Travelers to the Dolomites often go there to get as close to nature as possible. Given the breathtaking natural beauty of the region, it’s the perfect place to become immersed in the best of what Mother Nature has to offer while experiencing the rich history and mountain traditions that have been kept alive for centuries. One of the best ways to experience this is by staying in one of the area’s many rifugios, or mountain huts.
The term “rifugi” translates to mountain refuge, and the Dolomites offer a vast network of these mountain huts located throughout the region. Ranging from simple and rugged to more comfortable amenities, they all offer suitable and welcome shelter to walkers, mountaineers, skiers and anyone desiring to get up close and personal with the beautiful terrain of the Dolomite Mountains.
For travelers seeking a more “simple” experience, there are rifugios that offer the very basics for their guests, like only cold running water and a few large rooms that are shared by multiple guests. Others who desire more amenities can choose from rifugios that are more like lodges, featuring private rooms or rooms with two or four beds and community showers located in the hall. They can almost be compared to small, basic hotels.
Regardless of amenities, one thing that is shared by all of these huts is the food they prepare and serve, which can only be described as delicious and plentiful. While travelers who choose to stay at a rifugio may find it helpful that meals are also available, allowing them to carry less for their journeys, food preparation and service in these mountain lodges is less about convenience than it is about tradition and hearty, ethnic dishes that are meant to fortify the body and soul.
A few of the more popular locations, Cortina D’Ampezzo and Rifugio Averau, are havens for hungry travelers, serving up Italian specialties like pappardelle con fughi (butterfly pasta with mushrooms), macaroni and bean soup. Several others have received noteworthy Michelin stars for their delectable dishes. Many even make accommodations for guests who have special diet needs.
The locations of the rifugios vary, each offering different experiences and unique scenic views. Some are easier to get to, while others, like Rifugio Lagazuoi, can only be accessed on foot or by cable car. Obviously, the higher and more remote the rifugio, the more amazing the views will be. Some visitors describe the experience of being on the patio of Rifugio Lagazuoi, with panoramic views of nature’s beauty as almost like the feeling of sitting on the edge of the world.
For the traveler seeking to commune with nature and endless outdoor adventure, a trip to the Dolomites and a stay in a local rifugio is the perfect opportunity. Simple and rustic, yet comfortable and efficient, these mountain huts allow guests to truly experience what life in this rugged yet breathtaking region is all about, while relaxing and enjoying mouthwatering local dishes prepared to perfection. It is the ultimate way to experience the beauty of the Dolomites.
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