Alpine Huts in Austria

Siegerland Hut – Allan Hartley

Members are entitled to a reduction in bed charges up to €10 per night in all huts in Austria belonging to the ÖAV (Austrian Alpine Club) and DAV (German Alpine Club), with reductions in other huts belonging to members of the Association of Alpine Clubs of Austria (VAVÖ) plus over 70 private guesthouses and hostels.

Huts are open from 19th May!  See Covid-19 measures and recommendations.

Introduction to Alpine Huts

If you are new to “mountain huts” (particularly in Austria), then think “mountain inn situated above the valley” and not “garden shed”!  Most are substantial buildings, not least to withstand the rigours of winter, and might sleep from 20 to 200 people.

The huts are open for a summer season, and often for a winter one as well. At these times they are staffed: it could be a team of up to 15 people.

Alpenverein Hut Opening times for Winter 2020/21
Alpenverein Hut Opening times for Summer 2021

In Austria, each Alpenverein hut is owned by a section of the ÖAV or DAV, to whom your overnight fee is forwarded. The owning section is responsible for structural maintenance.  Hut guardians or Hüttenwirte and/or Hüttenwirtinnen are tenants of the owning section, and staff the hut. They get the income from the food and drink as supplied to day and overnight visitors, but some of this income then goes to the hut owning section as rent.

Recent assessment of Austrian Alpine Huts by the ÖAV.

Information regarding Specific Mountain Huts

Allan Hartley, our former President, has written Reports on selected huts for our newsletter and details may be found by clicking on this link.

Bonn-Matreier hut – Allan Hartley

The link to Austrian Alpine Huts ( takes you to the ‘Alpenvereinshüttenfinder’ that covers over a 1000 huts in the Eastern Alps, belonging to Alpine Associations and private owners.  Above the map filling most of the page are four search boxes.  Two of the boxes have drop down lists: for a wider overview select from ‘Region’ and for a single mountain range select from ‘Gebirgsgruppe’.  The location of all the mountain huts in the selected area will be shown on the map, and listed, with a link to the individual hut page, on the left hand side.

On the web pages for the individual huts essential information is given under 4 headings:
Kontakt: name and contact details for the hut, for the owner (eg the hut owning section), and for the Hüttenwirt/Pachter/tenant; dates when the hut should be open.
Ausstatung: number of sleeping places (beds and Matratzenlager spaces); whether there is a winter room or not.
Anreise: public transport links, lifts from the valley, parking places, maps and map co-ordinates
Touren Zustiege: starting points, heights and walking time from the valley to the hut.
Nachbarhütten: heights of, and walking times to the next huts;
Touren: heights of, and walking times to nearby peaks etc

FREE HUT MAP for members!  The 1:500,000 map locates and names all the huts in Austria, gives contact details and elevations, and shows whether they are accessible by ski, foot, bike etc!  Postage is FREE for a limited time, just request one in the comments box when renewing your membership.  Alternatively to the online shop.  If not being sent with anything else, then postage is just £2.00 UK, Airmail between £3.00 – £4.00.

Hut Regulations and Hut Charges

ÖAV and DAV Hut regulations combined with the rules concerning overnight tariffs, were published in 2013.  These are available in English as a PDF document Hut and Tariff regulations (HüOTO) 2013 – English. However new regulations and tariffs came into effect wef 1.1.2018.  The new regulations have not yet been translated into English but there are very few changes.  The new tariffs are given below.  NB private huts in Austria are not governed by the Alpenverein rules!  However, see Reciprocal Rights within Austria for ÖAV members’ discounts available in Austrian huts owned by other Austrian mountaineering clubs.

Categories of Huts

Deutscher Alpenverein (DAV) and Österreichischer Alpenverein (ÖAV) huts have three categories :

Category I
Simple huts for walkers and climbers; basic facilities and food; not manned all year; could be a bivouac; more than one hour walking time from land-based mechanical transport.

Members pay at least €10 less than non-members in Category I huts.

Cat I members   A, B & Sen Juniors (19 – 27) JD
(7 – 18)
(up to 6)
2 bed room up to € 29 € 29 €13 €6.50
Larger room up to € 20 € 20 € 10 € 6.50
Dormitory/winter room up to € 13 € 10 € 6.50 Free
Notlager for members & non-members up to € 6.50 € 6.50 Free Free

Category II
Alpenverein hut in popular area; may be open all year; can be provisioned from road. Members are entitled to a reduction in bed charges of at least €10 per night in Category II huts. KD-JG and Junior members (aged 0 – 27) should pay the same rates as in Category I huts.

Category III
Found in the lower mountains and often accessible by road transport.  The hut rules and regulations (see below) do not apply except that members receive at least 10% discount for over-night accommodation in Category III huts

In Category I and II huts in Austria there is always a Bergsteigeressen a mountain climbers’ meal, a cheap but filling evening meal for members (now increased to €9).  Only members have the right to buy jugs of Teewasser (hot water for making tea and other beverages) at €3 per litre + 2 cups.

The Alpenverein Südtirol (AVS) has a different system. 

There are 9 Category I huts and 2 Category II huts (Dreischusterhütte and Meraner Hütte), all with wardens, as well as 1 self-catering hut (Sterzinger Hütte) and 6 bivouacs.  The current tariffs are:

Overnight prices 2019 for members
  Category I Category 2
    Adults € 13.00 € 12.00
    Young adults up to 18 €   6.50 €   5.50
    Children up to 6 €   0.00 €   0.00
2 bed rooms    
    Adults € 29.00 € 28.00
    Young adults up to 18 € 13.00 € 12.00
    Children up to 6 €   6.50 €   6.00
Larger rooms    
    Adults € 20.00 € 19.00
    Young adults up to 18 € 10.00 €   9.00
    Children up to 6 €   6.50 €   5.50

The Hut Book

Each hut should have a ‘Hut Book’.  This is a large visitors’ book, in which everyone should record where they have come from and, even more important, where they are going.  If appropriate give your mobile telephone number.  In more extreme locations and weather the hut wardens check with one another that people have arrived at their intended destination.  So if you change your plans you should if at all possible telephone the huts to say your plans have changed to prevent a search party being mounted unnecessarily.

In some traditional huts it may still be that, after signing in the hut book on arrival and making your accommodation needs known to the hut guardian, you have to wait until say 17.00 for the allocation of sleeping spaces.  With increased use of modern technology for advance booking of sleeping spaces, sleeping spaces are often allocated as soon as you arrive.

Booking Overnight Places in Huts

Please check the latest situation on the ÖAV website’s Coronavirus page.  Hut places must now be booked in advance:  NO BOOKING – NO BED!

It is now becoming more common to book ahead for ÖAV/DAV huts. This is particularly relevant for popular huts in high season and at weekends, or where there is a nearby ‘honeypot’ mountain and the weather forecast is good, or if you expect to arrive late in the day.

The downside to advance booking is that some people, and even groups, book places and then do not turn up and don’t bother to cancel.  To compensate for this some huts are overbooking, so you could arrive and be told there is no room, even if you think you are booked!

ÖAV/DAV huts can usually be booked by phone or email. For groups, it may be sensible to book well ahead and a deposit may be requested.  If a hut is unable to process credit/debit card payments, you may need to pay deposits by bank transfer in Euros, for which you will need the IBAN or SWIFTBIC of the hut’s bank account.

Members are strongly advised to book overnight places in advance but you may need to chase the booking. Once you have a booking, you are strongly advised to print out a hard copy of the confirmation e-mail and take it with you, to present to the Hüttenwirt when you arrive.  In addition, because of the overbooking problem, it is good practice to ring the hut a few days before your arrival date to confirm you are still intending to come.  Should ‘phoning on tour prove problematic, if you offer to pay for the call, the Hüttenwirt (or in the valley the tourist office) will often ring the next hut and confirm a booking for you.  Conversely, if you realise you can’t get to a hut you have booked, or your party has got smaller, you must do your best to cancel.  Otherwise other people may be turned away from a hut unnecessarily.

An online booking system for about 135 huts in Austria (plus 55 in Switzerland, 37 in Germany and 4 in Süd Tirol) is available on and the list is increasing all the time.  The booking system allows you to check on the availability of beds in the huts and plan your tour accordingly.  For most of these huts you will be able to pay deposits by credit/debit card.

Even if you think you have booked a bed, rather than a Matratzenlager space, you may not get one. The hut guardian will make the final decision on the day. They should put members up somewhere, even if it is only on the floor (see Notlager), if the hut is more than 1.5 hours’ walking time from a road or the next place of accommodation, but this is no longer an official rule.


Not all huts accept credit or debit cards if they do not have wifi.

Inside Starkenburger Hut – Allan Hartley


Bed accommodation is in rooms with two to six or eight beds

Matratzenlager are sleeping platforms with designated bed spaces in mixed dormitories. When the hut is very full the guardian will often put a few more people in – so you need to be tolerant of your neighbour of either sex and any age!

Notlager are emergency spaces used when the hut is very full. They can be on the floors of dormitories, in a passage way or even on the floors and tables of the Stube.

Don’t let all this put you off, gross overcrowding does not happen often.


Mattresses, blankets (or duvets) and pillows are provided in all grades of accommodation but each member MUST carry and use a sheet sleeping bag with pillow pocket. In some huts you will find that the blankets have the word Fußende (= foot end) embroidered at one end; it is usually a good idea to keep this end as far away from your nose as possible!
Because of the corona virus pandemic members using Alpenverein huts must bring their own sleeping bag, pillowcase, towels, face mask, hand sanitizer and alcohol wipes in order to comply with hut Covid regulations. Please also check on the hut website the exact requirements before travel.  Please also confirm Covid specific requirements with your tour leader in advance of travel.

Hut Footwear

Mountain boots are generally not worn inside huts beyond the ‘day visitors’ areas and should be removed before going to the sleeping areas. If you are lucky you might find that some light hut shoes of doubtful cleanliness are available for your use, but many hut users prefer to carry their own light weight hut slippers. The alternative is stockinged feet. It is probably not a good idea to leave your own hut shoes on the ‘public’ boot rack when you go outside!

Food and Drink

In Category 1 and 2 huts in Austria at least one Bergsteigeressen(mountaineers meal) will be offered to members at a reduction of at least 10%, and in any case it must not cost more than €9.  The Bergsteigeressen will be identified on the menu.
There must be an alcohol free drink offered at a price at least 40% less than the same quantity of beer.
Only members have the right to buy Teewasser  (hot water for making drinks) for €3/litre (including 2 cups).

Providing your own food is not allowed. An exception may be made for members and those with reciprocal rights, in a designated dining area where there is a charge of €2.50 for day guests and €5/night for overnight guests. Children and young people up to 18 years of age are exempt. The consumption of self-supplied alcoholic drinks is not normally permitted.

See Rule 4 in Hut and Tariff regulations (HüOTO) 2013 – English downloadable as a PDF


Since the advent of solar cells, electronic converters and low energy lamps, gas and oil lighting is becoming a thing of the past. However, although some huts are connected to the mains electricity supply and some generate their own (limited) supply, you cannot depend on supplies for things like electric shavers. Huts often switch off their lighting supply at night so you need a torch to find your way around at night.


Some of the lower huts are connected to the mains water supply and have plentiful supplies of hot and cold water. However this is the exception rather than the rule and often you have to be content with a wash in really cold water.

Some huts, particularly the higher ones or those in limestone areas, have very limited supplies of water. Sometimes the washrooms are only open first thing in the morning and last thing in the evening. You should make every effort to conserve water and limit the use of soap for environmental reasons. Sinks sometimes lack plugs: carrying your own (universal or 1.75 inch) may be worthwhile.

However, some huts have hot showers and it is customary to charge €2-3 for these.


Please do not leave rubbish in the huts or on the mountainside. If you carried it up, you can take it down again.

Hut Fund

Of the 196 sections that make up the ÖAV, there are a few very large sections, but most sections only have a few hundred members and are centred on a village or a small town. Nearly all the sections have Arbeitsgebiete, or ‘working areas’, where they are responsible for the maintenance and way marking of the paths. Many of the sections also own and maintain huts, a costly business.

Sektion Britannia/AAC(UK) plays its part through its Hut Fund which is maintained by voluntary contributions from members in order to make donations to Austrian sections to help with the work of maintaining the Hut network.

[Updated 01 June 2021]

Become A Member FOR 2021

2021 Membership is available now!

2021 Membership will be valid from midnight (UK time) on the day of processing up to 31 December 2021.

Click here to join/renew