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    The Evolution of European Mountaintop Lodgings: From Huts to a Hiker’s Paradise

    The Alps are famed for having some of the most majestic mountain hiking trails in the world, and while the peak of the world may be located elsewhere, there is no denying the beauty and grandeur of these snow-capped mountains.

    In the past, hikers traveling to these high-altitude locales built their own shelters in the wild. Then, as tourism picked up and more hunters and visitors frequented the range, huts and cabins were built up in the mountains. These small and crude structures often meant a warm night and shelter from the freezing winds, but only offered the bare basics. They were also few and scattered across the eight countries that contain the Alps.

    Now, CNN Travel reports that nearly 3,000 of these “huts” are located across the mountain range and connected by a system of trails. In the past few decades they have come a long way from being a ramshackle collection of wood and nails–these new lodgings are more like luxury cabins, in a traditional European sense. With showers, kitchens, and even small restaurants, these huts resemble hotels more than they would a cabin. In some of these cabins even modern amenities like Wi-Fi and television are offered, along with enough space to house 300 visitors.

    Do not mistake that for soft living though. Some of these huts still remain notoriously hard to reach. Many are not in the vicinity of a road and are often perched high up in the mountains. Due to the sometimes dangerous trek to reach such a place, the lodges have a policy of turning no one away. Seeing how getting to some of the more remote huts require scaling half a mountain, nobody wants to be left out in the cold.

    There, guests can enjoy a majestic view from the top of the world, as well as some bracing European beer.

    Image from jay8085 on the flickr Creative Commons

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