3 Classic European Hut Destinations
While still fairly new to Maine, the hut-to-hut hiking experience is a deep-rooted tradition in Europe. In fact, the Swiss Alpine Club built the first recognized ‘hut’, the Grunhorn Hut, in 1863. It seems they tired of hauling up every single thing you’d need for a few days in the mountains, and who can blame them? The idea that you can venture up and away, far from civilization, and still have fresh food, a hearty beer, and a comfy bed is a concept that makes sense to travelers of any nationality. European huts, just like ours, are known for their casual, friendly atmospheres and fantastic meals. We like to think Maine Huts & Trails is the best hut destination in New England, but if you’re ready to venture further, we’ve found a few European hut trips that deserve to be on your list:
Considering a Swiss vacation isn’t usually a budget-friendly trip, staying in a hut is often an affordable and sometimes more authentic option. Located in Saas-Fee, Switzerland, Britannia Hutte is one of the most modern huts in the Alps, but it’s definitely maintained its old world charm. Access is easier here than to most European huts- just a 15 minute hike from the top of a chairlift. With great food, comfy beds, and spectacular mountain views, the Britannia Hutte offers the experience of a classic alpine hut with a slightly less epic approach.
If you really want to push your limits, head to the Regina Margherita. This is the highest hut in the Alps, located in Monterosa, Italy. Perched on the side of a cliff, it honestly looks a little terrifying, but like most everything else in Italy, it manages to be irresistibly glamorous without really trying. Don’t let the soft amenities fool you- this is a serious trek. It’s a five hour journey from the nearest hut, and depending on the season, may require technical mountaineering equipment and a guide. It’s worth every step.
Triglav, Slovenia is considered by some to be the Everest of Eastern Europe. Not only does this hut act as a base camp for a serious assent, it also has some interesting history: during the communist regime, mountaineering represented to many an autonomous lifestyle not under control of the State, and the huts were a popular place to hide out. Even if you’re not fleeing your government, this hut has proved itself as the ultimate place to get away from it all. A new generation of Europeans are embracing backcountry trekking as a lifestyle, and the high altitude huts are at the center of this movement. “More than being refuges for mountain excursions (backcountry skiing, hiking, climbing, etc…), they are a social element of the European mountain culture. It is entirely normal to hear of a party at a hut, or friends simply planning an overnight so as to enjoy a massive meal, or a dance party, or a fullmoon outing, or just a dinner out that requires an approach.” - Dolomite Sport http://ow.ly/Oiaeg Hut hiking in the Alps is a once in a lifetime trip. Luckily, you can have a similar experience right here in Maine. Spend the day breathing fresh mountain air, then relax at night while the friendly hut staff prepares your dinner and stokes the fire. No matter where you go, some adventures are truly universal.