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A Complete Guide for Visiting Lago di Braies in 2023

  • Post last modified:October 25, 2023
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Known as the "lake of Instagram", Lago di Braies (or Pragser Wildsee in German) has become known by many as the most beautiful lake in the world!


You've probably seen those perfect pictures with girls in stunning dresses all by themselves on the pier. But visiting Lago di Braies is more than just snapping a quick picture- in fact, there's quite a bit to known while visiting, that we couldn't find the correct info on before.


Rules are changing, and so are prices. We just visited in September this year (2023), and are here to share the most up-to-date info, as well as tips for you to get the most stunning photos at Lago di Braies.

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Where is Lago di Braies?

Lago di Braies is located in Braies Valley, in South Tyrol, Italy. It is a part of the Fanes-Sennes-Braies Nature Park, which is a World Heritage Site. It is a popular place to visit for those traveling to the Dolomites, which is a mountain range in the north of the country.

where is Lago di Braies located

Lago di Braies is in the Dolomites, in Northern Italy.

What is the Closest City to Lago di Braies?

The closest big city to Lago di Braies is Bolzano, which is about an hour and a half away. In the Dolomites there aren't very big towns at all, but technically the closest "town" would be San Vito, which does have some hotels in and around it.


How Do You Get to Lago di Braies?

Now that you know where the lake is- exactly how do you get to Lago di Braies? There are a number of ways that you can make your way to see this stunning slice of parades.


Renting a Car to Visit Lago di Braies

There are so many things to do in the Dolomites, and a lot of them are spread out. We decided to rent a car for our Western European road trip, and while it was inconvenient in some large cities like Paris or Venice, it really was the most helpful thing ever to have a rental car in the Dolomites.


You can easily rent a car from whatever airport you fly into. We personally think the best airports to fly into to go to Lago di Braies are Venice, Treviso, and Bolzano

What is the Closest Airport to Lago di Braies?

Bolzano is the closest airport, but has only a few flights each day. Cities that fly to Bolzano include Berlin, Cagliari, Dusseldorf, Hamburg, Ibiza, Lamezia Terme, Lille, Olbia, Rome, Toulouse, and Zurich.


The next closest airport is Treviso, which has more flights, and is around 2 1/2- 3 hours away from Lago di Braies. Cities that fly to Treviso include Alicante, Billund, Brussels, Bucharest, Chania, Corfu, Eindhoven, Fes, Gdansk, Iasi, Katowice, Mahon, Malaga, Mallorca, Malta, Marrakech, Marseille, Milan, Paris, Porto, Poznan, Prague, Rome, Santander, Sevilla, Suceava, Tallinn, Thessaloniki, Timisoara, Tirana, Toulouse, Trapani, Valencia, Vienna, and Wroclaw.


Venice has the biggest airport, and is about 3 hours away from Lago di Braies. Cities that fly to Venice include Amsterdam, Athens, Atlanta, Barcelona, Bari, Basel, Belgrade, Berlin, Bilbao, Bordeaux, Brindisi, Bristol, Brussels, Bournemouth, Cagliari, Catania. Cologne, Copenhagen, Dubai, Dublin, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Geneva, Goose Bay, Hamburg, Helsinki, Istanbul, Izmir, Jeddah, Madrid, Mallorca, Manchester, Montreal, Munich, Nantes, Naples, Newark, New York, Nuremberg, Olbia, Oslo, Lamezia Terme, Lisbon, London, Luxembourg, Lyon, Naples, Nice, Palermo, Paris, Philadelphia, Prague, Riga, Rome, Stuttgart, Tel Aviv, Tirana. Vienna, Warsaw, Yerevan, Zakinthos, and Zurich.

Flight Tip: Using Skyscanner you can put from "your city" to "Italy". This way you can see which is the cheapest airport in the area to fly. Also, you can check the calendar to see which are the cheapest dates for each one.

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How Do You Get to Lago di Braies with Public Transportation

While we definitely prefer renting a car, we do understand that's not everyone's preferred way to travel. If you would like to get to Lago di Braies with public transportation, here are the different options from the major cities outside the Dolomites.


How to Get from Bolzano to Lago di Braies

From Bolzano you can take the train from Bolzano to Niederdorf-Prags. Then from there you can take the bus 442 for 12 stops to Lago di Braies. It leaves from Villabassa, Piazza Von Kurz, which is just a 4 minute walk away from the train station. This journey takes around


How to Get from Treviso to Lago di Braies

From Treviso it takes quite a bit longer via public transportation, and there are a few changes. Depending on exactly what time you start your journey, you could look at anywhere from 6-8 hours of travel.


The quickest option is by taking the train from Treviso Airport to Cortina d'Ampezzo, which is between 4 and 6 hours depending on which train you choose. Then from Cortina d'Ampezzo you'll take the bus 445 to Dobbiaco station, and then change to take the 442 to Lago di Braies.


If you can't make the train to Cortina d'Ampezzo, a second option is to take the train from Treviso Airport to Ponte Nelle Alpi Polpet. Then from there you can make your way to Cortina d'Ampezzo and continue to Lago di Braies.


How to Get from Venice to Lago di Braies

Despite being a bit further away, it is actually much easier and faster to travel from Venice, as it is a bigger hub. You can easily take a 2 hour  15 minutes bus ride from Venice Airport to Cortina d'Ampezzo, and then follow the same steps from above to make it to Lago di Braies. The total length of the trip will be around 5 hours.


Taking a Tour to Lago di Braies

If you don't want the hassle of taking public transportation, or don't feel comfortable renting a car, another option for visiting Lago di Braies is to take a tour. There are daily tours from both Bolzano and Venice, and they include some of the other incredible highlights in the Dolomites such Tre Cime di Lavaredo, Lake Misurina, and the Winter Olympics town of Cortina d'Ampezzo.


Here are a few fun day trips you can take to the Dolomites:


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How to Enjoy Lago di Braies

Lago di Braies is one of the most stunning lakes, but it isn't just beautiful to see! Here are a couple of ways you can enjoy visiting Lago di Braies in Italy.

Don't have time to read the whole article and want to save it for later? Just pin it!

how to visit Lago di Braies
how to visit Lago di Braies
how to visit Lago di Braies

Can You Swim in Lago di Braies?

When visiting Lago di Braies, you will notice that there won't be anyone swimming. While many blogs say it is because of the cold temperatures, it is actually forbidden to swim in the lake. We didn't see any signs for it, but do know that that is the rule, and you'll notice that all Italians and almost all tourists do respect this rule.


We encourage you to follow this rule, as this is a protected area. If people do not obey the rules, then more restrictions will be made in the future.

can you swim in Lago di Braies

It is forbidden to swim in Lago di Braies.

Hike Around the Lake

Can you walk around Lago di Braies? Yes! Not only can you enjoy the views right when you arrive to Lago di Braies, but you can get a number of great angles by walking around it.


How Long Does it Take to Walk Around Lago di Braies?

We actually didn't do the circuit, because we were misinformed by Google Maps. Google shows that the path goes counter-clockwise, and ends across a small strip of water that just outs from the main area of the lake, where you cannot cross due to the water. 


For this reason, we saw that the trail was 45 minutes, and was out and back (meaning the total was an hour and a half). We had a pretty tight schedule, so had to skip. However, after reading several other blogs, we found out that there is in fact a full circuit you can take, and this takes about one hour (although we'd leave extra time for photo stops).


If you have the time, we would highly suggest it, as the pictures from other people looked beautiful! It also looks pretty flat, and not too demanding.

Lago di Braies in Italy
Lago di Braies in Italy
Lago di Braies in Italy

These are the main angles that are surrounding the boat house,

but there area ton of other great ones too.


Hire a Boat

One of the best ways to enjoy the gorgeous Lago di Braies is to sail around in one of the traditional wooden boats. There is just one pier at the front of the lake, so you really can't miss it. Boat rentals start at 8:30 am and go until 7 pm daily, and are weather-dependent.

boats at Lago di Braies

One of the best ways to experience Lago di Braies is by renting a boat.

We read countless blogs about prices for the boats, and found that upon arrival the prices are even more extortionate than we read online, and the time has been decreased from the original 1 hour rental. Currently (September 2023) the rates are as follows:


Shared Boats (with up to 5 people): 15 euros per person for 45 minutes

- This includes 2 postcards and a fridge magnet.

Private Boats (with up to 5 people): 50 euros for 45 minutes

- This also includes postcards and a fridge magnet.


We suggest if you are less than 4 people to look for other people to share a boat with, and then hire a private boat. This way you will pay a bit less.

Lago di Braies boats
Lago di Braies boats
Lago di Braies boats

Have a Private Photo Shoot

Have you ever seen those stunning pictures of people completely by themselves on the pier with the boats perfectly placed around them? Well, these pictures are not simply for waking up early. Actually, until 8 am the pier is locked, and the only way to access it is by setting up a professional photoshoot.


We were actually really upset to find this out, but it's definitely something that more people need to disclose.


The photoshoots are 150 euros, and you need to book in advance. We saw a newly married couple come with a photographer without a reservation, and the pier was booked so they weren't able to go.

Lago di Braies in Italy
Lago di Braies in Italy
boat house at Lago di Braies in Italy

The boat house and pier are closed unless you have a private photoshoot.

Note: Keep in mind that as there are boat rides going throughout the day, photoshoots are typically for the early morning. If you want the best lighting and no people (or don't want to rent a boat), this is pretty much your only option for getting a perfect shot on the pier.


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Amenities at Lago di Braies

Lago di Braies has plenty of amenities to make your visit a pleasant one. Here are a few things you can find right on site.


Bathrooms

Each of the parking lots has a bathroom, so you can use it right before and after your visit.


Restaurants

Right in front of the lake there is a small cafe where you can find coffee, pastries, and snacks from very early in the morning. When we went they opened at 7 am (around the time of sunrise) and stayed open through the late afternoon (6 or 7 pm). 


Additionally, there are a few places where you can have a sit down meal, right next to the lake. The three eateries are a part of the Hotel Lago di Braies. Chalet has just a few options, which are sandwiches, pizza, and fries. Emma's Bistro is right on the water, serving simple dishes such as pizzas, sandwiches, pastas, and goulash, and the Panorama Restaurant has a more refined menu, offering a variety of different dishes.

restaurant at Lago di Braies

Lago di Braies has a few restaurants right on site.

Hotels

If you want to go to Lago di Braies first thing in the morning, a good idea would be to stay at the Hotel Lago di Braies, which is right on the lake, and provides free bikes, free parking, and free permits for fishing in the lake.

Lago di Braies hotel
Lago di Braies hotel
Lago di Braies hotel

Hotel Lago di Braies is located right on the lake.


There are also quite a few other hotels nearby, which are just minutes away:

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Price & Timetable for Visiting Lago di Braies

Lago di Braies is open 24/7 365 days a year. It is free of charge to enter, but you will need to pay for parking.


There are 4 parking lots (3 that we know of) for Lago di Braies, and the closer the lot, the more you'll be paying. Rates are a one-time charge, and are for 24 hours.

  • P4: This is the closest lot, which is right next to the lake. 

Rates online are stated at 18 euros for the day, and 35 euros for campers. However, we got there late at night and remember the price being much more at the lot itself.


You can also alternatively book online in advance, and pay 38 euros. On the website it says it includes a voucher for 30 euros of dining, but the only link we found to book said it includes 15 euros instead of 30. We would suggest contacting them beforehand to clarify. This option really is for those that want to secure a spot during the busy season.


*If you are a hotel guest at Hotel Lago di Braies, parking in P4 in included


  • P3: This is between P4 and P2, just under 5 minutes from the lake. It is 7 euros for 24 hours, and is 8 euros for buses.
  • P2: This is the lot we parked in, which was the cheapest. It is 6 euros for 24 hours, and is a 5-10 minute walk away from the lake.
  • P1: We honestly didn't see this lot at all, so would just refer to the 3 previous lots.
parking at Lago di Braies
parking at Lago di Braies
parking at Lago di Braies

There are various parking lots with different prices at Lago di Braies.

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Rules for Visiting Lago di Braies

  • No personal kayaks, paddle boards, boats, or other water vehicles are allowed in the lake.
  • There are no signs, but it is actually forbidden to swim in the lake.
  • Dogs can be brought, but they must be on a leash.
  • Strollers are allowed, but definitely not recommended.
  • The pier is private property, and can only be accessed with a private photo shoot or a boat tour.
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Other Things to Keep in Mind While Visiting Lago di Braies

Now that you know what to expect at Lago di Braies, we're going to share some more information that will be helpful during your visit.


Weather in the Dolomites

As the Dolomites are a mountain region, temperatures are much cooler than other areas of Italy. In fact, we'd say this is probably the coldest area of the entire country.


We visited in the beginning of September, and had warm, sunny days, but temperatures dropped significantly when the sun went down. Make sure to layer up, especially if you are not going in the summertime.


Being in the mountains, the Dolomites can also experience a lot of rain, and is susceptible to having big storms, so make sure to leave extra time in your schedule, and be prepared just in case. 


The Best Time to Visit Lago di Braies

While most people think the best time to visit Lago di Braies is in the summer, we prefer the end of May to early June, or to visit in September. This is because the crowds will be fewer, but the boats are still running at this time.

Lago di Braies in Italy

To get a perfect reflection and great lighting you have to go to Lago di Braies for sunrise.

What is the Best Time of Day to Go to Lago di Braies?

The best time to go to Lago di Braies is definitely first thing in the morning, before the sun rises. This is when the water is super still, and you can witness those incredible reflections. 


About an hour after the sunrise, you'll start to see the sun shining on the mountain behind Lago di Braies, which isn't ideal for photos. However, if you get a cloudy day, then visiting right before 8 is a great idea as you can still get great shots, and be in time to get one of the first boats.

the best time to go to Lago di Braies
the best time to go to Lago di Braies
the best time to go to Lago di Braies
the best time to go to Lago di Braies

An hour after sunrise you can already see the sun shining on the mountain.

How to Prepare for Visiting Lago di Braies

When visiting Lago di Braies, there isn't too much you'll need to bring with you.


If you are into photography, we suggest bringing:

  • Camera (we use the Sony Alpha 7riii)
  • Zoom lens to get a variety of focal lengths
  • Drone for a unique perspective (We use the Mavic Mini Pro 3 because it's super light and has incredible quality)
  • Tripod to set up pictures without having to ask anyone
  •  Insta 360 X3 to capture a cool angle on your boat ride, or to get you in the shot without a drone.

Other things you should consider bringing are:

  • Jacket (since the mornings are very chilly)
  • Power Bank (if you stay for a while- we use Anker power banks)
  • Sneakers (if you plan on hiking around the lake)
  • Sunscreen (if you visit in the summer)
  • Umbrella (if you don't visit in the summer)
boats at Lago di Braies in Italy

You can fly a drone at Lago di Braies, but there are certain regulations.

Drone Rules at Lago di Braies

The lake itself is public, which means that you can use a drone over the lake. However, the shore and the parking lot are owned by the hotel. This means that drones are prohibited to capture footage over these areas, and you could be in big trouble if you do post it without permission. Even recreational flying above it with a drone under 250 grams is prohibited.


If you do want to capture material including the private areas, make sure to contact the hotel to get permission! Other than that, you can fly your drone above the water.


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Is Lago di Braies Worth Visiting?

Despite the fact that they are now taking advantage a bit too much of tourists in our opinion, Lago di Braies is simply stunning, and shouldn't be skipped! If you are on a budget, we suggest going as early as possible, and paying for the furthest lot. 


If you want the whole experience and money doesn't matter as much, we suggest being the first to rent a private boat, for an even more magical experience.

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Tips for Visiting Lago di Braies

  • Park in the lot down the road to save money.
  • Go for sunrise to see the lake in its most beautiful state.
  • Book in advance if you'd like to do a private photoshoot.
  • Be the first to get a boat ride to have a shot of being on the pier alone.
  • Make a group of four to rent a boat together in order to save money.
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So are you ready to see one of the most gorgeous lakes in the world? We know you'll be super impressed with Lago di Braies, and it will make a great addition to your trip through the Dolomites.


Want to explore some other awesome spots in the Dolomites? We have a bunch of  Dolomites guides coming up, so make sure to subscribe to our newsletter to stay in the know (as well as to get exclusive content and discounts!). In the meantime, we also have plenty of Italy guides for you to check out.


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