Hut to hut hiking in the Dolomites is a unique way to experience the scenery, food, and culture of northeastern Italy. Waking up on a trail day after day allows you to fully immerse yourself in the mountains. We love the inherent simplicity of hut to hut hiking. Each day, you only have one goal: hike from point A to point B.
Dolomites mountain huts (Rifugio in Italian, Hütte in German, Ütia da munt in Ladin) are managed accommodations for hikers and climbers. These mountain refuges are situated at high-elevations and in most cases only accessible by foot.
Dolomites Rifugi (English speakers say “Rifugios”) vary in terms of comfort and amenities. All mountain huts serve warm food and a wide array of beverages. Some huts have private rooms, while others only offer dormitory rooms. Most huts have flush toilets and showers, but some do not. Washing areas and bathrooms are always communal.
Compared to other parts of the world, rifugios are quite deluxe. Some huts have extensive wine lists. Most huts have espresso machines. And, some Rifugi even have saunas (Rifugio Lagzuoi and Rifugio Croda da Lago) and in-house breweries (Rifugio Lavarella).
Like other regions in the European Alps, you do not need to secure a permit to go hut to hut hiking in the Dolomites.
For an overview of this region (languages spoken, how to get to the Dolomites, etc..), read our Dolomites Travel Guide.
More helpful Dolomites guides:
- Where to Stay in the Dolomites in Summer
- 7-Day Dolomites Road Trip Itinerary with an integrated 3 day hut-to-hut hike
- Best Day Hikes in the Dolomites
- Best Places to Visit in the Dolomites
Dolomites Hut to Hut Hiking Tips
- Hut to Hut Hiking Season: Late June – Late September
- Popular Routes: Alta Via long-distance hiking trails
- Mountain Hut Reservations: Necessary
- Budget: 70-100 EUR per person per day
- Rifugio/Hütte Etiquette: no shoes in rooms, dry wet clothing in the dry room, observe hut quiet time, do not eat in sleeping areas
- Hut Packing Essentials: sleeping bag liner, ear plugs, e-reader (Kindle), microfiber towel, waterproof slippers
- Wild Camping: Strictly prohibited outside of designated camping areas
- Permits: None needed
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1. Hike Hut-to-Hut in the Italian Dolomites from Late June until Late September
The hut to hut hiking season runs roughly from the third week of June until the third week of September, when trails are generally clear of snow and the huts are open for the summer season.
If you’re planning an international, or overseas trip to the Dolomites, we recommend avoiding the very beginning and end of the hut to hut hiking season. Aim for July, August, or early September.
September is our favorite month to hike in the Dolomites.
Can you hike hut-to-hut in the Dolomites in Spring?
April is still winter. Ski resorts operate until mid-month across the Dolomites.
May is a transitional month between winter and summer. Usually, there’s still a lot of snow in the mountains, high-elevation mountain huts are closed (with very few exceptions), cableways aren’t operating, and many hotels and restaurants are also closed.
If you’re interested in visiting the Dolomites in May, read Best Time to Visit the Dolomites, for tips.
Can you hike hut-to-hut in October?
October is a strange and unpredictable month. It can be the beginning of winter, or it can be a brilliant extension of summer. We’ve experienced both.
Most huts across the Dolomites will already be closed in October. So, October isn’t the right time of year to go hut-to-hut hiking in the Dolomites.
However, a few mountain huts stay open until mid-month, if the weather is stable (no snow, or ice). So, it’s possible to overnight in specific huts in October. But, stringing together a multi-day itinerary will be more difficult.
In our Dolomites in October guide, we’ve outlined which Rifugi typically stay open in Autumn, if the weather allows.
October 2-Day Hike Ideas
- Stay in Rifugio Alpe di Tires/Tierser Alpl along the Alpe di Siusi – Rifugio Bolzano Circuit Hike.
- Stay in Rifugio Croda da Lago along the Croda da Lago Circuit.
- Stay in Rifugio Firenze/Regensburgerhütte and combine the Seceda Circuit and the Col da la Pieres day hikes.
2. Hike an Alta Via Long-Distance Trail
The most famous multi-day hiking trails across the Dolomites are the linear Alta Vie (Dolomiten Höhenwege in German) routes. Alta Via means “high route” or “high way” in Italian. Each Alta Via trail traverses a number of mountain ranges, usually north to south, along high-altitude trails.
Good to know: there are also Alta Via routes in Aosta Valley in northwestern Italy.
The easiest of these is the Alta Via 1, which starts in Lago di Braies and ends in La Pissa, close to Belluno. The other Alta Via routes are more demanding, many of them requiring via ferrata kits, technical hiking experience, and comfort with secured passages and exposure.
If you have sufficient alpine hiking experience, consider the AV2. This gorgeous route runs through the Puez-Odle Group, Sella Group, Marmolada Group, Pale di San Martino Group, and the Feltrine Mountain Group. If you have via ferrata experience, check out the AV4.
Note: Many people hike segments of these long distance trails, opting for 4-7 days.
Alta Via Hiking Trails
Here’s a summary of the Dolomites Alta Via routes. The most well-known routes are numbered 1-6.
- Alta Via 1 | Lago di Braies/Pragser Wildsee to La Pissa, Belluno (120 km, 8 -10 stages)
- Alta Via 2 | Bressanone/Brixen to Passo Croce d’Aune, Feltre (180 km, 13 stages)
- Alta Via 3 | Dobbiaco/Toblach to Longarone (100 km, 8 stages)
- Alta Via 4 | San Candido/Innichen to Pieve di Cadore (85 km, 5-7 stages)
- Alta Via 5 | Sesto/Sexten to Pieve di Cadore (90 km, 7 stages)
- Alta Via 6 | Sappada to Vittorio Veneto (180 km, 11 stages)
- Alta Via 7 | Dolomieu al Dolada Refuge to Tambre (36 km, 5 stages)
- Alta Via 8 | Feltre to Bassano del Grappa (63 km, 4 stages)
- Alta Via 9 | Tires to Santo Stefano di Cadore (180 km, 12 -14 stages)
- Alta Via 10 | Bolzano/Bozen to Lake Garda (200 km, 18 days)
Alta Via Hiking Guidebooks
- Cicerone: Trekking in the Dolomites: Alta Via 1 And Alta Via 2 With Alta Via Routes 3-6 In Outline
- Cicerone: Walking in the Dolomites: 25 Multi-day Routes in Italy’s Dolomites
More Multi-Day Hiking Routes in the Dolomites
Alta Badia High Route is a circular hut-to-hut trail traverses the mountains flanking Val Badia in South Tyrol.
Short 3-Day Hut-to-Hut Hikes in the Dolomites
Tre Cime di Lavaredo Trek is a 3-day hut-to-hut route, which starts in Val Fiscalina/Fischleintal valley, South Tyrol, one of the most beautiful gateways to the Sesto/Sexten Dolomites. This itinerary combines the scenic Val Sasso Vecchio/Altensteintal valley ascent route, the popular Tre Cime/Drei Zinnen loop trail, and the stunning Val Fiscalina Alta/Bacherntal valley descent route. This is the first hut-to-hut hike we ever did. At the time, the pacing was perfect for us. Now, we would do it in 2 days.
Catinaccio/Rosengarten Traverse is a 3-day trek across the Rosengarten mountains in South Tyrol. The route ascends the Santner Via Ferrata to the Vajolet Towers and traverses the range to Rifugio Alpe di Tires/Tierser Alpl (our favorite hut). You can end this hike at Sella Pass, or Alpe di Siusi/Seiser Alm.
3. Make Reservations for Overnight Stays in Dolomites Mountain Huts Several Months in Advance
It’s necessary to make reservations for all overnight stays in mountain huts, unless it’s an emergency.
We recommend making reservations for mountain huts far in advance of your arrival date, especially if your dates aren’t flexible, you’re traveling with a larger group, and/or you have room preferences.
Of course, it’s still possible to book huts more short-term, but it might be more difficult to align multiple huts.
How to Book Mountain Huts in the Dolomites
Each mountain hut must be booked individually.
There’s no uniform system for booking mountain huts in the Dolomites. Each hut has its own preferred method. To find out how to book a specific Rifugio, find the hut’s website. They’ll have either an online reservation request form, contact information (email, phone), or other directions for making overnight reservations.
Tip: If you have the Skype App, you can buy Skype credits and easily make international phone calls.
Some huts along popular routes like the AV1 require deposits in advance.
Self-Guided Hiking Company
If booking multiple mountain huts sounds like a huge hassle, or you simply don’t have the time, you can also book your hiking tour via a self-guided hiking company. These companies make reservations on your behalf and provide other resources to make your trip seamless.
We recommend the self-guided company: Alpenventures UNGUIDED. Check out their AV1 tours:
- AV1-13 Alta Via 1 Self Guided – AV1 route divided into 13 stages (slow-paced)
- AV1-10 Alta Via 1 Self Guided – AV1 route divided into 10 stages (moderately-paced)
- AV1-7 Alta Via 1 Self Guided – AV1 route divided into 7 stages (fast-paced)
- AV1-4 Alta Via 4 Self Guided – The Northern AV1 route from Lago di Braies to the Cinque Torri Region, divided into 4 stages.
4. Budget 80-100 EUR per Person per Day
The pricing structures vary between huts. Private huts are typically more expensive than Italian Alpine Club (CAI) huts.
Generally, you’ll pay a rate for the overnight stay and another rate for breakfast and dinner (half board). Other times, you’ll pay a rate for the overnight stay with breakfast (B&B) and dinner is either à la carte or a set menu (you can decide).
Some huts accept credit cards, while others are strictly cash-only.
Here are a few examples of cost breakdowns:
Rifugio Lagazuoi: 100 EUR minimum per person
- B&B Dormitory (Lodging with Breakfast): 60 EUR per person
- B&B Double Room: 140 EUR per room
- Dinner: Set Menu Dinner Menu (30 EUR) or à la carte
- Extras: Drinks, Showers, Sauna
- Payment Method: Cash and Credit Cards
- Trek: AV1
Rifugio Genova/Schlütterhütte: 55 EUR minimum per person
- B&B Dormitory (Lodging with Breakfast): 35 EUR per person
- B&B Bed (double, triple, quadruple bedrooms): 42 EUR per person
- Dinner: à la carte
- Extras: Drinks, Showers (3 EUR)
- Payment Method: Cash Only
- Trek: AV2 and AV8
Rifugio Alpe di Tires: 85 EUR minimum per person
- B&B Dormitory (Lodging with Breakfast): 52 EUR
- HB Dormitory (Lodging with Breakfast and Dinner): 78 EUR
- Dinner: 3-course set menu or à la carte
- Extras: Drinks, Showers (3.50 EUR)
- Payment Method: Cash and Credit Cards
- Trek: Catinaccio/Rosengarten Traverse
- Drinks: 3-4 EUR + per drink
- Showers: 3-4 EUR for about a 3 minute hot shower
Alpine Club Member Discounts
Generally, Rifugi in the Dolomites are either owned by the Italian Alpine Club (Club Alpino Italiano – CAI) or the South Tyrol Alpine Club (Alpenverein Südtirol – AVS). CAI or AVS-owned huts will administer a discount to members of UIAA alpine clubs that participate in the International Reciprocal Agreement on Mountain Huts (e.g. DAV, ÖAV, SAC, CAF). If you want to learn more about joining a UIAA alpine club, read Tips for Hiking in the Alps.
However, many huts in this region are also privately owned and managed. These huts will not give alpine club members discounts on overnight stays.
5. Learn About Rifugio Etiquette
Shoes | Always take off your hiking boots, before entering the sleeping quarters. There are usually cubbies for shoes near the entrance, or in a dry room. If there’s a heated shoe drying rack, definitely use it. Some huts have communal slippers you can use, but not all. We recommend bringing crocs, or other waterproof slippers.
Wet Clothing | Dry wet clothing outside (on clothing lines) or in dry rooms.
Check-in | Check-in upon arrival. Checking in usually involves stating your name, showing your Alpine Club Membership Card (if you have one), buying shower tokens, and sometimes ordering your dinner. After checking in, you’ll be directed to your room, after taking off your shoes. The staff will also inform you about what time dinner and breakfast are served.
Punctuality | Come to dinner on time and sit in your assigned spot. In some Dolomites Rifugios, seating is arranged by the staff. You’ll usually share a table with other hikers. This ensures that no one eats alone. Never ask to be seated alone (it’s rude).
Quiet Time | Hut quiet time (Hüttenruhe) usually begins at 10 pm.
Payment | Pay at night, before you go to bed. Some huts accept credit cards, but many are cash-only. Sometimes you pay for your room and board when you check-in, and then you pay again for the extras (e.g. drinks) at night.
Sleeping Bag Liner | Bring a sleeping bag liner to stay in the huts. Blankets and pillows are always provided. Due to the pandemic, rules have changed. Double check with each hut that a sleeping bag liner is sufficient.
- Cotton Sleeping Bag Liner: Cocoon Cotton TravelSheet
- Thermolite polyester Sleeping Bag Liner: Sea to Summit Reactor Insulated Sleeping Bag Liner
- Silk Sleeping Bag Liner: Mulberry Silk Ultra lightweight Liner
Food | Do not consume any food in the rooms.
Voice Volume | This is for the Americans. We typically communicate very loudly, and far too loud for European sensibilities. Adhere to local cultural norms, and try to keep your voices down, especially when dining.
More Tips for Trekking in the Dolomites
Alpine Pasture Huts | In addition to Rifugi/Hütten, the Dolomites are dotted with alpine pasture huts (Alm, Baita, Malga). These huts offer food and drink throughout the day, but typically do not accommodate overnight guests. So, not every hut you see is a “Rifugio.”
Alpine Pastures | Hiking trails sometimes cross alpine pastures with grazing cattle. Always keep a safe distance from the animals and never disturb them. Learn more about alpine pasture safety in our guide to visiting the Alps in Summer.
Permits | You do not need to secure any permits for hiking in the Dolomites.
Water | Some huts have potable water, but not all. Bring a reusable water bottle and only purchase water when necessary.
Paper Trail Maps | Huts typically sell Tabacco trail maps, which are very easy to read. These maps are essential for navigating. A paper trail map is especially helpful if you need to alter your route due to weather, or other unforeseen circumstances.
Dogs | Some Rifugios allow dogs with advance notice and for an extra fee (around 10 EUR). If you want to hike hut to hut with your dog, you will have to check each hut’s policy regarding dogs.
Dolomites Multi-Day Hiking Packing List
- Hut-to-Hut Hiking Backpack: Osprey Kyte 36 (for women) and Osprey Kestrel 38 (for men)
- Grade B/C High-Cut Hiking Boots: Meindl Schuhe Island Lady (Kati’s Boots), Women’s Hanwag Tatra II GTX (Sabrina’s Boots), Men’s Hanwag Tatra II GTX (men’s equivalent)
- Hiking Poles: Black Diamond Trail Trekking Poles
Mountain Trekking Essentials
- Polarized, CAT 4 Sunglasses: Julbo Shield Mountain Sunglasses
- Climbing Gloves: black diamond half finger gloves
- 2 1 Liter Water Bottles: Ion Leakproof Water Bottle
- Sun Hat
Overnight Rifugio Essentials
- Sleeping Bag Liner: Cocoon Cotton TravelSheet,or Mulberry Silk Ultra lightweight Liner
- Waterproof Slippers: Classic Crocs . I also love the Crocs Women’s Swiftwater Sandal
- Headlamp: Black Diamond Equipment Spot 350 Headlamp
- Ear Plugs
- E-reader: Kindle Paperwhite
- Microfiber Towel
Outdoor Photography Gear
- Camera Body: Sony Alpha a6400
- Mid-range Zoom Lens: Sony Vario-Tessar 16-70mm F4 ZA OSS ZEISS
- Wide angle Zoom Lens: Sony – E 10-18mm F4 OSS Wide-angle Zoom Lens
- Backpack Camera Clip: Peak Design Camera Clip
Learn More: hut to hut hiking packing list
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Learn More About Hut to Hut Hiking:
Plan your trip to the Dolomites:
- Dolomites Travel Guide
- Best Things to Do in the Dolomites
- Best Places to Visit in the Dolomites
- 7-Day Dolomites Road Trip Itinerary
- Best Day Hikes in the Dolomites
Where to Stay in the Dolomites:
Villages and Towns in the Dolomites:
Iconic Destinations in the Dolomites: