The 100 most popular mountain huts in the Alps

09/07/2024 - SnowTrex

Mountain huts, also known as refuges, are far more than just mere stopovers or retreats in the mountains. They are the true centrepieces of the Alpine landscapes, where the passion for outdoor adventure meets the cosiness of traditional hospitality. These idyllic oases, nestled in beautiful natural settings, invite you to dream and linger. Selected on the basis of Instagram posts, SnowTrex presents the top mountain huts in the Alps. Whether you are looking for photogenic places, want to experience special regions or want to stop off after a day of skiing or hiking – our ranking contains the best mountain huts that you shouldn’t miss.

One of the most popular ski huts in the Alps is the Rifugio Lagazuoi. Located at an altitude of 2,752 metres near Cortina d’Ampezzo, it offers fantastic views of the Dolomites

1st place: Olpererhütte

  • Instagram posts: 29,166
  • Mountains: Zillertal Alps, Austria

The Olpererhütte in Austria takes first place with almost 30,000 Instagram posts. Situated at 2,389 metres above sea level in the Zillertal Alps High Mountain Nature Park, it usually welcomes guests between the beginning of June and the beginning of October. Its location also offers a breathtaking view of the Schlegeis reservoir. This reservoir was built between 1965 and 1971 and is one of the largest reservoirs in Austria.

Another special excursion destination from the Olpererhütte is the Zillertal suspension bridge. Also known as the Kebema panoramic bridge, it is just 150 metres away from the mountain hut and offers a very special view of the Schlegeis reservoir. This place has become a very popular Instagram hotspot where many people flock in summer, so you have to plan a little time for the perfect snapshot. But your patience will be rewarded. A skilful camera angle quickly makes it look as if the suspension bridge leads directly over the reservoir – in reality, however, it hovers just a few metres above a small river that flows into the reservoir.

2nd place: Rifugio Lagazuoi

  • Instagram posts: 12,000
  • Mountains: Fanes Group, Italy

The Rifugio Lagazuoi, situated at an impressive 2,752 metres, offers unparalleled views of the majestic Dolomites. As the highest and largest hut in Cortina d’Ampezzo, it has been run exclusively by the Pompanin family since it opened in the 1960s. Its builder, the mountain guide Ugo Pompanin, was a passionate alpinist.

The Lagazuoi Hut has one of the most beautiful panoramic terraces in the Dolomites and is known for its unique sauna barrel at an altitude of 2,746 metres, which is unparalleled in the Dolomites. Thanks to the cable car, it is easily accessible, making it attractive even for less experienced hikers. The Lagazuoi is a barrier-free mountain, making it accessible to all. Even for wheelchair users, as journalist Valentina Tomirotti tried out for herself in a field report. Thanks to its location in the picturesque Dolomit Superski region, it is also a perfect place for a break or an overnight stay in winter for all ski fans.

3rd place: Coburger Hütte

  • Instagram posts: 10,993
  • Mountains: Mieminger Gebirge, Austria

The Coburger Hütte is located at 1,917 metres above sea level and is surrounded by the magical backdrop of the Alps. It serves as an ideal starting point for adventurous travellers who want to explore the Mieminger Gebirge. The region offers a wide range of activities, including two climbing parks to explore and conquer. Adventurers and treasure hunters will also find what they are looking for, as the area around the hut harbours eight geocaching hides that invite you to explore the region in a fun way.

The catering season at the Coburger Hütte usually runs from mid-June to mid-October. Guests rave about the freshly prepared Kaiserschmarrn, which can be enjoyed here for a reasonable price. The hut also offers a seminar and conference room equipped with modern technology. But the region around the Coburger Hütte is also worth a visit outside of the hut season. Then it beckons with beautiful ski slopes and breathtaking descents, while the hut’s winter room offers skiers a sheltered camp.

4th place: Rifugio Tuckett & Quintino Sella

  • Instagram posts: 10,755 (7,470 3,285)
  • Mountains: Brenta Mountains, Italy

Fourth place goes to two huts: Rifugio Tuckett and Quintino Sella are a special mountain domicile in the Brenta Dolomites, situated at an altitude of around 2,272 metres above sea level. The huts, which are only a good 20 metres apart, were built in an exciting rivalry between an Italian and a German mountaineering association.

The huts are named after the English alpinist Francis Fox Tuckett and the Italian natural scientist and founder of the Italian Alpine Club CAI, Quintino Sella. This region is also a paradise for via ferrata lovers, as it is home to some of the best via ferratas in the Dolomites, including the Sentiero Benini and the Sentiero delle Bocchette Alte. From here, visitors can enjoy spectacular views of the majestic Brenta Dolomites and the surrounding mountain landscape. The huts are open from mid-June to mid-September and offer guests a warm alpine atmosphere.

5th place: Dreizinnenhütte (Rifugio Locatelli)

  • Instagram posts: 10,317
  • Mountains: Sesto Dolomites, Italy

The Dreizinnenhütte is located at 1,917 metres and is named after the mountain range of the same name. The Three Peaks are undoubtedly one of the most sought-after summit destinations in the Alps. They are majestically situated and offer an impressive panorama. The Dreizinnenhütte is enthroned in this fascinating region at the foot of the Paternkofel. This hut is located in the centre of the historic area of the Dolomites War (1915-1918), which is still evident today in the form of visible remains such as war shelters and tunnels.

At an altitude of 2,999 metres, the Große Zinne is the highest peak of this striking formation and represents a challenge for mountaineers. But the panorama can also be admired from the Dreizinnenhütte itself. The hut is open from June to September and its location in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Dolomites makes it the perfect starting point for experiencing the famous Three Peaks.

6th place: Watzmannhaus

  • Instagram posts: 8,771
  • Mountains: Berchtesgaden Alps, Germany

built in 1888, the Watzmannhaus is one of the oldest huts in the Berchtesgaden Alps. Majestically situated at 1,930 metres above sea level, it is a must-visit destination for mountaineers seeking the challenge of the Watzmann or the surrounding peaks. From mid-May to mid-October, the Watzmannhaus opens its doors and spoils its guests with a selection of regional dishes and refreshing drinks to give them strength for the adventures ahead.

Numerous tour options start from here, including the challenging ascent to the Watzmann mid-peak or the impressive Watzmann south peak. But the view from the hut itself also presents a breathtaking panorama, revealing the majestic presence of the Watzmann and other peaks such as the Hochkalter and the Großer Hundstod. And fortunately, you don’t have to do without it between October and May: Even if an overnight stay is not possible in the winter months, there are great ski tours for the cold season that lead past the Watzmannhaus. So you can experience the snow-covered beauty of this region up close.

7th place: Rifugio Scoiattoli

  • Instagram posts: 8,392
  • Mountains: Ampezzo Dolomites, Italy

The Rifugio Scoiattoli, high up in the Ampezzo Dolomites at 2,255 metres, is a gateway to breathtaking beauty and adventure. The hut was built in 1953 and awaits its guests with a rich menu of regional delicacies. The terrace offers a spectacular view of the Tofane and the surrounding Dolomite peaks. Hiking trails lead to various peaks and sights, including the “Lagazuoi via ferrata” Here, nature enthusiasts can enjoy an impressive natural experience around the Rifugio Scoiattoli. The name of the hut also bears witness to this: Scoiattoli is Italian for “squirrel”.

However, it is an ideal destination for ski enthusiasts in particular, as the hut does not take a winter break and is located in the centre of the popular Cortina d’Ampezzo ski resort. Between November and April, there are almost 120 kilometres of pistes waiting to be skied to your heart’s content.

8th place: Rifugio Vajolet

  • Instagram posts: 8,238
  • Mountains: Catinaccio Group, Italy

The Rifugio Vajolet is perched at an altitude of 2,243 metres and offers its guests a breathtaking view of the majestic Dolomites. Nestled in the Catinaccio group, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the surroundings are enchanting with their unique rock formations. This alpine refuge, which has been attracting mountain lovers since 1894, opens its doors from mid-June to mid-September. Local specialities such as Schlutzkrapfen (dumplings) and strudel are particularly popular here.

Guests marvel at the panorama of the Catinaccio peaks, including the impressive Vajolet tower. But the real highlight is the sunsets, which bathe the rocks in a magical light. It owes its name “Rose Garden Group” to the reddish rocks that glow like a blooming rose garden at sunset. This natural monument reveals the unique geology of the Dolomites and fascinates nature and mountain lovers alike.

9th place: Tegernsee hut

  • Instagram posts: 7,666
  • Mountains: Bavarian Prealps, Germany

The majestic Tegernseer Hütte is located at 1,650 metres above sea level and offers its visitors unparalleled views of the picturesque Bavarian Alps. Its culinary delights, including Kaiserschmarrn pancakes and pretzel dumplings, tantalise the senses and make hearts beat faster. Since its opening in 1904, it has become a favourite retreat for hiking enthusiasts, who can enjoy a wide network of hiking trails such as the one to the summit of the Risserkogel.

In addition to the impressive mountain panoramas, the hut also offers a picturesque view of the sparkling Lake Tegernsee in the distance. The Tegernsee hut is closely associated with the Tegernsee beer culture. At the same time, it is an inviting place for families who want to explore the wonders of nature together. Compared to other huts, the season here extends into November.

10th place: Rifugio Nuvolau

  • Instagram posts: 7,663
  • Mountains: Ampezzo Dolomites, Italy

The Rifugio Nuvolau undoubtedly deserves its 10th place in this ranking. Majestically perched on the summit of Monte Nuvolau at an altitude of 2,575 metres, it offers an impressive 360-degree panorama of the Dolomites. This unique view makes this mountain hut a true jewel of the Alps. From here, you can enjoy a breathtaking panoramic view of the surrounding mountain peaks and valleys.

The hut usually welcomes guests from mid-June to mid-September and has a total of 24 beds. Originally known as the Sachsendankhütte, it owes its existence to the generous donation of the Saxon writer Richard von Meerheim. He found a cure for his severe lung condition in this enchanting region and expressed his gratitude and solidarity in this way. The Rifugio Nuvolau is a place where nature, history and gratitude merge in an impressive way.

The Top 100

The top 10 were just the tip of the (ice) mountain: after the holiday is before the holiday, so hiking enthusiasts can use the following overview to get inspiration for their next hiking tour or prepare for the next stop on their winter holiday.

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A total of 970 popular mountain huts were analysed for this study (source: Wikipedia). For this purpose, the number of posts on Instagram was analysed and a ranking of the 100 most popular huts was created based on this. Huts with ambiguous names were excluded from this ranking. The evaluation took place in August 2023.

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