The Dolomites is North Italy at its best! It is one of the hidden gems of Southern Europe with its impressive and pure nature. Hikers and sports enthusiasts can certainly go wild here, but it is also a good match as a relaxing holiday with family. We stayed for a week in Levico Terme, Trento and explored the area of South Tirol.
Our 2 favorite lakes in the Dolomites
There are more than a hundred beautiful lakes in the Dolomites, of which Karersee, Lake Molveno, Medina Lake, Lake Garda and Lago di Ledro are just a few examples. We decided to visit the 2 most photogenic lakes, namely the famous Lago di Braies and Lake Sorapis.
1. Lago di Braies (Pragser Wildsee)
It is the most popular, but also the most beautiful and photogenic lake of the Dolomites. In the picturesque Alta Pusteria / Hochpustertal, located at an altitude of 1500 m, lies this turquoise green lake. Probably, you have seen the pictures that appear on Instagram, because Lago di Braies is pretty popular among photographers and Instagram enthusiasts.
When is the best time to go to Lago di Braies?
It is not a secret that Lago di Braies is the most touristy lake of the Dolomites. Who wants the perfect shot, will have to get up early. We were there around 5.30am – 6.00am and the die hard photographers were already shooting. Around 10 photographers were at the lake, but no tourists yet. Until 8 o’clock it was fairly quiet at the lake but it is important to mention that we were here in the month of June. In high season it gets very busy from 7 am so keep this in mind! I would suggest to go half an hour earlier. Those who prefer to hire nostalgic rowing boats can do this from 10 o’clock.
- Opening hours: from mid June until September, open every day from 10.00am until 5.00pm
- Prices: 1/2 hour €12.00 – 1 hour € 20.00
How to get to Lago di Braies?
> Hotel Lago di Braies
Those those who prefer not to get up early can choose to stay at the Lago di Braies hotel. This is a basic 4 * hotel where you pay around 120 euros/night for the cheapest room in low season. Do not expect luxury, but just ordinary decent rooms.
> By car
Lago di Braies is easy to reach by car. Of course, the exact route depends on where you stay. Usually you go by the town of Brunico/Bruneck and then to Percha, Welsberg-Taisten and San Vito. The lifts can also be found in Brunico/Bruneck. If you come from the other side (eastern part) from San Candido or from Cortina d’Ampezzo, drive past the village of Villabassa until you see the exit (turn left) to Braies.
> Where can I park my car?
I can already hear you thinking, ‘Are there enough parking lots to park my car when it is crowded at Lago di Braies?’. There are sufficient parking lost, namely 4 different ground parking spaces closed with a bareel. P1 is the closest parking lot and costs 5-6 euros per car between 7am – 5pm. For those who arrive before 7 am, they need to pay only 2 euros per car. After 5pm, the price is 4 euro’s per car. This parking lot is located about ten meters from the lake itself making it accessible to everyone.
A walk around the lake
The ambitious hikers will not be completely satisfied. You can take a walk around the lake itself which takes about 1 hour – 1.5 hours. This trail is not too difficult, but may not be ideal for small children or older people. There are other hiking trails that start at Braies, but these are more advanced. More walking routes can be found here.
It is allowed to swim in the lake, but there are few people who go in the cold water. We were even foolishly declared by photographers
2. Lago di Sorapis (Sorapis lake)
I hear you think ‘Is this Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada’? No, this lake is located at 1923 m altitude in the Dolomites, South Tyrol. The lake, with its surreal color, is surrounded by beautiful mountain ranges, which makes the hike completely worthwhile.
When is the best time to go to Lago di Sorapis
During the summer months, it can get hot in the Dolomites. The best thing to do is start your hike as early as possible since you do not want to suffer from the burning sun. Some parts of the hike to Lago di Sorapis are in the blazing sun, so be sure to wear suncream or wear a hat! We have done Lago di Braies and Lago di Sorapis in 1 day. This is possible if you start your day very early (around 4 o’clock in the morning), then you can start the hike to Lago di Sorapis around 10 o’clock.
How to get to Lago di Sorapis?
There are 2 different hiking trails in the Parco Naturale delle Dolomiti D’Ampezzo to the lake: route 215 and route 217.
> Route 215 ‘the trail for Rifugio Vandelli and Lago di Sorapis’
Route 215 is the ‘easiest one’ of the two. The starting point is in Passo Tre Croci at Cortina D’Ampezzo, where is also enough parking space. Several hiking trails start here as Tonde del Sorapis, Boschi di Marcuoira e Valbona and Bosco di Tardeiba. All these hiking trails are longer and contain a higher slope and are therefore more for advanced hikers. The first part of the hike reminded me of a walk in the woods, as we know them in Belgium. Those trails were large and not too steep. When you are halfway there, the hike is getting more advanced with more steep slopes and some obstacles as snow or a fallen tree. Finally, the last part is the heaviest because you need to climb all the time (even over trees!). Most noteworthy, they provided iron cables and stairs for the most difficult parts (thank God!).
- the walk takes 2 hours and 1.5 hours back.
- 10 km back and forth
- an incline of 200 m
> Route 217
The more advanced route to Lago di Sorapis. If you use Google Maps as a navigation system, it will navigate you to the starting point of route 17. After some research, this hike turned out to be a bit too challenging for sporting, but untrained hikers.
- about 15 km
- an incline of 600 m, because the starting point is much lower
Did you know the color of the lake changes depending on the amount of sunlight?
HIGH UP IN MOUNTAINS ~ WAY DOWN IN STREAMS 🏔💧〰 ➳ Our first hike in the Dolomites towards this incredible lake, Lago Di Sorapis on 1923 m, was totally worth it!💥 It even made me think of lake Louise in Alberta 🤭👌🏼 #vacansoleilmaaktjeblij #dolomites #lagodisorapis #sorapislake #icecreamlover #belgiantravelblogger
Period: 14 t/m 20 juni, 5 nights
Kilometers: 2200 km (incl. return trip from Antwerp, Belgium)
Vignet: who drives through Germany and Austria needs a vignette to drive through Austria. The price for a 10-day road vignette is 9.5 euros. This vignette can be purchased online or in a petrol station close to the border.
Refueling costs: about 270 euro
Costs toll roads: about 40 euro
Accommodation: Camping Due Laghi in Trentino
Handy travel guides: Rother wandelgids Dolomieten 1 & ANWB Actief Dolomieten