Braies lake, also known as Pragser Wildsee is the best proof that nothing man-made can ever exceed the beauty of nature. The soaring mountains reflecting in turquoise waters, the lush forest surrounding the lake, boats floating on the water and a small church create a magical and surreal landscape that will leave you speechless.
Braies lake is in Fanes-Sennes-Braies (Prags) nature reserve, which is a part of the Dolomite Mountains. The reserve is known for its limestone formations and beautiful alpine meadows but many agree that the most magnificent place is the lake Braies itself.
Braies is also called Pragser Wildsee because it’s in the region of South Tyrol. It’s an autonomous region in Italy where people speak Italian as well as German and most of the names are in both languages.
The beauty of the lake has inspired people for ages and there are two legends about Braies. The first one tells a story of a kingdom of Fanes which was once in the area. Its queen made a pact with marmots but couldn’t keep her promise and her beautiful kingdom was destroyed. Once a year during the moonlight a boat with the queen and her daughter can be seen on lake Braies – they’re waiting for the rebirth of their kingdom.
The second legend is a more modern one. During the II World War the hotel Pragser Wildsee was a Nazi base. It’s said that when the war ended the Nazis didn’t know how to hide their riches and sank 10 tons of gold into the Braies lake! A lot of people have actually tried retrieving the treasure but no one has found it as the lake it quite deep and murky. Maybe you’ll be the lucky one…?
Hiking around lake Braies
Though situated on 1500 metres, lake Braies is easily reached by car, it’s around 2 minutes walk from the nearest car park. There’s also a hiking trail around the lake which takes approx. 1 hour but it will definitely take you longer as you will stop all the time to marvel at the beauty of the landscape. The trail is very easy and good for kids though obviously you have to take care of them, especially when the surface of the trail of wet.
Here’s a list of more difficult trails in the area if you feel like hiking. You can’t ride bicycles around the lake Braies.
During summer it’s also possible to rent a boat and explore the lake this way! There is also a hotel Pragser Wildsee if you feel like staying there for the night and waking to a beautiful view.
How to get to lake Braies
The best way to get to Braies is by car, you can get there from Niederdorf (Villabassa) town, passing through beautiful villages like Ferrara and San Vito. There’s quite a lot of place to park a car, it costs around 3 euros and as mentioned before, the car parks are just by the lake.