Lago di Braies goes by many names: Pragser Wildsee, Lake of Braies, or simply Lake Braies. While many people may disagree on one name for this bright blue lake, they can all agree that it is breathtakingly beautiful and feels like a scene out of a movie.
It is weaved between the Dolomite Mountains in northern Italy, which in itself seems otherworldly.
So, it’s no surprise that this beauty is on many travelers’ bucket lists and gets many visitors annually. But do you know how to get there?
Below is everything you need to know about Pragser Wildsee / Lago di Braies before you grab your travel backpack and book your plane tickets. Let the planning begin.
If you’re looking for a true escape in nature, then head to the north of Italy. This is where you’ll find Lago di Braies in the Alto Adige (South Tyrol) near the Austrian border.
The lake is located in the Parco Naturale di Fanes-Senes-Braies, which is one of the most stunning nature parks in the South Tyrol region. But even more impressive, this bright blue lake is surrounded by The Dolomites — a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
While Dobbiaco, the nearest town, is about a 20-minute drive away, Bolzano is the closest major city.
To give you a perspective, the lake is about a three-hour drive from Venice, while Bolzano is about a 1 hour and 30 minutes.
It is relatively easy to travel to Lago di Braies, Italy, if you know how. It is just below the Austrian border with the nearest airport in Venice, so you’ll have to drive there. Here’s how:
The easiest way to get to Lago di Braies in Italy is by renting a car. You can rent one from an airport, and since Venice Marco Polo Airport is the closest airport to the lake, you’ll probably rent one from here.
There are two parking lots at the lake — a small one and a bigger one closer to the lake. The first hour is complimentary; after that, it is €8 for the rest of the day.
A bus is available that takes passengers directly from Dobbiaco (Toblach) and Villabassa (Niederdorf) to the lake on route 442.
You’ll have to make a paid online reservation before boarding the bus, but tickets are about 10 EUR per adult on a round trip. You can find the bus route and timetable over here.
Note: If you’re planning on using public transport like a bus or shuttle, you should keep in mind that these only run from June to September.
If you take a tour like this one, you won’t have to worry much about getting to and from the lake. Guided tours are convenient, a few hours long, and have pick-up locations in nearby major cities like Venice.
This tour takes you in an air-conditioned vehicle and allows you two hours to explore Pragser Wildsee on your own.
Braies Lake is a beautiful and peaceful place you can visit any time, as it’s free and open all year round. The busiest time is in summer, of course. This is when most visitors spend some time on and around the water.
Spring and summer is the best time to be around this azure lake as it gives you the most time to splash in the water.
There are also a few excellent hiking trails nearby that allow you to see the lake and Dolomites from all the best angles.
You’ll need about half a day at Lake Braies, Italy but plan when you’re planning on going well. What you can partake in will depend on the available activities.
Winter and fall have their own perks. While September is still quite warm, the weather starts to cool down to an average of 48°F (9°C) infall.
In October, most of the surrounding trees start changing into warm hues and offer colorful reflections in the lake.
The average lows in winter are a freezing 15.8°F (-9°C). The mountains are blanketed in thick snow that you can see from all angles on the lake.
However, the lake freezes over completely, so there are no boat rides, but you can still walk the trails available.
While the beauty of Pragser Wildsee is a sight to see on its own, if you’re spending a few hours at the lake, you might want to explore more. Here are the best ways to fully enjoy your time here.
Take a Few Pictures (or Many!)
If you plan to visit during spring and summer, try to arrive around sunrise. This gives you the best time for photos before the crowds arrive, as, by 9:30 am, it already starts to get packed.
The sun kisses the mountain peaks during this time and offers a beautiful yellow-tinted scene.
By autumn and winter, the crowds stagger out, but unique photographic content remains. These include the warm hues of the changing leaves and the thick layers of snow on the mountains and frozen lake.
The best part of visiting Braies Lake in Italy is the fact that you can take a boat ride on the radiant waters.
Boat rental season is between June and October, allowing reservations only four days in advance. If you don’t have a reservation, boats go on a first-come, first-served basis.
Opening hours are from 9 am to 5 pm, and while beautiful, it can be a bit pricey. It costs €25 to rent a traditional row boat for 30 minutes for four people. For a one-hour boat ride, you’ll have to cough up about €35.
There is a chapel on one side of the lake named Kapelle “Pragser Wildsee.” This small chapel was built in 1904 and belongs to the Lago di Braies Hotel.
The chapel has a fascinating history with ties to WWII and was also the film set to an Italian TV series. You can only visit inside during summer.
You can rest your legs on the benches beside the chapel if you’re here at any other time. While there are a few restaurants nearby, they can be a bit pricey. Pack a picnic instead and enjoy a lovely bite at the nearby picnic tables.
You can’t be surrounded by all of this natural beauty and not want to take a hike around. That is why the lake offers its visitors a chance to hike a trail loop around the lake with many lookout spots along the trail.
While the pathway isn’t very accessible because there are a few stairs, it is still relatively easy for adults and children to walk. It is well-trodden and will only take about 1 hour and 15 minutes to complete.
If you’re looking for a challenge, there are a few more strenuous hikes nearby that may excite you. The Rifugio Biella Circuit sees you hiking for four to five hours each way from Lago di Braies to Rifugio Sennes.
This hike involves climbing mountains and walking long distances, so it is only reserved for experienced hikers.
If you’re really interested in hiking in the region, I recommend checking these other trails in Braies Lake and the Fanes-Senes-Braies Nature Park.
If you’re a more experienced hiker, there’s also the stunningly beautiful Via Alta 1 trail.
Are you looking for a place to stay nearby Lake Braies? These accommodations are only a few feet away.
Hotel Lago di Braies is a three-star hotel in Braies set along the spectacular lake of Dolomites. The elegant family-run hotel is on the brink of Lago di Braies, only a six-minute walk away.
It has a bar and restaurant, which is great to stop by even if you’re not staying at the hotel, as it’s the closest eatery near the lake.
Garni Bergblick is a guesthouse in the quiet town of Braies, just a short drive away from the lake. This is a great place to stay during autumn and winter as it’s close to many hiking and skiing trails as well.
Guests are treated to a buffet breakfast each morning to keep them energized for the adventures ahead.
There are no camping spots directly along Lake Braies in Italy, but there are a few camping grounds nearby. Camping Olympia is a four-star venue only 17 minutes away.
It has everything guests could need on a campsite, with laundry services, restaurants, and bathrooms.
Visitors can choose to pitch a tent or stay in an Alpine lodge or apartment if that’s not enough luxury for a campsite.
If you’re ever in northern Italy, take some time out of your travels to visit the Dolomites and Lago di Braies in the South Tyrol.
The lake is a magical place that is almost unbelievable to the eyes. It’s hard to believe you can visit this natural marvel absolutely free.
There are a few activities, but the main focus will always be the blue waters and towering mountains around it. Now that you know everything about how to get there, you have no excuse not to go.
Essential Info: Logistical Tips and Tricks to Book your Trip
BOOK YOUR FLIGHT
When it comes to cheap airfare, I highly recommend using Skyscanner, Expedia, and CheapAir. These are three of the sites I use the most due to their exhaustive search on several websites and airlines around the world. They usually bring the cheapest fares.
BOOK YOUR ACCOMMODATION
For hotels, guesthouses, apartments, and other types of accommodation, I highly recommend Booking.com. They are my go-to booking site because they usually have the cheapest fares.
If you’re a registered Booking.com user (“Genius”), you can take advantage of their “Genius discount” to save even more money. I almost always book my accommodation with Booking, and I’ve saved thousands of dollars with their Genius discount.
And of course, as one of the largest travel booking sites in the world, Expedia is another excellent accommodation booking site with a free reward program and discounted member prices.
If you’re looking to save money by staying at a hostel, HostelWorld has the largest inventory of hostels with shared dorms and private rooms. On the other hand, Vrbo offers a wide variety of rooms and apartments at affordable prices.
DON’T FORGET YOUR TRAVEL INSURANCE
Travel insurance with comprehensive coverage will protect you against unexpected events like theft, cancellations, injury, and illness. I use World Nomads to insure my trips.
If you’re a nomad and travel often or long-term, then SafetyWing could help you save a lot of money on long-term travel insurance.
FIND THE BEST TOURS AT THE BEST PRICES
If you’re looking for the best day tours and cheapest ticket entrances to local attractions, I recommend checking Viator, as they have the largest selection of attractions, passes, and activities all around the world.
BOOK YOUR LOCAL TRANSPORTATION AHEAD OF TIME
Bookaway offers the easiest and most accessible way to book overland transportation with local operators, be it by bus, train, ferry, plane, mini-van, or even private transfers.
If renting a car, then I highly recommend DiscoverCars to get the largest car selection at the best price.
OTHER TRAVEL AND MONEY-SAVING TIPS?
Lastly, check out my resources page for some of the best products and companies to use for your trip. If you like saving money (like I do!), then this page will help.
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