Lago di Braies, or Lake Braies, is a must-see location when visiting the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Dolomites in northern Italy. Before you go, save these tips for visiting Lago di Braies to make the most of this incredible location.
Lago di Braies is seriously one of the most beautiful spots in Italy, if not on Earth, for its epic reflection, aesthetic wooden boathouse and boats, and bold turquoise water surrounded by evergreen trees and slate grey, snow-capped mountains.
Visiting Lake Braies is one of those special, once-in-a-lifetime, pinch-me experiences – so it’s important to know before you go all the best tips for visiting Lago di Braies to have the magical moment you’ve been picturing in your head. These practical tips will help you be completely prepared for your visit and make the most of your time at Lake Braies without spoiling the feelings of wonder that await you!
Still looking for ideas for your Italian Dolomites itinerary? Discover the famous & hidden gem spots alike in my 3-Day Dolomites itinerary.
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How to Get to Lago di Braies
Your only easy option to reach Lago di Braies is by car. Due to the terrain and distance between locations in the Dolomites, trains aren’t as easy to use to get around (unlike the rest of Italy!)
You can still take trains to the Dolomites, but in order to reach smaller locations like Lago di Braies, you will need a car. Your other option is to take a Flixbus.
I usually rent through AutoEurope for car rentals in Europe.
There is one road through the Val Pusteria, surrounded by hilly countryside and bright green fields that will take you right to Lago di Braies. No long hikes or rough terrain to actually make it to the lake – only a 5-minute walk from the parking lot!
Pro Tip: Lago di Braies has a second name, Pragser Wildsee. It’s the German name for the lake! The entire area of South Tyrol in which the heart of the Dolomiates and Lake Braies are situated was once part of Austria, so both Italian and German are spoken here. Every location has its Italian and German name – which is helpful to note if you or your navigation gets confused!
Parking at Lago di Braies
I have learned over the course of many road trips now to look up parking options beforehand.
Unfortunately, I learned this after my trip to Lake Braies! Maybe parking doesn’t make you as anxious as me or you’re like me and it’s nice to know what to expect – either way, there are some things you should know about parking at Lake Braies.
You have to pay for parking at Lago di Braies. If you arrive very early (6-6:30 am range) and stay about two hours, it’s only 2 euros.
Otherwise, it can cost 6 euros per hour or more (depending on the tourist season.)
There are several parking lots in the area. If you’re arriving early, you should be able to park in the closest one to the lake!
You’ll take a ticket at the lot entrance and stop at the pay stations before you leave to pay for parking.
Where to Stay Around Lago di Braies
The closest town to Lago di Braies that also has a multitude of accommodation options is Valdaora.
I stayed at Hotel Scherer and it was the perfect mix of comfort, affordability, amenities, and location. If you’d like to read more about the details of the hotel, as well as other hotels in the area of Lake Braies, check out my guide on where to stay in the Dolomites!
Other towns nearby to Lago di Braies are Ortisei or Dobbiacco. Dobbiacco is closer, but with fewer accommodation options. Ortisei is a bit further, but with more accommodation options and close to other top Dolomites attractions like the Alpe di Siusi and Val di Funes.
The reason I am recommending accommodations nearest to Lago di Braies is because of another tip coming up, which is to arrive early at the lake. Having accommodation near the lake will aid you in arriving early!
Pro Tip: There is also a hotel that is actually directly on Lago di Braies. If the lake is number one on your hit list, you should look into staying at Hotel Lago di Braies/Hotel Pragser Wildsee.
Tips for Visiting Lago di Braies
From my own visit to Lago di Braies, and furthermore my own dreaming for years of visiting it, I knew I didn’t want to miss any moment of this special spot. Lago di Braies is truly an unreal destination and you never know when you’re traveling if you’re going to come back to certain places.
So, especially at Lago di Braies, I want to share all my tips for you to experience all that the location has to offer, in the best way possible.
1. Arrive Early
Of all the tips for visiting Lago di Braies, the most essential one is to arrive early.
I mean like, before-the-sun-rises early so that you can actually see the sunrise over the lake.
That is when the magic happens at Lago di Braies. The soft even, light, combined with the positioning of the mountains, turns the water into a liquid mirror.
The reflection is breathtaking and is the ultimate reason to visit Lago di Braies.
Arriving early has a second benefit – fewer people! Don’t imagine zero people, because this spot is now incredibly famous. You’ll definitely find yourself in the company of photographers chasing that perfect photo of the sunrise reflection.
But, it will at least mean you should be able to park in the closest parking lot!
2. Hike the Entire Lake
I absolutely encourage hiking around Lago di Braies. So many people hang out near the entrance to the lake by the boathouse, which is that characteristic photo spot and wide, front-on view.
However, actually following the hiking trail all around the lake allows you to find incredible and unique perspectives for photos, as well as simply enjoy the breathtaking view at every new turn.
The hike all in all takes about an hour to an hour and a half if you’re not stopping frequently along the way.
Don’t rush it if you don’t need to!
Pro Tip: There is a portion of the hike that is a lot of stairs, so I do encourage wearing athletic shoes or at least bringing some along to change into. Also, these areas can get slippery with either ice or rain, so if you are visiting Italy in the Winter, be extra careful! (Side note: Italy in Fall, as well as in Spring in this area can still be snowy/rainy)
Bring Your Best Camera Gear
No doubt, one of the best tips for visiting Lago di Braies is to tug along your camera gear.
You should absolutely haul your tripod, your DSLR, your lenses, your drone, etc. to capture every angle of this lake. You are allowed to fly drones at this location.
Lago di Braies is very much a photographer’s dream location, with so many perspectives to capture and reflections to play with.
I’ve compiled a full list of all of my favorite travel photography gear, but here’s some in short that I would definitely recommend:
- WANDRD PRVKE Series Photography Backpack (Full Review Here)
- MeFoto Globetrotter S Carbon Fiber Tripod
- Snaptain SP650 Drone (for beginners) – Use code ‘SHEGOES’ for 10% off
The temperature in the Dolomites will not be reflective of whatever season Italy is in.
If it’s summer, it will be cold early in the morning in the Dolomites. If it’s winter, it will be extra cold early in the morning.
The altitude of the mountains has a strong effect on the temperature – the higher you go, the colder it is!
Since you’ll probably want to take photos at this location (and not in big bulky winter clothes), I’m going to recommend you do what I do. I wore my dress underneath a big zipped sweatshirt and warm sweatpants!
Bring an extra bag to hold the clothes when you make your quick change so you don’t have to lay them on the dirt!
There’s no privacy so if you can change outfits easily for pictures, that is your best bet!
Return to Rent a Wooden Boat
The only downside to arriving early to Lago di Braies is that the famous wooden boats are not available to rent until the boathouse opens, which is around 9 am.
The upside is that the boats are aesthetically tied up for you to capture that unreal photo that has become Instagram-famous!
Anyways, back to the tip, if you have the time in the day, I would either stay until the boathouse opens or leave and come back.
One plus about leaving and coming back is that many hotels in the Dolomites include breakfast with your room reservation.
You could arrive to experience the iconic sunrise over the lake, go eat your breakfast, and then return when the boat rental opens. The latest price of renting a boat on Lake Braies is 25 euros per hour and 15 euros for every half hour after that. You can only rent boats through the summer season, so June to September.
Have a Picnic or Simply Sit for a Rest
Unbeknownst to me before I arrived at Lago di Braies was that there are several picnic benches and regular benches along the hiking path.
I strongly suggest taking a moment to sit and take in your surroundings. Lago di Braies is a once in a lifetime destination (you’ll understand that when you get there!)
You could easily pack a lunch bag and have a meal at the lake’s edge or sit and take in the views on a lakeside bench.
Get Creative With Your Photography
As I mentioned previously, Lago di Braies is a photographer’s dream location. Everyone wants that iconic shot of the boats tied up on this mirrored lake.
But what I wholeheartedly suggest, which ties into my tips on hiking all around the lake, is seeking new perspectives of Lago di Braies.
I was so surprised at how many beautiful, unique shots there are to be taken at Lago di Braies by exploring beyond the entrance.
Take the time to explore and discover creative photo compositions!
More Tips for Visiting Lago di Braies
- You can swim in the lake. However, the water is incredibly cold! You won’t see many brave people doing it, if any!
- Have coins on hand to pay for parking (remember Italy uses the euro!)
- Go for accommodation that includes breakfast and possibly even dinner. There are more options than you think! You will likely save time and money looking for restaurants in the Dolomites.
- Explore the entire national park in which Lake Braies is situated – Parco Naturale di Fanes-Sennes-Braies.
Don’t forget to save these tips to Pinterest so you have them ready for your trip!
I hope you are on your way to visiting Lago di Braies soon and can take these tips with you to make the most of your visit!