Every time I showed a picture of the Lago di Braies to Lorenzo, he always answered: “that’s totally photoshopped”.
Now that we have been there, I can promise you, It was not photoshopped at all. The reflection of the mountains on the lake is real and so is the emerald colored water.
The Braies lake is one of the most iconic spot in the Dolomites and it became a very popoular Insta-spot. Of course a visit to the lake is much more than a photo opportunity – from hiking to paddling, here’s a list of things you need to know before planning your visit to this amazing attraction.
Where is the Lago di Braies:
Considered to be one of Europe’s most beautiful lakes, Lake Braies or Lago di Braies (Pragser Wildsee in german) is a pretty spectacular mountain lake, hidden in the heart of Dolomites, in the Italian South-Tyrol.
Situated in the Province of Bolzano, this alpine lake is part of the Fanes Sennes Braies natural park and it sits at an altitude of 1496 m upon the sea level.
How to get to the lake:
To get to Braies lake, there are a number of tourist shuttles that operate from major towns in the surroundings, but in order to have more freedom my suggestion is to rent a car and discover the lake and the other beautiful natural attractions of Dolomites driving on your own. You can easily hire a car at the airport or in the nearest big cities:
- Milan airport (Malpensa): 5 hours
- Venice airport: 3 hours
- Verona airport: 3, 15 h
- Innsbruck airport: 2 h
- Belluno city: 2 h
- Bolzano city: 1,45 h
Once you get to the lake, you can leave the car in one of the parking spot available (P1, P2, P3). The closer to the lake is the P3 but it fills up very quickly, especially during summer. If you visit in winter, make sure you are fully prepared to drive on snow-covered or icy roads.
Hiking and trekking:
The big snowy mountain overlooking the lake is the Croda del Becco, which offers an interesting hiking trail for experienced hikers. The trail is the number 1, it starts from the “Hotel Lago di Braies” to the mountain, and it lasts about 6 hours there and back. The path is well marked (follow the red and white painted stripes), and it offers a great panoramic view over the lake.
If you just want to take a casual walk around the lake Braies, you can follow the loop trail that runs along the lake and enjoy it from so many different panoramic point of views. The walk takes about an hour depending on your pace, and you can stop for a pic nic along the way.
Besides hiking and Nordic walking, the most popoular activity to do while here is renting a super photogenic wooden boat and row around the lake. Boat rent is available from June to September, every day from 9 am to 7 pm. The rental price for one hour is 25 euros, and 15 euros every 30 minutes after that.
You do not need any particular ability to drive the boat around, except for a bit of coordination – If I had been alone, I would have spent the whole hour rowing in a circle.
Swimming in the lake is not forbidden. You can take a bath in the crystal-clear water, just keep in mind that it is super cold all year round!
Visiting historic landmarks:
On the west side of the Lake Braies there’s a cute little chapel built in 1904 that blends beautifully in the alpine landscape. The chapel had been a silent witness of many historical events occurred during the years of the World War II. Together with the Hotel Lago di Braies, the location is linked to the history of the hostage transport of prisoners from the Dachau concentration camp. In 1945, 139 prisoners were liberated by the German Wehrmacht and brought to lake Braies where Emma Heiss-Hellenstainer, former owner of the hotel, welcomed them and helped them to “return to life”.
Where to sleep:
- Hotel Lago di Braies: it is the only hotel with a view over the lake. Price per night: 180/200 euros breakfast included.
- The sourrounding area is scattered with gasthof, traditional alpine wooden hotel, where I highly recommend to stay. We chose the bautiful Albergo alpino Moserhof located 10 minutes away from the lake. Price per night: around 150/200 euro per night in “Mezza Pensione” (breakfast and dinner included)
- If you are willing to treat yourself to a luxury stay, I recommend the Lefay Resort & Spa Dolomiti. Price per night: around 500/600 euros.
What to do in the surrounding area:
- About 15 minutes away by car there is the city of Dobbiaco, well known for its Dolomiti Balloon Festival which takes place in January.
- Again in Dobbiaco, there is the Abenteuer Park, an adventure playground for the whole family.
- Book a cheese tasting in a cheese factory. You should visit Caseificio Lechnerhof and Latteria Tre Cime, both located within 20 minutes from the lake.
- The Dolomites and the Val Pusteria are paradise for hikers. The area includes many natural beauties to be discovered through trekking routes. One of the most iconic hikes is the Tre Cime di Lavaredo (Three Peaks of Lavaredo). The trail is relatively easy but quite long (about 10 km).
- About 1 hours and 30 minutes from Braies, you can reach the Kronplatz (Plan de Corones), renowned as the Number One Ski Mountain in South Tyrol. On the summit plateau of Kronplatz (2,275 m) lies the spectacular Messner Mountain Museum created by Zaha Hadid. The museum is devoted to mountain history and offers a unique view of the mountain walls of the Dolomites and the Alps.
Did you visit the lake of Braies?
Let me know by leaving a comment below.
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