Eating at mountain lodges

A lunch in a refuge or a mountain lodge in Cortina is not just a sausage with some polenta in an alpine hut. It's an incredible experience in front of a breathtaking panorama, with also the possibility of having a nice walk.

Introduction

Spending some time in the mountains means, first of all, staying in the open air. That's why coming to Cortina d'Ampezzo and not eating in a mountain lodge, at least once, would be almost a sacrilege. In Cortina, in fact, almost all mountain lodges, in addition to offering breathtaking panoramas, are also excellent restaurants, where you can eat refined and quality dishes.

To be honest I'm not sure how to translate the italian word "Rifugio", so I preferred mountain lodge, because mountain hut, alpine refuge or shelter makes me think of something for rescue and not a nice place where to eat and relax, such as those we'll describe.

Both if you are looking for a place easily reachable by car, or if you want to make a walk to earn your lunch, on this page you'll find the best alternatives to eating in a mountain lodge in Cortina.

Of course, a mountain refuge, is not only for eating, but also for sleeping. Many of the mountain lodges that we are going to recommend also have guest rooms, or dormitories, so you can spend one or more nights in the middle of nature, close to the ski slopes or to the most beautiful hikes.

... We have decided to list only the most touristy mountain lodges...

We have decided to list only the most touristy refuges, which are easy to reach and where the best food is available. You should know that we have not received any benefit nor discounts to recommend them. They are sincere recommendations, as we would give them to a friend visiting Cortina.

Malga Federa in Cortina d'Ampezzo in Winter
Photograph of Malga Larieto in Cortina d'Ampezzo
The Mietres refuge in winter with snow
(1) "Malga Federa" in winter. (2) "Malga Larieto" at Cortina. (3) Mietres mountain lodge.

If you are coming on vacation during the peak season, it's always a good idea to try to make a reservation, whenever possible. In case that reservations are not accepted, try to be in place before 12AM, to try to anticipate the crowd and avoid long waits.

Before planning an hike in the low season, it's always a good idea to call the mountain lodge to verify that it's open. If you want to know more about the tourist influx in Cortina in each month, you can read this article we wrote on the subject. You can click it below:

Tourist flow in seasonality
Cortina's seasonality Let's discover the tourist influx to Cortina. A detailed analysis of every month of the year. Reading time: 12 min
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Mountain lodges alongside the streets

In this section we'll describe the mountain lodges that you can find on the side of the road, or very close to it. These places are ideal on days of bad weather or when, for whatever reason, you are not too eager to walk in the mountains. Over the years many of them have become quality restaurants, but some places still keep the atmosphere of the high mountain huts.

Between these, we certainly want to mention the Restaurant "Passo Giau" , which rises on the homonymous Giau pass and is surely one of the most rustic places in the valley. They serve traditional dishes in a simple but absolutely appropriate decor.

Alternatively, it is also possible to stop a little lower, still in the Giau Pass, at "Malga Peziè de Parù" , a mountain lodge built on a beautiful pasture, very suitable for those with children.

Lunch in the refuge beer and pressed dumplings
A plate of tagliata with potatoes as side dish at Faloria Refuge
A dessert in the Refuge
(1) Beer and pressed dumplings. (2) A plate of "tagliata". (3) A dessert in the Refuge.

If, instead, you prefer to see another mountain pass, you could choose the nearby Falzarego Pass. Also here you'll find beautiful and easily accessible restaurants: the "Locanda del Cantoniere" that stands directly on the street and has a large terrace, and the "Baita Resch" , a pretty mountain lodge with a wonderful view of Cortina. In winter it is located right on the ski slopes, in summer it is surrounded by green.

Driving a little more up the Falzarego Pass you will reach "Col Gallina" , a mountain lodge that also offers an incredible service: you can stay overnight in the Starlight Room . It's a charming, super exclusive and solitary glass room, with a 360° view of the Dolomites and the starry sky. The reservations are currently suspended for bureaucratic reasons, but the owner is determined to solve the problem as soon as possible.

Of course, the restaurants and mountain lodges that can be found in the immediate vicinity of a road doesn't end here, on the other side of the valley, along the Tre Croci Pass there are also "El Brite de Larieto" and "Rio Gere" , Both of them are very popular, both in summer and in winter.

We would also like to mention a place that is special, not so much for the view, but for the story it tells. The "Rifugio Ospitale" is one of the oldest buildings in the area, and one of the oldest inns in the world. Now it is completely restructured, with a nice mountain decor, but it has been historically operative since the 11th century, over one thousand years ago.

If you visit the restaurant, remember to take a look at the beautiful tiny church of Ospitale, which preserves the original structure supporting the roof, dated 1200, one of the oldest in Italy, with over 800 years of history.

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Mountain lodges with short walk

Here we have collected all the mountain lodges in Cortina d'Ampezzo that are reachable with a walk, but always without exaggerating.

These hikes can be done by anyone, as long as they are normally trained. If you really don't want to walk, in the more touristic months, there may be a jeep taxi service, but we always recommend to verify the actual availability contacting the mountain lodge.

Even if these are short walks, we recommend bringing with you a backpack with some water and some snacks and use mountain shoes.

The first place we'd like to suggest is "Mietres" Refuge , easily reachable from the car park "Guargnè" or from "El Brite de Larieto" . "Mietres" offers good cuisine, a terrace with a breathtaking view and can be reached quite easily. If you want to know more about this hike, you can read our page about the hike from Larieto to Mietres below:

Hike in Cortina from Larieto to Zumeles
Hike from Larieto to Mietres A hike from Larieto to Mietres, with the possibility of a detour to Forcella Zumeles. 1h+30' - 4+2 km - Easy

The second mountain lodge we want to recommend is definitely "Malga Federa" , it can be reached from the parking area of Parù de Col . In this case it will be necessary to face a definitely more challenging walk, but it's very beautiful. This is the "Gores di Federa" a tourist trail which we have described deeply on the page linked below:

Ra Góres de Fedèra
Hike to Malga Fedèra The Gorges of Federa, a new trail that starts from Lake Pianozes, to "Malga Federa". 3h 30' - 10 km - Difficult

The third mountain lodge that we want to recommend is the "Dibona" Refuge , that is also the starting point of many via ferratas. It's great for both eating and having fun and it's really loved by residents, partly because it's fairly easy to reach from the parking area on the Falzarego Pass . We have written a page with a deepdive, that you can read below:

Hike to Dibona Refuge from Falzarego Pass
Hike to Rifugio Dibona A short and easy hike. From the car park on Falzarego Pass, towards Rifugio Dibona. 2h 00' - 8 km - Intermediate

Alternatively, another popular refuge is "Malga Ra Stua" , easily accessible from the "Sant'Uberto" car park . This is the ideal place for those who have children, as it stands on a pasture where there are cows and other friendly animals. If you want to know more, we have described the hike from Sant'Uberto to Ra Stua in the page beneath:

Hike from Sant'Uberto to the meadows of Ra Stua
Walk to Malga Ra Stua A hike from the car park of Sant'Uberto to Malga Ra Stua, avoiding the paved road. 2h 30' - 6 km - Intermediate

Fourth, but not less important, there is "Lago d'Ajal" , a charming restaurant located on the shores of the lake with the same name. The facility has been renewed recently, and it's absolutely amazing. This mountain lodge can be easily reached on foot from the parking area of Parù de Col , but if you want to lengthen the hike a bit, it's also possible to walk from the center of Cortina. We have written a deepen article on this hike, you can see it below:

From Lake Pianozes to Lake d'Ajal
From Pianozes to Lake Ajal A short but intense hike to see two beautiful alpine lakes: Lake Pianozes and Lake Ajal. 2h 00' - 4,5 km - Intermediate

The last mountain lodges we want to suggest to you, for this chapter, are all along the same gravel road. All of them are reachable starting from Cianzopè parking along the Falzarego Pass.

In about an hour's walk you will reach the base of Mount Five Towers, in italian "Cinque Torri". They are an iconic and beautiful mountain formation, at whom base stands the homonymous "Cinque Torri" refuge , open only in summer, which offers a very genuine menu with local products.

Eggs and potatoes with cabbage side dish
Ajal Lake Restaurant
Gnocchi with trout from the Ajal Refuge
(1) Eggs and potatoes with cabbage. (2) Ajal Lake Restaurant. (3) Gnocchi with trout from the Ajal Refuge.

If you have still some energy left, you may continue for about half an hour towards the "Scoiattoli" mountain lodge , a very cozy restaurant with a huge terrace. Even higher, continuing for another forty minutes, you can also reach the "Averau" Refuge , where we recommend you stop to eat because it is a classy restaurant at high altitude, with a breathtaking view.

If you want to reach these areas with a less known path, there is a beautiful hike that will take you to the "Cinque Torri" starting from "Pian dei Menis" , we describe it in the following page:

From Pian dei Menis to Mount five Towers
Pian dei Menis to 5 Towers A lesser known route from Falzarego Pass to the Cinque Torri and its mountain lodges. 2h 00' - 5 km - Intermediate
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Mountain lodges on the ski lifts

The mountain refuge placed on the ski lifts, or in the immediate vicinity, are perfect for those who want to have a high altitude experience, but don't want to walk up the mountain. These places are great for organizing elegant events, for the elderly, for people with reduced mobility, or for those with skis on their feet. All these places are also accessible by more or less easy hikes.

The first mountain lodge we want to talk about is the "Faloria" Refuge , which rises on the top of the mountain with the same name. It offers a splendid panoramic view of Cortina d'Ampezzo. The refuge can be easily reached, both in summer and winter, using the "Faloria" Cable Car . In summer you may also walk up the panoramic path Dolomieu, starting from the big parking area of Rio Gere . We talked about it, in depth, on the following page:

Scenic path Dolomieu
Panoramic trail Dolomieu The Dolomieu scenic path: from the car park of Rio Gere to the top of Mount Faloria. 3h 00' - 8 km - Difficult

As an alternative to Mount Faloria, it's also possible to climb the Mount Tofane with the brand new cableway "Freccia nel Cielo" . Upon arrival at "Col Druscié", the intermediate station, you'll be welcomed by the "Masi" Wine Bar and the "Col Druscié" Restaurant .

If you want to reach the area of the Five Towers, but you don't want to walk as we mentioned in the previous chapter, you can take the "5 Torri" chairlift , which leads directly to the "Scoiattoli" Refuge. It is one of the most frequented places, both in winter and in summer, that's also famous for the spectacular parties at the end of the season and for the summer concert.

The terrace of Rifugio Faloria
Classic side dishes of the refuge, potatoes and cabbage
Summer concert at the Scoiattoli Refuge
(1) The terrace of Faloria Refuge. (2) Potatoes and cabbage. (3) Summer concert at the Scoiattoli.

The last, but not the least, is the "Lagazuoi" Refuge , the one at highest altitude among all, in the Ampezzo valley, and also the largest. It can be reached by the namesake cableway , that start at the top of the Falzarego Pass, or with an hard excursion of about 2 hours. Alternatively, you can also get there along the Lagazuoi Tunnels, a steep and challenging gallery dug during the First World War, to undermine the Austrian military posts.

Sleep at a mountain lodge

Can you imagine waking up surrounded by nature, having a hearty breakfast and being immediately ready to go on a hike, with the crisp air of the early morning helping you to wake up?

Sleeping in a mountain refuge is a special experience, even for those who usually live in the mountains, so try to imagine what it can mean for those who live in the city.

... If you have a chance to plan at least one night in a mountain lodge, do it...

Most of the mountain lodges we have listed in this article offer overnight accommodation. If, during your vacation, you have the opportunity to organize at least one night in a refuge, do not hesitate, do it. Surely the comforts will not be exactly the same of a hotel, maybe your sleep will be disturbed by those who wake up at night in your same dormitory, maybe you'll have to share the bathroom with other people, but I can assure you that these annoyances will be amply rewarded by what awaits you at the morning, when you wake up. Some experiences can't be described, you have to live them.

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Go down by sled

During the winter holidays it's possible to organize fun sled rides from the mountain lodges to the valley. In Cortina there are at least four structures that allow this type of activity, we are talking about "Malga Federa", "Dibona" Refuge, "Mietres" Refuge and "Malga Ra Stua".

Sleds parked waiting for drivers who are eating
Sledging on the snow at Malga Federa
A group of friend with sledges
(1) Sleds parked outside a mountain lodge. (2) Sledging at "Malga Federa". (3)A group of friends sledding.

All the locations have specifically structured trails for the descent with the snow sled, as it's absolutely forbidden to use the ski slopes dedicated to skiers. For more information, please read our article:

Winter hikes in Cortina
Winter hikes in Cortina The most beautiful winter hikes in Cortina, easy walks, for everyone, on groomed snow. Reading time: 12 min

The link above will send you to the chapter dedicated to sledging. If you scroll upwards you'll find described all the hikes that can be done in winter in Cortina, along groomed roads, without the need for touring skis or snowshoes.

Conclusion

We hope you liked this page on eating at the mountain lodges of Cortina d'Ampezzo. Before saying goodbye, we would suggest you read our home page, with all the articles we wrote about Cortina d'AmpezzoInternal link .

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