The lake is also called Pragser Wildsee and is located in South Tyrol just across the border from Austria in a reserve Fanes-Sennes-Braies. At the same time it is the largest (31ha) and deepest (up to 36m) natural lake in the Dolomites. Located at an altitude of 1,494 meters above sea level, it captivates with its incredible charm. Although its temperature is far from ideal for swimming (the maximum temperature at the surface is 14 degrees Celsius), the lake is undoubtedly very popular among tourists (Instagram is bursting at the seams From his photos).
History of Lake Braies
How was this natural wonder created? It is due to a landslide of rock masses that formed a natural dam, separating the lake from the rest of the Braies Valley. It is a so-called dam lake, which has no visible outlet. Mountain streams from Corda del Becco flow into it.
There is a legend associated with the lake's creation. According to it, the lake was created when gold was mined from it. Shepherds living nearby envied the miners and wanted to steal the treasure. To their misfortune, underground springs opened up, which drowned the mined gold in the resulting lake.
But why so much interest in Lago di Braies? The main role is probably played by its incredible beauty and grace. In the right light, the water takes on the colors of the most expensive and noble emerald with flashes of crystalline turquoise. In addition, reflections of both mountains and tall trees growing around the shore can be seen in the surface. Small wooden boats floating peacefully and forming a peculiar part of the landscape also add to its charm.
There are many legends of the Ladin people and other extremely intriguing stories associated with the pearl of South Tyrol. It used to be believed that at its southern end, where the Corda del Becco mountain (2810 meters above sea level) is located, there is a gate to the Fanes Empire. The only way to get to this gate was to cross the lake by boat. This part of the lake was named "Sass dia Porta" - according to legend, at the time of the full moon, the inhabitants of the mythical land come out through the gate with their queen Lujanta.
Lake Braies also participated in many historically important events of the World War II period. The Pragser Wildsee Hotel was built near it in 1899. It was there that Churchill's grandson and Molotov's grandson, among others, were held hostage during the impending German defeat (a total of about 100 prisoners). The goal was to negotiate with the Allies. Despite their dramatic experiences, each of the hostages lived to see the end of the war and liberation.
In addition, there are reports of alleged treasure sunk by fleeing Germans. As is known, in every legend there is a grain of truth. Perhaps in this case, too, there will be a lucky person who will find this treasure.
How to get to Lago di Braies?
Ways to get to Braies Lake are numerous. You can get here from both Venice, Milan or Verona.
Public transportation that will take you straight to your destination is a fairly common option. You can use bus line No. 442 that runs from Dobbiaco. Connections are plentiful. You can catch the bus even every half hour, which is a huge plus for this tourist attraction. What is the cost of such a trip? One way ticket price is about 3 euros. This line is active only in the summer months from June 10 to September 10.
During the season there is also a second bus line 439. The transport leaves from the village of Monguelfo and reaches the lake itself. The ride takes about 20 minutes. Tickets must be purchased online in advance to reserve a seat.
Another way to get to the lake is by car. Certainly, this is the easiest and most convenient solution. However, keep in mind that in vacations adventure is also important! As for the parking issue, this one is of course available.
A more unusual way of traveling, which will surely bring many unforgettable experiences and memories, is by train. You can start it, for example, in Milan (here you can get even a plane for little money). From Milan there is a train to Bolzano. The trip will take about 3 hours. In the meantime you can enjoy the beautiful views or take a tasty nap :). In Bolzano you will have to change trains to Niederdorf. It will take about 2h to cover this section. From Niederdorf you can already get to Lake Braies by bus.
What about an airport? Unfortunately, there is no international airport in the immediate vicinity of the lake. The closest are those in Innsbruck (about 135km), Venice (about 200km) and in Verona (about 250 km). From there you can get to the site by bus or rental car.
Parking at Lake Braies
There are several parking lots near Braies Lake. At each of them it is necessary to pay a fee. In one, a parking meter is responsible for this, and in others, more traditionally, the attendant works. The cost of such parking is at least 9 euros. Very importantly, the hours of admission to the parking lot are limited. The first round of cars is allowed in until 10 a.m., and the second round is not allowed in until after 3 p.m. Therefore, arriving between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. will entail leaving the car in a nearby village. The nearest one is about 5 km from the destination.
What to do. Attractions at Braies Lake
Undoubtedly, one of the greatest attractions of this place is to rent a boat and take it out on a romantic cruise on Braies Lake. This way you will be able to feel the undeniably unique atmosphere of the place and admire the majestic power of nature surrounding the body of water.
However, before you move on to pleasure, you need to perform more mundane matters. Rental The boats are open only during certain hours until 10:00 am to 5:00 pm from May to October. At other times, unfortunately, you will not have the opportunity to take advantage of this unusual opportunity. For such a cruise you will pay about 29 euros for the first hour, each additional 30 minutes increases the cost by 19 euros..
A walk around the lake
Don't worry if you're not a big fan of water and boats. You too will have something to do here! There is a beautiful and very easy hiking trail around the lake. For about 3 km you will be able to admire the majesty of the surrounding mountains and nature. The trail is definitely simple and does not require special equipment or even shoes. Rest assured, ordinary sports shoes will be sufficient. You won't even encounter any special hills along the way. This route will definitely be conducive to walking with small children. Along the way there are several beautiful viewpoints, where you can take a break for a little refreshment, and by the way take photos that will decorate many a wall.
Trails around Lake Braies
Within Lago di Braies there is something for everyone. This is true even for the more demanding hikers. There are more challenging trails stretching all around. One of them is the trail that leads to the Corda del Becco mountain, a peak that rises above the lake itself. Undoubtedly, such a hike will give you a lot of experience, and from the very top you will be able to admire the unforgettable panorama stretching around the massif. Although the route is not one of the easiest, the reward is definitely worth the effort you put in.
Route to the summit Corda del Becco is not the only more difficult route within the lake. Another is the one leading to the Hochalpenkopf (2542 meters above sea level). You can embark on it directly from the Lago di Braies Hotel by circling the lake counterclockwise. The route takes you through the Val di Foresta valley. As you ascend to the top, you'll be able to admire the meadows spread out around you and the breathtaking views of Corda del Becco and the Dolomites. Although the route is not technically difficult, it does require stamina and endurance, as it is quite long. It is advisable to start the hike early in the morning to avoid the pouring heat from the sky.
Weather. When at Lago di Braies?
You can go to Lago di Braies in both summer and winter.
During the summer, the best time to choose is between the beginning of June and the end of October. Then you can enjoy the charm of the place in different ways. In addition, the weather is more predictable then, it is harder to have mishaps in the form of heavy rain. During this period, the Dolomites will show you in all their glory. From the luscious green overgrowing the Dolomite massifs to the crystal clear water of the lake.
During the winter season, i.e. from November to April, you can also visit this place, admission is free and possible all year round. This time of year, however, is not as attractive. Between December and March, Lago di Braies goes to sleep - it freezes over and gets covered with snow. Undoubtedly, the view is still wonderful, but other than enjoying this landscape with your eyes, you won't do much else here. The ambient temperature is not very inviting either. It usually oscillates around 0 degrees Celsius.
To help tourists keep track of weather conditions and the condition of the lake, cameras have been installed nearby to capture live video and verify plans.
Accommodations near Lake Braies
If you are going to Lake Braies, there are several options for accommodation.
Hotel Lago di Braies is located adjacent to the lake. It is a 3-star accommodation that celebrated its 120th anniversary in 2019. It was where "valuable and influential" prisoners from the Dachau camp were held during World War II.
Accommodation in a hotel is not among the cheapest. For one night the price is about 113 euros per person. However, it will certainly be an unforgettable experience to visit this historically important place.
The hotel offers a fabulous panoramic view of Lake Braies and the rest of the Nature Park Sennes-Fanes, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
2018 saw the completion of a major renovation of this remarkable hotel, during which, in addition to the restoration of all rooms, the original chandeliers dating back to 1880 were also restored. The hotel provides guests with a newly created sauna and a bar from which to enjoy the unspoiled natural beauty of the Dolomites.
The Trenker Luis guesthouse is also located nearby. Here the price ranges from 28 to a maximum of 39 euros per night per person. This place is located away from the hustle and bustle of the big city. It will allow you to relax surrounded by the amazing landscape of the Braies Valley.
It will also be a good idea to find a hotel a little further from the lake.