It’s no longer a secret: the Dolomites are one of the most naturally stunning, can’t-miss regions of Italy. The UNESCO World Heritage Site mountain range makes for the most stunning backdrop to beautiful mountain lakes. Whether you want to take a swim, get the perfect sunrise reflection photo or simply enjoy some of Italy’s most beautiful panoramas, these are the 9 Dolomites lakes to immediately add to your itinerary.
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You cannot visit the Italian Dolomites without visiting Lake Braies (Pragser Wildsee lake/Lago di Braies).
Lake Braies is one of the most stunning places I have ever visited. This large alpine lake is part of the Val Pusteria, one of the most central parts of the Dolomites.
Pro Tip: The best time to visit Lake Braies is at sunrise. I know it is tiring, but I can’t underline enough how worth it the early wake-up is. Because of how the mountains are positioned around the lake, before the sun comes up, the lake is a literal mirror of the surrounding landscape. I have never seen something so breathtaking. For the photographers out there, it is the best time to photograph the lake.
You can enjoy Lake Braies in a lot of ways: stay at the lodge Hotel Lago di Braies, eat traditional food at Emmas Bistro, or rent one of the classic wooden boats to canoe around the lake.
You can also hike around the entire lake, which takes 1 to 2 hours depending on your pace.
Because Lake Braies has become so popular, the rules for visiting are constantly changing and depend on the season. For example, during the summer months, you have to reserve a time slot ahead of time to visit the lake. Keep up with the latest updates on the official Lake Braies website.
On the hunt for Dolomites lakes that have impressive backdrops? You won’t find one more breathtaking than Lake Carezza (Karersee/Lago di Carezza).
Lake Carezza is accessible from the road and has a large parking lot as well as visitor center, making it one of the most comfortable Dolomites lakes to visit.
The lake itself is a stunning blend of turquoise, teal and emerald, set at the foot of soaring Dolomites peaks.
You can walk around the entire lake in just under an hour, and the path is very easy.
Lake Carezza is in the southern part of the Dolomites, not far from the major city of Bolzano. You could even make it part of a Dolomites day tour if you don’t have a lot of time to spare on your northern Italy itinerary.
Willing to hike to see one of the most beautiful Dolomites lakes? Then strap on your best hiking shoes and get ready to make your way to Lake Sorapis.
Sitting at an elevation of 1,925 meters above sea level, Lake Sorapis can only be reached by foot or helicopter. What makes this body of water so unique is its strong turquoise color. This is a result of the nearby glacier.
I have never done the Lake Sorapis hike myself because I am not an experienced hiker and frankly, information I got online and received from friends told me that I would probably not enjoy the hike!. The Lake Sorapis hike has some exposed parts and may not be for you if you are an inexperienced hiker or have a fear of heights.
For more information on the hike, I found this guide from Anywhere We Roam the most helpful.
Lake Misurina rivals Lake Carezza in terms of epic backdrops. This is a family-friendly lake, easy to walk along, and surrounded by shops and hotels, making it a bit more populous and less of a nature experience.
Misurina is one of the best places to stay in the Dolomites, thanks to its strategic position close to both the Veneto and the Trentino-Alto Adige side of the mountain range. It is also just minutes away from the Tre Cime di Lavaredo, one of the most popular hikes in the Dolomites.
As you can see by the photo, one of the most unique Dolomites lakes is Lake Resia (Lago di Resia). The tower that springs from the alpine water is the remains of a Medieval church bell tower of a reservoir-flooded village.
The one thing that makes Lake Resia harder to visit is that it is a bit more difficult to reach. It is very north in Italy, close to the Austrian border, and so it is out of the way of the most popular spots in the Dolomites.
Lesser-known and lesser-trafficked, Lake Dobbiaco (Toblacher See/Lago di Dobbiaco) is one of my favorite gems of the Dolomites. It is not touristy like some of the other lakes and offers a tranquil setting for easy walks and bike rides.
It is also well-positioned in the heart of the Dolomites but is not at all hard to reach. You can drive right up to the lake from the main road and take advantage of the large parking lot. It is also very accessible thanks to its surrounding flat terrain.
Have you heard of the Brenta Dolomites? It is a different range of mountains in Trentino-Alto Adige, but still neighbors to the UNESCO Dolomites everyone knows and loves.
Lake Tovel (Lago di Tovel) is one of the gems of this region. A large, densely forested reserve that is completely immersed in nature, thanks to being part of the Adamello Brenta Nature Park.
This lake was once famous for a natural phenomenon that turned the entire lake a bright red. Although this doesn’t occur anymore, the lake still offers easy paths for calm hikes and room for all kinds of activities, from picnics to canoeing.
This rich blue pearl at the bottom of the Brenta Dolomites was named Italy’s most beautiful lake in 2021.
Lake Molveno (Lago di Molveno) is the perfect destination for those who are looking for a resort-style stay. The town of Molveno is very much a resort-town, with quaint shopping streets, water sports activities and parks for easy-to-medium difficulty level hikes.
On the edge of the Dolomites in the province of Trento is Lake Toblino (Lago di Toblino). This lake is a gem for the beautiful historic Castel Toblino that stretches out into the lake on its own little peninsula.
Right along the roadside and paved with a wooden path, this lake is one of the easiest to reach and most accessible, making it a perfect stop as you make your way into the heart of the Dolomites.
Which lake are you most excited to visit?
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I hope you have gotten inspired and added some new Dolomites lakes to your bucket list!