Lago di Braies: How to Visit the Pearl of the Alps

Where Is Lago di Braies?

Lago di Braies, also called “Lake Braies” in English or “Pragser Wildsee” in German, is an alpine lake located between the Dolomites of South Tyrol (in Italy) and not far away from the Austrian border.


Content Summary

Famous for its emerald waters which reflects the stunning peaks that surround it, and renowned as the “Pearl of the Dolomites”, Lago di Braies is a destination that is rapidly gaining momentum and definitely a must-see attraction for any itinerary in Trentino-Alto Adige.

During my recent magic trip to the lake, I gathered all the information you will need for your visit including how to get to Lake Braies, what to see, what to do, where to stay and where to eat.


Lago di Braies – Complete Guide


1.  Quick Facts About Lago di Braies

2. How to Get to Lago di Braies

3. What to See at Lake Braies

4. Lago di Braies Weather

5. When to Visit Lago di Braies

6. Rent a Boat at Lago di Braies

7. Where to Eat at Lago di Braies

8. How much it costs to visit Lago di Braies

9. Trekking Trails near Lago di Braies

10. Where to stay near Lago di Braies

11. Camping near Lago di Braies

12. Tips for Visiting Lake Braies

13. Places to See near Lago di Braies

14. Spa near Lago di Braies


1. Quick Facts about Lago di Braies

Lago di Braies is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and, between the 297 Lakes of the Dolomites, one of the most iconic. Visited mainly by Italian tourists, in recent years it’s increasingly sparkling the interest also of international visitors thanks to the popular photos of its emerald water, its distinctive wooden boats and its breathtaking mountain scenery.

Elevation 1496m
Lake Surface Area 0,310km²
Maximum Depth 36m
Lake Perimeter approx. 3.8km
Walking Time 1 hour and 30 minutes
Coordinates 46°41′38.74″N 12°05′07.66″E
Water Temperature min. 0 C° (frozen) - max. 14 C°
Country - Region Italy - South Tyrol
Unesco Site YES - from 2009
Entrance Fee Free
Lake Origins Landslide

2. How to Get to Lago di Braies?

How to go to Lago di Braies is a matter of where you are starting from.

If you’re into how-to guides on travel and more, How2Tweaks could be quite useful to you.

Now, back to our location:

In the map below, you can find the location of the lake in comparison to nearby airports and attractions. The lake is well connected by an excellent service of public transport, although the faster way to reach the lake remains with a private vehicle.


2.1 Reaching Lake Braies from the Nearest Airport


Lago di Braies is quite far from major airports, the closest being in Innsbruck (Austria). From here, you can rent a car and reach the lake in approximately 2 hours. Other convenient airports are Venice, Verona, and Bergamo in Italy.

Because of the long driving distance, I suggest you rent a car for a few days and also explore the stunning alpine attractions near the lake (on the map marked in yellow).

Here is a helpful table with the driving times and distances between Lake Braies and the nearest airports.

Airport Distance Driving Time
Innsbruck 128km 2 hours
Venice 188km 2 hours 45 minutes
Venice 245km 3 hours 10 minutes
Bergamo 328km 4 hours
Munich 325km 4 hours 10 minutes

2.2 Reaching Lake Braies by Car


Driving a car is the fastest, most practical and most popular way to reach Braies and its emerald lake.

The roads are in excellent condition and feasible for all kinds of vehicles, so you’ll just need to let Google Maps lead the way and enjoy your time admiring the breathtaking Dolomitic sceneries that escort you to your destination. The closest parking is just 100 meters from the lake.

Note that during high-season (10.07 – 10.09) the access to Lake Braies is restricted and private vehicles cannot drive during peak hours but only before 10.00 and after 15.00; unless in possession of an access-permit which can be pre-booked in advance online. You can reserve your own from the Pragser Wildsee Official Website.

This is a local initiative to reduce mass-tourism, protect the lake ecosystem and promote more sustainable transportation means to reach the lake (public transports, biking, walking, etc.). 

2.3 Parking near Lago di Braies

Near Lago di Braies there are three parkings, located on the main road at different distances from the lake. The first one is just 50 meters away, the second one is at 2 minutes walking distance and the third one 1km down the road at 5 minutes time.

The parking costs 3Euro/hour up to 10 Euro/car and 20 Euro/RV (with night-stay included, no services). During high-season (10.07-10.09) when a larger number of tourists comes to visit the lake, pre-booking your parking online is necessary. You can do it from the Pragser Wildsee Official Website

2.4 Reaching Lago di Braies by Public Transport


The easiest way to reach Lago di Braies by public transport is to reach either the station of Monguelfo or Villabassa by train and, from there, take the shuttle lines 439 (from Monguelfo) or 442 (from Villabassa) directly to the Lake.

To check the faster and more convenient available trains from your location, you can check the Trenitalia Railway Website (Italian Railways) and the local South Tyrol Mobility Website.

Once you reach your destination with the train, outside of the stations you can take one of the following shuttles:

 Shuttles run every half an hour and round-trip ticket to the lake costs 10Euro for adults and 6Euro for children (aged 6-13).

Note that due to the large number of visitors during high season (10/07 – 10/09), shuttle tickets must be purchased online in advance through the lake’s Official website.

2.5 Reaching Lago di Braies by Bike


South Tyrol and especially Val Pusteria (also referred to as Pustertal or Puster Valley) are undisputably amongst the best regions in Europe for outdoor cycling.

Wide and well-maintained bike lanes immersed in the spectacular alpine scenery make biking through the region a healthy, fun and awe-inspiring activity for both adults and children.

To reach Lago di Braies by bike you can rent a bicycle or an e-bike in nearly all nearby villages. The following are links to bike rental shops in towns near Braies: Monguelfo, Villabassa, Dobbiaco, S.Candido, Valdaora etc.

These are the cycling distances to Lake Braies from nearby villages:

  • Monguelfo – 10,7km
  • Villabassa – 12,6km
  • Dobbiaco – 15,6km
  • San Candido 20,5km
  • Valdaora – 21,9km

2.6 Hiking to Lago di Braies

If you are thinking to walk to Lake Braies, you’ll be happy to hear that there is a charming 5km hiking-trail starting from Ferrara (a small village on the main road) that can bring you to the lake in approx. 90 minutes. The path is easy to walk for both adults and children.

Note: During high season (10.07-10.09) if you don’t reserve a parking place or a shuttle ticket in advance, you’ll be forced to take either the walk or the bike to reach Lago di Braies.

If you’re looking for a longer trail, from Monguelfo to Braies it will take approx. 3 hours while from Villabassa approx. 2 hours and 30 minutes (including the time you’ll surely stop to take pictures). In fact, the walking trails are great, crossing between flourishing woods, green pastures and stunning panoramas.

3. What to Do at Lake Braies?

Filling your lungs with fresh mountain air and admiring the stunning mountain backdrop reflecting in the crystal water of the “Pearl of the Dolomites” is only the start of your visit. In fact, around the lake there is space for any kind of outdoor activity: here are some ideas on what to do and see at Lago di Braies.


3.1 Take the Loop Hike around the Lake Braies

Lago di Braies is spectacular from all directions and points of view, truly a natural masterpiece. One activity you absolutely cannot miss is the marvelous walk around the lake perimeter which is 3,8km long and takes on average 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete.

The road is feasible for everyone, although one part of the west coast (on the left side if you’re starting your loop-walk clockwise) is not wheel-friendly. For visitors coming to Lago di Braies with strollers or wheelchairs, it’s best to reach the other side of Lago di Braies by walking counter-clockwise (from the parking to the right) as the way is flatter and without steps.

3.2 Visit the Braies Chapel

Walking anti-clockwise from the Parking P1 for about 5 minutes, there is a lovable tiny chapel which was built in 1904 and used during WWII for exchanging war prisoners between Italy and Germany. During the summer season, the chapel is open to visitors while during the rest of the year, it just completes the picturesque panorama of the place.

The chapel, when open, also offers a public toilet for the cost of 0,50Euro.


3.3 Sunbathing on the Beach and Swimming

Lago di Braies has many small beaches on its further away side which are the perfect place to sunbathe during the summer months.

Swimming in the lake is formally forbidden but the prohibition is not strictly enforced. For this reason, it is common to see temerarious visitors challenging the always-cold waters of the lake and attempting to take a bath.

3.4 Have a Pic-Nic in front of Lago di Braies

Walking grows the hunger, and what is a better place to fill your stomach than outdoor, right in the heart of the Alps just in front of the “Pearl of the Dolomites”?

Around the shores of the lake, there are several conveniently-placed wooden tables to make every bite of your pic-nic a memorable experience.

In Trentino-South Tyrol, people say that mountain air makes every food taste better, you better try it to find out!


3.5 Taking Amazing Photos at Lago di Braies

Lake Braies is renowned destination amongst professional photographers and Instagrammers due to its extremely phogenic anphitheater of colours and reflections. Indeed, it offers a great variety of hotspots for taking incredible shots.

In my opinion, the best spots for taking pictures around the lake are:

  • from the Jetty to the line of Boats
  • from the main road taking the Boathouse
  • from the Hill behind the Boathouse
  • from your own boat with the Mountain Back
  • from the climbing road, about 30 minutes walking clockwise from the Jetty
  • from the furthest South beach, watching Hotel Lago di Braies

4. Lago di Braies Weather

Lago di Braies enjoys an alpine continental climate characterized by enjoyable summers and cold, dry winters.

Due to the elevation of the lake (1496m), the temperatures also in summer never get too high, scratching the 20-25C° in the warmest month of July and August. These are also the wettest months of the year and a sky partially clouded is common.

Spring and autumn can be chilly but never freezing-cold, while during winter the temperature goes way below 0C° (and the lake freezes from December to March).

Following, are the links to the Dolomites Meteo and Webcam of Lago di Braies.

Braies Meteo Website

Braies Webcams

5. When to Visit Lago di Braies

The best time to visit Lago di Braies is in the months of May, June, and September, when temperatures are pleasurable, the weather is drier than in full summer and the number of visitors is still low. Going in the morning will also ensure a quieter experience with fewer tourists around.

July and August enjoy the best temperatures but rainfall probability is also higher. Furthermore, those are the months when Italian schools are closed and most Italians take the holidays; making Lago di Braies crowded and noisy. If you plan to visit in high-season, remember that you need to pre-book online your parking or public shuttle ticket.

From December the lake freezes and remains covered with snow until March. If you plan to visit in winter know that you won’t be able to see the typical mountain reflection in the water; although with some attention, you can experience walking on the icy lake.


6. Rent a Boat at Lago di Braies

To make your visit unforgettable you can rent a boat from the Boat House called “La Palafitta“, which is just two minutes from Parking P1. Renting a 4-persons boat costs 19Euro/30 minutes and 29Euro/hour.

The jetty opens from 10-17 in May, June, September, and October. In the busiest months of July and August, it opens at 8.30-18.30. It is not possible to reserve boats in advance, so if you are planning to rent one it is advisable to come early (especially in high-season) as they can get sold-out pretty fast.

Before the opening all the boats gently float attached in line from the Boathouse, making it an ideal moment for taking suggestive photos. After, the tiny jetty tends to get crowded.

If you are interested in taking some great photos from the quay without anybody around, outside of business hours the Boat House rents its premises for 150Euro/session.


7. Where to Eat at Lago di Braies

At the entrance of Lake Braies there are two dining options: the Lago di Braies Restaurant (pricey option) and a small Grill-Bar just in front of it which serves hotdogs, hamburgers and other fast dishes (cheaper option). 

The most popular choice amongst visitors, and the one I would also suggest you, is to pack your own food and have a pic-nic on the many tables scattered around the incredible perimeter of the emerald lake. 

If you love hiking and you want to try something special, from the lake there is an easy 2km trail that bring you 100meters higher to Malga Foresta, where you can enjoy typical South Tyrolese meals at normal prices.

8. How much it Costs to Visit Lake Braies

The access to Lake Braies is free of charge. However, access to the lake is restricted during the high summer season and pre-booking a parking place or a shuttle ticket is mandatory if you want to avoid having to walk to the lake from the nearest town (5km away).

9. Trekking Trails near Lago di Braies

Photo Credit:

The Dolomites are plenty of suggestive hiking trails for all fitness levels and from the Pragser Wildsee start some of the most renowned routes. On this website, you can have a complete view of all available trails nearby, while here you can find the trekking trails directly leaving from the lake with the walking time and distance to cover them:

Note: numbers refer to total distance and walking time for the round-trip (going and coming back to the starting point).

10. Where to Stay near Lago di Braies

These are the closest accommodation options to stay within walking distance from Lake Braies:


  • Pragser Wildsee Hotel: the only hotel directly on the lake, with over 120 years of history, is the priciest option but the high quality it provides can make it worth the splurge
  • Steinwandterhof Chalets: historical farmstay immersed in pastures and natures just 15-minutes walk from Lago di Braies

11. Camping at Lago di Braies

In the proximity of Lake Braies, it is possible to park campers and RVs in both Parking P2 & P3 for the cost of 20Euro/day. Those parkings though, don’t offer any complimentary service and can be pretty noisy and trafficked during high-season.

If instead, you are looking for an organised camping area for parking your camper and/or planting your tent, there are two options in the area:

  • Toblacher See Camping: at 25-minutes drive from the Pragser Wildsee, situated on the shore of the also beautiful Dobbiaco Lake
  • Camping Olympia: a large 200 pitches campsite immersed in nature, 20-minutes drive from the Pragse Wildsee

Both campings are great options and provide wide spaces, water and electricity.


12. Tips for Visiting Lake Braies

As we are approaching the end, I want to leave you some personal tips to visit Lago di Braies and make the best out of this wonderful experience:

  • Make sure the battery of your phone/camera is fully charged. The lake is incredible and you’ll want to take hundreds of photos.
  • Pack your own food and have a pic-nic while watching the charming panorama: is an overwhelming experience! Leave no trace and bring your rubbish with you.
  •  Take your time to enjoy Lago di Braies, plan at least a half-day visit to enjoy this UNESCO World Heritage site.
  •  Both flying drones and swimming are formally not allowed (although you’ll likely see few tourists doing both). If you want to practice those activities, know it will be at your own risk and you may incur in a fine.
  • Plan carefully your transportation. If you visit in high season you’ll better reserve online your parking or shuttle-ticket as places are limited. If you’re visiting in low season, remember that public transport may not be available and you’ll need your own vehicle
  • There are public toilets available for a small fee (0,50Euro) at the parking P1, at Pragser Wildsee Hotel and at the Chapel.
  • If you’re planning to trek, hike or climb be sure to bring with you high performance apparel & gear for mountain sports. Mountain boots, comfy backpacks and quality camping gear can make all of the difference in exploring this fantastic natural wonder!
  • Don’t forget to bring your water bottle!


13. Places to See Near Lago di Braies

The Dolomites are scattered with hidden gems everywhere, some extremely popular and some still off the international tourists’ radar.

Having grown up in this region, I will leave you here my best suggestions to complete your travel itinerary to this beautiful part of the world.

Attractions near Lago di Braies with driving times:

  • Tre Cime di Lavaredo – 2hours 10 minutes – Landmark of the Dolomites, consists in three pinnacles scratching the 3000m 
  • Ortisei e Alpe di Susi – 1 hour 45 minutes – Ortisei is a typical South Tyrolese town famous for its wood artisans and wood sculptures. The nearby Alpe di Siusi offer an astonishing highland plateau for high-elevation hikes.
  • Lago di Misurina – 1 hours 50 minutes – Close to the Tre Cime, a spectacular lake on the border between Italy and Austria
  • Lago di Tovel – 3 hours 50 minutes – My favourite place in Trentino, even more than Lago di Braies. A secret emerald mountain lake still unknown to most. If you are looking to something less crowded than Braies but on the same level of awesomness, try Tovel.
  • Val di Rabbi – 3 hours 30 minutes – A secluded valley accessible from Val di Sole, popular for its waterfalls, the longest suspension bridge of the Alps and natural Spas.

14. Spa Near Lake Braies

If you’re visiting Pragser Wildsee in winter, you may be happy to know that there are several Spa not too far from the lake. Nothing beats a warm relaxing bath at the end of a day of adventures!

These are the closest Spa to Lago di Braies with driving times:



If you found this article useful or have any question about the content of this guide, leave me a comment below to get in touch! 🙂

Enjoy your visit and see you in the next article!

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1 Comment

  1. Lee

    A very good reference for learning the basics about visiting Lago di Braies, thank you!


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