Hut-to-hut walking adventures through Europe

Travelling hut-to-hut is a magical way to experience a high mountain adventure and allows for complete immersion into a world of high alpine peaks. Gi... Read more
Hut-to-hut walking adventures through Europe

Travelling hut-to-hut is a magical way to experience a high mountain adventure and allows for complete immersion into a world of high alpine peaks. Given their location, huts are normally only accessible by foot and due to the weather, generally only open in the summer. They offer welcoming and friendly overnight stays. Some have private rooms, but most are simple dormitory-style rooms. Many huts provide fantastic food, which at the end of a tiring day on the mountain, is what most people are looking for; a tasty and filling meal and a comfortable bed.

We've listed 12 of our favourite hut-to-hut walking holidays; from Traversing the Jotunheimen in Norway, reaching the highest hut in the Alps on our Italian Summit Climber to walking the Ultimate Tour du Mont Blanc in the Alps. We've also added a few top tips from the KE team.

 

 

Stay in a dramatic hut on Europe’s most famous route

Situated at the junction of France, Italy and Switzerland, the glaciated massif of Mont Blanc is circled by one of the world's greatest and most popular long distance walks - the Tour du Mont Blanc. Taking the high-level option wherever possible, you can traverse passes like the Col des Fours (2,665m) and the Col de la Breya (2,401m) and also hike the stunning Monte de la Saxe Ridge. En route, you can stay in comfortable hotels and lodges and also in dramatically located mountain huts.

We recommend a beer or hot chocolate on the terrace of the Bonatti Refuge (make sure it’s at sunset to make your moment extra magical) and the Cabane d'Orny, which has, frankly, some of most awesome mountain views in the world.

Not sure the high level route is for you? Then take a look at all our Mont Blanc Walks and Climbs.

 

 

Reach the highest hut in the Alps

There is nowhere in the Alps which has such a high concentration of 4,000m peaks than the Monte Rosa group. During our Italian Summit Climber trip, we summit seven of the peaks and spend the night at the highest hut in the Alps, Rifugio Margherita at (4554m). From the balcony, you can stare 2,500m down to a sea of summits. To the south, stretches the huge plain of the River Po of northern Italy, as for the rest, it is all mountains as far as you can see…

Top Tip: The group size for this adventure is capped at 4, meaning you get a fantastic 1:4 IFMGA qualified guide to traveller ratio, and if you can find 3 other friends with a head for heights, you can have your own private departure for no extra cost.

 

 

See a secret side of Switzerland on the Tour des Combins

The Tour des Combins is a relatively new, long distance path, winding a complete walking circuit of one of the most famous peaks in the Alps, the Grand Combin (4,314m). During this one-week walking holiday, you’ll ascend beside one of the largest glaciers in Europe, the Glacier de Corbassiere before reaching the Col du Grand St Bernard. Here you'll see the monastery which became famous for the dogs who went out in wild conditions, with a barrel of brandy strapped to their collars to find lost mountaineers.

* Top Tip: Chloe from the KE office completed this trip and one of her stand out moments (literally) was taking the outdoor shower at the Cabane de Panossiere hut. With solar panel warmed water and an uninterrupted view of Gran Combin, the experience was an unexpected highlight of this wonderful trip.

 

 

Trek through Slovenia's Julian Alps

Supersize a trip to Slovenia when you venture high into the spectacular Julian Alps – a chain of mountains which straddle Italy and Slovenia. Enjoy an off-the-beaten track journey and spend 5 nights hut-to-hut trekking, traversing through the heart of the Triglav National Park (Slovenia’s only National Park) before summiting Mount Triglav itself (2,864m). A major highlight of this traverse is the time you spend in the valley of the Seven Lakes and your night at the Prehodovici Hut, nestled between the lakes.

Treat yourself to a bottle of Zlatarog (Golden Horn) beer which is named after Slovenia’s famous chamois (a popular local legend). Slovenia is a beautiful country to explore at low level too and no trip is complete without time to dip your feet in the breathtakingly beautiful Lake Bled. 

 

 

Walk in Norway’s “Home of the Giants”

The “Home of the Giants”, Norway’s Jotunheimen is the mightiest mountain region in Northern Europe. Untamed and rich with wildlife, on our Traverse of the Jotunheimen you will trek through a wilderness of peaks and cut through by rivers and ice-blue glaciers. The Norwegians excel at everything outdoors and that includes mountain huts; these are certainly not basic establishments.

They are fully staffed and serviced mountain lodges providing dormitory accommodation but also restaurants, bars, lounges, drying rooms and showers. Our favourite place to stay is the grass-roofed Skogadasboen hut. It was opened in 1888 and one if its early guests included the famous British mountaineer Cecil Slingsby, who is known (to the British!) as ‘the father of Norwegian mountaineering.’

* Top Tip: Your Norwegian hosts will invite to ‘fill your boots’ at the breakfast buffet and actively invite you to make your packed lunch from the breakfast items. Remember to take your recyclable takeaway tub to fill with these delights.

 

 

Take on Europe’s most challenging long distance trail, the GR20 in Corsica

If you want to walk the WHOLE GR20 - North to South, then this is the itinerary for you. Following Corsica's granite backbone down through the heart of the island, you will encounter a variety of terrain, which means that every day is a different challenge; whether it be hiking forested slopes, high pasture and alpine valleys or scrambling airy ridges and rocky outcrops. This unique European trekking holiday offers the perfect combination of Mediterranean sunshine, inspiring scenery and a challenging walking adventure; you'll be returning home with a real sense of achievement.

*Top Tip: Book with KE because on many nights, we will arrange for you to camp outside, rather than stay in the busy park refuges and dormitories. You can still use of the toilet and washing facilities of the refuges, but can also enjoy the peace, quiet and space of your own tent.

 

 

Trek in the Transylvanian Alps in Romania


Home to fairy-tales and vampire novels, Romania in Eastern Europe comprises of medieval villages, dramatic castles and wild mountains. Dating back to 1382, Bran Castle is the legendary home of Count Dracula and a must see when you’re travelling in Romania. However if you like to mix culture with some real hiking, we recommend getting high into the Transylvanian Alps.

Here you’ll find Romania’s highest peak, Moldoveanu (2,544m) and the country’s highest mountain hut – the Cabana Omu mountain refuge (pictured above). The refuge is built on the mountain Omu which mean ‘The Man’. On the way to the hut you’ll hike past the Heroes Cross, which was built in memory of railway heroes who lost their lives during World War I, is a towering 36m high, and features in the Guinness Book of World Records as the highest summit cross in the world. 

 

 

Discover the Kungsleden Trek – The King’s Trail of Sweden

Trek through Swedish Lapland and climb its highest peak on one of Europe's most wild and remote hikes, the 'King's Trail' or 'Kungsleden'. The trail is situated 200 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle where the indigenous Sami people tend their herds of reindeer and phone signal is unheard of. Carrying light backpacks, you can spend 8 days trekking through unspoiled flower-carpeted birch forests and spectacular glacial valleys and by night you will sleep in the idyllic Swedish Tourist Association huts.

All huts come complete with a host who ensures the dorms, kitchen and lounge spaces are clean and warm when you arrive. Many come complete with a shop to replenish your snacks and, as it’s Sweden, there is usually a wood fuelled sauna to relax in too. 

Fancy this trail in winter? Then you can also cross-country ski the Kings Trail.

 

 

Trek across the Fjallaback from Landmannalaugar to Thorsmork in Iceland

Iceland is a country of great contrast and this wild and wonderful walking holiday takes us across the most outrageous of Iceland’s volcanic landscapes, the southern highlands. The Laugavegar Trail weaves across the dramatic volcanic region of the Fjallabak, one of the most spectacular places for a walking holiday in the world. 

For 4 nights while on the Laugavegar Trail, we will stay in cosy Icelandic mountain huts with dormitory-style accommodation and shared facilities. As you set off into the mountains you'll cross the 500 year old Laugahraun lava flow before arriving at the Hrafntinnusker Mountain Hut (pictured above), which was built in 1977 for your first nights accomodation. Here you can treat yourself to and end of day beverage and don't worry if you have forgotten your ear plugs, this hut has lots of products you can buy including snacks, juices and powerbanks.

 

 

Via ferrata experience for those with a head for heights

In the Italian Dolomites, the mountain huts were used to access mountain-top military positions in the first world war. The via ferrata or 'iron ways' of the Dolomites cross some of the region's steepest and most impressive limestone cliffs and towers. Re-equipped and upgraded with staples, chains, ladders, cables and bridges, they provide  exciting safe passage through precipitous terrain and spectacular airy views normally reserved only for mountaineers and rock climbers. 

This professionally-guided via ferrata holiday uses high mountain refuges including the Locatelli Hut (pictured) and includes 6 days of exploration on classic routes, many of which lead to airy summits with exceptional views.

A brilliant holiday for those who have a head for heights. 

 

 

Take on the Haute Route

The ultimate in high Alpine, point to point trek is by far the Classic Haute Route from Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn. Taking an uncompromising line from Chamonix to Zermatt, covering 120km miles and accumulating more than 10,000m of ascent and descent, you can complete the route in 11 days. You’ll spend 10 nights in classic Alpine huts such as the beautifully perched Cabane de Bertol. Opened in 1898, for over 100 years the Swiss cabin has seen many guardians and has grown in size to now house 80 people over 5 dormitories.

It has solar panels on the roof to power lights and wood to fuel the stoves. Pies, cakes, tartiflettes, soup, bread and omelettes are all made on site and stores for the hut are replenished by helicopter and locals who carry up supplies on their backs. 

 

 

Tackle a 4000m Alpine summit

Kicking off with an afternoon of Alpine glacier skill training at the Gandegg Hut above Zermatt close to the Matterhorn, our Italian High Level Route is the perfect trip for experienced walkers wanting to summit 4,000m peaks. Almost all the mountain huts you’ll stay in are completely inaccessible by regular vehicles. This means that you carry all of your personal equipment throughout the trip. However, the good news is that bedding is provided in all the huts en route, so you can get your backpack down to around 10kg.

Our favourite hut on this route is the futuristic Monte Rosa Hut situated almost on the Grenzgletscher (Border Glacier). Originally built in 1894, the hut was completely rebuilt close by the original site in 2009 with a hi-tech aluminium shell which stores power from the sun in batteries and which can fuel a whopping 90% of the hut’s energy needs. And the views are breath-taking too!

 


 If you would you like to know more about any of the above holidays, then give us a call on +44 (0) 17687 73966 or USA/Canada toll-free 1888 630 4415. We offer trusted holidays with financial protection and flexible booking conditions. 

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