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.


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:

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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 "Malga 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. The word "Malga", in italian, reminds of pasture, instead of moutains.

Proceeding along the Giau pass, on the top, you will see the "Passo Giau" Restaurant, a cozy place where you can enjoy a breathtaking view.

Alternatively, it is also possible to stop a little lower in the Giau Pass, to the "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 right on the ski slopes, with a wonderful view of Cortina.

For those who want to drive a little more up the road, the "Col Gallina" Refuge is 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 room with a 360° view of the Dolomites and the starry sky.

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

Before concluding we would like to mention a place that is special, not so much for the view, but for the story it tells.

The "Ospitale" Refuge 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 feel like walking, 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.

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.

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

The third mountain lodge that we want to recommend is the "Dibona" Refuge. It's the starting point for many excursions and it's great for both eating and having fun. It's really loved by residents, partly because it's fairly quick to get to from this parking area on the Passo Falzarego .

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.

Fourth, but not less important, is the "Lago d'Ajal", a charming restaurant located on the shores of the lake with the same name. The facility has been recently and it's really beautiful. The 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:

The last mountain lodges we want to suggest to you, for this chapter, are all along the same gravel road. We are talking about the "Cinque Torri" Refuge, the "Scoiattoli" Refuge and the "Averau" Refuge. All of them are reachable from Cianzopè parking on the Falzarego Pass.

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.

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

If you have enough energy left, you may continue for about half an hour towards the "Scoiattoli" Refuge. 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.

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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 .

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:

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.


We hope you liked this page on eating at the mountain lodges of Cortina d'Ampezzo. Before saying goodbye, we would suggest you read all the articles we wrote about Cortina d'Ampezzo by clicking here.

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