The Dolomites boast an extensive network of mountain huts, or as Italians call them — ‘rifugios’, which is Italian for refuges. Some have been around since WW1, serving as warehouses or posts. Therefore, they are an essential piece of the local culture.
Nowadays, they serve as a place where hikers can rest their tired legs after strenuous days in the mountains, either stopping for a meal or spending the night. Recently, with hut-to-hut hiking gaining popularity, sleeping and eating in the huts became an experience in itself.
Most mountain huts in the Dolomites are located high up in the mountains, and the only way to reach them is by foot or helicopter. Therefore, comfort and necessities are basic. They are very cozy and give you a feeling of authenticity, but they are incomparable to the hotels and resorts in the valleys.
Some offer private rooms and dormitories, while others offer only the latter. They provide you with blankets and pillows, but you require your own sleeping liner for an overnight stay. Mobile reception varies from hut to hut, while wi-fi is virtually a luxurious addition. Their water supply depends on rain and melting snow, so you should not expect drinkable tap water or showers, either. Some Alta Via 1 rifugios have them, but not all, and especially not at all times.
Nonetheless, the food is delicious. Most huts in the Dolomites serve pasta, polenta, goulash, and other local delicacies. Breakfasts are usually laid out in buffets, while dinners include three courses. As for lunch, you can order it to take with you, or you can stop at one of the huts you will pass while hiking and order something a-la-carte.
Due to snow conditions in the high passes, most huts are open between late-mid June and late September or early October.
If you plan to stay in a mountain hut in the Dolomites, keep in mind that many hikers want to do the same, and more of them every year. Therefore, booking in advance is essential, possibly even half a year before your hike if you want a private room.
Booking one of our Dolomites hiking tours rids you of that stressful assignment as we ensure all your Alta Via 1 rifugios are booked well in advance.