Lago di Braies: Worth it or too touristy?

Are you wondering if Lago di Braies (Pragser Wildsee) is worth visiting? Has it been ruined by the masses of tourists that visit everyday?   Below is an honest, no-nonsense account of a visit to the most popular lake in the Dolomites. 

You can also skip ahead to discover where to take the best photos of this stunning blue lake with jaw dropping, mountainous backdrop. 

Highlights Lago di Braies (Pragser Wildsee)

  • Green/blue lake with lovely reflections
  • No hiking required
  • No entrance fee required (only parking fee)

Lowlights Lago di Braies

  • Lago di Braies gets really busy!
  • Parking near Lago di Braies is an absolute nightmare

Beware: Access road to Lago di Braies closes!

The parking lots and access roads to Lago di Braies are closed off when they are full!  So make sure you arrive as early as possible!! The parking lots open at 06:00 (2023).

As of 2023 you will need to present a valid parking ticket you’ve bought online if you’d like to access the parking near the lake between 09:30 – 16:00 between 10th July – 10th September 2023. If you go before 09:30 or outside these dates, you will be able to drive through without a parking ticket!

See the most recent parking regulations on the official Lago di Braies website.
You are able to leave the Lago di Braies parking at any time you like. The closed roads only apply to people going toward the lake (not leaving the lake).

Walking around Lago di Braies

A walk around the Lago di Braies takes about 1,5 hours. It’s an easy walk which can be done on sneakers. The lake generally looks greener when viewed from higher up and with sunny weather. 

Best photo spots Lago di Braies

Photo spot 1: South east shore

The south east shore of the lake offers crystal clear waters with a dramatic mountainous backdrop. In my opinion this is the best spot for photos! 

Photo at the south east shore of Lago di Braies with mountains as a backdrop
Best photo spot at Lago di Braies: the south east shore. Just look at that backdrop!

Photo spot 2: The famous boathouse

The boat rental starts at 08:00, so you’ll need to be there before this time if you’d like the iconic photo of the boathouse with the boats tied up together. 

Come before 08:00 if you want to see the boats tied up! After that the rental opens.

The crowds at Lago di Braies

We arrived at 08:00 and there was still plenty of parking on all three parking lots. We were able to park on the closest parking lot, P3. By the time it was 09:30 the crowds at the lake were so busy it was hard to enjoy the scenery. We were finished enjoying the lake just before 10:00 and all three parking lots and the access road were closed off by then. 

Showing crowds of tourists at the busy Lago di Braies (Dolomites).
Showing tourists at the boathouse at Lago di Braies
The boathouse at Lago di Braies

Parking at Lago di Braies

There are 3 parking lots: P1, P2 and P3 at Lago di Braies. The closest to the lake is P3. You can pretty much see the lake from this car park. Right next to P3 is P2. P1 is only a short 5 minute walk. All the parking lots cost exactly the same. 

Parking lot P3 at Lago di Braies with the hotel in the background
This is the P3 parking lot. You can see the hotel. Directly behind that is Lago di Braies!
An overview of the parking costs at Lago di Braies (Pragser Wildsee).
Parking costs per vehicle type for Lago di Braies (Pragser Wildsee) in 2020. Please note prices have gone up! There is no entrance fee to the lake itself, but there are costs for parking.

Prices for parking at Lago di Braies: Please note the prices for parking near Lago di Braies have gone up the recent years. Below are the prices for 2023.

  • Between 06:00 – 17:00 parking (car) costs € 10,- per 3 hours
  • Between 17:00 – 20:00 parking (car) costs € 6,- per 3 hours
  • Parking your camper near Lago di Braies is now only possible when you pay € 25,- for the entire 24 hours. 
See the most recent parking costs on the official Lago di Braies website.

Map of Lago di Braies (Pragser Wildsee)

Below is the map as shown at the marking lot. I’ve added my favourite photo spot and clearly marked the boathouse. Please note that north is downward.

Map of Lago di Braies showing where the boat house is and where to take the best photos
Map of Lago di Braies

The verdict of Lago di Braies (Pragser Wildsee)

If you like off the beaten track, quiet and tranquil, then this isn’t the place for you. If you do decide visit, go as early as 07:00 – 08:00 in the morning to avoid crowds. For only €6 parking per car and no entrance fee it’s a good way to fill a morning, but you won’t miss anything by not going. Instead there are other, quieter scenic places to visit in the Dolomites. 

What to do near Lago di Braies

  • Visit the must see Tre Cime National Park (50min by car from Lago di Braies). With these three secret detours at Tre Cime National Park you’ll be able to avoid the crowds and get the most unique photos!
  • Do an easy going hike at Cinque Torri (only 1h 5min by car from Lago di Braies) and enjoy the rock formations and panoramic views
  • Visit the Insta famous San Giovanni church in the Val di Funes (Dolomites). It’s a 1h 25min drive to get here from Lago di Braies. Make sure to read my truthful behind the scenes of the Insta famous San Giovanni church before you visit.
  • Discover the rocky ridge Seceda (1h 30min by car from Lago di Braies)
  • Stay overnight in Chiusa (Klausen) to enjoy this village’s charm and local activities. It is the perfect hub to do different activities in the Dolomites. It’s only a 1h 10min drive from Lago di Braies.