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13 stunning Dolomites Lakes to see: best Alpine Lakes of Italy’s Dolomites Region


Dolomites, italy

by Coco Tran On September 8, 2023

lago di braise italy dolomites

Looking for the best dolomites lakes to visit on your road trip in the italian alps? In this guide, I’ll highlight the best lakes in the Dolomites to visit and provide tips to help you plan your trip:

As you gaze across the shimmering turquoise waters of Lago di Braies, you are struck by the tranquil beauty of this alpine lake nestled amidst the towering limestone peaks of the Dolomites. With the first rays of sunrise illuminating the steep cliffs surrounding the lake, it feels as if you’ve stumbled upon a hidden mountain paradise. This is just one of the many breathtaking lakes you encounter during your trip through the Italian Dolomites.

lakes in dolomites

On my last trip to South Tyrol, I dedicated a couple of days to visiting some of the most beautiful Dolomites lakes the Dolomites have to offer. I had hoped to see more but unfortunately the weather had other plans with very thick fog. Nonetheless, I’ve included those as well based on my research when initially planning my trip.

Spanning across the northern regions of Trentino-Alto Adige and Veneto, the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Dolomites is renowned for its rugged mountain landscapes and world-class hiking and climbing.

Driving in Dolomites and Around the Lakes Dolomites

  • The Dolomites span across northeastern Italy, approximately 1-3 hours drive from Venice, Verona, or Milan. Rent a car for easy access to trailheads.
  • Centrally located towns like Cortina d’Ampezzo or Canazei make good bases. Or stay overnight at a scenic lake.
  • Many lakes are near main roads, while others require short to moderate hikes. Check access and plan hikes carefully.

Reserve your Rental car

Coco Tran — Aesthetic Travel Blog By Film Photographer Coco Tran https://cocotran.com/dolomites-lakes/

Free cancelations | Easy Returns & Convenient Pickup | Best Price Guarantee

When to Visit the dolomites lakes

  • Summer provides the warmest weather for boating, swimming, and scenic hikes. However, the most popular lakes can get crowded.
  • Visit in shoulder season for fewer people, lower prices, and stunning fall foliage colors.
  • Winter offers a different beauty, with snowy peaks reflected across frozen lakes.

Lago di Braies or Pragser Wildsee — The Crown Jewel  

Also known as Pragser Wildsee, this is the most popular lake in the Italian Alps. It’s located in Val Pusteria and is part of the Fanes-Sennes-Braies nature park. The turquoise waters and surrounding mountains make it one of the best places to visit in the Dolomites.

dolomites lakes
  • The most famous lake in the Dolomites, renowned for its crystal clear turquoise waters.
  • Easy to access by car and surrounded by scenic forests and peaks.
  • Walk the path around the lake and rent a traditional wooden rowboat.
  •  Reached by car from San Vito di Cadore in around 20 minutes
  • Most popular activities: Hiking, rowboat rentals, photography

Lago Federa – a hidden gem lake in dolomites

This stunning lakes Dolmites has and can only be reached by hiking. The autumn colors reflecting in the vivid waters with cliffs rising behind make it one of the most scenic hikes in the Dolomites.

Lago di Sorapis – An Aquamarine Marvel

  • Situated near Cortina d’Ampezzo, around 1 hour drive from the heart of the Dolomites  
  • A true alpine gem, requiring a steep 2 hour and 13.5KM  hike each way to access.
  • Incredible bright green waters set amidst towering cliffs make the tough trek worthwhile.
  • Hike early to beat crowds on this popular trail. Stop for a picnic beside the idyllic waters.
lago di dolomites

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Lago di Carezza – A Magical Mirror Lake

  • Just 15 minutes by car west of Bolzano/Bozen in the Dolomites
  •  Walking the 1.7 km path around the lake is the top activity
  • Photograph the perfect reflections of the Latemar mountain range
lago di carezza karessa

Lago di Alleghe – A Vivid Turquoise Jewel

  •  Below Monte Civetta in the Alleghe valley, 1 hour from Dolomites
  • Pedal boat rentals let you explore the lake up close
  • Formed from a historic landslide, this lake is off the beaten path but scenic.
  • Walk the 2.5km lakeside path or take the cable car for aerial views.

Lago di Tovel – From Blood Red to Alpine Azure

  •  Located 30 minutes drive northwest of Madonna di Campiglio in the Brenta Dolomites
  •  Visit in summer to access the scenic waterfall trail
  • -Enjoy the peaceful views away from major crowds

  
Lago di Centro – Alpine Serenity

  • Nestled in Alta Badia region, 2 hour hike from La Villa
  • It’s a large reservoir and not an alpine lake
  • Remote and serene setting surrounded by the Puez-Odle Nature Park
  • deal for hikers seeking off-the-beaten-path vistas
lago di dolomiti

Lago di Misurina – A Vast Mountain Mirror

  •  The largest lake in the Dolomites, 1 hour drive from Cortina
  •  5km walking path loops the lake with stunning mountain views
  •  Paddleboard rentals provide unique vantage points
lago-di-missuna

Lago di Dobbiaco – Rustic Serenity in the High Alps  

This alpine lake is located at the entrance of Tre Cime National Park near the town of Dobbiaco. There’s a scenic 4.5km nature trail around the lake, which originated from ancient rockfalls.In Val Pusteria near the Austrian border, just over 1 hour from Dolomites

  • Roadside access but visited mostly by locals makes this a hidden gem
  • Easy 4 km walk around the lake for a tranquil escape
  •  Swim in refreshing aquamarine waters

Lago di Landro – The Lake Loop with a View  

Lago di Landro, also called Dürrensee, sits within Tre Cime National Park. It offers views of the Cristallo Group and hiking trails along the shore. There’s also a small restaurant across from the parking area.

  • Just over an hour hike from Cortal Grande in the Dolomites
  •  Sweeping 4 km loop trail with stunning mountain panoramas  
  • Stop for a swim midway during the scenic trek

The Allure of the Dolomites Lakes

While the rugged ridges and towering spires might get more attention, the glacial alpine lakes of the Dolomites enchant you with their intense colors, beautiful surroundings, and sense of remoteness. Trading the crowds and bustle of the towns for the sanctuary of the lakes, you discover the perfect complement to the culture, cuisine and peaks that make the Dolomites such a remarkable region. From world-famous Lago di Braies to hidden gems like Lago di Calaita, the diversity and beauty of these mountain pools exceed your highest expectations.

While it’s possible to drive between several of the lakes, you highly recommend taking the time to trek or hike between them. The slow transition on foot through forests and meadows enhances the magic when first glimpsing the vibrant waters, as well as providing unique perspectives from above that can’t be captured driving right up to the shoreline. Allowing plenty of time to savor the scenery instead of rushing from one lake to the next too. 

Hopefully this overview provides inspiration to explore more of the beautiful lakes in the Dolomites on your next visit to Northern Italy and the South Tyrol region. Let their unspoiled natural beauty rejuvenate your spirit as you hike mountain passes, climb rock walls, or simply unwind along the serene shores of these sparkling jewels in the Italian Alps.

The Sparkling Alpine Lakes of Italy’s Dolomites Region

As you gaze across the shimmering turquoise waters of Lago di Braies, you are struck by the tranquil beauty of this alpine lake nestled amidst the towering limestone peaks of the Dolomites. With the first rays of sunrise illuminating the steep cliffs surrounding the lake, it feels as if you’ve stumbled upon a hidden mountain paradise. This is just one of the many breathtaking lakes you encounter during your trip through the Italian Dolomites.

On my last trip to South Tyrol, I dedicated a couple of days to visiting some of the most beautiful Dolomites lakes the Dolomites have to offer. I had hoped to see more but unfortunately the weather had other plans with very thick fog. Nonetheless, I’ve included those as well based on my research when initially planning my trip.

Spanning across the northern regions of Trentino-Alto Adige and Veneto, the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Dolomites is renowned for its rugged mountain landscapes and world-class hiking and climbing.

In this guide, I’ll highlight the best lakes in the Dolomites to visit and provide tips to help you plan your trip:

Driving in The Dolomites and getting Around the Lakes Dolomites

  • The Dolomites span across northeastern Italy, approximately 1-3 hours drive from Venice, Verona, or Milan. Rent a car for easy access to trailheads.
  • Centrally located towns like Cortina d’Ampezzo or Canazei make good bases. Or stay overnight at a scenic lake.
  • Many lakes are near main roads, while others require short to moderate hikes. Check access and plan hikes carefully.

Reserve your Rental car

Coco Tran — Aesthetic Travel Blog By Film Photographer Coco Tran https://cocotran.com/dolomites-lakes/

Free cancelations | Easy Returns & Convenient Pickup | Best Price Guarantee

When to Visit the dolomites lakes

  • Summer provides the warmest weather for boating, swimming, and scenic hikes. However, the most popular lakes can get crowded.
  • Visit in shoulder season for fewer people, lower prices, and stunning fall foliage colors.
  • Winter offers a different beauty, with snowy peaks reflected across frozen lakes.

Lago di Braies (Pragser Wildsee) — The Crown Jewel  

Also known as Pragser Wildsee, this is the most popular lake in the Italian Alps. It’s located in Val Pusteria and is part of the Fanes-Sennes-Braies nature park. The turquoise waters and surrounding mountains make it one of the best places to visit in the Dolomites.

  • The most famous lake in the Dolomites, renowned for its crystal clear turquoise waters.
  • Easy to access by car and surrounded by scenic forests and peaks.
  • Walk the path around the lake and rent a traditional wooden rowboat.
  •  Reached by car from San Vito di Cadore in around 20 minutes
  • Most popular activities: Hiking, rowboat rentals, photography

Lago Federa – a hidden gem lake in dolomites

This stunning lakes Dolmites has and can only be reached by hiking. The autumn colors reflecting in the vivid waters with cliffs rising behind make it one of the most scenic hikes in the Dolomites.

Lago di Sorapis – An Aquamarine Marvel

  • Situated near Cortina d’Ampezzo, around 1 hour drive from the heart of the Dolomites  
  • A true alpine gem, requiring a steep 2 hour and 13.5KM  hike each way to access.
  • Incredible bright green waters set amidst towering cliffs make the tough trek worthwhile.
  • Hike early to beat crowds on this popular trail. Stop for a picnic beside the idyllic waters.

Lago di Carezza – A Magical Mirror Lake

  • Just 15 minutes by car west of Bolzano/Bozen in the Dolomites
  •  Walking the 1.7 km path around the lake is the top activity
  • Photograph the perfect reflections of the Latemar mountain range

Lago di Alleghe – A Vivid Turquoise Jewel

  •  Below Monte Civetta in the Alleghe valley, 1 hour from Dolomites
  • Pedal boat rentals let you explore the lake up close
  • Formed from a historic landslide, this lake is off the beaten path but scenic.
  • Walk the 2.5km lakeside path or take the cable car for aerial views.

Lago di Tovel – From Blood Red to Alpine Azure

  •  Located 30 minutes drive northwest of Madonna di Campiglio in the Brenta Dolomites
  •  Visit in summer to access the scenic waterfall trail
  • -Enjoy the peaceful views away from major crowds

  
Lago di Centro – Alpine Serenity

  • – Nestled in Alta Badia region, 2 hour hike from La Villa
  • – Remote and serene setting surrounded by the Puez-Odle Nature Park
  • – Ideal for hikers seeking off-the-beaten-path vistas

Lago di Misurina – A Vast Mountain Mirror

  •  The largest lake in the Dolomites, 1 hour drive from Cortina
  •  5km walking path loops the lake with stunning mountain views
  •  Paddleboard rentals provide unique vantage points

Lago di Dobbiaco – Rustic Serenity in the High Alps  

This alpine lake is located at the entrance of Tre Cime National Park near the town of Dobbiaco. There’s a scenic 4.5km nature trail around the lake, which originated from ancient rockfalls.In Val Pusteria near the Austrian border, just over 1 hour from Dolomites

  • Roadside access but visited mostly by locals makes this a hidden gem
  • Easy 4 km walk around the lake for a tranquil escape
  •  Swim in refreshing aquamarine waters

Lago di Landro – The Lake Loop with a View  

Lago di Landro, also called Dürrensee, sits within Tre Cime National Park. It offers views of the Cristallo Group and hiking trails along the shore. There’s also a small restaurant across from the parking area.

  • Just over an hour hike from Cortal Grande in the Dolomites
  •  Sweeping 4 km loop trail with stunning mountain panoramas  
  • Stop for a swim midway during the scenic trek

The Allure of the Dolomites Lakes

While the rugged ridges and towering spires might get more attention, the glacial alpine lakes of the Dolomites enchant you with their intense colors, beautiful surroundings, and sense of remoteness. Trading the crowds and bustle of the towns for the sanctuary of the lakes, you discover the perfect complement to the culture, cuisine and peaks that make the Dolomites such a remarkable region. From world-famous Lago di Braies to hidden gems like Lago di Calaita, the diversity and beauty of these mountain pools exceed your highest expectations.

While it’s possible to drive between several of the lakes, you highly recommend taking the time to trek or hike between them. The slow transition on foot through forests and meadows enhances the magic when first glimpsing the vibrant waters, as well as providing unique perspectives from above that can’t be captured driving right up to the shoreline. Allowing plenty of time to savor the scenery instead of rushing from one lake to the next too. 

Hopefully this overview provides inspiration to explore more of the beautiful lakes in the Dolomites on your next visit to Northern Italy and the South Tyrol region. Let their unspoiled natural beauty rejuvenate your spirit as you hike mountain passes, climb rock walls, or simply unwind along the serene shores of these sparkling jewels in the Italian Alps.

Save To Read Later:

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