Hut to Hut hiking isn’t for everyone, but if you’re an avid hiker then you will want to try it at least once. Here’s what you can expect when staying in a mountain hut in Germany.
Although I like my comfort when hiking, I really do enjoy the occasional hut to hut hike. My favourite time of the year for hut to hut hiking is over New Year’s Eve. I always make sure to choose the same huts so I know exactly what to expect. The atmosphere is great and I get to get in some much-loved hiking.
What is Hut Hiking?
Hut hiking is basically hiking to a hut, which you can find plenty of in the alps. I usually choose one night but you can also do it over multiple nights when you are hiking from hut to hut. You will usually find this when you do hikes such as the Tour du Mont Blanc (which is one of the best hikes I have ever done).
Spending a night at a mountain hut like the one I stay at in Germany is a great way to get used to hut hiking and prepare for longer hikes. Mountain huts allow you to explore more terrain over a few days rather than having to turn back at the end of the day. Be sure to always do a little research on the huts available on your hike though, not all of them are comfortable, like other accommodation, you get different standards.
Dining at a Mountain Hut
Depending on where you will be hiking, every hut will have a unique menu to offer. In Germany, you can expect to find traditional Bavarian food. Usually, you’ll find guests enjoying their evenings drinking beer and playing cards. As with the standard of the hut, you can expect different standards of dining as well. Don’t expect fine dining, mountain huts usually serve hearty traditional foods that are filling. this is especially great if your hiking all day. You definitely need the fuel.
The good ‘ole fashion fun is part of the charm and is especially entertaining when done with good friends as we did. Accommodations are usually shared and very simple.
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It’s a Super Cost-Effective Stay
Hut hiking in Germany is much cheaper than you would expect. It’s a great way to travel and hike that is still cost-effective and won’t break the bank. It’s no wonder I prefer doing it over the holidays, we all know the feeling of checking your bank account after all the gifts and holiday planning has taken its toll.
A place to sleep in a room with 13 other hikers will cost you around €18 or €8.50 with a DAV (German Alpine Club) membership. Among other benefits, your membership also includes insurance to assist you should you need to be rescued.
Check it out here for full details. (Note: This is Not an affiliate link, I just believe everyone should have insurance if you’re heading to the mountains). In Munich, their office is located on the top floor of the sports store Globetrotter.
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Winter In The Mountain Hut
Don’t think that hut hiking is just a summer activity. While you won’t have wildflowers, you will have undisturbed piles of snow instead. Hiking in winter really is very pretty and if there’s a lot of snow, you can turn it into a snowshoe or skiing trip instead!
What is it Like to Sleep in a Mountain Hut in the Alps?
I enjoy hut hiking, but like I mentioned before it is not something I would do all the time. let me break down what I mean by “simple accommodation” in a mountain hut. The Lenggries Hütte (Hut) that I usually stay at only has one toilet for ladies and 2 urinals for men. This caters to a total of 52 people when the hut is at capacity.
You will find a couple of extra sinks that you can use to brush your teeth and check yourself out in the mirror. Don’t worry about appearances though, most people that choose to do hut to hut hiking usually don’t worry about glamming themselves up.
You won’t find any showers at Lenggries though. I admit its one of the thinks that kind of irk me since it’s about a 2-hour hike and if you’re doing it in winter like I usually do, you may get pretty soaked through, especially if it’s snowing. But, I must admit the scenery and the experience were well worth it. Furthermore, sauerkraut is almost always on the menu, so you’ve got a hut full of sweaty hikers eating sauerkraut… Let’s just say that it doesn’t exactly smell of roses.
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Don’t Expect Glamour
Some huts have private rooms (but still a shared bathroom), but others just offer a few sharing options. The Lenggries Hütte has rooms for 6-14 people. Both times I’ve stayed there I’ve ended up in the room with 14 people. That means that unless you’re with a big group, you will be nestled up to a potentially smelly stranger who snores! I always try to grab a spot near the wall and if I am with someone ask them to sleep in the middle.
Trust me, ladies, it’s a good tip! Huts can be busy so if you want one of the private or slightly more private rooms to make your reservations as far in advance as possible. We made our reservation for 4 people for New Years in the middle of October and all the semi-private rooms were already booked. Look to make your bookings at least a few months in advance.
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Why Hut Hiking in Germany is Worth it
Considering everything I have just mentioned, don’t be discouraged. My aim is to make sure that you are prepared and know exactly what to expect. I think that everyone should add hut hiking to their list of experiences, even if you only plan to do it once in your lifetime.
And despite the lack of creature comforts I always really end up enjoying myself. The simpleness of it all, really helped me to focus on what was important – spending time with people who I love….even if they did eat too much sauerkraut. When it comes to hut hiking I think that having great company can make the experience even better.
Know Before You Stay in a Mountain Hut
- Find a hut through DAV. They have a list of almost 200 DAV huts in Bavaria alone (in German only).
- If you have food allergies as I do (gluten allergy) notify the hut in advance. Most huts have very limited menus and may be more accommodating if you give them as much notice as possible.
- The Lenggries Hut is ~1:10 minute train ride from Munich to the start of the hike.
What Should You Take With When Hut Hiking in Germany?
Top Pick: TETON Sports Sleeping Bag Liner
You are required to bring a sleeping bag liner. This is the perfect lightweight sleeping bag liner for hut hiking. Mountain huts usually provide blankets so the sleeping bag is only there to make sure that your skin doesn’t make contact with the blankets. It’s in the best interest of hygiene. Another great thing about this liner is that it is compact and light, perfect for hiking.
Top Pick: Isotoner Women’s Microterry Clog
You will also be required to wear house shoes. I love these because they are warm and super comfortable. Your feet need comfort, especially if you have done a longer hike to get to the mountain hut. They can be any type of house shoe though, including slippers or flip-flops, as long as you will only wear them inside. Some huts provide them as the Lenggries Hütte does, others require you to bring your own.
Top Pick: Sea to Summit Drylite Towel
You should also bring your own hand towel or body towel(if showers are available). These are not usually provided in huts. The Drylite Towel is light, super absorbent and thin enough to dry fast if you need it to.
Top Pick: Etymotic High Fidelity Earplugs
If you’re a light sleeper like I am then I highly recommend a pair of good earplugs. It isn’t uncommon that you will have a person or two that snore really loudly and these earplugs will help you block out the noise. I use these myself and can happily say that they block almost all sound.