Braies Lake (Braies – BZ)
Braies Lake is an alpine lake, located in the Valley of Braies, close to the more famous and touristic Val Pusteria.
What each year attracts crowds of tourists (and local, I suppose) to spend the day on this Lake?
Probably, being a wonderful place helps a lot, just like the beautiful green color of its waters, the breathtaking scenery (it is surrounded on three sides by Dolomite peaks), the path that runs along the entire perimeter, and perhaps also the beaches and picnic areas that are found along the trail.
You can park your car (for a fee, of course) just outside the Hotel Pragser Wildsee, where starts the trail that circumnavigates the lake. If you hurry to get to the beaches or the small church (Marienkapelle), looking at the lake and the hotel behind, you should go directly to the right.
If you prefer to rent a boat or start right away with the walk “overview”, take the path to the left, and after a few meters you will meet the piles of wood where you can rent a boat, at quite exorbitant prices: 11 Euros for 1/2 hour, 17 euro for an hour (summer 2015).
Continuing the trail to the left, past the piles you get to an offshoot of the lake, where the water is very low; during summertime, if you look out into the water, you will see thousands of tadpoles blacken the banks.
Keeping on, the trail moves away from the lake shore and begins to climb in the woods, giving lovely views from where you can still see the bright green water surrounded by the pines. Here the trail is not very easy for strollers and bicycles, and has a slight slope, but nothing dangerous or too hard: the walk around Braies Lake is accessible to everyone.
At three-quarters of the path, it goes suddenly down with a series of switchbacks and returns on the banks of the lake, where you can find the beaches, where it is common to see a lot of beautiful big dogs swimming. If you dare, you can join them, but remember: you are at almost 1500 meters above sea level, surrounded by the Dolomites: here, it’s cold even in August! Here you will also find a public restroom.
The rest of the path widens and reaches a very large beach just below the hotel, in front of the church where, in 1945, were released the last illustrious illustrious Hitler’s hostages. It’s also the church where the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne and his wife came to pray, before the bombing of Sarajevo.
Although it is a beautiful walk immersed in a splendid landscape, the loop trail around the lake is passable in two hours of total relaxation, including the stops for refreshment and to take those thousand pictures that the view seem to require; so you can consider the possibility to be able to fully enjoy the Lake Braies in half a day.
For this excursion there are no special indications, except the usual: remember your sunscreen and sunglasses, and check the weather conditions before venturing out on the path that is easy, but still a mountain trail: so banish sandals and heels.