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Dolomites Hut to Hut Hiking Tips: Everything you Need to Know

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 are 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 Lagazuoi 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.

Rifugio Vallandro, Dolomites, Italy
  • Hut to Hut Hiking Season: Late June – Late September 
  • Popular Routes: Alta Via long-distance hiking trails
  • Mountain Hut Reservations: Necessary 
  • When to Book Rifugios: December/January for popular routes like the Alta Via 1
  • 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

1. Hike Hut-to-Hut in the Italian Dolomites from Late June until Late September

Rifugio Locatelli / Dreizinnenhütte, Sexten Dolomites
Mid-June in the Sexten Dolomites

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?

No.

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?

Ampezzo Dolomites 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

Lago di Braies / Pragser Wildsee, Northern Italy
Lago di Braies/Pragser Wildsee

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.

Dolomiti Paloronda Ferrata is a hut-to-hut trail in the Pale di San Martino range integrates a series of via ferrata routes, starting and ending in San Martino di Castrozza in Trentino.


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

Tierser Alpl / Rifugio Alpe di Tires, Dolomites
Rifugio Alpe di Tires

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. 

Given the growing popularity of hut-to-hut hiking routes in the Dolomites, it’s now more and more important to book early (e.g. December, or January).

If you’re starting the planning process late (e.g. March, April, or May) and you’re struggling to book huts, we recommend booking a self-guided hiking tour like this Best of the Dolomites Trek 9-day Standard with Alpenventures UNGUIDED.

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 


Independently 

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. They booked our TMB hike and we had a stress-free and seamless experience.

Check out their self-guided Dolomites tours:

Best of the Dolomites Trek 9-day Standard – This route runs west to east, linking Seceda with Tre Cime di Lavaredo

Check out their self-guided 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. 

Check out their self-guided Via Ferrata tours:

Dolomites Via Ferrata Max

Dolomites Via Ferrata Hut Experience


4. Budget 80-100 EUR per Person per Day

Rifugio Nuvloau Dining Room, Dolomites, Italy
Rifugio Nuvloau, AV1

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 

Extras:

  • 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 

Rifugio Gardenacia, Puez-Odle Nature Park, Dolomites
Rifugio Gardenaccia

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. 

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

Rifugio Firenze, Puez-Odle Nature Park, Dolomites
Rifugio Firenze / Regensburger Hütte

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

Sassolungo Circuit Trail, Val Gardena, Dolomites

Hiking Gear

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

CAT 4 SunglassesJulbo Shield Mountain Sunglasses 

Climbing Gloves: Black diamond half finger gloves

2 1 Liter Water Bottles: Ion Leakproof Water Bottle

Beanie

Sun Hat

Gloves


Overnight Rifugio Essentials

Sleeping Bag Liner: Cocoon Cotton TravelSheet,or Mulberry Silk Ultra lightweight Liner. We use the Sea to Summit Silk-Cotton Blend Travel and Sleeping Bag 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



Dolomites Trip Planning Essentials

Use our Dolomites Travel Guide to plan an unforgettable trip to Northern Italy.


When to Hike in the Dolomites

The best time to hike in the Dolomites is between mid-June and mid-September. If the weather is stable, the hiking season can extend until late October.


How to Get to the Dolomites

Read How to Get to the Dolomites to find out how to travel to the Dolomites from the closest airports, train stations, and bus terminals.

If you’re traveling without a car, also check out How to Visit the Dolomites Without a Car


Car Rental

The easiest way to travel between hiking destinations in the Italian Dolomites is with your own car. Check out our itineraries for trip inspiration:

We recommend using the Discovercars.com car rental reservation platform to search for and book car rentals. This easy-to-use booking platform compares car rental deals from 500+ trusted providers, so that you can choose the best option for your trip.

Tip: If you can only drive automatic transmission cars, as opposed to manual transmission cars (stick shift), book your car rental as early as possible.

Check car rental rates here


Best Places to Stay

Figuring out where to stay in the Dolomites is probably the biggest hurdle to planning a trip to the Dolomites. We’ve created three guides to help you decide where to stay:

We suggest choosing 2-4 bases for your Dolomites trip and spending 2-4 nights in each base.


What to See & Do

During your trip to the Dolomites, you can go via ferrata climbing, culinary hiking, hut to hut hiking, cycling, paragliding, and so much more. We’ve highlighted our favorite experiences in Best Things to Do in the Dolomites.

Wherever you decide to stay, you’ll be surrounded by glorious mountain scenery and incredible natural landmarks.

In Best Places to Visit in the Dolomites, we’ve outlined the most iconic attractions as well as lesser-known destinations across the Dolomites, including Alpe di Siusi, Lago di Braies, and Lago di Sorapis.


Dolomites Hiking Guides

Hiking in the Dolomites is our passion. Year after year, we love discovering new trails and expanding our knowledge of the area. For day hiking, check out Best Day Hikes in the Dolomites. For trekking, take a look at our guide to Hut to Hut Hiking in the Dolomites and Alta Via 1.

For region-specific hiking trails, check out:

Recommended Hiking Guidebook: Cicerone Guide: Shorter Walks in the Dolomites


Learn More About Hut to Hut Hiking

Moon & Honey Travel is an independent blog created by two passionate hikers. We are able to provide free content to you, because of ads and affiliate links. When you make a purchase using one of these links, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Happy travels and happy trails,

Sabrina & Kati

6 thoughts on “Dolomites Hut to Hut Hiking Tips: Everything you Need to Know”

  1. Hi There,
    I’m looking for the most epic 3 night hut to hut hike in the Dolemites. Travelling with my family of four with kids ages 15 and 13. We are an active family looking for an adventure. No ferrata though. We will have a rental car. Are there any sections of AV1 or 2 in the middle that you would recommend? We’ve also heard Selvi Val di Gardena is a good area to access a hut to hut hike. Thank you for any recommendations.

    Reply
  2. Hi there,
    I’m coming in internationally and would need to store my excess luggage. Is there a storage solution that you would recommend? Thank you!

    Reply
    • Hi Sarah,
      We usually store our luggage in the hotel we’re staying in before/after the hike. I would reach out to your hotel to confirm if they do luggage storage. Otherwise, contact the local tourist office.
      All the best,
      Sabrina

      Reply
  3. Hi, thank you for this super informative and helpful guide. We’re looking to book rifugios independently. Do you have a recommendation on the best way to go about finding rifugios to stay in? e.g. should I just look along the trails on Google Maps? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hi Eric,

      There are hundreds of huts in the Dolomites. Is there a specific range you’re interested in hut-to-hut hiking in?

      I would try to buy the relevant Tabacco Trail Map. Google Maps will not be effective for route planning. We love using this Tourenplaner.

      Here’s a database for all CAI huts in Italy. You can narrow down the search by region.

      All the best,
      Sabrina

      Reply

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