Having visited Lago di Carezza recently, I’m excited to provide this condensed guide to help you plan your own trip to this spectacular “Rainbow Lake” in the Italian Dolomites. I’ll share essential tips and insights based on my own experience to help you make the most of your time at this picture-perfect alpine destination known for its stunning turquoise waters set against a breathtaking mountain backdrop.
This quick guide covers directions, the best times to visit, top things to do like walking the scenic promenade and paddleboarding on the lake, and more so you can experience the magic of Lago di Carezza for yourself! Whether traveling solo or with family, this handy guide will prepare you to visit this must-see jewel of the Dolomites.
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Your Complete Guide to the Rainbow Lake of the Dolomites
Situated in the Dolomites of northern Italy, Lago di Carezza is one of Italys most beautiful lakes. It’s an alpine lake that has earned the nickname “Rainbow Lake” thanks to its stunningly colorful waters. With its pristine turquoise hues and postcard-perfect mountain views, visiting Lago di Carezza needs to be on your Dolomites road trip itinerary.
This guide will provide you with everything you need to know to plan your visit to Lago di Carezza, from how to get there to the best times to visit and top things to do while you’re there. Read on for tips and recommendations to experience this spectacular lake in the Italian Alps.
Overview of Lago di Carezza
Nestled in the Dolomites mountain range of northern Italy, Lago di Carezza is an alpine lake situated near the villages of Nova Levante and Carezza in the South Tyrol province.
Also referred to as Lake Karersee or Lake Carezza, this breathtaking body of water is renowned for its vibrant turquoise, emerald green, and azure blue waters that seem to change colors constantly depending on the light and viewing angle.
Surrounded by dense coniferous forests and overlooking the towering peaks of the Dolomites, Lago di Carezza is considered one of the most spectacular lakes in the region. Its stunning color palette and idyllic mountain setting make it an unforgettable highlight on a Dolomites road trip itinerary.
Just 1.5 km long and 0.5 km wide, Lago di Carezza may be small in size but its dramatic natural beauty draws visitors from around the world. The lake sits at an altitude of 1,520 meters (4,987 feet) above sea level and is reachable via winding mountain roads that treat visitors to jaw-dropping vistas along the way.
Adding to the appeal is the lakeside promenade lined with cafes, restaurants, shops, and hotels catering to tourists. The charming village ambiance coupled with the photogenic lake views make Lago di Carezza an ideal Dolomites destination.
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How to Get to Lago di Carezza
When visiting lake Karezza and planning transportation to Lago di Carezza, you have several options depending on whether you’re driving, relying on public transit, or visiting as part of an organized tour group. Here are the main ways to reach the lake:
Lago di Carezza is located just off the SS241 road between the villages of Nova Levante and Welschnofen (Nova Levante is the closest, just 5 minutes away).
If driving, follow the SS241 to Lake Carezza/Karersee, where you’ll find parking areas. The total drive time from Bolzano, a major city in the region, is just under an hour.
Having your own car is the easiest way to reach the lake and gives you the most flexibility. The narrow mountain roads afford breathtaking vistas but require cautious driving. Roadside parking is available but fills up fast during summer and peak visitation times.
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By Public Transportation
For those relying on public transport, there are bus connections available. From the Bolzano train station, take the Dolomiti Bus to Nova Levante (about 50 minutes). From Nova Levante, you can either walk the remaining 30 minutes to Lake Carezza or take the free shuttle running between the village and the lake.
Shuttle buses typically operate daily between late June and early September. Check schedules and frequency as they vary by season. One-way tickets from Bolzano to Nova Levante cost around 5 euros.
By Organized Tour
Joining a Dolomites tour group is another hassle-free way to visit Lake Carezza, especially if you’d rather leave the navigation and driving to someone else. Many tour operators from Bolzano and other neighboring towns offer day trips to Lago di Carezza, often combined with other Dolomites attractions. Tours generally include round-trip transportation and may or may not include activities like short hikes.
When to Visit Lago di Carezza & Best time to visit Lago di Carezza
Lago di Carezza is beautiful to visit any time of year but the ideal months depend on your interests and priorities. Here are some factors to consider when deciding the best time to go:
For Best Weather
The summer months from June through early September offer the warmest weather and highest chance of sunshine when visiting Lago di Carezza. Highs range from the upper 60s to low 80s Fahrenheit (20C-27C). This peak season draws big crowds.
For Vibrant Lake Colors
The brilliant, surreal colors of Lake Carezza are most dazzling in early summer when sunlight reflects off the glacial flour in the water. June and July are ideal for witnessing the water at its most intense turquoise and emerald hues before the flour settles later in summer. Just keep in mind the water levels may be low depending on the snow fall in the winter.
For Fewer Crowds
Avoid the busiest times between early July and August if you prefer lighter crowds. September still offers pleasant weather with fewer visitors. Spring and fall have cooler weather but excellent opportunities to enjoy the lake and fall foliage with fewer people.
For Winter Landscapes
From November to April, expect cold temperatures, possible snowfall, and chance of the lake freezing over. While not ideal for water activities, winter presents a beautiful scene with snow-dusted mountains surrounding the lake. The area has cross-country skiing and snowshoeing opportunities.
I went during the low season in May, and in my experience, this was a bit early as not many hotels were open as the season was just starting. But it made for a really tranquil experience with barely anyone around. The weather was very foggy so I had to wait for the fog to clear and thankfully it eventually did!
No matter when you visit, Lago di Carezza impresses with postcard views. But for the warmest weather, bluest water, and busiest tourist season aim for summer. For thinner crowds and lower prices, visit in shoulder seasons.
Directions to Reach Lago di Carezza
To experience the majestic beauty of Rainbow Lake for yourself on your Dolomites road trip, follow these step-by-step directions to reach Lago di Carezza:
From Bolzano head northeast on SS12 for approximately 45 km until you reach Nova Levante. This drive takes about 50 minutes.
In Nova Levante, turn right onto Via Lago di Carezza following signs for Lago di Carezza/Karersee.
Drive 2 km uphill on the winding forest road towards Lake Carezza lake. Soak up the stunning mountain vistas along the way. The road is quite windy so prepare to take it slow!
After 2 km, you will reach the Lago di Carezza parking areas on your right. Finding a parking spot is easiest first thing in the morning.
The lake itself will be on your left. Cross the road on foot to reach the lakeshore promenade and the best scenic viewpoints.
The total drive time from Bolzano to Lake Carezza is just under one hour. Use GPS or offline maps to navigate the Dolomites mountain roads. Drive slowly and cautiously given the terrain and winding lanes.
For those relying on public transportation from Bolzano, alight at Nova Levante to walk or shuttle to the lake located just 2 km uphill. Follow signs for Lago di Carezza.
No matter how you arrive, a magical alpine lake awaits you in the Dolomites!
Information About Lago di Carezza’s Location
Getting your bearings on Lago di Carezza’s precise location helps you navigate to the lake and situate it within the broader Dolomites region. Here are some quick facts:
– Lago di Carezza is located in the South Tyrol province of northern Italy, in the eastern part of the Dolomites mountain range.
– Nearby towns include Nova Levante, just 2 km southwest of the lake, and Welschnofen 3 km northeast.
– Its geographic coordinates are 46°26′N 11°43′E, at an elevation of 1,520 meters (4,987 feet) above sea level.
– The lake sits on the northwestern slopes of the Catinaccio/Rosengarten massif, with the towering Latemar peaks visible across the valley.
– Lago di Carezza is contained completely within the Parco Naturale Sciliar-Catinaccio nature reserve, known for its pristine alpine habitats.
– The lake is surrounded by the municipalities of Nova Levante, Welschnofen, and Vigo di Fassa.
– Major cities like Bolzano or Trento are about a 50 minute drive away, while Italy’s border with Austria is just 40 km to the northeast.
Situated right in the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Dolomites, Lago di Carezza is convenient yet just remote enough to feel tucked away in an unspoiled mountain paradise.
Facilities and Services around Lago di Carezza
Despite its isolated mountain setting, the area around Lago di Carezza offers plenty of facilities and services to cater to visitors.
Lodging at Lago Di Carezza/ Where To Stay
You’ll find a range of accommodation options in the villages and hamlets around the lake from hotels and resorts to B&Bs, self-catering apartments, and campgrounds. Nova Levante has the widest selection a 5-minute drive from the lake. Booking well in advance for summer is recommended.
For food and restaurants, you can enjoy scenic lakeside dining along the promenade. A Cafe /snack bars offer light meals and refreshments with perfect views. In Nova Levante, Welschnofen, and nearby towns you’ll find excellent traditional Italian restaurants and mountain rifugios.
Shops and conveniences are concentrated around the parking areas and promenade, selling sundries, snacks, gifts. Larger supermarkets are located down in the villages for grocery shopping.
While compact in size, Lago di Carezza offers plenty of services for a comfortable and convenient Dolomites retreat.
Top Things To Do At and Around Lago di Carezza
A visit to Lago di Carezza promises stunning alpine scenery and outdoor experiences. Here are top recommendations for ways to enjoy your time at Rainbow Lake:
1. Stroll Along the Promenade
An obvious but must-do activity is walking the lakeshore promenade for epic views. The paved 1-km path hugs the western shoreline, affording perfect vistas across the water to the Dolomites peaks beyond. Stop at the piers and viewpoint platforms all along the route.
2. Paddle on the Lake
For a fresh perspective from the water, rent a **stand-up paddleboard** or schedule a **solar boat tour**. Gliding across the turquoise waters, with the Dolomites rising all around, is unforgettable. Tours run more frequently in summer.
3. Snap Instagram-Worthy Photos
The incredible colors and scenery make Lago di Carezza one of the **most photogenic spots** in the Dolomites. Don’t miss your chance for iconic photos! Alpine glow at sunset and sunrise is magnificent.
4. Relax along the Shoreline
Soak up the fairy-tale views by spreading out a picnic blanket along the lakeshore. Many tiny beaches around the lake offer **prime spots to unwind** in the sun and cool off with a swim on hot days.
5. Hike the Surrounding Trails
Lace up your hiking boots to explore trails ranging from easy lakeside strolls to rigorous mountain climbs. Popular routes include the Karersee and Eisjöchl circuits offering spectacular **vistas of the lake and Dolomites**.
6. Base Camp for the Dolomites
Thanks to lodging and dining options, Lago di Carezza makes an excellent **home base** for exploring the UNESCO Dolomites region. Drive the Great Dolomites Road or access famous peaks like the Tre Cime.
No matter how you choose to experience it, Lago di Carezza is sure to dazzle with its unique colorful beauty juxtaposed against the epic Dolomites peaks. Don’t miss this must-see destination on your Italian adventure!
Lago di Carezza hike
Hiking to Lago di Carezza from Nova Levante
This easy 3.5 km loop hike from Nova Levante to Lago di Carezza treats you to beautiful forest scenery before culminating at the shores of the brilliant blue-green lake.
The trail gains 350 m in elevation but is a comfortable walk doable for most fitness levels. Plan 1-1.5 hours to complete the circuit.
Begin at the Sawmill Latemar at the edge of Nova Levante village. Follow signs towards Lago di Carezza, crossing a stream and entering the shady conifer forests.
The path winds steadily uphill through the trees before leveling out. Glimpses of the steep Dolomites peaks emerge through the branches.
In about 30 minutes, arrive at the banks of stunning Lago di Carezza. Pause to admire the surreal turquoise colors set against the backdrop of soaring cliffs and pinnacles.
From here, stroll along the easy 1 km promenade to soak up views of the lake’s vivid hues and peaceful mountain setting. Treat yourself to a drink at a lakefront cafe.
To return, turn around and follow the same trail back downhill through the forest to Nova Levante. The downward trek passes quickly with gravity’s help.
Arrive back at the trail start in Nova Levante, completing the pleasant loop. With minimal elevation gain and rewarding lake views as your turnaround point, this hike to Lago di Carezza is a winners for hikers of all ages and abilities.
Tips for Visiting Lago di Carezza
To help you make the most of your visit to Rainbow Lake, keep these tips and tricks in mind:
– Arrive early before parking lots fill up, especially in peak summer. Mornings also offer flattering light for photos.
– Give yourself at least an hour to walk the 1-km promenade along the water, not rushing.
– Bring cash for parking fees and any vendors that may not accept credit cards.
– Pack sun protection, water, and snacks. Services are limited right at lakeshore.
– Walk the promenade clockwise and return via the forest path for different perspectives.
– Hike in the cooler morning hours and save afternoons for relaxing by the lake.
– Look for trout rising from the water and birds like kingfishers along the banks.
– Watch for afternoon thunderstorms typical in the summer mountains and seek shelter if needed.
– Follow Leave No Trace principles and pack out all trash to preserve Lago di Carezza’s beauty.
With its magnificent mountain setting and ever-changing turquoise waters, Lago di Carezza deserves a spot on any Dolomites itinerary. Use these tips to enjoy a smooth and memorable visit to one of Italy’s most spectacular alpine lakes. Let the postcard views inspire you!
Is visiting Lake of Carezza worth it?
Yes, visiting Lago di Carezza is absolutely worth it! Here are a few reasons why it should be on your Italian itinerary:
– The lake’s stunning turquoise colors are some of the most spectacular in the Dolomites and look almost unreal. The interplay of light, glacial sediment, and algae create dazzling hues that change throughout the day.
– The scenic setting surrounded by forests and the soaring peaks of the Dolomites is breathtaking. It’s postcard-perfect alpine scenery.
– The easy 1 km promenade loop lets you take in the views at an enjoyable walking pace, including benches and piers perfect for photos.
– Activities like paddleboarding on the lake offer a fun way to experience the beautiful clear waters up close. Boat tours are also available.
– There are scenic hiking trails ranging from easy walks to challenging via ferratas catering to different abilities.
– Nearby villages like Nova Levante provide nice options for meals, shopping, and accommodation with Italian charm.
– It’s an easy day trip from major hubs like Bolzano, so very convenient to access.
– While popular, it’s not overly crowded so you can enjoy nature’s beauty in peace. Early/late hours are quietest.
– Facilities like parking, and restaurants make logistics easy.
For incredible natural beauty and an unforgettable alpine lake experience, Lago di Carezza is absolutely worth a visit, especially if you’re already exploring the Dolomites area. Don’t miss this Italian jewel!
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Lago di Carezza Travel Guide Summary
Lago di Carezza or Karersee Lake earns its nickname “The Rainbow Lake” thanks to its dazzling turquoise-hued water set amid the soaring Dolomites peaks. This handy travel guide covers everything you need to know to visit this top attraction in northern Italy’s South Tyrol region.
To reach the lake, located near Nova Levante, either drive yourself navigating the scenic SS241, take public buses from Bolzano, or book a tour. Summer from June-September provides the warmest weather but expect crowds. For thinner crowds aim for May/June or September/October.
Once at Lago di Carezza, walk the promenade for epic views, paddle on the water, photograph the colorful scenery, relax along the shore, and hike the surrounding trails. Services like parking, boats, restaurants, and shops are available lakeside.
Use these travel tips to experience the magic of Lago di Carezza to the fullest. Let this spectacular alpine lake dazzle you with its unreal colors and dreamy mountain setting for an unforgettable Dolomites memory!