Lago di Braies is one of the most beautiful lakes in Italy and at the same time the most visited lake in the country. This Lago di Braies travel guide includes the history of the lake and the surrounding area, essential travel tips for your visit, the best things to do at Lago di Braies, photography spots, and everything in between!
Lago di Braies, also known as Pragser Wildsee, is one of the largest lakes in the Dolomites and a UNESCO World Heritage Site itself. If something makes it on the UNESCO list, you immediately know it has to be good. Did you know that a place can only be on the list if it provides an outstanding universal value?
However, Lago di Braies is also one of the most beautiful and hence most visited lakes in Italy. Within the past years, the lake became one of these Instagram hotspots that everyone wants so see and experience. Unfortunately, most people still make their visit to Lago di Braies a secret and won’t share their experiences, travel tips, and photography spots. That’s why we decided to share our tips in this Lago di Braies travel guide.
Lago di Braies Travel Guide – Overview
This Lago di Braies travel guide includes the following:
- General information (price, opening hours, swimming)
- Best time to go, how to get there, where to stay
- Legend of the Kingdom of the Fanes
- Best things to do
- Lago di Braies photo spots
We’d say that Lago di Braies is perfect for everybody. Photographers, couples, adventurers, hikers, and nature-lovers will simply love this beautiful mountain lake in the Dolomites!
LANGUAGE & CURRENCY
Maybe you will be a little surprised, because although you are in Italy, the people in South Tyrol mostly speak German. That is because South Tyrol is an autonomous province in Italy. The currency in South Tyrol is Euro. Most people will only take cash, so it is always advisable to have some cash with you.
Entry to the Pragser Wildsee itself is completely free. However, you have to pay for the parking spaces. There are several parking spaces on the premises and we would recommend the P2. Firstly, you’re allowed to use it in the morning as well. Secondly, you also play less than at P1. Win-win situation, we guess. Costs for a parking space is around €5 at P2.
Actually, Lago di Braies used to be open all year round, but to fight over tourism streets are going to be closed whenever the parking spaces are full!
You can rent a boat from June to October, but you’ll have to be early! Once the boat rental is open, there will be a huge waiting line. Assuming that most people will rent a boat from 30 minutes to 60 minutes, the waiting times can be a bit longer.
HOW MUCH TIME
Plan at least half a day at Lago di Braies, because you might want to enjoy the view, walk around the lake and simply admire the beautiful nature. If you’re just planning to take some photos and then leave, 1 hour might be more than enough.
Dogs and pets are allowed at Pragser Wildsee. Toilets are available inside of Hotel Lago di Braies or at the snack bar nearby. Unfortunately, people with limited walking abilities won’t enjoy Lago di Braies since it’s the path is very rocky and small.
It is allowed to swim in the lake, but it’s freezing cold. If you want to swim at Lago di Braies, we’d recommend to wait until afternoon when the water might be a little warmer.
How to get to Lago di Braies
BY CAR | Simply use your navigation system and search for St. Veit, 39030 Braies. Then, park your cat at P2 and walk the rest of the way.
BY BUS | There is the possibility of taking the bus to Lago di Braies, but of course you will be at the lake much later. If you want to go hiking anyway, this is of course no problem. However, if you want to take photos, the lake will probably be too full. The new regulation also means that buses can no longer drive to the lake without restrictions. The regulation is intended to help combat over tourism and therefore only allows a certain number of people to pass through.
FLIGHTS | There is no direct flight to the Dolomites region. The closest airports in Italy are Verona, Venice Treviso and Venice Marco Polo. In Austria, the closest airports are Innsbruck, Salzburg or Klagenfurt. In Germany it’s Munich airport.
Lago di Braies Travel Tip
From Venice Treviso airport, there is a direct FlixBus to Dobbacio, the central bus station in the Dolomites. From here, you can catch the local bus to Lago di Braies. The total journey will take you around 4,5 hours and it’s a great way to get from Venice to the Dolomites. However, we’d rather suggest to rent a car in the Dolomites then since this gives you the freedom to explore the surrounding area even more.
Where to stay
To be honest there are countless hotels nearby. To wake up directly at the lake, the Hotel Lago di Braies would of course be recommended, but we find the hotel a bit uncomfortable if you have other items on the list besides Lago di Braies. We would recommend you to choose a hotel in the middle of your other planned locations, because you have a better starting position.
What’s the best time to go to Lago di Braies
Of course, the best time to go to Lago di Braies had to be part of this Lago di Braies travel guide. When it comes to the perfect season, we’d say that it does not matter and that the lake is beautiful in every season. However, if you want to rent a boat, you’ll have to visit in summer in order to be able to do so.
In addition, it’s definitely not a secret that Lago di Braies is the most touristy lake of the Dolomites. Hence, you have to get up very early to escape the crowds. We’ve been there around 5am in June and some photographers were already shooting. It’s been fairly quiet until 8am though.
Whenever you can, avoid high season and weekends as much as possible. Best would be to come in June or September and enjoy the lake while the weather is still beautiful and warm!
Lago di Braies Travel Guide: Best things to do
In general there is of course not much that you can do at Pragser Wildsee. You could rent a boat, go for a walk, hike the Croda del Becco or just enjoy the view.
Hiking around the lake is the best way to spend your time at Pragser Wildsee. The hike is a loop trail that takes around 1-1.5 hours in total. It’s a pretty easy route but note that the trek is not suitable for stroller or wheelchairs.
If you want, you can also hike the Croda del Becco, also known as Seekofel, the mountain behind the lake. In case you’re feeling really adventurous, there are some rock climbing options in the area as well!
Swimming in Lake Braies is an experience itself! While it’s definitely allowed, you won’t see many people taking a dip here, because the water is freezing cold. However, if you decide to jump into crystal clear alpine water, this would be an epic place to do so!
As previously mentioned, boats can be rented from the middle of June to October and are available from 10am to 5pm. Prices are €18 for 30 minutes and €28 for an hour. There’s only one place that rents boats and it’s very popular. Hence, we’d recommend to be there around 9.30am latest.
Pragser Wildsee Chapel
The Chapel Lago di Braies is only a short walk counter-clockwise from the lake entrance near the hotel. The chapel has been established in 1904 and is rich in history, in that during World War II a German SS commander chose it as a meeting place for prisoner exchange to ensure his own safety. It’s definitely worth visiting but is only available to visit during summer.
Since I am a photographer and content creator myself, I am always looking for the best photo spots in a region. Lago di Braies offers several photo spots. Here are a few:
Lago di Braies – Welcome to the Kingdom of the Fanes
How could a Lago di Braies travel guide get along without the associated mythology? So far we’ve already recognized that Pragser Wildsee is one of those postcard-perfect places that you can hardly believe exist.
What most people don’t know about Lago di Braies is that it comes with its own mythological legend: the Kingdom of the Fanes.
The Legend of the Kingdom of the Fanes
Back in the days, the area that is now known as the Fanes-Sennes-Braies Nature Park was home to a peaceful Kingdom. Then, the queen of this kingdom decided to marry a foreign prince – without knowing that this prince was only craving power. After the marriage, however, the prince took control of the kingdom and prepared to wage war in order to expand the Kingdom of the Fanes.
With this plan in mind, the king turned his daughter named Dolasilla into aa powerful fighter. As she helped the dwarves, Dolasilla was a gifted with invincible armour and unfailing arrows. The dwarves warn her that the armour’s power would disappear if she ever marries.
Under Dolasilla’s command the kingdom grew in size, but one day she met the enemy warrior Ey de Net. The two fell in love and decided to marry. Due to the prophecy, the king opposed the marriage and sold her and his people to the enemy kingdom. In return, he shall be able to enter the legendary underground land of plenty Aurona.
The king then flew, but his daughter fought to save her people. She died by her own unfailing arrows. The king is turned into stone and the survivors of the Fanes found shelter in the mountains around Lago di Braies. It’s said that they decided to wait for the silver trumpets that will mark the rebirth of the kingdom.
We don’t know about you, but we love these stories, histories and legends that live in the Dolomites region. Somehow, we loved walking around Lago di Braies with this methodology in mind.
Re-live the legends: Hire a traditional rowboat & sail across Lago di Braies
Why not try to travel to the Kingdom of the Fanes yourself? You can hire a traditional wooden rowboat and row to the base of the Croda del Becco in search of the entrance to Aurona.
As previously mentioned, renting a boat is one of the best things to do at Lago di Braies.
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