“We are going to the sunny plains in Italy. Winter is coming soon and will carry these wild places of double desolation. But we will cross these bare peaks and bring scenarios of fertility and beauty, where his paths will be adorned with flowers and night crowds will inspire the contentment and hope” – Mary Shelley on Dolomiti
The time for a new holiday break has come. You are very much aware that a good getaway can be much more than the “usual vacation” including the sea and the sun. You know that your body and your soul are in search of a deep recharge, yet, not sure where to go to reach that much wanted, higher dimension?
Let us help you choose the new adventure! We will take you on a bit of a different trip to northern Italy – to an amazing trip around beautiful Dolomiti lakes!
If you like chasing landscapes, hiking, and cycling, you must have heard of Dolomiti. The most demanding section of the Giro d’Italia is right here!
This finest work of mother nature will give you just what you need. Magic, mystery, and nature are here truly united.
Fresh air, amazing landscapes, a bit of history and adventure, legends, great hikes, and postcard-alike views, that’s Dolomiti.
Do not get confused with the multiple names of the lakes! The good thing to know before you go: There are several languages spoken in South Tyrol. Due to the vicinity of borders, Italian and German are predominant. That is why all the lakes officially carry both Italian and German names.
We chose for you the13 best and most beautiful lakes to visit – at any time of the year!
Lago di Braies (Pragser Wildsee, Lake Braies)
Location: South Tirol, just about 89 km from Trento, Italy
Surface: 31 ha
Depth: 36 m
Beautifully settled among the pine trees and the mountain peaks, lake Braies is the largest lake in the Dolomites area. It is a perfect place to enjoy Dolomiti’s game of the sky, clouds, and its highest peaks.
The lake is just equally beautiful at any time of the year. This gorgeous lake is great to visit at any time of the year. We recommend you going early to avoid potential crowds. The relatively easy hike of about 4 km around the lake will take you 2-3 hours. It will be worth every step you make. The path is easy and relaxing circling the entire lake.
What to do nearby
Among numerous activities offered to entertain you and help you feel the lake to its fullest. Yet, we recommend you a Dolomite gondola! Rent one of those wooden rowboats and cruise this photogenic lake.
How to get there
The lake is easily accessible from nearby cities; Innsbruck or Bolzano, which is the closest bigger city. Parking is available and chargeable during the day.
Lago di Dobbiaco – Toblacher See – Lake Dobbiaco
Location: Toblach, South Tyrol
Surface: 14.3 ha
Depth: 3.5 m
If there is any truly magical place to get lost in nature then it is for sure lake Dobbiaco. Perfectly located between the two national parks, The Dolomiti’s Three Peaks, Tre cime di Lavaredo, and parks of nature Fanes and Senes /Braies.
It is halfway between the town of the same name, Dobiacco, and much more famous ski-resort Cortina D’Ampezzo. This fantastic lake is a natural biotope, and home to a pink and grey heron and numerous other species.
What to do near Lake Dobbiaco
You may go curling and ice skating in the winter or swimming in the summer. Take a wonderful walk on a natural path redesigned in 2000. The most beautiful scenery will accompany you at any time of the year.
The hike is very easy and takes only about 20 minutes to circle this amazing little lake. Bird lovers may enjoy watching rare bird species at one of the observation points.
How to get to Lake Dobbiaco
Reaching this lake is very easy. It is right next to the road SS51. The drive from Cortina d’Ampezzo is about 30 km or 30 minutes, and 18 km or 18 minutes from lake Braise.
There is chargeable parking. It has a limited number of spots, but you usually don’t have to wait long for a spot.
Lago di Landro – Dürrensee – Lake Landro
Location: Upper Val Pusteria
The first good neighbor of Dobbiaco is lake Lando, another South Tyrol natural gem. This turquoise mountain lake, lake Landro, has water warmer than others at this altitude. That is because the lake has only a few feeders and no drainage.
A refreshing summer swim surrounded by mountains is the best thing and a unique experience you should not miss. There is also a nice sandy beach for you to relax at. The hike around the lake is very easy.
What to do near Lake Landro
Those of you searching for more adrenaline need to go to the other side. There is a challenging “Valle della Rienza” climbing crag at the top of which, you will enjoy a breathtaking view of the lake.
The “Three peaks view” is also there. It is the best possible spot for you to enjoy breathtaking views and take even more breathtaking photos.
How to get to Lake Landro
The lake is easily reached from Dobbiaco or Cortina d’Ampezzo in only about a 20-40 minutes drive. Public transport is available also should you opt for it. The lake is only about 10 minutes walk from the bus stop.
Lago d’Antorno – Lake Antorno
Location: Auronzo di Cadore
Surface: 2 ha
Depth: 3 m
If there are any of the Dolomites lakes that can carry the epithet mesmerizing, then it is this one! It is located at one of the highest points above sea level.
Small and cozy, this lake is perfect for photography lovers. There are several small and wooden bridges around the lake, offering you the chance to capture stunning moments of intact nature.
What to do near Lake Antorno
If you choose to go there in the winter months, you will discover that this lake is a pure winter fantasy. The frozen expanse in the wintertime is perfect for ice skating.
Other times of the year, use this great place for hiking, sport fishing, photography or simple good meditation.
How to get to Lake Antorno
If you are by car, you can drive right in front of the lake. Parking is available, and it is free of charge for 2 hours. As it is only 2 km away from its more famous neighbor, lake Misurina, you may choose to walk.
Lago di Misurina – Lake Misurina – Misurinasee
Location: Auronzo di Cadore
Surface: 14 ha
Depth: 5 m
Lake Misurina is located in the charming environment of Auronzo di Cadore. It is the largest natural lake of the Cadore region known as the “Pearl of the Alps”. If there is any place where you can enjoy nature to its fullest, it is this one.
Embraced by the noble mountain outlines of the Dolomites, it is a fairytale-like scenery. No wonder that it has its own charming fairy legend too!
What to do near Lake Misurina
The lake and the surrounding area are perfect for hiking. A Nice and easy one for you is to a neighboring lake Antorno. There are numerous other more demanding hiking trails in the mountains.
How to get to Lake Misurina
If you are by car, the easiest drive is from Cortina. Follow the SS48 road, and it will lead you directly to Misurina. Here is public transport available and the nearest station is
Lago Federa – Lake Federa – Federa See
Location: Selva di Cadore
Surface: 2 ha
Depth: 5 m
Lake Federa is one truly peaceful corner in the heart of the Dolomites. It is a glacial lake at a very high altitude. The views are dominated by the imposing peak of Becco di Mezzodi and its impressive peak of more than 2600 m.
This lake has one thing that makes it more spectacular than the others. It begins with numerous small streams creating a wonderful lake. Across numerous wooden bridges, you can access the pine forest surrounding the lake.
This is the best way to enjoy one of the most beautiful parts of Italy.
What to do near Lake Federa
The area around lake Federa is all about hiking. If that is your passion, you will find your own little paradise here. Keep in mind that some trails are pretty demanding. For history and archeology lovers among you, we have a special treat – Palmo. Right here is the Mesolithic burial site of the famous Mondeval Man.
How to get to Lake Federa
You can reach lake Federa only using one of the numerous hiking trails. One of the best and maybe easiest trails we can recommend is starting at Passo di Giau (see map). Take trail 436 and keep following the signs. Ending point will be at Ru Curto at the car parking in the direction of Cortina (see map).
Lago di Sorapis – Lake Sorapis – Sorapis See
Location: 12 km from Cortina d’Ampezzo
Surface: formed directly in the rock, no surface out flowing sources
Depth: not available
Altitude: 1,923 m
Lake Sorapis is located in the mountain range Sorapis of the Dolomites, province of Belluno. It is located only 12 km from Cortina d’Ampezzo.
The magical beauty of this lake lays in its range of light blue to turquoise colors. These stunning colors are created by the fine rock dust brought down from the glaciers.
Visiting this one may be more of a challenge for you. This lake can be reached by foot or a helicopter only. The elevation between starting and ending points of the hike is not that high.
Still, do not underestimate the power of nature and prepare yourself well before you get on with the conquer campaign to lake Sorapis.
What to do near Lake Sorapis
Take a good hike and blend with nature. The hike itself to the lake is a great experience. Some photography on the way will help you memorize the breathtaking beauty of this pearl of Dolomites.
How to get to Lake Sorapis
Hiking is the only way to reach this natural gem. We recommend you to use trail number 215 which is well marked and will lead you to the lake. The first part of the trail is an easy and flat wide forest trail. The second part is more steeper and demanding. A little bit of help is here.
Lago di Carezza – Karersee – Lake Carezza
Surface: 4 ha
Depth: 22 m
Impressive colors are what make this lake a true gem. It is considered to be the most beautiful of all Dolomiti lakes. If you decide to visit this lake in the winter you will see for yourself why it is called a “Frozen Fairy tale of Dolomite” too.
No wonder it has earned another name, “The Rainbow lake”. And unlike others too, this lake has its legend about a mermaid who used to live in the lake. The lake is accessible by car and there is also public transport to it.
What to do near Lake Carezza
Even if you are not an early bird, do get up really early and catch the magical sunrise at this lake. That is what makes it so popular among photographers.
You, too, will be able to get your best shots in the early mornings. Then hike; it is easy and simple, leading you to follow a circular trail of about 20 minutes.
How to get to Lake Carezza
The lake is accessible by car in only about 40 minutes drive from Bolzano. There is also public transport and a large parking lot is available.
Lago delle Baste
Location: San Vito di Cadore
Surface: varies depending on the season
Depth: 0 – 3 m max
Altitude: 2,150 m
Tiny and charming, that is what lake Baste is. If you find yourself there at the perfect moment when the sun and shadows play a game, you will see a magnificent Mount Pelmo, “The Throne of God” reflection right there at the lake.
If you into landscape photography, this place is a must for you. To reach this lake might be a bit challenging and for sure will require you to be fit for a few hours of hiking. You will pass numerous neolithic rocks that gave the area the name “the city of Rocks”.
Still, this will be an amazing journey for your soul.
What to do near Lago delle Baste
Besides hiking, there are snowshoe tours for you if you decide to visit it in the wintertime. This lake is also in the vicinity of the Mesolithic burial site of the famous Mondeval Man.
How to get to Lago delle Baste
We recommend you to begin the walk at the usual spot, in Passo Giau. Follow the walking path no.436. The total distance is about 4 km of medium difficulty.
Lago di Limides – Lake Limides – Limides See
Location: Passo di Falzerego
Surface: not determined
Depth: 2 m max
The amazing lake Limides is just a perfect little getaway to enjoy all the colors of nature. Many say that it is the most beautiful in the springtime. Very much loved by photographers, lake Limides is the most famous for its reflection of the mountain Tofana di Rozes.
Views, views, and the views, that is Limides. Wonderful views of Mount Lagazuoi, and one of the most magnificent viewpoints onto Mount Averau, it is all right there. This place is also a great spot to check how good of a person you are.
The legend says if you watch the reflections in the water of this small lake, only the purest of the heart will be able to see an Anguana, a water nymph.
What to do near Lake Limides
Hiking and photography are a must and the top choices for you while at this lake. Start your walk at Col Gallina using trail number 419. Prepare your camera for some stunning shots and get some ideas here.
How to get to Lake Limides
Reaching this lake is very simple. Drive to Rifugio Col Gallina and park your car here.
Take the trail that leads through the forest. It will take you about 25 minutes of an easy hike to reach the lake.
Lago di Caldaro – Kalterersee – Lake Caldaro
Surface: 140 ha
Altitude: 216 m
For those of you searching for more of a bathing lake, Caldaro is a perfect choice. It may be a less nature only, and more touristy place. Still, it is no less charming and beautiful than others.
The lake is the largest natural bathing lake in South Tyrol and also the warmest one in the Dolomiti. The very shallow basin of the lake is a part of the former riverbed of the Adige river.
The lake is beautiful to visit at any time of the year. You may want to know about “Ora”. It is that one particular time of the day, usually around 1 pm, when the southern breeze comes in and makes it the only time of the day perfect for sailing and windsurfing.
What to do near Lake Caldaro
Hiking this amazing area is recommended at any time of the year. If you are there in the summer months there are plenty of opportunities; swimming, sunbathing, sailing and windsurfing.
Since the lake is home to numerous bird species and also an important stopover for migratory birds, birdwatching might be fun too.
How to get to Lake Caldaro
Lake Anterselva – Antholzer See – Lago di Anterselva
Surface: 44 ha
Depth: 38 m
Amazing and huge lake Anterselva offers much more than breathtaking lake and landscape views. This stunning lake is surrounded by the Vedrette di Ries-Aurina Nature Park.
This great place is home to numerous animal species, birds, and flesh-eating plants in particular. The information panels are placed around the walking path, providing you with interesting information.
In the vicinity of the lake is the Anterselva Biathlon Center, a venue for World Championships and numerous competitions. The lake has a special magic in the winter when it is frozen. Crystal clear water, fresh air, and a legend too, Anterselva has it all for a perfect getaway.
What to do near Lake Anterselva
If you always wanted to learn to ski, this is the location for you. A cross-country ski school is right here. Ice skating here in the winter months is more than a sport.
It is magic wrapped in a fairytale-like landscape. The hike of about 3.5 km is easy, suitable, and fun for children too.
How to get to Lake Anterselva
Lake Fie – Lago di Fie – Völser Weiher
Location: Völser Weiher
Surface: 0,01 km2
Altitude: 1,036 m
The last lake on our list is an absolute winner. For its amazing landscapes, quality of water, and tranquility, in 2010 it was nominated as the most beautiful lake in Italy. It is located at the foot of the Scilar Massif and is surrounded by beautiful woodlands.
Among all the amazing Dolomiti lakes, this one is the only one not natural. It was created in the late 16th century by Leonhard von Vols (Fie), a Tyrolean captain. The intention was for it to be a fishing lake, which today is not allowed anymore.
Even though the lake is great for swimming, keep in mind that half of the lake is a natural reserve where swimming is not allowed. To remind you of that, the lake is divided into two by a grove of reeds.
What to do near Lake Fie
If you are a mountain climber in the area, this will be a perfect spot to chill off. The lake is very shallow and shallow and freezes quickly in the winter months.
Then it becomes a beautiful open space ice-skating rink. If you are there in the summer months, swimming will be refreshing.
How to get to Lake Fie
The lake is easily reached from Bolzano. It is distanced only 12 km from the town or about 10 minutes. A large parking spot is available, chargeable during the day.
Things to Consider when Visiting the Dolomites Lakes
You may want to believe that conquering these lakes is all about a nice walk and enjoy the natural landscape. It is, but it is good (mountain) hiking too!
So, we would like to add a few practical pieces of advice too.
Invest in good Hiking Shoes
Shoes are the alpha and omega of all hiking equipment. Good quality hiking boots, medium or high to protect your wrists are a must. Trekking sneakers will do a good job too, especially for beginners.
Wear Proper Outdoor Clothing
Not less important is the apparel. In these areas, the weather may change quickly so warm, layered, and quick-drying clothes are also important.
Never Forget your First Aid Kit
You never can expect what could happen during the hikes. Remember that some lakes are not very accessible, and you might not find the necessary help when something happens (let’s hope not!). So you better be prepared, as it can become expensive to get help in remote areas.
Take a Suitable Backpack
Backpacks are practical, and they are for more comfort than safety, water, whistle, and a flashlight is recommended – hoping you will not need it.
You may wish to have a rest at restaurants and bars along the way, but some food for a picnic on an open plain is maybe a much better choice.
Walking-Sticks Always Help
Sticks are very good helpers too! They may not be a mandatory piece of your equipment, but many people love to use them. They train the whole body and make it much easier for you to go down the steep descents and are a good foothold on uphills.
Final Thoughts about The Dolomites Lakes
It may be hard to imagine a place more magical than the Dolomites. This magnificent natural ambiance will not leave you uninterested. Charming towns and villages in a dense network of valleys, surrounded by forests, sticking rocky peaks, walls, towers, and gorges of indescribable shapes.
The Dolomites and their surrounding area have been under the protection of UNESCO and listed on the World Heritage Site since 2009. History combined with its unique and spectacular nature gave them this well-deserved award.
After all, this, if you still have doubts about your next trip, don’t think twice! Pack your backpack, take goodwill and joy with you, and head to your next adventure in mythological Dolomites, Italy. We guarantee you this will be a unique vacation you will never forget.