Lago di Braies is one of the most visited and also most beautiful lakes in Italy. Within the past years, Lago di Braies or Pragser Wildsee in German, became one of the Instagram Hotspots everyone wants to see and experience.
Unfortunately, most people conceal some things you absolutely NEED to know about this place. That’s why I decided to write this ultimate guide with everything you need to know: history and legend of Lago di Braies, best photography spots, how to get there, and the best things to do.
Lago Di Braies is one of the largest lakes in the Dolomites and also a UNESCO Heritage Site. And if something makes it on this list, you know it’s going to be good. Did you know that a place can only be included on this list if it provides an outstanding universal value?
Read on for your ultimate guide and find out why you should add this gem to your next Italian travel itinerary!
Lago di Braies Travel Guide – Overview
- General information for your visit to Lago di Braies
- Best time to go, how to get there, accommodation
- Legend of the Kingdom of the Fanes
- Best things to do & Photography Spots at Lago di Braies
Lago di Braies – Welcome to the Kingdom of the Fanes
Lago di Braies (Pragser Wildsee in German) is one of those postcard-perfect places most people have on their bucket list. And for a place that looks like a fairytale, it’s only fitting that it comes with its own mythological legend, isn’t it?
In fact, the whole area of the Dolomites is home to hundreds of stories and legends, but Lago di Braies with its stunning backdrop of the Croda del Becco is home to one of the most well-known legends: The Kingdom of the Fanes.
PRICE | Entry to the lake itself is free. There is a paid carpark which is €2 before 7am and €6-8 from 7am until 5pm, after 5pm it’s €4.
OPENING HOURS | Lago di Braies is open all year round. You can rent a boat from June to October.
FACILITIES | Dogs and pets are allowed. Toilets are available at the southern part of the lake and inside Hotel Lago di Braies. It’s recommended to bring your own food when hiking. Unfortunately, it’s not possible for people with limited walking ability.
BEST FOR | Photographers, couples, adventurers, hikers, nature-lovers.
HOW MUCH TIME | A walk around the lake takes around 1-1.5 hours. I’d recommend you spend at least half a day at Lago di Braies.
SWIMMING | It is allowed to swim in the lake, but it’s freezing cold.
Best time to go to Lago di Braies?
It’s definitely not a secret that Lago di Braies is the most touristy lake of the Dolomites. With that being said, you have to get up early to get the perfect shot. We were there around 5am and some photographers were already shooting. It was fairly quiet until 8am, but it’s also important to mention that we were there in the month of June which is already high season, but it will get even more crowded in July and August. Keep this in mind when planning your travels!
Boats can be rented from the middle of June to October from 10am to 5pm and prices are €18 for 30 minutes and €28 for an hour. Last year, in 2019, the prices were €8 cheaper. However, there’s only one place where you can rent a boat so you don’t have much choice.
Getting to Lago di Braies
There is no direct flight to the Dolomites region. The closest airports in Italy are Verona, Venice Treviso, and Venice Marco Polo. If you want to visit one of these cities anyways, you could perfectly combine these two regions; especially Venice is extremely beautiful and a city I always recommend.
The closest airports in Austria are Innsbruck, Salzburg, and Klagenfurt. In Germany it’s Munich airport. From there you can easily drive by car, catch public transport or take a guided tour to Lago di Braies/Pragser Wildsee.
Renting a car
We already did some travels by public transportation but speaking from experience, it’s often the less comfortable and reliable option. By renting a car, you have more comfort, the whole heap of freedom and it saves you time.
Moreover, driving in this beautiful region is an experience itself. Luckily, we’re living in Germany and drove all the way down to Lago di Braies with our own car, but otherwise I’d definitely rent a car at the airport.
From Venice Treviso airport, there is a direct “FlixBus” to Dobbacio, the central bus station in the Dolomites. From here, you can catch a local bus to Lago di Braies. You need to catch bus 442 and the total journey will take around 4.5 hours. A huge plus is that the bus roughly comes every 30 minutes and with €3 it’s rather cheap. Furry friends are also welcome.
Since we were on a two-week road trip, we stayed at a nearby hotel in Austria. It took us around 45 minutes to get from Strassen to Lago di Braies.
The Legend of the Kingdom of the Fanes
Back in the days, the area that is now known as the Fanes-Sennes-Braies Nature Park was home to a peaceful Kingdom. Unfortunately, the queen decided to marry a foreign prince who – craving power – took control of the kingdom and prepared to wage war to expand the kingdom. Eager to expand the kingdom, the king turned his daughter Dolasilla into a powerful fighter. As she helped the dwarves, she was gifted with invincible armour and unfailing arrows. However, they warn her that the armour’s power would disappear if she ever marries.
Under Dolasilla‘s command the kingdom grew in size, but when she met the enemy warrior Ey de Net, the two fell in love and decided to marry. Of course, due to the dwarves prophecy, the king opposed the marriage and betrayed his daughter by selling her and his people to the enemy kingdom in return for the entrance to the legendary underground land of plenty Aurona.
The king flew, but Dolasilla fought to save her people and died fighting killed by her unfailing arrows. The traitor king is turned into stone and the survivors of the Fanes found shelter by the marmots in the mountain. Here, they decided to wait for the silver trumpets that will mark the rebirth of the kingdom.
Re-live the legends: Hire a traditional rowboat and sail across Lago Di Braies
If you were inspired by the legend above, why not try to travel to the Kingdom of the Fanes yourself? You can hire a traditional wooden rowboat and row to the base of the Croda del Becco in search of the entrance to Aurona.
Renting a boat is definitely one of the best things you can do at Lago di Braies and for those who find hiking is really not their thing, exploring the lake by boat provides a relaxing alternative.
Best things to do at Pragser Wildsee
Hiking around the lake is the best way to spend your time at Pragser Wildsee. The hike is a loop trail that takes around 1-1.5 hours in total. It’s a pretty easy route but note that the trek is not suitable for stroller or wheelchairs.
If you want, you can also hike the Croda del Becco, also known as Seekofel, the mountain behind the lake. In case you’re feeling really adventurous, there are some rock climbing options in the area as well!
Swimming in Lake Braies is an experience itself! While it’s definitely allowed, you won’t see many people taking a dip here, because the water is freezing cold. However, if you decide to jump into crystal clear alpine water, this would be an epic place to do so!
Renting a boat
As mentioned earlier, renting a row boat and spending some time on the crystal clear alpine water is one of the best experiences you can have at Lago di Braies.
Lake Braies Chapel
The Chapel Lago di Braies is only a short walk counter-clockwise from the lake entrance near the hotel. The chapel has been established in 1904 and is rich in history, in that during World War II a German SS commander chose it as a meeting place for prisoner exchange to ensure his own safety. It’s definitely worth visiting but is only available to visit during summer.
Take photos at the best Lago di Braies Photography Locations
Since I am a photographer and content creator myself, I am always looking for the best photo spots in a region. Lago di Braies offers several photo spots. Here are a few:
I hope you liked this Lago di Braies Travel Guide. Here are a few more posts from our 14-day road trip:
- Everything you need to know before visiting Lago di Sorapis
- Our 14-day road trip itinerary through Germany, Austria, and Italy
- The absolute best Instagram Spot in Austria
- A complete guide to Schloss Neuschwanstein in Germany
- How to visit Seiser Alm + Photography Tips
- The complete Guide to Highline 179
- Hallstatt Austria 2 Day Itinerary