Mountain lodges, also known as mountain huts or rifugi, are buildings offering a place to rest for the night or just for a panoramic lunch at the base of the Dolomites. They were originally a foothold and restoration point for climbers and explorers, and indeed the first were usually built by the Alpine clubs for their members and other explorers.
Today, Cortina has more than 30 rifugi, with a variety and quality that few destinations can compete with. Besides guaranteeing an important service for hikers and climbers, mountain lodges are a tourist attraction for their traditional cooking, cosy atmosphere and enchanting views on the Dolomites. Moreover, a night at a mountain lodge is a very authentic Alpine experience and allows guests to wake up at the starting point of the next hike or via ferrata.
Baron Richard von Meerheim was a German colonel who travelled to Cortina hoping the fresh air and healthy environment would help him recover from an illness. They did, and in order to show his gratitude to Cortina, he financed the building of the first mountain hut in the valley.
The hut opened in 1883, was destroyed during the First World War and then rebuilt with the name Rifugio Nuvolau. Today, it belongs to Cortina’s section of the Italian Alpine Club.
In the first months of this year, the Club has received tenths of bids for the management of the mountain hut. After a strict selection, Rifugio Nuvolau has been entrusted to Emma Menardi, a young local ready to breed new life into Cortina’s oldest rifugio.
Cortina’s highest mountain hut , Rifugio Lagazuoi offers an astonishing view from its terrace at 2,752 metres of altitude, 700 metres above the Falzarego Pass.
The Lagazuoi area was the front line between the Italian and Austrian armies during the First World War, and many trenches and tunnels can be visited even today. The mountain hut is also the starting point of other hikes, for example to Lake Lagazuoi and, in the winter season, of the famous Armentarola piste, which links Cortina to Alta Badia and is one of the destination’s ski highlights.
Open in both summer and winter, Rifugio Lagazuoi has indoor and outdoor seating space and several rooms for a night above the clouds.
Located at the foot of the Croda del Beco mountain, in the northernmost part of Cortina’s territory, Rifugio Biella is immersed in an untouched natural environment in the Natural Park of the Ampezzo Dolomites. Starting from Malga ra Stua, the closest place that can be reached by car, it takes a 10.3 km walk on the most classic trail to reach Rifugio Biella.
This mountain hut belongs to the Italian Alpine Club (CAI) and has long been managed by the Salton family. The stone building matches the wild surrounding landscape, which is barren and rocky. The rifugio, only open during the summer season due to its remoteness, is on the path of the famous Alta Via n° 1 and has 46 beds for wayfarers and tourists.
Opening of mountain hut Rifugio Lago d’Ajal
Between the end of June and the beginning of July, Cortina will welcome the reopening of mountain hut Rifugio Lago d’Ajal after a complete renovation, both of the exterior and interior, with the addition of two rooms overlooking the enchanting alpine lake.
Try the Three Lakes Hike to visit Lake Pianozes with its chalet, the new mountain hut Rifugio lago d’Ajal and its enchanting lake and proceed all the way up to Lake Federa and mountain hut Rifugio Croda da Lago.