Trekking, Walking

Top 5 Hut to Hut Hikes

7 Dec , 2012  

Hiking in some of Europe’s highest mountains is difficult to beat. The fabulous scenery, aerial views and the rewards of sometimes challenging day treks reveal a trekking holiday that will bring long-lasting memories. On such holidays, lifetime friends are often made and many people discover a life-long yearning to pursue other similar routes.

The traditional way to walk the high mountains routes, such as those found in the Alps, Pyrenees and Dolomites, is on a hut to hut trip. (Note that huts are also called refuges.) While the accommodation is not for those looking for ultra comforts and luxury, these huts do offer welcoming, friendly and relaxed overnights that perfectly suit the outdoors adventurer.

Some huts have private rooms, while most provide dormitory style sleeping. But don’t be alarmed. We’re not talking extreme style accommodation, such as a basic Scottish bothie, but rather pristine clean and comfy hostels.

Many people will tell you that the huts often provide fantastic food, too. At the end of a tiring day of mountain walking, what most people are looking for is a warm welcome, a tasty and filling meal and a comfortable bed. A top tip: If other people’s snoring bothers you then bring ear-plugs for a more restful night.

And don’t forget that if you’re sleeping in the huts at high level then you will not be wasting time and energy descending to lower-level accommodation, and the views when you awake fully rested in the morning are simply breath-taking.

For fit walkers looking for an adventure that is hugely rewarding in so many ways, a hut to hut trek is a must-do.

5 of our favourite hut-to-hut hikes:

Complete Tour du Mont Blanc walking holiday

Walk the Complete Tour du Mont Blanc, through France, Italy and Switzerland staying in a mix of mountain huts and hotels. For the serious walker with a sense of aesthetic, there really is no other option for the Tour du Mont Blanc. This is one of Europe’s classic hikes, with Alpine views that will linger long in the memory. To walk the TMB self guided, with no one dictating your pace is a rarity, but Macs Adventure have dedicated a lot of time and resources to make sure that we offer this route with the ultimate freedom of having your luggage transported, so you can relax, enjoy and enjoy the journey without having to worry about any logistics.

Milford Track

The most famous of New Zealand’s Great Walks and always mentioned in lists of the greatest hikes in the world, walking the Milford Track is an experience not to be missed. Discover cascading waterfalls, deep glaciated valleys and mystical beech forests as you walk through the UNESCO World Heritage area of Te Waipounamu. You will stay in DOC huts on the route, run by the Department for Conservation and situated in spots that are completely wild and remote. This is the ultimate hike in the New Zealand wilderness.

GR10 Trail

Walking the GR10 takes you across the Pyrenees, the dramatic border between France and Spain and one of Europe’s greatest wilderness areas. Although the memories you will take away from the GR10 are more likely to be of the people you meet, the charm of her mountain people and the unique cultures you will experience. Tackling the full 900km of the GR10 would involve two months walking so Macs Adventure offer the GR10 over eight sections of 7 nights and 6 days walking, which can be walked individually or combined. This way you can sample the delights of the GR10 over several visits and perhaps one day complete this iconic mountain journey. Any walk which takes in 900km of trails, 49000m of ascent and descent, navigational challenges and the vagaries of high mountain weather is going to be filled with challenges and rewards in equal measure. Organising your walk should not be one of those challenges and that is where Macs Adventure comes in. Our walking tours on the GR10 include accommodation, meals, baggage transfer, detailed information packs and emergency support so you can relax and get on with the walking.

Tour of the Matterhorn

Matterhorn looms over Zermatt

Walking the Tour of the Matterhorn through Switzerland and Italy is like walking the Tour du Mont Blanc on steroids. It is a super demanding long–distance hike which circumnavigates the famous peak, offering superb mountain views, as well as an insight into the two distinct regions that surround it, the Mattertal and Aosta Valley. This is a tough and adventurous trek, but for fans of the Alps, it could not be more rewarding. Hike through alpine meadows, on rocky paths, suspension bridges and glaciers, and for added peace of mind, you will have the full support of a qualified local guide for the two glacier crossings.

The High Dolomites

An Italian Rifugio sits amongst high peaks in the Dolomites

Rifugios will be your home for the night in the Dolomites

Quite unlike any other hut-to-hut walk, The High Dolomites showcases fabulous wildlife, such as marmots and chamois, fantastic flora and fauna and a wealth of stunning landscapes that will have you oohing and ahhing at almost every turn in the trail. The High Dolomites is perhaps a place that many people do not automatically think of when planning a high mountain walking holiday, but once they discover it, they come back time and again. This walking includes six nights in mountain huts (refugios) staying in private rooms and one night in a B&B so it rates higher on the overnight comfort levels.

For more information on any of our mountain hut trips, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team of specialists at [email protected]

*This is an updated version of the blog first posted in December 2012*

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A journalist, web copywriter blogger and social media chatterbox, Fiona combines her love of the outdoors – especially Scotland – with a diverse freelance work life. If she's not at her desk writing about the outdoors, she'll be outside cycling, running, kayaking, snowboarding and walking Munros. She shares her outdoors passion with partner, the G-Force. Sometimes her teenage daughter Little Miss Outdoors tags along, too.