VISITING Lake Sorapis – HOW TO GET THERE + MORE TIPS
One of the most beautiful places in Northern Italy or probably even in all of Italy is the stunning lake “Lago di Sorapis.” The lake is in the Dolomites – which is an impressive mountain range with UNESCO World Heritage status. The Dolomites are home to one of the most beautiful lakes in Italy. Lake Sorapis is one of the beauties.
When I visited in 2018, it was not the most famous lake. Even though it is stunning, it was not as Instafamous as other lakes (such as Lago di Braies or Lago di Carezza), but it is not a hidden gem anymore. Given its small size, it can quickly feel crowded, but it is a place you should add to your Northern Italy itinerary.
If Lago di Sorapis is so beautiful, why is it not as popular as other lakes? It might not be that famous because you cannot get there by bus or car, but you need to do some hiking. While in other parts of Europe, clever business people would have set up a cable car to attract more people, this is a very authentic and untouched part of Italy.
So, if you are wondering how to get to Lago di Sorapis, what to do there, and are looking for more travel tips, you are reading the perfect post.
I made some pretty bad mistakes, which you can learn from them. A bit more on that later, but first, let me tell you some facts about the lake.
Lago is Sorapis – Travel Information
- LOCATION: Sorapis is a mountain in the Dolomites, located in the province of Belluno in the Veneto region. The next biggest place is Cortina d’Ampezzo which is a famous resort town at any time of the year.
- Lake Sorapis is located just at the foot of the mountain Sorapis. It is about 1,900 meters above sea level, but I couldn’t find reliable information on the depth or the water temperature. As it is a glacier lake, it is probably quite chilly even in the summertime.
There is not much info I can tell you as there isn’t much written about the lake.HIKING TRAILS: There are two hiking trails – one quite challenging hike and a more manageable, but still not easy, hike. You could do a circular trek, but then you will get out at a different parking slot and will have to walk back to your car.
Where to Stay Around Lago di Sorapis
To discover the pretty region of the Dolomites, Cortina d’Ampezzo is a good base. You are not only close to Lago di Sorapis, but also to Lago die Braies and Lago di Careeza.
Another great base would be in Toblach.
When to Visit Lago di Sorapis
I visited in September, and it was a perfect time to visit. The hike is probably best done in late spring, summer, or early fall. In the summertime, it is pretty busy, so I recommend getting here early in the morning to beat the crowds. If you do the more challenging trail, you will not have to worry too much about crowds – however, I still recommend starting early to spend more time at the beach and do not have to hike back in the dark.
Tips for Visiting Lago Di Sorapis
- I don’t recommend the hike, regardless of which one you do, for young kids or people who aren’t fit. You should have a decent level of fitness – and you should wear proper shoes.
- Make sure to wear proper hiking boots (regardless of the trail you will pick).
- On sunny days, bring sunscreen and sunglasses.
- Do not forget your camera/phone.
- I wish I had at least had some walking poles with me for this challenging hike.
- Also, there are no water fountains (only streams), so bring enough water.
- The Refugio at the top is not always open, so I suggest bringing your food and snacks with you.
- Also, there are no toilets. So, I finally did what many men do regularly. I irrigated the earth.
How to Hike to Lago di Sorapis
The more difficult hike of Lago si Sorapis – Option 1Okay, I will tell you how I hiked Lago di Sorapis, and I will give you tips on how you should hike it yourself. As mentioned above, I had some problems because I chose the wrong hiking trail.
I read many TripAdvisor reviews and blog posts, so I knew that I had to get to “Passo Trec Croci” and park my car there. As I had seen a sign the day before, I knew where to drive – at least, that is what I thought. I drove towards the “Passo Tree Croci“ and found the parking area I thought I had read about. It was opposite an abandoned hotel.I also saw the map and some info on the hike, and so I was pretty sure I was on the right track. I passed a grazing area with some cows and horses, a cute little house, and a little water fountain. Some signs showed me the way towards the lake. After an easy start on a big, simple uphill path with some smaller streams to jump over, it got more tricky. The paths got more narrow, the waterfall louder (yes, there is a big waterfall if you opt for that track), and there were parts that I had to climb to some extent.
And while it was still fun initially, I eventually realized that I must have taken a more difficult hike. There was no one around, and, at times, I panicked. At certain points, I wondered if I would have to pass the mountain holes to get to the lake.I was anxious about falling because of the extremely narrow paths, and with a little dog, the situation did not get easier.
My phone couldn’t give me any help, so I was stressed out for most of the hike.
My legs started to hurt like crazy, but my biggest fear was slipping. When I finally was passed by two guys, I was at least happy to know I wasn’t alone on the path.
On the way up, I met one more hiker with dogs. She was already on her way back, and she confirmed that it was the right way, but it would take another 1.5 hours or so. And that is what happened. I needed almost four hours – including some breaks – and with a dog that I had to carry part of the way.
It seems I chose the wrong parking spot. I should have driven a few more minutes to reach the easier track.
That day, I was so stressed and did not enjoy the hike because I wasn’t sure where I was. If I had known that all was well, I would have enjoyed it more. Looking back, it wasn’t as bad as it felt at that moment, but I surely would take walking poles and someone else with me next time (and no dog).
So, if you like more challenging hikes and feel fit, you can do Track #217, too. This route is also the best choice for those who don’t want to share the place with too many others. While I saw many people at the top coming from the other trail, I was mostly by myself on my trail.
The easier and more popular route is surely the busier one.
The easier hike of Lago Sorapis – Option 2
This hike is the more popular one and – apparently – much easier but still challenging at parts.Head to Passo Tre Croci but don’t park close to the abandoned hotel. Head to the Bar Ristorante Son Zuogo instead – there are a few parking spots opposite the restaurant.
Follow the signs “215 to Rufigio Vandello” as there are no signs for Lake Sorapis.
This hike is apparently easier – though not easy – and there are wire ropes for narrow paths or exposed sites (unlike on the hike I did). Enjoy the first part of the hikes as it is the easy part before it gets challenging.
Just before the lake is a restaurant with toilets but isn’t opened all year round, so whenever you see Rifugio Vandello, it is just another 10-15 minutes to reach the lake.
The route takes about 2-2.5 hours (one way), and in total, you will hike around 12 km.
I have read mixed reviews about that hiking trail. The fitter hikers call it an easy hike, but most people don’t recommend the hike for kids or people who aren’t fit.
What to Do at Lago di Sorapis
Once at the lake, you can hike the lake. This is probably the best way to enjoy the lake from all different angles. However, the hike around the lake is also not the easiest but definitely doable (if you have done the hike to the lake, it would be a pity not to surround the whole lake).
I did not see any sign which forbids swimming but read online that swimming is forbidden (also no boats, SUP, or anything similar).
Several people brought books and just read. Definitely bring some snacks and drinks and have a picnic at this unique spot in the Dolomites.
READ MORE: The most beautiful lakes in the Dolomites – my four favorite picks.
However, the lake is so unique in Europe that it is worth the hike. Whether you opt for the “easy“ or a more difficult one, you will be rewarded with the best views.
Hopefully, this post has helped you find the perfect hike for your trip to Lake Sorapis.
READ MORE: Here is my post on the perfect Dolomites itinerary!