Back in 1996, I was tasked with a dream research assignment at Backroads. The mission, which I gladly accepted, was to create an all-new luxury hiking itinerary in Italy's prized Dolomite region. Admittedly, my reports to the home office feigned challenge and fatigue as I tried desperately to hide the fact that I was thoroughly enjoying myself at "work." Stunning mountain peaks, fairy-tale valleys, an abundance of cozy accommodations and, best of all, the comfort of Italian cuisine made me an instant fan of this compact alpine playground. Since then, Backroads has hosted over 3,000 guests to this magical mountain zone on a variety of itineraries that stemmed from my first visit.
On a recent visit to Romantik Hotel Turm (a favorite Backroads hotel) in the Sciliar area, I got wind of a new, exciting trend that was brewing in the Dolomites: the birth of the super huts. Without doubt, the Dolomites have long been a world-class hut-to-hut hiking destination based on scenery and challenge alone. The addition of this new category of hut lodging had me very curious... how much better could it get? Freshly renovated mountain rifugi (huts) with gourmet dining, white-pine walls, cozy down duvets and private en suite bathrooms? Che cosa?? In the past, the typical rifugio in the Dolomites served a functional role (as a place of refuge!). Times are changing as cushy comfort arrives to the higher, serene reaches of the Dolomites. New for 2017, we have called on our 20 years of experience to create our first true hut-to-hut hiking trip in the Dolomites. No easy feat, we have managed to access a selection of these small new mountain lodges to create a sturdy circuit that traverses the core of the region from the Sennes-Fanes-Braies Nature Park to the Sella Group, all perfectly picturesque. Hike by day and relax on the terrace of the lodge, soaking up alpenglow in the afternoon. After the last of the day hikers head down the mountain, savor a frosty Warsteiner beer (or two!) over a hearty polenta dinner... it doesn't get much better. See you there!