italy

Lake Braises, the pearl of the dolomites

Lake Braises, the pearl of the dolomites

Lake Braies is situated in the homonymous Valle di Braies, which diverts from Val Pusteria between Villabassa and Monguelfo. Located 1,500 meters above sea level in the northernmost point of the Fanes-Senes-Braies Natural Park, roughly 100 kilometers from Bolzano, the main city in South Tyrol, Braies is a natural lake that formed after a landslide blocked the river Braies. It is a stunning destination both for its position, framed as it by the Dolomites, and especially the imposing Croda del Becco, and for its emerald green and turquoise waters, so clear you can mirror yourself.

Lake Braies is a popular tourist destination during all the seasons, in summer it reflects colours in all shades from green to blue, in winter when its surface ices over and becomes the perfect place to practice cross-country skiing or see what it’s like to enjoy a walk on the frozen. In winter and summer this jewel is the starting point for hikes, ski tours, snowshoe hikes and walks.

The lake attracts hikers, bikers and climbers, especially during the summer months. Moreover, Lake Braies is starting point for numerous hiking tours as well as for the Dolomite high path n° 1, that starts from the lake to Belluno through the most suggestive mountains of the area. However, not only the Croda del Becco, but also other surrounding mountains offer you a splendid view on the “Pearl among Dolomite lakes”, which is often also considered to be the most beautiful South Tyrolean lake. If you prefer pleasant walks, you can walk round Lake Braies, along the perimeter of the lake (approx. 4 km 90 min). The path is wide and flat on the west bank, steep and narrow on the eastern shore. In the summer months you can also rent a small boat for half an hour or an hour to tour Lake Braies in a more unusual and… romantic way. Boat rental is available every day at the cute little stilt house at the edge of the lake. Half an hour costs around 11 euros and one hour, 17 euros

A little church built in 1904 stands by the shore almost at the end of the lake path. The church was part of one of the last events that took place during World War II: 137 political prisoners were taken from concentration camps in Germany under the order of the SS commander in chief, who was hoping to exchange them for his safety. The exchange took place at the Hotel Pragser Wildsee, on the lake shores, and the liberated prisoners prayed at the chapel.

Also in mythology, Lake Braies has an important role to play. According to legend, the lake was created long, long ago as the result of a struggle between “savages” and shepherds. Savages dug in the mountains for gold and precious stones. The local herdsmen were jealous and tried to steal the treasures collected by the savages. They were unsuccessful because the savages opened up an underground spring and sunk their treasures in the lake this spring created. The gate to the lake is considered to have been situated at the end of the lake, where the imposing Croda del Becco (2,810 m) rises into the sky. In fact, this mountain is also called the “Sass dla Porta“, the mountain gate

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The author

Eleonora Ruzzenenti

Eleonora Ruzzenenti

I am Eleonora, from Italy. I share with you a frenetic passion for travelling and an insatiable curiosity for different cultures. On itinari, you will find my stories about Italy.


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