Lago Di Braies Circuit – A Beginner Day Hike In The Italian Dolomites

Lago di Braies (also known as Pragser Wildsee in German) is the jewel in the Italian Dolomites’ crown.

For those of you who have been living under a rock and haven’t heard of it, it’s a crystal blue lake located beneath an amphitheater of rock.

Due to the ease of access, it’s the most popular spot in the Italian Dolomites and it also marks the start of the popular 142-kilometer-long traverse Alta Via 1.

The majority of people who visit the lake, only go as far as the boat jetty located only 100 meters away from the parking lot, but if you want to escape the crowds and dip your toes into the world of hiking, this beginner trek is for you!  

In this article, I will share with you some tips about visiting Lago di Braies and hiking the circuit around the lake. 

Lago Di Braies Circuit: How To Get There And What To Expect

What you need to know before visiting Lago di Braies in the Italian Dolomites
  • Distance: 4km / 2.5 mi
  • Walking time: 1-2 h
  • Elevation gain: 50 m / 165 feet
  • When to go: June – October
  • Hiking difficulty: easy

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If you have any questions, leave them in the comments below!

There are 4 paid car parks along the road close to Lago di Braies. The two closest are a couple of minutes’ stroll from the lake’s shore and cost as much as 20 Euros per day! The further two are between 20-30 minutes walk away.

On a busy day, car parks fill up as early as 10 am and the road leading to them is stuffed with traffic. The whole system is a bit chaotic and often queues of cars are waiting in long jams for hours just to be turned around further ahead.

To avoid disappointment arrive early, even earlier than early!

The jetty with boats to rent on Lago di Braies
The trail goes around the river, which takes its beginning from the lake

There is also a public bus nr 442, route: Braies di Dentro/Innerprags – S. Vito/St. Veit to the Lago Di Braies but it’s often caught in the queue of cars and moving nowhere. For more information on how to get to Lago di Braies by bus go here. 

If you can’t make it there before 9 am go somewhere else such as Lago di Dobbiaco just around the corner, or Lago di Landro about 30 minutes away, and come back later in the day when the crowds disperse. 

Lago Di Braies Circuit Information

If you do manage to get there, the loop around the lake can be done in around an hour without stopping. On a nice day, the far end of the lake is a great place for a picnic or a sunbathe.

There is even a little beach where you can hang out. Just bear in mind that swimming in the lake is prohibited.

If you think you’ll need the toilet, go to the restaurant or to the car parks, the toilets on the far side of the lake are not the best.  

Similarly to the car park costs, the price for canoe rental has seen a big increase to 25€ an hour as of 2019.

Reflections in lago di Braies in the Italian Dolomites

The circuit around the lake can be done either clockwise or anticlockwise. I recommend going clockwise. There is really not much explaining to do about the route.

Just follow the path along the shoreline and enjoy the views! No maps, navigation skills, or even hiking boots are needed. This is as easy as it gets in the world of hiking! 

Lago di Braies in autumn
Lago di Braies in autumn
Early morning sunrays at Lago di Braies in the Italian Dolomites

The allure of the lake is somewhat tarnished by its popularity. In the morning arguments between groups of photographers are common and people breaking into the boathouse to pose on the jetty before it opens is at times hilarious, at times annoying. Go see it, just don’t expect to be there alone, that’s all I am saying. 

Have you got any questions about visiting Lago Di Braies/Pragser Wildsee or would like to share your own experience? Post it in the comments below!

For more hiking, via ferrata, and photography ideas go to my Italian Dolomites Guide. 

Shop my hiking gear essentials

Black Diamond Z – Pole

At only 150 grams per pole these light, yet incredibly durable and sturdy carbon hiking poles are my constant companion on trails. 

Osprey Kyte 36 l

Great for day hikes and big enough for overnight hut excursions. Osprey backpacks have been with me from the humble beginnings of this website. 

Hydrapack 3 liter Water Bladder 

Staying hydrated during hikes is very important! I always hike with the Hydrapack water bladder in my backpack for easy access to water! 

Icebreaker Merino Wool Socks

An absolute must-have on a hiking holiday. They are breathable and comfy, but most importantly don’t pick up the smell even after a few days of wearing


Hi! I am the photographer and creator of I come from Poland, but I've been living, travelling and working around the globe since I turned 18. A few years ago, during one of my trips to Scotland, I bought my first DSLR and my adventure with photography began. When I am not stuck to my computer editing photos, you can find me hiking somewhere in the mountains.


    • Hi Menno, I personally think sunrise and the golden hour after sunrise is the best. That’s when the sun rays are coming across the mountains. A lot of the photos in this post were taken during the golden hour after sunrise. Thanks for the coffee! 🙂

  1. Thanks for the informative updates and wonderful pictures. I am travelling in mid Oct . Does it snow at Dolomites and will it be still crowded at Lago di braies. Are cable access to Seceda possible at that time.
    13-17 th Oct

    • Hi Sarita. Thanks for stopping by. I am currently based close to the Dolomites and over the past few days, we had the first snowfall above 2000 meters. I hardly doubt this snow will stay but just giving you a heads up.
      Yes, you can have snow in the Dolomites in mid-October, but you can also still expect late summer-like weather during the daytime. I have recently published the perfect fall itinerary for the Dolomites. Most of the photos in that article were taken between mid-October and the end of October.

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