An emerald green paradise
The Braies Lake fascinates in every season: in summer for the emerald-blue color of its waters, in winter for the blanket of snow and ice that covers it and makes it an idyllic and romantic place. Here nature is the protagonist: a combination of natural beauty, legends, historical events and an impressive mountain panorama that makes it an irresistible place, a true jewel in the heart of the Dolomites.
Braies Lake is located in the Braies Valley in the area of the Three Peaks (Tre Cime) in the Dolomites at the foot of the Croda del Becco, in the Fanes-Senes-Braies Natural Park. It is the largest natural lake in the Dolomites, formed following a landslide, whose shores served as a movie set for the Rai tv series "A step from the sky (Un passo dal cielo)" with Terence Hill. Near the lake there is the small church dedicated to the Madonna, where the Austrian couple who inherited the throne stopped there to pray before being killed in Sarajevo and where in May 1945 the most famous prisoners that Hitler kept hidden in Braies were released.
Summer: the tour of the Braies Lake
A very popular destination in the summer, so that to protect its beauty and integrity traffic restrictions have been imposed, it offers many outdoor activities: hiking, mountaineering, walks and for the bravest, a dip in the icy waters or a nice ride on old rowing boats, used a time to reach the other shore, which you can rent from June to September.
Lake Braies is also the starting point of the Alpine Path of the Dolomites no.1 and around its shores develops an easy path to do even with children, about an hour and a half: the famous Tour of Braies Lake. The itinerary starts near the hotel and you can immediately see the pile dwelling above the waters where some boats are docked. The path becomes a little narrower, with some roots to pay attention to not to stumble.
There are many areas where to stop to admire the lake and the surrounding landscape. The path departs from the lake, which is still clearly visible. Here you can see a picnic area where you can stop. From here the most fascinating section: the path runs along a vertical rock wall and the view of the lake is really special. Go up for a stretch and then wind down the lake near some small beaches. The path widens, it skirts the chapel and in a short time you arrive at the starting point.
Winter: excursions and snowshoeing
In winter the natural environment is covered with snow and ice. Even the lake turns into a smooth surface where you can walk. Around, with a little attention and the right equipment, it is possible to walk on the snow that creaks under your feet or climb on the Croda del Becco. The snowshoeing from the lake to Foresta hut is very beautiful and easy to do. For those who love cross-country skiing, there is the trail that goes from the hamlet of Ferrara to the parking of the lake.
Braies Lake: technical data and legend
Location above sea level: 1496 sqm
Size: 31 hectare
Length: 1,2 km
Width: 300 – 400 m
Shoreline: 3,5 km
Maximum depth: 36 m
Medium depth: 17 m
A legend tells that once the Braies Lake was the door of the Fanes' underground kingdom and that the surrounding mountains were inhabited by savages engaged in finding gold and precious stones, which were then sold or used to make jewels that were given to the shepherds who came to the area to graze their cattle. Over time the shepherds became increasingly greedy and began to steal gold and stones from the savages, who decided to open up underground sources to defend themselves, joining together to create a surface of water, the lake, which swallowed up their riches and protected them by the shepherds.
How to get to Braies Lake
To reach the lake by car, between the villages of Monguelfo and Villabassa there is the junction for the Val di Braies, then proceed for a few kilometers until you reach the junction with the road that leads to the lake. Cross the villages of Ferrara and San Vito and arrive at the car park (for a fee in the tourist season), where there is a large hotel-restaurant.
In summer, from July to September the road from the hamlet of Ferrara is closed to traffic from 10.30 am to 2.00 pm. It is therefore possible to park the car for a fee (limited parking) and then proceed on foot along the trail n.1 which in an hour and a half walk leads to the lake, or with the line bus 442 (Dobbiaco – Villabassa – Braies Lake) or the Monguelfo – Braies Lake shuttle service.
Braies Lake: recommended luxury hotels
Here a list of recommended luxury hotels where you can spend your holidays and reach in short time the Braies Lake.
Post Hotel - Tradition & Lifestyle - Adults Only – San Candido: 21 km
Alpin Hotel Masl – Valles: 59 km
My Arbor Plose Wellness Hotel - Adults Only – Bressanone: 73 km
Naturhotel Lüsnerhof – Luson: 78 km
ABINEA Dolomiti Romantic Spa Hotel – Castelrotto: 90 km
ADLER Spa Resort Dolomiti – Ortisei: 92 km
Parkhotel Laurin – Bolzano: 102 km
ADLER Lodge RITTEN - Bolzano: 116 km