Alpe di Tires is too long of a day? We are so grateful for your advice! Your website if the most useful information we have found by far!

          • Hi Hannah. Congrats on securing the reservation. The ferrata will take 2-3 hours (without stops) depending on how fast you are. I just recently had a report from one of my readers that it took them 6. It really is up to how fast people are and how many stops they do. To me, this would be a short day, but you can still explore the area around the Vajolet towers, and enjoy the sunset with the most spectacular review in the whole of Rosengarten.

            It’s totally doable to walk from Santner Pass to Alpe Di Tires in one day providing you will only hike and not do the via ferrata Catinnaccio as an extension which I talk about in my guide. If you want to do it then try to get a reservation at rifugio Passo Principe, my favourite one in the Rosengarten group! I hope that helps!

  5. Hello! I am planning a road-trip through Northern/Central Italy for my honeymoon and we will just have a few days in the Dolomites. I am planning to do just two nights near Cortina but would love to stay in a refugio for these two nights as basecamp and do day hikes from there. Are there any you would recommend that are easily accessible by car? I’ve looked into a few like Passo Giau (available for one of the nights we need but not both) and Lagazuoi (totally booked). Are there any others you recommend I look into? Or one that we might do for 1 night along with Passo Giau? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!

    Thank you!

    • Hi Kelly. I recommend that you try either rifugio Son Forca (you can reach it with a chairlift and park at the bottom of the chairlift) or rifugio Duca D’Aosta. Similarly you can reach it with a cable car. The latter has awesome views of the jagged Croda Da Lago. Rifugio Ivano Dibona can be reached with a car, however, your car has to be lowed than 2.5 meter (Any standard car is lower than that) so no campervans. Another one, off the top of my head, is rifugio Auronzo which you can reach with a car. It’s around 30 minute drive from Cortina. It’s a great place to start the Tre Cime circuit. Last but not least rifugio Platzwiese. A great spot to start Durrenstein summit hike. By the way you can read about Tre Cime Circuit and Durrenstein summit hike in the day hikes in the Dolomites category in my Italian Dolomites Guide. I hope that gives you plenty of choices! Let me know if I can help further! Good luck with bookings!

  6. Thank you for this great article.
    As a landscape photographer I am really looking forward to visiting the Dolimiti. Now, I have never been there and there are so many amazing places. If you were to go for the first time, where would you go to spend 5-7 days? Of course, I am looking forward to speechless scenery. Thank you!

    • Hi Fabrizio. Thanks for visiting. Cortina is a great way to start with as it offers access to many great photography spots. Villages in Val Gardena are the second option if you want to be close to some great photography spots. However in my opinion it is best to do a road trip around the Dolomites and spend 1-2 days at each location. I hope that helps!

  7. Cześć Marta,

    Greetings from Warsaw 🙂

    Thank you so much for this blog, it is really helpful. the images from dolomites are absolutely stunning. I’m planning on a hiking and photography trip in next few weeks and this really helps an amateur like me. I wanted to also check if you organise any photography workshops? I would be interested to join.

    Stay Safe and best wishes

    Kind regards,
    Praveen

    • Cześć Praveen! Thanks for stopping by my site and for your lovely feedback. Unfortunately, I do not organize any photography workshops at this time but I do appreciate your interest. I hope you will check the Dolomites out nevertheless and have a wonderful time!

  8. I would love to stay at Campanna Fassa as it looks amazing. I am wondering if there would be enough time in the day if we were doing either Vallelunga or Seceda as a day hike in the morning, could you get to the Cable car sass and get to this rifugio in a reasonable time to spend the evening & night there? Or do you think this would be too rushed in the same day? We are unsure yet if we will be hiring a car or relying on public transit. Thanks again for all of your phenomenal work on this website.

    • Hi Paula. It’s definitely doable. After your Rosengarten Traverse I would suggest that you finish it in Ortisei, stay the night there and then from Ortisei you can reach Seceda with the Furnes -Seceda Cable car. Buy a one way ticket. You can then hike to rifugio Firenze and to the top of Col Raiser gondola which will take you down to the valley (again one way ticket) From here you catch the transport to Passo Pordoi and from Passo Pordoi you take the Sass Pordoi Cable car. It takes max 2 hours to reach the Piz Boe hut but for fit hikers a lot less (it took me 1 hour). From what it seems I actually would recommend that you travel around with public transport because the car might become a liability, especially since you plan on staying a lot in the huts.

  9. Your website is exquisite! I’m finally getting to explore Europe after living all my life in the U.S. and it’s overwhelming (in the best way possible) how much there is to do and see, so sites like yours are a Godsend. If doing hut to hut treks during summer seasons, do you need to bring any mountaineering equipment? (I noticed you had a helmet in a few of your photos)

    • Hi Galina! Thanks for your awesome feedback. Yes, Europe is amazing and there is loads to do around here! As for your question. It depends on a route. What you can see me wearing is a helmet, harness and a lanyard which is used on the via ferrata sections on some of the multiday hikes. Alta Via 1 doesn’t have any sections of via ferrata so if you don’t want to carry any equipment just look into that one! I have a whole best about top multiday hikes in the Italian Dolomites. Make sure to check it out!

  10. Hi Marta,

    Thanks for the great information! Are reservations typically needed in early-mid September or does the hiking traffic decrease quite a bit by then?

    • Hi Vance, It depends on a mountain hut. The busy ones such as Lagazuoi or Locatelli are busy throughout the whole season, but the quieter ones don’t require a reservation in September and you could just call a few days before. With that said though you have to bear in mind that after the pandemic it’s all a bit crazy because a lot of people have been putting off their trips for a while. I was reading reports just today that my friends couldn’t book anything within a reasonable range for their trip to Seville and they are there now when it is still technically low season. I hope that helps! Let me know if you have more questions.

  11. If you were able to get reservations to both Locatelli and Lavaredo huts which one would you choose? Either works scheduling wise- we are mostly wondering about comfort and food (although I’ve heard the food is better at Locatelli, I’m wondering if the comfort at Lavaredo is enough to make up for it) Having a really hard time deciding! Thanks for all the great blog posts!

    • Hi Amanda. Locatelli is a very busy refuge. A LOT of day hikers pass this place. Lavaredo even tho it’s on the same route it is a lot quieter. Both have fantastic views. Lavaredo is a private refuge and those generally are a lot more luxurious and offer more food variety. The food at Locatelli was very general and same as all the other huts belonging to Club Alpino Italiano. I hope this will help you make a decision.

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