When traveling to the Dolomites a visit to the beautiful Lago di Braies simply has to be on your itinerary!
It is one of the most beautiful lakes in the Dolomites and that I have ever seen and every time I come to the Dolomites I make time to visit it again.
Lake Braies, also known as Pragser Wildsee, is the perfect mirror and one of the most photographed places in the Dolomites.
Over the past years this beautiful lake gained a lot of attention due to Social Media and it kinda fell prey to its own popularity. There are no tranquil early mornings because drones will be flying around from left to right and no matter what time of day you visit there will be a lot of people trying to get that perfect photo.
But luckily there is so much more to do when visiting Lake Braies than taking that perfect shot. Most people don’t ever bother to follow the hike trail around the lake but once you leave the area around the boat house the atmosphere truly changes for the better!
With this guide I want to help you have the best time here and enjoy its beauty to the fullest!
- Planning your trip to the Dolomites
- About Lago di Braies
- How to reach Lago di Braies
- When to visit Lago di Braies
- What time to visit Lago di Braies
- Things to do at Lago di Braies
- Where to stay near Lago di Braies
- How to take beautiful photos at Lago di Braies
- Things to know about visiting Lago di Braies
- Planning a trip to the Dolomites?
How To Visit Lago di Braies – A Complete Travel Guide
Planning your trip to the Dolomites
About Lago di Braies
Lago di Braies is an alpine lake located in the South Tyrolean province and recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
It’s part of the Fanes-Sennes-Braies nature park and is nestled in a beautiful side valley next to Val Pusteria. It’s located in South Tyrol at an altitude of 1469m above sea level and has a depth of 36m.
It owes its popularity due to the crystal clear water, the beautiful reflections and the mountains that form the perfect backdrop.
How to reach Lago di Braies
The Braies valley is only 20 minutes driving from the Tre Cime National Park so why not combine your visit to Lago di Braies with a few other lakes closeby.
BY CAR – This is by far the easiest and fastest way to reach the lake. Simply follow the SS49 and at the roundabout there’s already a sign that will indicate “Lago di Braies”. From here there’s just one road that goes in and out of the Braies valley.
There are several parking lots but they fill up super fast, especially during the Summer months so make sure to arrive on time (9AM at the latest!).
There are 3 parking lots at Lago di Braies but the closest one is right in front of the hotel and is called P3. If you want to snatch a spot here during high season make sure to come in time and by that I mean 7AM.
I have visited this lake 2 times during the Summer months and every single time we left (around 9AM) there is an actual traffic jam to reach one of the parking lots!
Parking is €6 for the first 3 hours and an additional €0.80 for every 30 minutes but if you arrive before 7AM you only have to pay €2.
It’s also allowed for camper vans to stay overnight (although there are no facilities for water and electricity. For a 24hour stay you pay €20, otherwise you pay €11 to park your camper.
Parking spaces for Lago di Braies are limited and full means full and access to the valley will be denied with a barrier until more parking space becomes available again.
So the biggest advise I can give you is to arrive early!
BY BUS – During high season the public transport in the Dolomites is very well organised and you’ll have no trouble reaching Lago di Braies by bus!
If you don’t have a car and you don’t want to rent one I advise you to get the South Tyrol Mobile Card. You can find these at tourist information centres and at your hotel and it will give you access to the Shuttle Busses that drive to the touristic sights such as Lago di Braies.
From Dobbacio you can directly take shuttle 442 but if you’re coming from further such as Sesto you first need to take bus 446 to reach Dobbiaco.
Shuttle bus tickets for Lago di Braies need to be booked and paid in advance.
When to visit Lago di Braies
Lago di Braies is one of those lakes that remains beautiful throughout every season but at the end of Summer the water level can become pretty low.
I would recommend to visit at the end of June and beginning of July to have the best chance at a high water level which will give you the best reflection and photography opportunities.
If you don’t want to visit during high season I suggest to book a trip early to mid October and visit the Dolomites during Fall season. This time of year is less busy and the larches surrounding the lake turn yellow and orange.
What time to visit Lago di Braies
Remember I told you that Lago di Braies is one of the most popular places in the Dolomites? Well, I wasn’t kidding cause you will never have this place entirely to yourself!
During the Summer months it’s best to arrive around sunrise (especially if you want to take photos). You’ll be joined by a bunch of other photographers so it’s no exception that there’s a line of tripods around the boat house.
If you don’t want to take any specific photos and you just want to go for a hike I still advise you to come early but 8AM is still ok to find a good parking spot.
During Fall season you can arrive between 8AM and 9AM. The sun rises later and there will still be a bunch of photographers but there are less tourists in general.
The easiest way to figure out which time of day to arrive is to simply see when the sun rises. Make sure to be there within 1 hour after sunrise otherwise you might not be able to get a parking space anymore.
Things to do at Lago di Braies
Rent a row boat
The boat house here is probably one of the most famous boat rentals in entire Europe! It’s one of the most famous activities that you can do here and from mid-May to the end of October you can go for a beautiful boat ride during the following hours:
- May/June/September/October 10.00 -17.00
- July/August 8.30 – 18.30
- Closed in case of bad weather
You can’t make a reservation from before and pricing for the boat rental is as followed:
- 30 min – € 19
- 60 min – € 29
This is the same boat house where everybody takes their photos and I will talk about this in detail a little more below!
Hike around the lake
Lago di Braies is one of Europe’s most beautiful mountain lakes so it would be an absolute shame to just take a few photos and leave.
The hiking trail around the lake is super easy and can also be done with young children! They will probably be amazed by their surroundings and have a lot of fun as well. It’s one of the most scenic hikes in the Dolomites!
The hiking trail around Lago di Braies is only 1 hour long and it allows you to admire the famous alpine lake from different perspectives. Plus it’s the best way to escape the hordes of tourists cause 95% of the visitors don’t even bother walking much further than the boat house.
There are multiple look out points at the left side of the lake so make sure to snap some more original photos!
Difficulty – Easy
Length – 4km
Duration – 1 hour
Go for a swim
During the warm Summer months you can even go swimming in Lago di Braies. A lot of locals come to the lake, find themselves a nice spot to lay down their towel and simply chill here for an entire day.
If you would like to do this make sure to bring a refillable water bottle, sunscreen and something to eat. When you leave make sure not to litter and leave no trace.
You’ll probably see a lot of people doing otherwise but that doesn’t mean you have to follow in their bad example.
Hike the Croda del Becco
The starting point of this hiking trail is Hotel Braies and follows a long, varied and simple round-trek. In the beginning you’ll follow along the classic Dolomite Alta Via nr. 1 which traverses from Lake Braies to Belluno and crosses one of the most beautiful nature parks in the Dolomites: Fanes-Sennes-Braies nature park.
Difficulty – Difficult – Experience is necessary
Length – 11.3km
Duration – 5 hours
Elevation – 910m
Where to stay near Lago di Braies
Lago di Braies is located in the Fanes-Sennes-Braies nature park and right next to Val Pusteria. If you want you can even stay right at Lago di Braies in Hotel Lago di Braies, which offers rooms overlooking the beautiful lake.
Otherwise finding a nice place to stay in Dobbiaco or Sesto is also a good idea. That way you can combine your visit to Lago di Braies with a visit to the Tre Cime National park.
Another recommendation I can make is Hotel Dolomitenhof, located a little passed Sesto but with one of the most spectacular views! The photo below was taken right outside the hotel!
How to take beautiful photos at Lago di Braies
Let’s be honest, you can’t scroll through Instagram without bumping into at least one photo of Lago di Braies. But what many people don’t know is how all of these bloggers/Instagrammers get this photo. Cause these photos are usually taken early in the morning and on the pier of the boat house.
Unfortunately a lot of people trespass the boat house while it’s still closed. All to get that one shot… And the sad thing is that it’s actually possible to rent the boat house for a full hour! The fee for a 1 hour photoshoot, including boat ride, is €150 and you can make a reservation here.
If this is out of your price range then all you have to do is wait for the boat house to open.
I did the photoshoot last Summer together with my parents cause I also wanted to take photos of them. And I was able to take 20 different angles and even went for a boat ride. It was a fun experience and the people that rent out the boat house are super nice. They simply gave us the key and left us alone to take our photos and enjoy the environment.
Another option is to simply look around and take different photos. Not all of our photos have to be the same and that’s exactly what I did this last time! And turns out, you actually don’t even have to be on the pier to take beautiful photos at Lago di Braies..
Things to know about visiting Lago di Braies
- There are toilets available on site.
- The ticket machine accepts both card and cash but make sure to bring enough cash with you nonetheless.
- There’s a small cafetaria in front of the lake but it’s pretty expensive. I do recommend their Lago di Braies cookie! There are sveral benches placed around the lake which make for the perfect picnic opportunity. But make sure to take all of your trash with you if you would do so.
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Charlotte Lint is the founder of Charlies Wanderings.
Charlotte has traveled all over the world and is based in Belgium where she also owns her very own dental practice.
She is an expert on writing efficient travel guides and finding unique places to stay.
Every month she helps over 134.000 people discover the most beautiful places in the world through her detailed travel guides.