Lago di Carezza: What You Need to Know Before Visiting

Lago di Carezza, also known as Karersee or Lake Carezza, is one of the most beautiful lakes in the Dolomites region. As soon as I saw a photo of this lake, I knew that it needed to be on my Dolomites road trip itinerary. 

Located in the Western part of the Dolomites, just 6 km from Nova Levante, you can find the lake sitting at 1520 meters. Lago di Carezza is known for its emerald green color, contrasting the striking backdrop of the mountains.

  • Lake names: Lago di Carezza, Karersee, Lake Carezza
  • Nicknames: “Rainbow Lake” and “Fairytale Lake of the Dolomites”

This guide will dive into everything you need to know about visiting Lago di Carezza on your Dolomites road trip.

Early morning at Lago di Carezza, Dolomites
Early morning at Lago di Carezza, Dolomites

Where is it located? 

Lago di Carezza, or Karasee as it is known locally, is located in South Tyrol. South Tyrol is a German speaking region in the Dolomites, which is why you find the lake name translated into both German and Italian. You will see it referred to by both names throughout the region on signage. 

When to visit Lago di Carezza 

As with most Instagram-popular spots in the Dolomites, Lago di Carezza is often quite packed with tourists. If you’re planning to visit during the summer months, when the lake is at its fullest, then I recommend arriving early. We visited at sunrise, and even then there were still a few other travelers. 

Sunrise is a gorgeous time to visit Lago di Carezza. Not only will it be less busy, but you can enjoy the stillness of the early morning. 

Another option is to visit during the shoulder seasons. Although I haven’t visited during this time myself, I have seen gorgeous photos of the lake – and general region – during the early Fall months. However, you’ll want to make sure that you visit before the lake freezes over, as it is said to lose some of its magic once covered in snow. 

If it is possible to visit on a sunny day, definitely do so. Unfortunately we were greeted by a cloudy morning, but our experience at the lake was magical nevertheless.

How to get to Lago di Carezza 

By far the easiest way to get to Lago di Carezza is by car. If you are planning to visit the Dolomites, I definitely recommend renting a car for your visit, as you will able to see a lot more!

  • Bolzano to Lago di Carezza: 35 minutes
  • Venice to Lago di Carezza: 3 hours
  • Cortina d’Ampezzo to Lago di Carezza: 2 hours

Getting to Lago di Carezza by bus

If you don’t have your own car, then you can get to Lago di Carezza by bus. Fortunately bus 180 from Bolzano stops right in front of the lake. The bus runs rather frequently and costs only 4,50 Euro, but I would recommend checking a current bus timetable at the time of your trip. The trip should take you between 40 and 50 minutes.

Tours to Lago di Carezza

There are also day trips and tours of the Dolomites is you don’t have your own care and don’t feel like navigating the region via public transportation.

Parking at Lago di Carezza

Just across the street from the lake you will find a large parking lot, so you shouldn’t have any issues finding parking. Parking is free for the first 15 mins, and then 1 Euro per hour after the initial 15 minutes, capping at 4 Euro. And I promise, you will want more than 15 minutes at this gorgeous lake. You can pay using any major credit card.

Facilities at the lake

At the lake you’ll find parking (as noted above), restrooms, and a small restaurant.

girl in a yellow dress posing at Lago di Carezza, Dolomites
Early morning at Karasee

Hiking at Lago di Carezza

There are a number of hikes that originate from the lake, but of course the most popular one is the one that actually loops around the lake itself. It is just a quick 20 minute loop, but you’ll be able to experience the lake from all angles.

Another option is to hike from Carezza Lake to another nearby lake, Lago di Mezzo (Mittersee). This is also about 20 minutes, but this time uphill.

Taking photos at Lago di Carezza

Please DO NOT go over the fence to get your epic Instagram photo. Yes, you might see others doing it, but do your part in respecting the environment and please don’t cross the fence. I’m sure you’ve seen photos of influencers and the likes on the rock in the middle, please don’t do that. There are plenty of signs stating the rules clearly in English, Italy, and German. Instead, you can grab an epic shot by simply sitting on the fence as I did!

On a similar note, unfortunately swimming in the lake is not allowed, as refreshing as it might look on a hot sunny summer day.

Lastly, drones are not allowed.

What to pack when visiting Lago di Carezza

If you’re planning on visiting Lago di Carezza, or working on putting together a Dolomites itinerary, you’re going to need to figure out what to pack. As I mentioned above, you can experience cool mountain temperatures year-round, so you’ll want to make sure that you’re prepared with layers.

  • Comfortable shoes — whether you plan on hiking or not, you can still expect to do a ton of walking while visiting the Dolomites, so it is super important to wear comfortable shoes. A pair of Nike running sneakers is always a good idea for maximum comfort. I recently purchased a brand new pair of boots from Columbia and absolutely love them. Plus, don’t forget a good pair of hiking socks!
  • Warm Layers — I used my Patagonia Nano Puff almost every morning and evening while the Italian Dolomites, even in the summer. Morning can be quite cold if you are starting your hike before sunrise.  On extra cold mornings, I could layer my Patagonia Better Sweater underneath for extra warmth.
  • Workout Tops — I have a few workout tops from Patagonia that I absolutely love! They are performance tops so they dry super quickly, perfect for long hikes.
  • Water bottle – if you get one thing out of this blog post it is that  Vapur water bottle is the absolute best travel water bottle!  I purchased my first one in 2015 and have been obsessed ever since. They fold up after use, making them perfect for travel and hiking adventures.
  • Camera – an iPhone camera just can’t do justice to the beauty that you’ll experience when visiting Lago di Carezza. All of my photos in this blog post were taken on a Nikon D7000 (an older model at this point). I recently upgraded to a Sony A7ii. If you’re looking for an entry level camera, I also recommend the Sony A6000.

Where to stay near Lago di Carezza

If you are planning to visit Karasee for sunrise, it is important that you book accommodation nearby. We stayed in Nova Levante, which is just a short drive up the road, at Mounthotel Niggl. We arrived after dinner the evening before, and the hosts were so lovely and put together the most amazing (complimentary) meat and cheese board for us!

Here are a few other recommendations of places to stay nearby:

Or you can check out other hotels in Nova Levante here.

girl in the Early morning at Lago di Carezza, Dolomites
sunrise at karasee dolomites

The Legend of Lago di Carezza

There is a legend surrounding Lago di Carezza. It is said that once upon a time, there was a mermaid living in the lake. Masaré, a wizard, was in love with her. In an attempt to seduce her, he followed the advice of to dress up as a jewel merchant and to throw a rainbow between the Mt. Catinaccio and Mt. Latemar. The wizard did just this, but forgot to disguise as a jewel merchant. The mermaid realized that he was a wizard and disappeared in the lake. The wizard then threw the rainbow and all the jewels into the lake instead, giving the lake the rainbow colors that it is famous for today.

Nearby Destinations to Lago di Carezza

There are plenty of other nearby destinations that can be reached within an hour and a half by car from Karasee Italy. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Lago di Braies
    • 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. I have traveled the world, and there are few places that are more beautiful than Lago di Braies.
  • 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:

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Taylor Taverna
Taylor Taverna

Taylor is a NYC-based solo traveler and travel blogger. Taylor shares travel tips and itineraries from the 70 countries she’s visited around the world.

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