Are you dreaming of crystal-clear turquoise waters and breathtaking mountain scenery? Then Lago di Braies located in northern Italy should definitely be on your bucket list! This stunning alpine lake is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Italian Alps, attracting visitors from all around the world.
However, a trip to this natural wonder requires some preparation if you want to make the most out of it. Luckily, we’ve got you covered with our top tips for visiting Lago di Braies – read on and start planning your perfect getaway today!
Lago di Braies is located in the province of Bolzano-Bozen, in the Trentino-Alto Adige/South Tyrol region of Italy. It is tucked away in the Dolomites, a mountain range in the northern part of the country. The mesmerizing lake is part of Fanes-Sanes-Braies Nature park, a 25,000 hectare protected area.
The lake is about 1.5km long and 750m wide, and has a maximum depth of around 50m. I saw a couple of scuba divers up there once but the water is freezing, around 57°F or 14°C to be exact, hence why you won’t see many people taking a leisurely dip up there.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Lago di Braies is in the summer months, from June to August. This is when the weather is warmest and the water is at its most beautiful. The downside of visiting during this time is that the lake can be very crowded, especially in the afternoon.
If you’re looking for a more relaxed experience, consider visiting in the mid season (April-May or September-October). The weather will still be pleasant and you’ll avoid the crowds.
Things to Do at Lago di Braies
The insta-famous lake a popular spot for both locals and tourists alike, and there’s plenty to do there! Here are some of the best things to do at Lago di Braies:
Take a boat ride
One of the most popular things to do at Lago di Braies is to take a boat out onto the water. You can rent boats from several places around the lake, and it’s a great way to enjoy the scenery. You can rent a boat for 30 minutes or an hour. I’d say an hour is better, so you can relax, have a picnic and take it all in without rushing back to the pier.
Best Hikes Around Lago di Braies
There are several hiking trails that surround Lago di Braies. Whether you want an easy stroll or a more challenging hike, there’s something for everyone.
The standard hike around Lago di Braies is relatively easy, but there are a few things to keep in mind if you’re planning on hiking around the lake. Keep in mind that it will roughly take you up to two hours to complete the two-mile or 3.2 km hiking trail, so it’s best you start early enough.
The terrain around the lake can be rocky, slippery and uneven, so good hiking boots are a must. Second, pack plenty of water and snacks. There are no shops around the lake, except for the starting (and ending) point of the trail.
Come prepared with layers that you can add or remove as needed as the weather is somewhat unpredictable in the mountains.
Pragser Wildsee & Dobbiaco
Located just a short drive from Lago di Braies, Pragser Wildsee is another gorgeous lake worth visiting. You can hike around it, go for a swim, or even rent a boat to explore. Dobbiaco is a charming town located near Lago di Braies. It’s worth spending some time exploring its shops, restaurants, and attractions.
Must-know before visiting Lago di Braies
Yes, pets are allowed in Lago di Braies! There is a designated pet-friendly area on the east side of the lake where your furry friend can swim and play. Please be sure to clean up after your pet and keep them on a leash at all times. My dog Sam absolutely loved being on the rowing boat by the way, it’s perfectly pet safe.
Car Parks & Shuttles
The lake is located in a remote area, which means there is no public transportation available. You’ll need to drive to the lake on your own. There are a few designated parking areas near the lake, but they can fill up quickly during peak season. If you cannot find a spot in one of the designated areas, there are some other options for parking at Lago di Braies.
Getting there in Peak-season
In the summer months, a shuttle service runs from the town of Dobbiaco to the lake, making it easy to get there. The shuttle runs every half hour from 7:30am to 5:00pm. The cost of the shuttle is €2 per person and it takes around 10 minutes to get to the lake. Tickets can be arranged here in advance.
There are some restrictions to keep in mind when driving your own vehicle during the summer months (between July 10th and 10th of September). To avoid traffic jams, you can’t drive your car to Lago di Braies between 9:30 AM and 4:00 PM without making a reservation prior. This also can be done on the official website of Pragser Wildsee Lake. From 11.09, you can get there at any time.
Parking at the hotel: If you’re staying at hotel Lago di Braies, you will be able to enjoy your own parking lot in front of the lake. This is probably the most convenient option, but it may not be available if you’re not staying at a hotel.
Parking at the trailhead: There is a parking lot located at the trailhead for those who are hiking around the lake. This option is only available if you’re planning on hiking and not swimming or paddling in the lake.
You can park your car at the base of Monte Croce, which is about a 15-minute walk from the lake. There is also a large parking lot at Rifugio Auronzo, which is about 20 minutes from the lake. Both of these options will require you to pay a small fee.
If you are visiting Lago di Braies during the off-season, you may be able to find street parking near the lake. However, be sure to read all signs carefully to avoid getting a ticket.
Drones at Lago di Braies
The parking lots, beach, and hotel area up to the lake shore are private property. Photography and drone filming are not allowed in these areas, regardless of whether it’s performed by an amateur or a drone weighing less than 250 grams.
When using drone images for publication, you will need approval from the owning family. It is legally permissible to take panoramic flights over the entirety of the lake. You can apply for a permit from within Fanes-Sennes-Braies Nature Park.
Keep in mind that drones must remain at least 20 meters above the private property while flying. Anything including people and structures below can not be recognizable.
Where to Stay and where to Eat
Accommodations around Lago di Braies
There are numerous hotels and restaurants to choose from when visiting Lago Di Braies. Whether you’re looking for a luxurious 5-star hotel or a more budget-friendly option, there’s sure to be something that suits your needs.
If you’re looking for an upscale hotel with stunning views of the lake, the family-run Hotel Lago di Braies is a great option. This hotel features a sun-deck, excellent restaurant, and antique decorated rooms for relaxing after a day of exploring. I found it 100% worth staying there and dining with the best view possible.
For those on a budget, Camping Olympia is a great option. This campsite is located right on the lake and offers stunning views. There are also numerous hiking and biking trails nearby, making it the perfect basecamp for exploring the area.
Eateries around Lago di Braies
There are plenty of great restaurants to choose from when visiting Lago Di Braies. If you’re looking for traditional Italian cuisine, Theatercafe Zentral is a great option. This restaurant offers wood-fired pizzas, homemade grill dishes, and more.
Another option is dining at the historical Ristorante Lago di Braies, located at Hotel Lago di Braies. To my surprise they also offer beautiful vegetarian dishes.
For something lighter, Kiosk Parking Pragser Wildsee is a great choice. This takeout restaurant specializes in quick snacks like sandwiches, and burgers – perfect for fueling up before a day of exploring. They also offer desserts with coffee, making it the perfect place to relax and enjoy a pleasant afternoon pick-me-up.
Photography Top Spots at Lago di Braies
Did you know that Lago di Braies, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most popular photography destinations in Italy? There are many great spots for capturing its clear water and stunning mountain scenery. Some of the most scenic spots include:
The viewpoint at Miralago: This is one of the most popular spots for photographers, as it offers sweeping views of the entire lake. Be sure to arrive early to get the best light and avoid the crowds.
The promenade: The promenade is a great place for people watching and capturing candid shots. Head here in the late afternoon when the light is softer and the colours are more muted. This is a great spot for sunset or sunrise shots, as well as for getting reflections of the mountains in the water.
The docks: The docks offer a different perspective of the lake, with their long lines and symmetry. Besides, it’s a great place to capture reflections in the water.
The Boat House: The boat house is another popular spot for photos. It’s located on the edge of the lake, and it has a picturesque view of the water.
The woods: For a more atmospheric shot, venture into the woods surrounding the lake. The trees provide ample shade and create a beautiful dappled light.
Visit the Italian Dolomites
Besides Lago di Braies, there are plenty of other places to see when you plan to visit the Dolomites. Here are a few of my favorites:
The Rifugio Puez is a great place to hike with stunning views of the Dolomites.
The Val Gardena- Alpe di Siusi is a beautiful valley with plenty of hiking and skiing opportunities.
The town of Cortina d’Ampezzo is a lovely place to relax and enjoy the mountain scenery.
For those who love to climb, the Marmolada is a must-visit. It’s the highest peak of the Dolomites mountain group sand offers incredible views.
Alta Badia is well-known for her centuries-old traditions. The ski resort offers cozy diners, wineries and mesmerizing views at the foot of majestic Dolomite peaks.
Why you must go!
Visiting Lago di Braies is a must-do experience for travelers that want to immerse themselves in the beauty of Dolomites. With its distinctive turquoise waters, stunning mountain range and unique natural setting, this alpine lake will certainly leave you with wonderful memories and plenty of picturesque photos. Trust me!
Whether you’re looking for a place to take some unforgettable vacation pictures or just trying to find an idyllic spot to relax, Lago di Braies should be at the top of your list!