Huts, Shelters or Hotels?
In planning your hike in the Italian Alps, probably the main variable that you need to choose is the “accomodation”. You can either choose for a Hut to Hut or go for a Inn to Inn Hiking in the Alps. There are different options of where we can spend our night in the Alps with different level of comfort and services. This choice have to take into consideration the season, your experience and the costs. Sleeping in the Alps, and generally in the mountains is not easy sometimes as the altitude affect our breathing system and it is more hard to relax. To choose the right accomodation in your Alps trekking tour is the first important step for understanding what kind of “mood” the trek will have.
There aare basically three different options:
- Unguarded Hut – Wild and Cheaper
- Guarded Hut/Mountain Lodge – Wild and comfort
- Bed and Breakfast/Inn– Comfort and privacy
Unguarded Hut (Bivacco)
The Unguarded Hut is the more suggestive option. It is like a small one room house in the middle of the mountains, usually at more than 2500 meters(8000 feets). Moreover is the cheapes one so if you are alone in planning the hike or you want to limit the costs this will be the best options. Most of the experienced trekkers coming with me or the young guys at the first experience choose this option. Also for children can be a very nice option for a single night. Sleeping in an unguarded hut is a bit like doing a comfortable camping but with the big advantage that all the unguarded hut(bivacco in Italian) have beds, blankets and pillows. Usually they have also a table where to sit, pllay card and eat.
In the unguarded hut there is no toilet, no shower and we’ll need to carry a sleeping bag. The food is usually cooked by me but you’ll need to help me to carry as nothing is sold up there.
There are different kind of Unguarded hut and actually depending on the season not every hut is reachable. Between November and April most of the huts are fully covered by snow. Still it is almost always possible organizing a 2 days hike sleeping into the wild.
Guarded Hut / Mountain Lodge (Rifugio)
This is what in Italian is called Rifugio. In English you might call it Lodge or Mountain Shelter. Rifugio, like a Bivacco, is in the middle of the mountains and you can enjoy the night in the Italian Alps with a bit more of comfort as you will not need to bring any food as they serve dinner and breakfast, there is light, toilet, warming system. Also there is usually a Bar service so if you want to buy a beer or a genepy, the tipycal liquor of ther Italian Alps. Most of the shelter are open only during the summer(from July to first week of September) but some of them are opeoned all year long. The costs are pretty high as the food and every facilities are brought by elicopter.
In the Shelter you sleep in common room(sometimes 6-8 people sometimes 20) so anyway a bit of spirit of adventure is requiered. You need to bring a liner(light sleeping bag) or you will be able to rent it up there for around 5 euro. The rifugio is a good compromise for your alps trekking accomodation between comfort and wilderness.
Bed and Breakfast – Hotel - Agriturismo - Mountain Inn
The third option is the more comfortable one. Inn to Inn Hikin in the Alps is for those who do not want to leave the comfort at home. If you want your own privacy, with a room and the private toilet with shower this is the right option for you. The environment of the mountain village is also very suggestive and you can enjoy the culture of the mountains. The Accomodation can be a small hotel, a bed and breakfast or an Agriturismo in the Mountains. The Italian Alps are still pretty populated even though it is hard in these days for youg people to find a job and the attraction of the city is strong. Nevertheless the traditions and the mountain culture is strong and you can enjoy delicious dinners in the local places. The options are many in this sense. There are 4 stars Inn with SPA but there are also very local place where to sleep in a family environment with an Italian Granmother cooking for you. Depending on the season it is possible to stay in different mountain area and location in the Italian Alps for your Inn to Inn Hiking Holidays.
Check the Inn to Inn Deluxe Tour if you want this option!