Visiting mountain huts is an integral part of the hiking experience in Austria. If you’re planning on visiting or overnighting in an Austrian hut in 2021, you need to be aware of the new rules and regulations that will impact your visit.
In this guide, we’ll first explain the relevant rules pertaining to all hut visitors. That’s anyone who wants to eat lunch, grab a drink, or use the bathroom. Next, we’ll outline what overnight visitors need to know.
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How to Visit Austrian Mountain Huts in 2021
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Rules for Visiting Austrian Mountain Huts in 2021
Bring a Mask
As of July 1, 2021, you can wear any type of mask you want inside huts (and any other hospitality establishment).
As of August 2021, you no longer need to wear masks in hospitality establishments. But, you still have to wear masks on all transit (which includes cable cars and cableways) in Austria and inside shops in certain Austrian States.
The rules have changed several times this summer. As of September 15, 2021, you need a FFP2 mask once again.
Our recommendation is to bring a mask, but likely you won’t need to wear one in the huts. A FFP2 mask is a high-quality, disposable respiratory mask. These are the only masks you can wear in Austria. In Austria, you can purchase FFP2 masks in all grocery stores (Billa, Spar, Hofer) and drug stores like DM and BIPA. You can also purchase FFP2 masks on Amazon. You must wear a FFP2 mask in all indoor communal spaces and rooms. However, you don’t need to wear a mask when seated at a table. You don’t need to wear a FFP2 mask outdoors. Children (0-6 years old) do not need to wear FFP2 masks.
Bring Proof of a Low Epidemiological Risk
- When visiting a mountain hut, you need to present one of the following: (1) proof of vaccination, (2) a valid negative test, or (3) medical proof of recovery – valid for 6 months.
- In Austria, these are referred to as the 3Gs.
- For more information on valid negative tests, refer to this page (German).
In Austria, you can show proof of vaccination 22 days after your first vaccination.
- If you’re hiking hut to hut, it’s less stressful if you’re already vaccinated. Without proof of vaccination or medical proof of recovery, you will need to show a valid negative test every day. In order to do so, you’ll have to pack self-tests with you during your hike. You can pick up self-tests in pharmacies across Austria.
- You may need to present proof (3Gs) several times during your stay.
Update August 15, 2021: In Austria, the 3G rule has officially changed. Now, only a full course of a COVID-19 vaccination will be accepted as proof of vaccination:
“When two doses of a vaccine are necessary (BioNTech/Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca), the vaccination certificate is valid from the date of the second dose, whereas in the case of Janssen/Johnson&Johnson the vaccination certificate is valid from the 22nd day after the vaccination was received” (source).
- Maintain a distance of at least 2 meters from other people except for people in your shared household or hiking group.
- Avoid shaking hands.
Practice Basic Hygiene
- Wash your hands several times a day with soap and water for at least 30 seconds. Huts will not provide towels, so you should bring your own.
- Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
- Sneeze or cough into the crook of your arm or into a handkerchief.
Rules for Sleeping in Austrian Mountain Huts in 2021
Bring a Lightweight Sleeping Bag and Pillow
- You need to bring a lightweight sleeping bag and pillow.
- All huts must remove communal blankets and pillows, so a sleeping bag liner is no longer sufficient.
- We’re using the Alpin Loacker Schlafsack this summer. This high-quality down sleeping bag is super lightweight (only 490 grams) and perfect for mountain huts.
- For pillows, we recommend an inflatable lightweight pillow like this Hikenture camping pillow.
Important: We stayed in some huts this summer (2021) which do not abide by these rules. We recommend reading the rules of each hut (published on each hut’s website), to confirm what you need to bring. For example, two huts we stayed in this summer didn’t allow sleeping bags, only liners (which could be microwaved).
Overnight Reservations are Mandatory
- If you want to stay the night in an Austrian hut, you need to make a reservation in advance.
- To learn about staying in Austrian huts, read hut to hut hiking in Austria.
How to Book Austrian Mountain Huts
There is no uniform system for booking mountain huts in Austria. Some huts can be booked online, while others are best booked over email, or by phone.
Many huts in Austria, managed by the Austrian Alpine Club (ÖAV) and the German Alpine Club (DAV), can be reserved online using the Alpsonline.org platform.
To find out if a mountain hut is on Alpsonline, just google “Alpsonline” along with the name of the hut. Alternatively, you can usually navigate to the specific Alpsonline hut page from the website of a mountain hut.
Note: you don’t need to be a member of the Austrian Alpine Club to use Alpsonline. Anyone can use the platform.
Find the Mountain Hut Page on the Alpsonline Reservation Platform
When you navigate to the specific hut reservation page on Alpsonline.org (e.g. Pfeishütte), select your date of arrival. Here, you’ll see the exact availability for any given date. In the top right corner, you can change the language to French, Italian, or English.
Step 1 (Accommodation). After selecting the date, you’ll be directed to the reservation form, where you can fill out number of nights (usually just one), number of beds, group name, etc…
Step 2 (Identification). Next, select Guest (no login) if you’ve never reserved a hut before on Alpsonline.
Step 3 (User Information). After filling out your personal data (name, address, phone number, email), make sure to select “Save my personal data for future reservations,” before continuing to the next step.
If you selected “Save my personal data for future reservations,” the next step will prompt you to create a username (your email) and password.
Now that you’re a user, you can make reservations for huts more efficiently. You won’t have to fill out your personal data each time you make a reservation.
Continue to Step 4 (Summary), where you can review your reservation once more, before making your reservation.
You’ll receive an email confirming your reservation. If you need to cancel your reservation, go to this email and click “diesen Link” in the sentence: “Falls Sie die Reservierung ändern oder stornieren möchten, benutzen Sie diesen Link oder loggen Sie sich im Hüttenreservierungssystem ein.“
Email / Phone Reservations
However, not all Austrian huts are on that platform. If you can’t reserve a hut online, you can either email, or call the hut directly.
When reaching out to a hut directly, make sure to inform them of the following:
- Reservation Name
- How many beds you want to reserve. You can usually choose between reserving places in the Matratzenlager (dormitory), Mehrbettzimmer (rooms with multiple beds), or Zweitbettzimmer (room with 2 beds).
- Date of Arrival
- Number of nights you wish to stay
- Alpine Club Membership: Are you a member of an Alpine Club?
- Half-Board or À la carte. When you make a reservation, the hut manager (or the online form) will ask you if you want Halbpension (half-board: breakfast and dinner). Depending on the hut, you may want to opt for half board, or you may want to order À la carte. Some huts only offer half-board.
- Dietary Restrictions. When you make a reservation, it’s important to communicate any dietary restrictions you have. In Austrian huts, there will always be a vegetarian option. However, it’s rare to find vegan or gluten-free meals on a menu. In most cases, Austrian mountain huts will be able to accommodate you, with enough notice.
If you can’t make a reservation by email, you can call the hut directly. To make international calls, we recommend using Skype. You can purchase Skype credits and then make international calls until your credit runs out.
Cancelling Mountain Hut Reservations
If your hiking plans have changed, make sure to cancel your hut reservations.
If you don’t cancel your reservation in advance, huts reserve the right to charge you. When booking huts online (Alpsonline), the cancellation policy will be clearly stated.
- Some huts are dog-friendly, but not all. If you want to stay overnight in a hut with your dog, check the hut’s website, or contact them directly to see if dogs are allowed.
- Some huts in popular regions require a deposit for reservations.
Hut to Hut Hiking Trails in the Austrian Alps
Multi-Day Hut Hikes:
- Trekking Austria: Best Treks and Long Distance Trails
- Karwendel High Trail, Tirol
- Schladminger Tauern High Trail, Styria
- Venediger High Trail, Osttirol
- Montafon Hüttenrunde, Vorarlberg
- Rätikon High Trail, Vorarlberg
- Berlin High Trail, Tirol
- Eagle Walk, Tirol
- Emperor’s Crown (Kaiserkrone) Trail, Tirol
- Hochschwab Summit, Styria
- Ötschergräben Gorge, Lower Austria
- Hesshütte in Gesäuse National Park, Styria
Austria Hut to Hut Hiking Guidebooks
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