Lago di Braies (Pragser Wildsee in German) is an alpine lake in the UNESCO World Heritage Site Fanes-Sennes-Braies Nature Park. More specifically, Lago di Braies is located in Braies Valley (Valle di Braies in Italian, Pragser Tal in German), a side valley of Upper Puster Valley (Alta Pusteria, Hochpustertal) in South Tyrol, Italy.

Braies Lake lies at the foot of the north face of Croda del Becco (Seekofel in German, Sass dla Porta in Ladin), a towering massif (2,810m), which creates the jaw-dropping, picture-perfect backdrop of Lago di Braies. There’s a reason it’s called the Peal of the Dolomites. And like any declared “pearls,” Lago di Braies is not a secret. 

To enjoy this iconic Dolomites lake in person, it’s best to set expectations right here and right now. First, you won’t be alone…not at 5 am and not at 5 pm. Second, like any place that has gained popularity on Instagram, people come here for the “photo.” And, contrary to what photos will have you believe, Lago di Braies isn’t a tranquil destination, where you can contemplate the meaning of life, whilst bathing in the soft morning light.

The good news is that you can visit Lake Braies (with all the people), and then continue exploring the vicinity, knowing that you’ll leave them all behind. From Lago di Braies, you can hike to Lake Hochalpensee (2254 m) and Hochalpenkopf (2542 m). You can also tackle the demanding summit hikes to Seekofel (2810 m), Herrnstein (2447 m), and Grosser Rosskopf (2559 m). Enjoy the lake by all means. But, let Lago di Braies be the starting point for an exciting crowd-free adventure.

In this complete guide to visiting Lago di Braies, we’ll outline everything you need to know about when to visit, what to see and do (e.g. renting a boat), where to hike, where to eat, and how to get here (by car and by transit).

How to Visit Lago di Braies in the Dolomites

Lago di Braies, Dolomites, Italy
  • Entrance Fee: Free 
  • Swimming: Not allowed (confirmed by the South Tyrol Tourist Board)
  • Boat Rental: 19 EUR for 30 min; 29 EUR for 60 min 
  • Maximum Depth: 36 meters
  • Surface Water Temperature: 14°C max
  • Length: 1.2 km
  • Width: 300-400 meters
  • Surface Elevation: 1496 meters
  • Protected Area: Fanes-Sennes-Braies Nature Park 
  • Tourist Region: Alta Pusteria (Hochpustertal) 
  • Italian Province: South Tyrol
  • Public Toilets: Hotel Lago di Braies, Car Parks, or Southern-end of the Lake (not recommended).
  • When to Visit: Before July 10th, or after September 10th
  • Where to Eat: Lago di Braies Restaurant, or better Malga Foresta/Grünwaldalm (1.3 km walk from the southwestern tip of the lake).
  • Where to Stay at Lago di Braies: Hotel Lago di Braies
  • Where to Stay in Braies/Prags: Garni Bergblick (budget), Berggasthaus Agritur Moserhof (midrange), or Farmhouse Hanslerhof (midrange)
  • Where to Stay in Val Pusteria: Hotel Christof (luxury), or Silentium Dolomites Chalet Since 1600 (luxury)

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Lago di Braies Dolomites Map

When to Visit Lake Braies

Lago di Braies sunrise, Dolomites, Italy
Lago di Braies in late October, Dolomites, Northern Italy

Summer Season: Early June until late October

The best time to visit Lago di Braies is in Summer and/or Fall. You can walk around the lake, hike to various peaks in the Braies/Prags Dolomites, rent a rowboat, and enjoy the glistening greens and blues of the crystal-clear lake waters. 

We recommend visiting Lago di Braies in late June, early July, or anytime between mid-September and late October.

If you visit in late October, the water level of the lake will be low. However, the lake is ringed by golden larches.

There are new regulations regarding lake access during the high summer season (July 10 – September 10). Please read this page about accessing Valle di Braies/Pragser Tal valley in high season.

To protect the sensitive ecosystem of the lake, local authorities are curtailing personal vehicle traffic. If you visit between July 10 – September 10, you must pre-book and pre-pay your transit to the lake as well as parking, if visiting before 9 am or after 4 pm.

For that reason, we highly recommend visiting Lago di Braies before July 10th, or after September 10th, to avoid these restrictions.

Winter Season: November – April

You can also visit Lago di Braies in winter, however, there’s less you can do. Between December and March, the lake freezes over and is covered in snow. Temperatures are frigid and cold (below 0 C°). 

The lake begins to thaw in May.

To monitor conditions, you can check out the Braies webcam.

Learn More: Best Time to Visit the Dolomites

Lago di Braies Boat Rental 

Lago di Braies boat rental, Italian Dolomites

Many people fall in love with Braies before ever visiting. They long to walk down the iconic steps of the jetty and take a romantic ride in a wooden rowboat across the lake’s shimmering waters. You can rent a boat between mid-May and the end of October.  Note: only 4 people are allowed in a single boat.

 It’s not possible to book a boat in advance, unless you’re interested in a 7 am photoshoot (more info below). 

Operating Times 

  • Shoulder Season (May, June, September, October): 10 am – 5 pm 
  • High Season (July and August): 8:30 am to 6:30 pm 
  • Closed in case of bad weather. 
  • Weddings, Advertising, or Personal Photoshoots: You can rent a boat from 7 am to 8 am for 150 EUR. To make a photoshoot reservation, contact La Palafitta using the contact form on this page.

Boat Rental Pricing

  • 30 Minutes: 19 EUR
  • 60 Minutes: 29 EUR

Legends of Lago di Brais

Lago di Braies in October, Dolomites, Italy

Local legend tells us that once upon a time savages successfully mined for gold and gemstones in the Braies mountains. Fueled by jealousy, the local herdsmen attempted to steal their amassed treasure. They failed to loot the riches because the miners cleverly opened up an underground spring which created a magnificent lake. Here, in the newly created Lake Braies, they sunk their treasure trove. 

Another Ladin legend declares that Sass dla Porta (Seekofel) is the gateway to the underground Fanes kingdom. Every 100 years on a full moon, the Queen of Fanes and her daughter Princess Dolasilla leave their underground abode beneath Sass dla Porta via a hidden doorway.

In the night, they row across Lake Prags, hoping that they’ll hear the silver trumpets proclaiming the dawning of the promised time and the rebirth of their kingdom. Alas, the trumpets never sound and they row in vain (source: Shorter Walks in the Dolomites).

Lago di Braies Hiking Trails

Trail 61, Upper Puster Valley View, Prags Dolomites
Hochalpenkopf Circuit Hike

Lago di Braies is the starting point of the long-distance Alta Via 1 hiking trail. This 120 km hiking trail continues south across multiple ranges, ultimately ending at ending at the La Pissa bus stop near Belluno.

In addition to following the popular circuit trail around the lake, you can hike the first stage of the famous AV1 trail to Rifugio Biella, with an extension to the Croda del Becco summit. Lesser known hiking options are Grünwaldtal and Hochalpensee, Hochalpenkopf and Herrstein. 

Lago di Braies Circuit Trail

Lago di Braies, Pragser Wilsee, Sunrise, Dolomites, Italy
  • Trailhead: Hotel Lago di Braies
  • Distance: 3.6 km circuit 
  • Difficulty: Easy 
  • Time Needed: 1 – 1:30 hours 
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 50 m ascending/descending 

The most popular thing to do at Lake Braies is to walk around the entire lake. 

The circuit path is mostly flat, though there are some stairways on the east bank of the lake. You can hike in either direction, though most people will hike counter-clockwise, heading west (right) first. Shortly after passing the stone Hotel Lago di Braies, you’ll pass by the Marinekapplle chapel. 

Hochalpenkopf Peak Trail

Hochalpenkopf views, Prags Dolomites
  • Trailhead: Hotel Lago di Braies
  • Distance: 16.9 km circuit.
  • Difficulty: Difficult 
  • Time Needed: 8 hours with breaks
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 1202 meters
  • Time Needed: 6:30 hours without breaks. It took us 8 hours with breaks.

From Hotel Lago di Braies, follow the circuit trail around the lake counter-clockwise. When you get to the opposite end of the lake, follow signs to Malga Foresta/Grünwaldalm. After passing this alpine pasture hut, you’ll continue walking through the Val di Foresta/Grünwaldtal valley.

The trail eventually ascends to the remote Ütia Fojadora mountain pasture. From here, the trail continues to Hochalpenkopf Peak. You’ll cross high-elevation meadows and see the most spectacular views of Seekofel and the Prags Dolomites. The trail ends with a steep (but manageable descent) back to Lago di Braies.

The trail isn’t technically difficult, but it’s long and requires stamina. Try to get an early start, to avoid the midday sun in the valley.

Trail Guide: Hochalpenkopf Circuit Hike

Croda del Becco / Seekofel (2810 m) 

  • Trailhead: Hotel Lago di Braies
  • Distance: 14.6 km out-and-back 
  • Difficulty: Difficult 
  • Time Needed: 7:45 – 8 hours 
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 1380 meters
  • Croda del Becco Trail Description

Croda del Becco (2818 m) is the magnificent mountain which forms the backdrop of Lago di Braies in the Braies Dolomites. It takes about 4 hours to reach the summit from the lake. Following the Alta Via 1 Trail, first ascend to Rifugio Biella (3:30 hours) and then continue another hour to the peak.

Grünwaldtal and Hochalpensee 

  • Trailhead: Hotel Lago di Braies
  • Distance: 17.4 km out-and-back
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Time Needed: 6:15 hours
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 825 meters
  • Hochalpensee Trail Description (German) – In Chrome, you can easily translate the text using Google Translate. 

Herrstein (2447 m)

  • Trailhead: Hotel Lago di Braies
  • Distance: 9.6 km out-and-back 
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Time Needed: 4:30 hours
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 1030 meters 
  • Herrstein Trail Description & Photos (German)

Related: Best Day Hikes in the Dolomites

How to Get to Lago di Braies

Lago di Braies / Pragser Wildsee, Dolomites, Italy


High Season: July 10 – September 10 

If you’re visiting Lago di Braies between July 10th and September 10th, you can only drive to the lake before 9:30 am or after 4 pm. You can park at the paid car parks near Hotel Lago di Braies.

  • PARKING AREA P3 (200 meters from the lake) 6 EUR for 3 hours. 12 EUR max per day.
  • PARKING AREA P2 (400 meters from the lake) 6 EUR for the whole day.

Driving access to the lake is restricted during peak hours (9:30 am – 4 pm): “Pragser Tal valley can only be reached between 9.30 AM and 4.00 PM by public transportation, on foot, by bicycle, or on presentation of a parking space reservation or a valid transit permit” (source).

If you’re planning on driving to Lago di Braies during high season (during peak hours), pre-book your parking. We recommend booking Parking Area P1 because it’s closer to the lake (no shuttle necessary). Here are the two parking areas you can pre-book near Lago di Braies:

  • PARKING AREA P1 (8:00 – 18:00). This car park is located only 800 meters from the lake. It costs 15 EUR to reserve a parking space here. You can walk to the lake from the parking lot.
  • PARKING AREA SÄGE / SEGHERIA (8:00 – 16:00). This car park is located 5.5 km from Lago di Braies. It costs 9 EUR to park here. There are shuttles that run approximately every 30 minutes (between 9:30 am and 4 pm except during lunch) to the lake from this parking lot. Shuttle tickets cost 5 EUR per person one-way. You do not need to pre-book the shuttle ticket.

Low Season: September 10 – July 10

During the low season, there are no driving restrictions for private vehicles. You can drive to Lago di Braies and park at the paid car parks near the lake, next to the hotel. If P2 and P3 are full, there’s another car park (P1) about 800 meters back down the road.  

  • PARKING AREA P3 (200 meters from the lake) 6 EUR for 3 hours. 12 EUR max per day.
  • PARKING AREA P2 (400 meters from the lake) 6 EUR for the whole day.

Parking Lots near Lake Braies

Lago di Braies / Pragser Wildsee, Northern Italy

Each parking lot operates a little differently. There are toilets at each lot. For very short visits, park in P3. Otherwise, we recommend P2.

Lago di Braies P3 Parking Lot (200 meters from lake)

Exact Location: Google Maps

This is the largest and closest parking lot to the lake. It’s a gated, ticket-operated parking lot. You’ll grab a ticket upon entering and pay for your parking at the “Kasse/Cassa,” before leaving. The first 15 minutes are free. You can pay using cash, or with a bankomat (debit card). If you need to pay with a credit card, you can pay inside the hotel. If you lose your ticket, it’s 50 EUR to park here.

Pricing for Cars:

  • 3 hours (arriving between 7:00 am and 5:00 pm): 6 EUR
  • 3 hours (arriving between 5:00 pm and 8:00 pm): 4 EUR
  • 3 hours (arriving between 8:00 pm and 7:00 am): 2 EUR
  • After the first 3 hours, you’ll pay an additional 80 cents for every 30 minutes
  • Maximum rate per day: 12 EUR
  • From the Second Day: 8 EUR

Pricing for RVs:

  • 3 hours (arriving between 7:00 am and 5:00 pm): 8 EUR
  • 3 hours (arriving between 5:00 pm and 8:00 pm): 8 EUR
  • 3 hours (arriving between 8:00 pm and 7:00 am): 8 EUR
  • After the first 3 hours, you’ll pay an additional 80 cents for every 30 minutes
  • 24-hour rate: 20 EUR

Pricing for Motorcycles:

  • 3 hours (arriving between 7:00 am and 5:00 pm): 3.80 EUR
  • 3 hours (arriving between 5:00 pm and 8:00 pm): 2 EUR
  • 3 hours (arriving between 8:00 pm and 7:00 am): 1 EUR
  • After the first 3 hours, you’ll pay an additional 50 cents for every 30 minutes
  • Maximum rate per day: 6 EUR
  • From the Second Day: 8 EUR

Lago di Braies P2 Parking Lot (400 meters from the lake)

Exact Location: Google Maps

The P2 car park is also really close to the car park. This parking lot is managed privately. Someone will personally collect the parking fee. If you’re planning on doing a longer hike (over 3 hours), park here.

It’s 6 EUR per day for cars and 12 EUR per day for RVs/camper vans. Camper Vans can overnight here for 8 EUR.

Lago di Braies P1 Parking Lot (800 meters from the lake)

Exact Location: Google Maps

The pay-and-display P1 parking lot is smaller than P2 and P3. There’s a small kiosk here, where you can buy drinks and snacks, as well as a toilette. There’s only a daily rate. The ticket machine is next to the Kiosk. You can pay using coins or with a card. Bring EUR coins in case the machine doesn’t accept your card.

  • Car: 6 EUR
  • Motorbike: 2 EUR
  • Bus: 12 EUR
  • Camper: 9 EUR

Parking Area Säge/Segheria (5.5 km from the lake)

Exact Location: Google Maps

Only park here if you don’t have another option during high season.

You have to pay for parking and the shuttle to the lake.

Public Transit 

Morning at Lago di Braies, Dolomites, Italy

If you want to visit Lago di Braies without a car, it’s best to first head to Dobbiaco (Toblach) by train, or bus. Use the journey planner on the Suedtirolmobil website to find your connection. From Cortina d’Ampezzo, for example, it’s a 40-minute bus ride (Bus Line 445) to get to the Dobbiaco Train Station. 

Important: If you’re planning on taking a bus to Lago di Braies between July 10 – September 10, advance online-booking and prepayment are required.

Bus Line 442: Dobbiaco (Toblach) – Villabassa (Niederdorf) – Lago di Braies (Pragser Wildsee) 

There is a regular bus line to Lago di Braies from Dobbiaco (Toblach) and Villabassa (Niederdorf), two towns in Val Pusteria. Here’s the 2023 Bus Line 442 timetable. This bus line runs all year round. Between June 18th – September 24th, there are additional connections. 

It takes 20 minutes to reach Lago di Braies from Villabassa and about 30 minutes from Dobbiaco. 

If you’re visiting between July 10th and September 10th, online reservation and pre-payment are essential. You can book your bus ticket on the Prags website.

Seasonal Bus Line 439: Monguelfo (Welsberg) to Lago di Braies (Pragser Wildsee).

Between July 10th and September 10th, there is a seasonal tourist shuttle from Monguelfo (Welsberg) to Lago di Braies. The bus ride takes 20 minutes. You must make a reservation and pay for your ticket online ahead of time. You can book your bus ticket to Lago di Braies on the Prags website.

Here’s the 2022 Bus Line 439 timetable

Lago di Braies Hotels & Accommodations

Valle di Braies

Valle di Braies valley is the best base for exploring everything that the northern Prags/Braies Dolomites has to offer. The top attractions are Prato Piazza and Lago di Braies. But with more time, you can venture off-the-beaten-path to the Ütia Fojadora mountain pasture, Grünwaldtal valley and Hochalpensee lake, Hochalpenkopf peak, Croda del Becco/Seekofel summit, Herrstein peak, Grosser Rosskopf peak, and the Gaislkare high trail (Prato Piazza to Malga Rossalm). 

Budget | Garni Bergblick is a darling guesthouse in Braies/Prags Valley, located a mere 5.6 km (8-min drive) from Lago di Braies, 6.2 km (9 min drive) from Ponticello, and 11.3 km (18 min drive) from Prato Piazza. Set in an idyllic meadow surrounded by trees, Garni Bergblick is the perfect base for exploring the Braies/Prags Dolomites. Breakfast is included in the rate.

Budget-Midrange | Berggasthaus Agritur Moserhof is a traditional and cozy farm stay, perched high above Braies/Prags Valley. Breakfast and dinner are included in the rate. From Moserhof, it’s a 5-minute drive down to the valley and a  11-minute drive to Lago di Braies.

Midrange | Farmhouse Hanslerhof is a mountain guesthouse and farm overlooking Braies/Prags Valley and surrounded by meadows. Guests love the charming stone pine rooms, homemade breakfasts (included the room rate), and quiet location. From Hanslerhof, it’s an 8 minute drive to Lago di Braies.

Midrange | Hotel Erika is a 3-star hotel situated at the entrance of Valle di Braies. Guests have access to a lovely 400m² wellness area containing a Finnish Sauna (90 °C), steam bath (42-45° C), bio sauna (60 °C), infrared lounge, jacuzzi, and relaxation rooms. Rooms are clean and comfortably furnished in a Tyrolean-alpine style. A rich and varied breakfast buffet and a  5-course dinner are included in the room rate (half board). From Hotel Erika, it’s a 10-minute drive to Lago di Braies and a 20-minute drive to Prato Piazza. 

Midrange | Hotel Turmchalet (3 nights minimum) is a family-run 3-star-superior hotel in Valle di Briaes, praised for their superior service and friendliness. The hotel was recently renovated, resulting in tastefully-designed, alpine-modern bedrooms and a standout facade. Guests describe the cuisine as delicious, sensational and outstanding. Breakfast and dinner are included in the room rate (half board). And, there’s also a wellness area.

Look for an accommodation in Braies Valley.

Monguelfo, Val Pusteria

Monguelfo (Welsberg in German) is a village in Val Pusteria, only 3-minutes away from the entrance of Braies Valley.

Luxury | Hotel Christof is a new and stylish hotel in the village of Monguelfo/Welsberg in Val Pusteria. Stay here for the striking fresh-faced architecture, modern 600 m² wellness area, and excellent cuisine (you can book breakfast-only or half board). This modern hotel is a splash of cheerful color and laid-back fun on the South Tyrolean hospitality scene. From the hotel, it’s a 13-minute drive to Lago di Braies.

Luxury | Silentium Dolomites Chalet Since 1600 is tucked away on the edge of a forest, 2-km from the town center of Monguelfo/Welsberg. It’s a 15-minute drive from Silentium Chalet to Lago di Braies. Guests love the kind hospitality, picturesque location, and excellent breakfasts (included) and dinners (optional).

Alta Pusteria

Naturhotel Leitlhof, Dolomites Wellness Hotel
Naturhotel Leitlhof

Valle di Braies/Pragser Tal valley is a side valley of Alta Pusteria/Hochpustertal (“Upper Puster Valley”) in South Tyrol. Alta Pusteria, also called the Three Peaks Region, encompasses the towns of Villabassa/Niederdorf, Dobbiaco/Toblach, and San Candido/Innichen, as well as the side valley of Sesto/Sexten. Dobbiaco and San Candido are excellent places to stay when you want to split your time between the Sexten Dolomites and the Prags Dolomites. 

You can explore the northern Sexten Dolomites from Val Fiscalina/Fischleintal and Innerfeldtal/Val Campo di Dentro. To access the southern Sexten Dolomites, you can drive through Valle di Landro/Höhlensteintal to Lake Misurina, Lake Antorno, and onwards to Tre Cime di Lavaredo via the Rifugio Auronzo toll road

We recommend hiking the Sentiero Bonacossa North Trail (challenging day hike), The Three Peaks Circuit Trail (easy-moderate day hike), and the Cadini di Misurina viewpoint (short easy hike). 

Luxury | Naturhotel Leitlhof is a 4-star-superior, climate-neutral wellness hotel in San Candido. Situated at a slight elevation and bordered by forest, idyllic Naturhotel Leitlhof overlooks the village and the gorgeous Sexten mountains including Haunold/Rocca dei Baranci and Dreischusterspitze/Cima di Tre Scarperi. Sunsets and sunrises are glorious here. The 2000 m² wellness facilities and outdoor pool are stellar. And, the cuisine is second to none. This is one of the very best hotels in the Dolomites.

Look for an accommodation in San Candido.

Visiting Lago di Braies Responsibly

While visiting Lago di Braies, you’re also visiting a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site. Please adhere to the following rules during your visit.

  • Swimming in Lago di Braies is not allowed.
  • Flying drones at Lago di Braies or anywhere else in the park is not allowed.
  • Wild camping is prohibited in the park. 
  • Always stay on marked trails and paths. 
  • Do not pick flowers.
  • Respect the habitat of animals. Do not make any unnecessary noise.
  • Do not light fires.
  • Do not litter. Please take your garbage with you and dispose of it responsibly.
  • Do not touch, or approach grazing animals.
  • No motor vehicles are allowed within the park.

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Dolomites Trip Planning Essentials

Use our Dolomites Travel Guide and Dolomites Blog Archive to plan an unforgettable trip to northeastern Italy.

When to Hike in the Dolomites

The best time to hike in the Dolomites is between mid-June and mid-September. Unlike other regions in the Dolomites, Alpe di Siusi and Val Gardena enjoy a longer summer season. It can start as early as end of May and end as late as early November.

Read Next: Best Time to Visit the Dolomites

Car Rental

The easiest way to travel between hiking destinations in the Italian Dolomites is with your own car. Check out our 7-Day Dolomites Road Trip itinerary for trip inspiration.

We recommend using the car rental reservation platform to search for and book car rentals. This easy-to-use booking platform compares car rental deals from 500+ trusted providers, so that you can choose the best option for your trip.

Tip: If you can only drive automatic transmission cars, as opposed to manual transmission cars (stick shift), book your car rental as early as possible.

Check car rental rates here

Best Places to Stay

Figuring out where to stay in the Dolomites is probably the biggest hurdle to planning a trip to the Dolomites. We’ve created three guides to help you decide where to stay:

We suggest choosing 2-4 bases for your Dolomites trip and spending 2-4 nights in each base.

What to See & Do

During your trip to the Dolomites, you can go via ferrata climbing, culinary hiking, hut to hut hiking, cycling, paragliding, and so much more. We’ve highlighted our favorite experiences in Best Things to Do in the Dolomites.

Wherever you decide to stay, you’ll be surrounded by glorious mountain scenery and incredible natural landmarks.

In Best Places to Visit in the Dolomites, we’ve outlined the most iconic attractions as well as lesser-known destinations across the Dolomites, including Alpe di Siusi, Lago di Braies, Prato Piazza, Tre Cime di Lavaredo, Lago di Sorapis, Lago Federa, Seceda, Baita Segantini, and the Adolf Munkel Trail to Geiserlalm.

Dolomites Packing List

Hiking Gear

Outdoor Photography Gear

Dolomites Hiking Guides

Hiking in the Dolomites is our passion. Year after year, we love discovering new trails and expanding our knowledge of the area. For day hiking, check out 25+ Best Day Hikes in the Dolomites. For trekking, take a look at our guide to Hut to Hut Hiking in the Dolomites and Alta Via 1.

For region-specific hiking trails, check out:

Recommended Hiking Guidebook: Cicerone Guide: Shorter Walks in the Dolomites