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The famous Lago di Braies is just as beautiful in person as it is in photos. Blue waters with a striking mountain backdrop, it’s hard not to fall in love with this spot. Photographs of this famous lake have recently found their way all over the internet, and for a very good reason! Lago di Braies is definitely one of the most beautiful lakes in the world, and it is listed as a UNESCO heritage site. Below you’ll find a detailed guide on Lago di Braies, from when to visit, where to stay, and what to do when you visit.
Where is it located?
Lago di Braies, Pragser Wildsee, also known as Lake Braies, is a famous and beautiful lake in the Dolomites in Northern Italy in South Tyrol.
Where to Stay near Lago di Braies
There are a number of hotels that are located within a mile and a half of the lake, including one that is walking distance. Here are a few of the top choices in the area:
What Time to Visit Lago di Braies
Due to the lake’s popularity and accessibility, it can get very crowded during the day. The best time to visit is either in the early morning or in the late afternoon. If you can get yourself out of head, a 6am arrival will ensure a quiet, magical visit to the lake. The stillness of the early morning sunrise is the perfect time to visit. However, if you can’t get yourself up out of bed early enough, then the late afternoon is another good option.
How to Get There
How to get to Lago di Braies by car
The lake is easily accessible by car, and should be added to any roadtrip in the Dolomites itinerary. The national road SS49 leads directly to the lake, which connects it to several major highways. This makes it easy to reach Lago di Braies from a number of major cities, as well as other areas in the Dolomites, for a day trip. Here are the driving distances from a few popular areas:
- Cortina d’Ampezzo: 45 minutes (a great town if you’re trying to figure out where to stay in the Dolomites)
- Venice: 2 hours 45 minutes
- Bolzano: 1 hour 30 minutes
How to get to Lago di Braies by public transportation
It is also possible to reach Lago di Braies by public transportation. Bolzano is the closest major city to Lago di Braies, located about 1.5 hours away. There are many options for trains and buses that will take you to Bolzano. From Bolzano you will need to catch a train to either Niederdorf or Dobbiaco. If you’re coming from other areas of the Dolomites, such as Cortina d’Ampezzo, you will find buses running to Dobbiaco as well. From Niederdorf/Dobbiaco you will need to catch the local bus #442 to the lake.
Please note, the local bus to the lake only runs seasonally from around June 20th to September 20th. The rest of the year you will need your own transportation.
Parking at Lago di Braies
You can find parking right next to Hotel Lago di Braies in a parking lot. Parking in the lot costs 6 euro for 3 hours. From the parking lot it is just a two minute walk down to the lake and main boathouse.
What to do at Lago di Braies
Rent a Boat on the lake
The boathouse is easily the most popular photo spot on the lake, and it’s easy to see why. There is something truly magical about watching the boats take off on the lake. Even better? You can rent a boat yourself and set off exploring the lake. It is possible to rent a boat for either 30 minutes or one hour. Boat rentals cost 18 euro for a 30 minute ride, and 28 euro for the full hour. While not a cheap experience, it is definitely a magical experience to explore the lake by boat.
Go for a hike around the lake
There is a 2-mile hiking trail that circles the lake, offering some of the best views in the Dolomites. The hike around the lake takes 1.5-2 hours, depending on your fitness level. The path is relatively flat, making it an easy hike for anyone. Circling the lake will give you the opportunity to capture the views from plenty of angles. Plus, the further you get from the hotel, the less tourists you’ll find.
There are plenty of other nearby destinations that can be reached within an hour and a half by car. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Tre Cime di Lavaredo
- Tre Cime di Lavaredo is one of my favorite hikes in the Dolomites region. I recommend arriving for sunrise, as the trails are near empty, and the views of the sun rising behind the mountain is unbeatable. We stayed in Cortina D’Ampezzo the evening before, which gave us easy access to the trailhead.
- Lago di Sorapis
- This lake is so blue that it truly looks fake! The best part about this lake, is that unlike many of the other lakes in the Dolomites, you cannot access this one by car. Instead you will need to hike approximately 2 hours in the mountains before reaching this perfect blue lake. I recommend visiting in summer for the fullest lake, but the fall foliage is supposed to be beautiful as well.
- Ortisei (access to hiking Seceda)
- Ortisei is a great base in the Dolomites, especially if you don’t have a car. You can easily reach both Seceda and Alpe di Suisi from the town center by gondola. Both areas are incredible, but Seceda definitely stole my heart. I would recommend overnight on Seceda for the best experience.
If you’re traveling in the Dolomites, Italy, here are some posts that you should check out as well:
- 7 Spots you Can’t Miss in the Dolomites
- A Guide to Hiking Seceda, Dolomites
- How to Get to the Dolomites, Italy
- Hiking to Lago di Sorapis
- Where to Stay in the Dolomites
- Road Trip in the Dolomites
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