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Lago di Braies – The most beautiful lake in northern Italy

Lago di Braies – The most beautiful lake in northern Italy

Lago di Braies (“Pragser Wildsee” in German), also known as Lake Braies is a famous and beautiful lake in the Dolomites in Northern Italy.

I have been to this amazing place, and to make things easier for you, I’ve made this guide on how to get to Lago di Braies + my best tips and more information.

It is known as the Pearl among Dolomite lakes, and also for being the backdrop of a popular Italian TV-show – Un passo dal cielo.

In recent years, it has also gained a lot of attention in social media, such as Instagram where many of the biggest Instagrammers go here to take some iconic photos that often gets widely shared on Instagram. 

And no wonder why Lago di Braies has become so popular. The picturesque mountain backdrop is absolutely gorgeous, and the reflections of the mountain in the lake is magical to witness.

lago di braies

How to get to get to Lake Braies

The most common way to go here is by car, but it’s also possible with public transport or guided tours. I recommend renting a car and go there by yourself to

How to get to Lago di Braies by car

The national road SS49 that leads to the lake is connected to several motorways. For example, it’s easy to drive from Milano, Venice or Innsbruck or from closer destinations such as Brunico, Trento, and Garda Lake.

  • From Milano: 4,5 hours drive
  • From Venice: 3 hours drive
  • From Innsbruck: 2 hours drive
  • From Brunico: 35 minutes drive

how to get to lago di braies

How to get to Lago di Braies by Public transport

The nearest railway station is Niederdorf (Villabassa) and between the 20th of June until 20th September, there’s a bus connection from the train station to Lake Braies. Look out for bus number 442, and make sure to be on time since the departures are quite infrequent.

Nearest Airport

There is no international airport near Lago di Braies, but you can fly to Venice or Verona and get a transfer from there. You could also fly into Munich, Innsbruck or Milano.

Parking at Lake Braies

If you come here by car, there’s a parking space just next to the hotel for 8 Euro per day.

parking at lago di braies

cash machine parking lot lago di braies

Recommended hotels near Lago di Braies

Hotel Lago di Braies

If you want to stay as close as possible to the lake, the Hotel Lago di Braies is your best choice, as it’s located right next to Lago di Braies.

Click here to see photos, prices per night and availability

Majestic Hotel & Spa

About 35 minutes from Lago di Braies, you can stay at this fabulous spa hotel. This is where me and Christine stayed when we visited, and it’s one of the best value for money hotels we’ve ever stayed at. Everything is great about the Majestic Hotel & Spa.

Click here to see photos, prices per night and availability

My Best Tips

Go here in the early morning at sunrise. Then you’ll have most of the lake all to yourself and there’s more likely to be reflections from the mountains as well. It’s truly a magical time of the day to visit a place like this.

Other than that, bring some snacks and good walking shoes + refillable water bottle with a filter.

Rent a boat

This makes for a great experience and gives you a different point of view. It’s quite expensive but well worth the money.

boat at lago di braies

More information about Lago di Braies

Lago di Braies is often referred to as the most beautiful lake in the South Tyrol. It’s located in the Valley di Braies and became famous all over Italy in recent years, due to TV-show – “Un Passo Dal Cielo” where the emerald green lake is featured as the backdrop.

However, in the TV-show, the lake is called “Lago di San Candido”.

This Alpine lake is located at a height of 1469 meters above sea level. It’s the largest natural lake in the Dolomites and the maximum depth of Lago di Braies is 36 meters. The walk around the lake is about 4 kilometers and takes about 2 hours depending on how fast you walk.

The maximum surface temperature recorded was 14 degrees Celsius, so no matter if you come here during winter or summer, it will be cold in the water. In the majority of the wintertime, the water surface will be covered by ice and snow.

Lago di Braies is a popular stop and starting point for several hikers in the nearby area. The lake is also a part of the UNESCO heritage list.

lago di braies

Short facts about Pragser Wildsee/Lago di Braies

Surface area 31 ha (77 acres)
Average depth 17 m (56 ft)
Max. depth 36 m (118 ft)
Water volume 5,300,000 m3 (0.0013 cubic mile)
Shore length1 3.05 km (2 mi)
Surface elevation 1,496 m (4,908 ft)

Should you visit Lago di Braies during summer or winter?

No matter if you go here during spring, summer, autumn or winter, you’ll be met by stunning scenery. However, for activities, it’s recommended to go here during the summer to enjoy the most.

During summer, you can easily hike around the lake or go for a boat ride. But as you can see in the photo below, it’s beautiful here in the wintertime as well.

Lake Braies winter

Where is Lago di Braies?

It’s located in the municipality of Braies/Prags in the Dolomites, in Northern Italy. By car, it’s about 4,5 hours driving from Milano and 3 hours drive from Venice.

And it’s just 33 minutes from the Austrian border.

Why is it called Pragser Wildsee?

This is the German name, and it’s commonly referred to it since a lot of people speak German in the South Tyrol region. This is due to the fact that it used to belong to Austria for a long time.

So, Pragser Wildsee is simply the German name for Lago di Braies. The lake is also known as Lake Prags and Lake Braies.

The legend of Lago di Braies

Have you heard about the legend from here? The Ladin people have a legend about a kingdom from the past and an underworld of the Fanes empire. The gate to the underworld empire is supposed to be somewhere at the southern end of the lake.

This is why a specific part of the lake is known as Torberg, or “Sass dia Porta” in the Ladin language. The Ladin people are an ethnic folk group in the Dolomites.

Activities

Hiking

A lot of the visitors come here to hike around the lake, which is recommended. It’s a beautiful walk that takes about 1,5 – 2 hours to finish. It’s suitable for most ages as long as you have a decent level of fitness.

While hiking, you can enjoy some of the best views. And if you feel adventurous it’s also possible to hike up to the mountain above the lake – Croda del Becco (Seekofel).

hiking around Lago di Braies

Rent a boat

One of the most popular activities at the lake is to rent a rowboat. These are available for hire at the famous boathouse next to the entrance to Lake Braies.

  • Season: June to September
  • Opening hours: 10 am to 5 pm
  • Price: 1/2 hour €15.00, 1-hour € 25.00

Swimming

It’s allowed to swim at Lago di Braies. However, it’s very cold in the water, even during the summer. So, you won’t see many people go for a swim here.

Visit the chapel

The little church a few minutes walk from the hotel is an iconic spot. The chapel was built in 1904 and had a major event during world war II where an SS commander brought 137 prisoners here to make an exchange for his safety.

Braies Chapel

Restaurants and camping area

  • The restaurant at Hotel Lago di Braies
  • Osteria Mösslhof

Camping near Lago di Braies

If you want to go here with a Camper or RV, there are two camping areas within driving distance to the lake. These two are Camping Olympia and Camping Al Plan.

It’s possible to park your Camper or RV by the lake, but it’s not allowed to overnight at the parking lot.

More photos from Lake Braies

pragser wildsee

braies

hotel lago di braies

Hotel Lago di Braies

Video from Lago di Braies

If you’re curious to see more what it looks like at the Braies Lake, check out the video below to follow the walking trail.

Other nearby lakes

  • Lake Misurina
  • Lake Antorno
  • Lago di Carezza

More reading from Italy


Do you have more questions before you visit Lake Braies? Leave a comment below and I will be happy to answer from my own experience!

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SM

Sunday 13th of October 2019

Hi alex

do you think it is suitable to go in october if you are 6 months pregnant? just worried if there is a lot of snow around there and therefore the possibility of slipping

thanks

Alexander Waltner

Thursday 17th of October 2019

Hello, I don't think you have to worry about snow in October unless you want to go hiking up in the mountains. The lake will likely not have any snow now, so you would be fine :)

Riya Y

Sunday 22nd of September 2019

Hi Alex, Thank you for the blog. its very informative. Do you know if bus between Villabassa and lago di braies runs in october as well. Could you share the website where i can see the schedule of this bus route 422? Kind regards, Riya

Alexander Waltner

Wednesday 9th of October 2019

Hello Riya, I think so, yes. At least according to the website showing time schedules. You can check it here - https://www.sii.bz.it/en/siitimetablesquery

Diana Coman

Wednesday 11th of September 2019

Hi Alex! The article was interesting, thank you. I can't wait to see the lake, we are going to climb on Croda del Becco after we see the lake and I'm curious about the view of the lake from the peak. How did you find out about the legend of the lake?

Alexander Waltner

Sunday 22nd of September 2019

Hey Diana, how nice :) hope you get good weather! I learned about the legend of the lake from the staff at our hotel who told us more about the lake. He explained the legend as well as how it became famous from the Italian TV-show.

Bonnie Marsden

Wednesday 28th of August 2019

Thanks Alex, this information is really helpful - going in just under 2 weeks and so excited! Brunico - a nearby town is also really beautiful - it has excellent restaurants, especially the local one opposite the Patagonia store (and yes in this tiny little town, they have a Patagonia store - praise be!).

Alexander Waltner

Wednesday 28th of August 2019

Hello Bonnie, thanks. How nice! I expect that you will get perfect weather conditions then :) And I second Brunico as well, lovely town. I have stayed at Das Majestic Spa Hotel, which was also great for exploring this region.

Joanne

Wednesday 14th of August 2019

Thanks for getting back to me, Alex. I was thrilled reading your blog and wanted to visit Dolomites. I'm also a nature lover and trekker. I thought early May would be a better time as it's a shoulder season and less crowded. In this case, which hikes would you recommend? Any luck to Val Gardena and Seceda?