Travel Information: Lago di Braies – Pragser Wildsee in South Tryol, Italy
Lago di Braies (“Pragser Wildsee” in German) is probably one of the most beautiful lakes in Europe and it has become incredibly famous.
So, if you want to visit this pretty lake yourself, this guide will help you discover the Lake Prags yourself..
When it comes to traveling and visiting places, I am all about lakes. I feel like I have to visit all the beautiful lakes around the world, and especially in Europe. So, I knew I had to visit Lago di Braies eventually. The lake wasn’t the only lake on my itinerary in Italy, but one of the most memorable.
Read more: The best places to visit in Northern Italy
Here are my travel tips and all the important information for your trip to Lago di Braies.
Non-Italians might have seen the lake on social media for the first time. Over the last few years, Lago di Braies has become one of the most popular photography spots for photographers, Instagrammers, and bloggers.
Italians might have heard of the lake for the first time on a TV show called “Un Passo Dal Cielo,“ with Terrence Hill (even though they gave the lake a different name in the show).
And how can such a stunning lake, with its interesting water color and amazing mountain backdrop, not be a TV “star?“ So, if you are looking for a beautiful place to visit, whether you are on the hunt for great Instagram photos or just to enjoy the lake, this is it. Here you can combine Instagrammability and a nice hike.
The lake is located in South Tyrol, a province that belongs to Italy, but used to be part of Austria until the First World War. So, in this area, German and Italian are spoken, as well as another local language, which is Landin.
This is also why the lake has two official names: its Italian name, Lago di Braies, and its German name, Pragser Wildsee.
It is in the Dolomites region (the Dolomites mountain ranges are a UNESCO World Heritage site), one of the most distinctive and interesting mountain ranges, which itself is a popular tourist attraction. The lake is in the municipality of Prags and in the Prags valley. It is part of the Fanes-Sennes-Prags Nature Park and a protected natural monument.
Facts About Lago di Braies / Pragser Wildsee
Largest natural lake in the Dolomites
Location above sea level: 1,496 meters
Width: 300 – 400 meters
Shoreline: 3.5 km
Maximum depth: 36 meters
Median depth: 17 meters
Maximum surface water temperature: 14°C
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How to Get There
You can get there by car (or motorcycle) or public transportation
National road SS49 that leads to the lake is connected to several motorways.
- From Milano: 4.5 hour drive
- From Venice: 3 hour drive
- From Innsbruck: 2 hour drive
Parking spaces are available just in front of the lake and cost 6€-8€ for a day ticket.
By Public Transportation
The nearest railway station is Niederdorf (Villabassa), and in summer (June 20th until September 20th), bus 442 brings you to Lago di Braies. Depending on your accommodations, you might even be able to use your Guest Card for public transportation.
There are guided tours available – which you can check out here.
Where to Stay at Lago di Braies
Hotel Lago di Braies
This is perfect if you like staying next to the lake (with all the peaks that comes with it, like enjoying the lake early in the morning when no one else is around).
Click here to find the best rates for your stay at Hotel Lago di Braies
I was in South Tyrol/Dolomites for more than a week in total and changed hotels a few times. However, looking back, I would have booked a hotel in Toblach /Dobbiaco.
It is also located close to other tourist sights, like Lago di Carezza and the “Drei Zinnen,“ and you can easily get to many hot spots. In Toblach (Italian: Dobbiaco) is another gorgeous lake to visit as well, so you have killed two birds with stone.
There are options to eat and drink. I suggest to bring your water bottle to refill (there is a water fountain close to the cafe) and get snacks and have them at the lake, rather than in some of the cafes.
Best Time to Visit
In summer time, the place is full of people from all around the lake. You can rent boats, swim (if you like chilly water, even in summer), or take a relaxed hike.
Personally, however, I do not suggest visiting in July or August, as Italy is even more crowded during that time.
Winter at Lago di Braies looks magical – with snow-covered mountain peaks and a frozen lake, this is truly unique.
Spring and fall are also good times to visit, though I think I made the right decision when I chose a September morning.
Try to get there early in the morning – it can be really crowded later in the day – at any time of the year.
The Legend of Lago di Braies
All lakes with a unique lake color seem to have their own legend. I admit I am not really into it, but let me sum up what the legend says about Lago di Braies.
The Landin people have a legend about a kingdom from the past and an underworld of the Fanes Empire. The gate to the underworld empire is supposed to be somewhere at the southern end of the lake.
This is why a specific part of the lake is known as Torberg, or “Sass dia Porta,” in the Landin language.
Best Things to Do at Lago di Braies
Rent a Boat
According to Instagram, everyone rents a boat and rows on the lake. I did not. I just figured that I am too lazy to row a boat all by myself (as my dog isn’t a great help). But of course, this did not stop me from taking pictures of the boats. You can rent them at the boathouse next to the entrance to Lake Braies in summer time.
- Season: June to September
- Opening hours: 10 am to 5 pm
- Price: 1/2 hour €15.00, 1 hour € 25.00 (plus deposit 25€)
Tip: There is a sign that says you cannot enter the pier if you don’t rent a boat, but I asked the lovely salesperson and they allowed me (and the others) to take some pics.
Hike the Lake
If you park your car in the parking spaces right in front, you will not need to hike or walk a lot. However, hiking the lake is a must-do in my eyes.
Walking around the lake will take about 1-2 hours (it is about 3 km) and you will see the lake from all different perspectives. Also, the lake appears to be many different colors and shades as you walk along the way.
The hike includes some minor uphills and downhills, but is generally easy to walk.
Though I enjoyed the hike, I would have enjoyed it even more if I hadn’t been carrying a little plastic bag with dog poo in it, as there are hardly any rubbish bins. That seriously killed my mood because…it isn’t the best hike if you carry dog poo with you (and it might unmotivate people to dispose of waste properly).
Swimming in the Lake
You are allowed to swim in the lake, and you will probably enjoy it if you like chilly water, even in the summer. However, I mostly saw dogs in the lake and not many people (as mentioned above, the temperature is 14°C max). But there is a little “beach section” at the other end of the lake.
There is also a little church just next to the lake. It looks very sweet and is probably not the first thing that comes to a mind when hearing about lakes, but in Italy this isn’t so unusual.
As you hopefully could see, the lake is well worth a visit. Yes, it might be crowded at many times, but its beauty still makes it a good place to visit in Italy. I hope this post helps you to plan your trip to Pragser Wildsee and you have found all the information you need.
I loved the lake but this one was probably my favorite in the Dolomites.
Looking for more beautiful lakes in the Dolomites? Then read this post.