How to Self-Book a Hut-to-Hut Hike in the Dolomites [With Videos]

We use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on purchases. Read more about us.

Yes, we did hit a snowstorm (blizzard) in August near Bolzano. Thankfully we just stayed in the lovely Rifugio Alberto for two days. The kids thought I was a whimp, but there is a short passage where you need to hang onto wires and the lightning really made me think twice. That’s the beauty of hut to hut hiking….you can go to these crazy places without all the stress.

This article will step you through the most magical Dolomites adventure of all: Hut to hut hiking and how you can book your own DIY style.

If you want a planner to do the tedious part for you keep reading and I’ll share my favorite business that takes away the stress for the popular routes. But this article is focused on the Rosengarten and as of 2024 you can still book huts in May for the summer.

Dolomites Hiking Hut to Hut Hiking

Rosengarten Hut to Hut Hike Experience Youtube

Going from the crowded Alta Via 1 to the Rosengarten was such a lovely surprise. This area was very surprising how cool Bolzano city was to chill, and how rugged these mountains are for hikers. And planning…OMG. Instead of a huge spreadsheet and lots of stress…I kept a note on my iphone and most places didn’t even require a deposit for the beds.

This ultimate guide is complete with 10 “over the shoulder” videos to help you plan and book your own hut-to-hut hiking trip, so you can truly experience the insanely beautiful UNESCO world heritage site that is the Dolomites nature.

This is not a Dolomites travel guide for a first timer that wants to hit all the “bucketlist” places like Lago di Braies or Cortina d’Ampezzo.

This Italian Dolomites itinerary is for those that want SLOW TRAVEL and to really immerse into the culture, cuisine and a comfortable adventure.

As a passionate hiker and a mother of two teenagers, I’ve successfully completed the Alta Via 1 Trail three times with my kids. But let’s face it, the crowds have turned it into a bit of a cattle call despite it being one of the best trekking trails in the world. 

I did this in Mid-May for a hut to hut hike in August during high season. You’d NEVER be able to do that on the Alta Via 1.


However, most information available online includes Via Ferrata sections, which can be quite intimidating for some hikers, including myself. I think hiking is really safe, but I will admit I am afraid of “hiking” that requires being clipped in to a metal cable.

Screen cast Tips

So I figured I would just screencast my planning process so you could learn alongside me how to navigate the Rosengarten and NOT include via ferratas.

This is not the kind of trip that you can use my favorite hotel sites to plan. You can safely use for the night before and after the hike, and they have pretty reasonable refund policy.

So let’s get started on the hunt for Alpenglow!

Unlock the Secrets to Planning a Successful Hut-to-Hut Hiking Tour

I’m going to step you through my experience planning and booking a 3 Day Hut to Hut Hike without Via Ferratas in the stunning and lesser known Rosengarten region. 

It’s Not Easy, But We’ve Got You Covered!

Most people pay a service to prepare “self-guided” itineraries because it’s complicated. 

➡️ Jump directly to the end if you just want to hire someone to do this tedious planning for you.

The aim of this article is to walk you through, step-by-step how I did it for my small group.

Each section contains a quick 5 minute screencast of the reasoning, websites, pros, cons and how I created a cool trip for my friends and family.

Just like hiking, it’s all about the journey.

If you’re curious about planning the Tour du Mont Blanc hike, I’ve got you covered with my detailed guide to the accommodations and refuges on the Tour du Mont Blanc.

Active Dolomites Vacation Planning

This Dolomites trip planner is a 10 part video series for a trip that is 4 days in the Dolomites hiking hut to hut in an efficient way.

📸 🗻 Check out my Dolomites Quotes and Photography for inspo!

Intro Video

1/10: Watch the Video Here

In the planning stage of your Dolomites trip, consider your budget and use a Dolomites route planner like Komoot or AllTrails to choose the right trail for your skill level and interests.

Why did we Pick the Rosengarten Dolomites? 👎🏻

dolomites trip planner
THIS is why I spent an entire weekend with spreadsheets planning. We’re going there!

Is dolomites worth visiting? – Heck yeah!

Hut to hut hiking in the Dolomites is an incredible way to immerse yourself in nature and leave behind daily stresses.

  • The popular Alta Via 1 route is becoming overcrowded and difficult to book, so it’s worth exploring lesser-known options like the Rosengarten Traverse.
  • Don’t be intimidated by the idea of Via Ferratas – there are plenty of beginner-friendly routes that don’t require harnesses and helmets.
  • Mountain huts provide beds, linens, hot breakfast, and 3-course dinners, and offer a unique high-altitude lodging experience.

South Tyrol (or Südtirol) is a multilingual region in the Dolomites with plenty to explore and often places are labeled in 3 languages.

“Mountain Hut” in All the Dolomites Languages


Route Planning Made Easy: Learn Alongside Me with an Actual Case Study of Planning a 3-Day Trek!

If you’re lucky like me, a three day trek in the Dolomites will change your life. It’s something different.

Day One Route Planning – Super Easy Plans, But a LOT of Elevation Gain

dolomites trip planner

This video is all about learning how to do route planning at high elevation in the Dolomites.

2/10: Watch the Video Here.

First things first when planning a hut to hut hike is the actual physical route. I could find nothing online devoid of Via Ferrata.

I reached out to one of the European hiking groups on Facebook, hoping to find a walkaround trail.

Fortunately, a mountaineer gave me an amazing three-day plan that involved parking my car on one end, hut to hut hiking across the Rosengarten and using the bus to make our way around and get back to the car. 

I followed his plan for Day 1, and it was incredibly easy to plan.

It is a day that goes pretty much in one direction…Up. 

Important points:

  • Download the Free European Based Hiking app called Komoot.
  • Use Google Maps.

Our Family Plan: Parking at Lavinia Bianca to Rifugio Bergamo

Day Two Route Planning – Not So Easy as Day One

Dolomites trip planner
We’re going for that Alpenglow.

This video is about learning how to find a multiday hike route with the navigation app that won’t kill us.

3/10: Watch the Video Here

Day 2 wasn’t quite so easy.  That is the problem with following a mountaineer’s advice.  We’re more into comfortable adventures.

I don’t want to kill my friends and family with 5,000 feet of elevation and 8 hours of hiking.

Follow along as I show you how to adjust the plan and utilize the “waypoint” features to explore a better route.

Important Points:

  • Learn how to do waypoints.
  • Most huts (not all) require a deposit…from 20 euros to 30% of booking.
  • Some huts require cash.
  • Food and water are often taken to the huts via gondola or helicopter.
  • They serve booze, wine and beer.

Our Family Plan: Unknown

Day Two Route Planning – It’s Getting Harder, YIKES!

This video is me teaching you how to adjust waypoints in the hiking app so we can find a much better alternative than the mountaineers advice. 

4/10: Watch the Video Here

Deep dive into using Komoot to find a path that does not include any Via Ferratas. It is actually best to use on desktop, but you can also use it on mobile. If you include waypoints, you can search on the map or in a Google-esque search function, and it will find the best route for you.

Important Points:

  • Komoot often underestimates the time it takes to hike.
  • You’re gonna want to stop and smell the Rosengarten.

Our Family Plan: Still…Unknown

Day Two Route Planning –  Continuing the Search

Continuing the search, utilizing google maps and komoot to find the best way for our family. This Dolomites trip planner is getting slightly complicated.

5/10: Watch the Video Here

Important Points:

  • Maybe we cannot do the lake on our traverse
  • Separate groups could do different parts

Our Family Plan: Still…Unknown

Day Two Route Planning – Planning Finalized

On our Dolomites itinerary, I decided to completely forego the alpine lake the mountaineer suggested that we visit and stay.  It’s just too far for everyone to have a good time.

6/10: Watch the Video Here

However, if our group of four wants to split into two groups – those who want to do more can go to the lake, which will add three hours of hiking time. Choices are always nice.

Important Points:

  • Use Google Maps to find gondolas and chair lifts.
  • When looking at lifts, make sure they end at the particular road you need to be on for the bus line back to your car or next destination.
  • Most routes have a rifugio to stop and get lunch, coffee, or a beer.
  • White spaces on maps are usually peaks that are impassable.
  • A mountain hut by a lake is always a nice place to aim for.
  • Komoot is very good at having huts listed on the map.
  • Komoot and Google reviews all indicate ferrata trails.
  • Ferrata trails are pretty zigzaggy and have thinner lines on the map.

Our Family Route: Rifugio Bergamo to Rifugio Alberto

Day Three Route Planning : 3 Choices Utilizing Gondolas DOWN to the Valley

dolomites itinerary summer

I created three different plans using Komoot for our third day. It’s always good to have options as you never know how you’ll feel. 

7/10: Watch the Video Here

Some people can be really sore on day 3. We’re planning to use gondolas to go down, which is different from most hiking plans that use the gondola to go up to the top. 

In my experience, I never get sore from walking up the steep Dolomites mountain, but walking down and then sitting in the car to get back home can cause soreness for 2 weeks.

Important Points:

  • Experiment with your waypoints.
  • Around the Dolomites, most directions are given in terms of “Rifugio X,” not cardinal direction.
  • Bus stops are shown on Komoot, but double-check on Google Maps.

Our Route: Rifugio Alberto to Kölner Hutte Gondola to go to Valley Bus

**After reading about a different hike in the same area, the long route from Rifugio Alberto to Vigo di Fassa sounds incredible, and we may want to take the extra time to experience it.

Alternate routes: Rifugio Alberto to Vigo di Fassa (long or short route).

Hut Booking Part 1: Always Confirm Nights in Sequential Order

Booking a hut in the Dolomites can be high-touch.  The reservation process varies by hut and some don’t have an online reservation system.

8/10: Watch the Video Here

We booked Rifugio Bergamo by email and didn’t have to pay a deposit, but we had to confirm our reservation. There are some aggregator sites for huts, but they may charge higher fees. Some huts are privately owned, while others are part of Alpenverein clubs. Being a member of a club can get you a discount at some huts.

Important Points:

  • Label your waypoints on Komoot to remember important details
  • Use Google Chrome to translate information if needed
  • Determine if you need to bring a sleeping bag or sleep sack for the hut
  • Note that some huts have semi-private rooms, while others only have dorms.

Our hut reservation at Rifugio Bergamo was confirmed in less than a few hours via email.

Hut Booking: Part 2 & How to Confirm A Way Off The Mountain

Tonight’s hut required a hefty deposit and was booked entirely online. While I’m excited to book at Rifugio Alberto due to its stunning location, I’m also feeling a bit nervous because we’ll have to scramble a bit to get there, although it is not a via ferrata. 

9/10: Watch the Video Here

Despite my trepidation, I’m looking forward to enjoying the deck and the stunning views of Dolomiten heaven.  I decided to double-check Google Maps and Komoot to see if there was a bus line at the end of the gondola, and I found that there was. I also discovered in the “reviews” section on Google Maps that the parking at the beginning of the hike is free, which is great news.

Important Points:

  • Bring slippers to wear inside the huts for added comfort.
  • Pack light but bring mini toiletries for personal hygiene.
  • Remember to bring earplugs as everyone is often tired and may snore.
  • Keep in mind that parking in the Dolomites and Alps can be challenging and is not always as easy as in the countryside of the USA.

Our hut reservation was entirely online tonight at Rifugio Alberto.

Making a Google Maps Itinerary for Your Friends Without Hiking Apps

If you’re planning a hut-to-hut hike and have friends coming along, you can easily share all the data from Komoot and create a customized Google Maps itinerary. 

10/10: Watch the Video Here

The process is free and straightforward, allowing you to add parking spots, hut locations, and nearby hotels for before or after the hike.

Consider booking a spa hotel to relax after the hike and unwind. Creating a beautiful itinerary of the entire experience, including the time, elevation, and distance of each day, is simple.

However, keep in mind that Google Maps tends to overestimate hiking times, so add some extra time to its estimates.

To make the itinerary more visually appealing, consider adding icons or other details. Your friends will surely be impressed with the professional-looking itinerary you’ve created.

Important Points:

  • Create a Google MyMaps account.
  • Add all relevant places and routes to your itinerary.
  • Have one central location to access all the information.
  • Use the visual representation of the itinerary to help relax other members of your hiking party.

Making a Google Maps Itinerary for Your Friends Without Hiking Apps

Bonus: Watch the Video Here

Once you get to the area you can always double check just by asking anyone. People here are proud of their incredible culture and scenery and usually very helpful.

Important Points:

  • Create backup plans.
  • Create alternate “outs”.

Google Map of Entire Dolomites Vacation 

Books I Used to Plan:

If you’re looking for a more comprehensive guidebook to help plan your trip, here are a few that I used:

Preparing for Your Dolomites Hike

Here are some tips and suggestions to help you prepare for your Dolomites hut-to-hut hike:

Dolomites trek preparation

  • The Dolomites can be challenging, so make sure you are physically prepared for your hike.
  • Consider doing some training hikes before your trip to build up your endurance and stamina.
  • Make sure you have appropriate footwear and clothing for the terrain and weather conditions.

Dolomites tips

  • Be aware of the weather and trail conditions before you start your hike.
  • Get multiple weather apps on your phone.
  • Know your limits and don’t push yourself too hard.
  • Bring plenty of water and snacks, as well as a first aid kit and emergency whistle.
  • Respect the natural environment and follow Leave No Trace principles.

What to pack for a Dolomites hike

  • Check out our packing list and gear recommendations to make sure you have everything you need for your hike.
  • You’ll want trekking poles. However, you must check your hiking poles on a plane and not bring as carryon luggage.
  • Don’t forget to pack appropriate clothing for the changing weather conditions and layers to keep you warm at higher elevations.
  • Take less than you think you need. A lighter pack is heaven. 

Dolomites Self-Guided Hiking Plans

If you don’t have the time or inclination to plan and book your hut-to-hut hike on your own, there are several booking services available that can help.

Companies like Alpenventures Unguided offer pre-planned itineraries, or can work with you to customize your own itinerary based on your preferences and budget.

Can You Pay Someone to Book It For You?


Keep in mind that booking services will add an additional cost to your trip. On average a Dolomites trip cost could be 60-100 per night if you DIY it. It will be more if you pay a service to plan for you, so be sure to factor that into your budget.

3 Dolomites Self-Guided Treks You Can Book

9 Days on the Best of the Dolomites Trek

Unique Dolomites Crossing East-West Avoiding Crowds

Most hut to hut hikers in the Dolomites follow the North-South Alta Via trails but this one traverses the Dolomites starting in the west and hiking east.  This will give a lot more freedom and space.

  • Great for people who have already done the Alta Via trails.
  • Avoids ferratas and sketchy sections.

This new trek starts at the famous Seceda viewpoint and ends near Tre Cime.

4 Days on the Alta Via 1

Highlights of Alta Via 1 Trail in 4 days

Alpenventures Unguided does the heavy logistical lifting for you to plan a self-guided adventure in the Italian Dolomites so you can hike your own hike.

  • You'll see the main highlights of the AV1 like Lago di Braies and Cinqui Torri
  • Great for families or more casual hikers.


The northern section of the AV1 in the Dolomites.  Goes from Lago di Braies to Cinqui Torri Region.

10 Days on the Alta Via 1

Classic Alta Via 1 Trail in 10 days.

Enjoy moving at your own pace by using this "self-guided" hiking planning service.  They will do all the boring work and you can just enjoy your hut to hut hiking trip.

  • You'll need to cover about 5-7 hours daily of hiking.
  • The southern half will offer more solitude.


The Classic full AV1 is 10 days from Lago di Braies to Belluno.

Remember, the Dolomites are a special place, and you’re lucky to experience them firsthand. Enjoy every moment and make memories that will last a lifetime.

Be aware of the average cost of a trip and choose the best airport to fly into. Take safety precautions like travel insurance while traveling to the Dolomites. Also consider global rescue insurance in case of emergency for your health. 

FAQ: Dolomites Hiking Itinerary

Where to fly into to visit the Dolomites?

Venice is the most obvious international airport to visit the Dolomites. There are many connections via bus or you can rent a car to take a Dolomites road trip. Often people will only take a Dolomites trip from Venice for the day.

Is it safe to travel to the Dolomites?

100%! The Dolomites are a fantastic and safe destination for Nature lovers that love comfortable accommodations and good food.

Establish your route and make sure it is not too difficult with too much elevation gain, sketchy parts, or too long of a distance.

I utilize a variety of tools to plan my hikes, including the hiking app Komoot, Alltrails, Google Maps, Facebook groups, and blogs. I particularly enjoy using the Cicerone books, but it takes a combination of tools to plan the perfect hike and stay at the best huts and my dolomites trip planner education series can help.

Author profile: Morgan Fielder is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and passionate hiker who believes in exploring the world on foot with good food. Follow her journey as she shares science-based hiking tips and advocates for sustainable tourism.