We wanted to draft a guide for mountain lovers, which will include some incredible locations. This list of the 10 best lakes in the Dolomites, will take you to one of the most beautiful places in the world.
The Italian Dolomites range in the Northern part of the country, a natural beauty unique and incredible. Everyone should plan at least once to discover some Italian Dolomites Lakes. You will find, through this Dolomites lake guide, some well-known locations, like Braies, Carezza and Misurina, but also some hidden gems, that you have never heard of.
Lake Toblino, is close to Trento, but was for us one of the most beautiful. The Dolomites scenario, which always frames the lakes, are picture-perfect spots for your next holidays in Italy. Are you ready to explore the most beautiful lakes in the Dolomites? Let’s discover some of the most popular Dolomites Lakes together!
How to explore the Dolomites Lakes
Might sound unusual that a post from us starts with a question like this. However, we have to be clear and say that is not easy to reach some of the lakes in our guide. Also, you have to rent a car if you want to explore a few of them. Excluding the well-known which are often covered by public transport or some sort of, most of this guide is reachable just with a car.
Bear in mind that also the season you are exploring the Dolomites will influence the chance to visit some. Because of the height, some lakes are difficult to reach. The roads in the Dolomites are narrow, often dirt and if there is snow, some might be close totally.
However the best experience is visiting the most popular Dolomites lakes during the off-season. If so, you will have much of the area just for yourself, and places like Braies are more enjoyable without the usual Instagram photo sessions.
Where are located the Dolomites?
The Dolomites are a Unesco World Heritage Site located on the North East side of Italy. The Italian Alps are the natural border with Austria on that side of the country. This mountain range is often referred to as the northern Italian Alps, and covers an extended area that includes 18 high peaks of above 3,000 metres.
The Dolomites spread over three different regions of Italy, Trentino, Friuli Venezia Giulia and Veneto. You will be fascinated by the gorgeous landscape which features some of the most beautiful mountain backgrounds alternate to infinite green valleys, deep canyons and beautiful water streams.
Dolomites Lake you have to visit
This is the list of the 10 most beautiful lakes in the Dolomites in our opinion. There are indeed other incredible places in the Dolomites, that’s why we invite you to comment below to show us your discoveries. Also, check until the end, you will find a surprise for more off the beaten path itineraries.
Most beautiful lakes in the Dolomites MAP
The most beautiful lakes in the Dolomites
Lake Braies | Pragser Wildsee
This is the popular Dolomites Lake. This stunning lake is beautiful all year round, with the Dolomites reflecting in the blue water. You can also rent a boat, this will be the perfect shot without people around. The Lake of Braies is also known as Pragser Wildsee, included in the Fanes-Sennes-Braies Nature Park, in South Tyrol.
You can reach the lake by car, there is a parking lot available nearby, which is often busy. This is the reason why in every guide about the Dolomites we encourage people to stay overnight near the lake, to catch the morning lights and don’t get too many people around. The early bird wake-up call it’s worth it, a ridiculous scenario will leave you breathless.
It’s easy to reach Lake Braies, which is at an altitude of 1469m above sea level.
Toblino Lake | Fairytale lake of the Dolomites
The legend wants that this was the designed home of Fairies, which were respected and adored by locals. Lake Toblino is nestled in the Valle dei Laghi (the lakes District) of Trentino. This is one of the most romantic places in the Dolomites. All around the lake you can find lemon threes, olives, rosemary cultivation and vineyards.
In the centre of the lake, there is a magnificent Castle, which is enchanting like in a fairytale. The Sixteenth-century fortress, like the lake, has got an old heritage made of many legends. We went to Lake Toblino for a photography session, we didn’t know what to expect at first. However, already from the photos, you can understand how beautiful it is, and worth being included in the list of best Dolomites Lakes.
The lake’s easy to reach from Trento, within 45 minutes by car, surrounded by an incredible scenario through the Dolomites peaks. Take a walk along the lake, enjoy the pathways made of sustainable materials, and also a romantic wooden walkway passage on the lake banks toward the Castle.
Lake Toblino Details
DETAILS | Easy to reach from Trento and beautiful scenario, ideal to visit at sunset
LOCATION | Lago di Toblino
WHEN TO VISIT | All year
Carezza Lake | Karersee Lake
Nestled in the Dolomites there is a lake that for its beauty is the right competitor to the most known Braies Lake. This lake’s perfect for every kind of traveller, hikers, photographer or who simply wants a moment of peace and relaxation surrounded by nature.
You can walk around the lake to enjoy the beautiful views, this is the classic alpine lake surrounded by the Dolomites. The scenario’s stunning all year round, due to the perennial snow on the peaks.
You might have already seen this lake somewhere on Instagram. This is for many the “Fairytale lake of the Dolomites”, or also referred to as the “Rainbow Lake”, but the other true name is Karersee.
The Lago Carezza is one of the most beautiful lakes in the Dolomites, thanks to the calm, the water green shadows going from emerald green to very dark. To protect the ecosystem of the lake it has been placed a fence at a considerable distance, which unfortunately is often neglected by people trying to catch the most instagrammable shot.
Tovel | The red lake
This was our first Dolomites lake visited while strolling around Northern Italy. We love this lake so much, paraphs because of the legends behind it.
This lake’s often called the “red lake” because of the colour it was turned in some part of the year until the mid-1960s. A particular red alga in the lake was appearing on the surface giving the lake a bright red colour.
The Tovel Lake is a naturalistic gem of the Adamello – Brenta Nature Park, the Dolomites range included in Trentino. The beautiful Dolomites reflect in the water, making it one of the best lakes to visit in the Dolomites. You can walk around the lake, and in some parts even hike it, for about 1-hour and a half. Nearby the lake there is a restaurant and a hotel with a few rooms with a view. It is the perfect spot to spend even just one night in altitude surrounded by the Dolomites.
Santa Giustina | Dolomites watersports lake
Imagine yourself and the nature surrounding, on a kayak exploring canyons forged by the power of weathering and water through ages. This is Santa Giustina Lake, a powerful dam included in the Novella River Park. We enjoyed our adventures in Trentino, and especially the experiences kayaking.
Santa Giustina Lake is artificial and an authentic gem in the Val di Non. The area is often referred to as the Valley of Canyons.
The Lake has got a truly beautiful area, the Canyons. These rock formations, forged by the natural agents and years of erosion will leave you speechless. It’s a hidden gem in the Dolomites you have to experience. You can also walk along the River Park, which extends for 3.5 Km and is mandatory with a guide. Nearby you have also to visit the Cles Castle, on an advantage point viewing the lake.
Remember that this part of Trentino is well known for the production of fine sparkling wine, the Trento DOC. Check for a wine tasting tour among the vineyard and hills surrounding Lake Santa Giustina.
Lake of Tret | Santa Maria Alpine Lake
This is the true hidden gem of our guide to the best lakes in the Dolomites. The Tret Alpine Lake is often referred to as “Santa Maria”, it’s also an artificial lake nearby the little village Tret.
This is a small lake compared to the other above, but no less beautiful. Imagine an early morning wake up, with a hike up to 1600 metres, surrounded by meadows and Dolomites. Well after sweating to reach the very top, the best part was the refreshing morning swim in the lake. A beautiful wake-up call, which will always be in our memories.
Let’s talk indeed about the lake, which is one of the Dolomites hidden gems, reachable by car just until the parking lot. After parking the car you have to hike for about 1-hour and a drop of 350 metres up to the hiking path no. 512. Note that you can find signage referring to the lake also as Felixer Weiher.
Enjoy the beautiful view and the relaxing atmosphere. This lake’s not very popular, almost known just by locals. At the very top, you can also find a small point for a quick lunch.
Nearby the well-known ski resorts of Cortina D’Ampezzo, there is the beautiful Lake Sorapis. However to reach the lake you should embrace a hike of about 4 to 6 hours up to the Dolomites, which is about 13 Km, with a drop of 725m. You can also have a shorter trail of about 10.5 Km, and reach the lake in 1.5 hours from Passo Tre Croci. As you can understand this is one of the most beautiful trekking experiences in the Dolomites. Check some itineraries.
Remember that often, during winter this lake isn’t accessible, and the hiking path is closed because of snow. The best time to visit the lake is from Mid-April until Mid-September. You can plan a visit to Lake Sorapis and Lago di Braies in combo, because nearby. The difference between Lake Sorapis and the others in this list, is that this basin is not accessible by mass, so it’s more intimate and so beautiful.
Misurina | Misurinasee
Staying in Cortina D’Ampezzo as a base for our Dolomites Lakes tour, you have to include the Misurina Lake, which is close to the Lago di Sorapis. Like the one before this is another nestled in the Dolomites and accessible just after a long hike. This lake’s famous because of the backdrop of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo, the famous landscape of the Dolomites.
The lake’s a natural beauty, and it’s the biggest in the Cadore District on the top of 1754 meters above sea level.
Lake Misurina Details
DETAILS | 1,754 mt. above sea level – Ideal for a retreat in the Dolomites surrounded by snowy peaks.
LOCATION | Misurina Lake
WHEN TO VISIT | All year round
Lake Dobbiaco | Toblacher See
This is another beautiful Dolomites lake nearby the Lago di Braies. Is easy to reach Lago Dobbiaco from Cortina D’Ampezzo, a short distance from the ski slopes. This lake’s often associated with the entrance to the Tre Cime National Park, which is the starting point of the trail that will take you to one of the most enchanting scenarios in the world.
The lake is named after the nearby village, which is a proper holiday resort, with many amenities, restaurants and chalets. You can follow the trail along the lake, having a stroll around the beautiful water mirror. The Dobbiaco lake is 4.5Km and it’s also hiking through the alpine trees.
Santa Colomba Lake
Another beautiful hidden gem in the Dolomites in our guide. Lake Santa Colomba is hidden on the packs of Valle di Cembra. There is huge geologic interest around the lake area, which was once an active mining area.
Many interesting hiking trails will take you to the Lago di Santa Colomba, the Sentiero dei Canopi. It’s one of the most famous. You can visit Lake Santa Colomba, not just for a walk around the lake and relaxing, but also for guided visits to the mining areas. We have been inside a mine, which was a surprising adventure in Trentino.
The unusual hidden Lakes in the Dolomites
Lago dei Caprioli | The Deer Lake
We couldn’t miss Lago dei Caprioli in the list of most beautiful lakes in the Dolomites. This beautiful natural lake is on 1.546 metres above sea level, on top of the Dolomites and the Malga in Trentino. It’s easy to reach the lake by car, and park nearby the trail.
We were astonished by the natural beauty of this lake, which was completely nestled by the Dolomites, with a few streams coming down from the mountain. Actually, we visited it in June, and the streams were quite large, compared to other times. The lake’s unique and you should visit it, an authentic hidden gem in the Dolomites.
There is also a nice hike from the nearby village, Pellizzano, to the lake. This is called the Sentiero degli gnomi.
Lago di Caldonazzo
Another beautiful lake nearby Trento. This is one of the biggest in the Dolomites area and is powered by the Brenta River. This beautiful lake is ideal for sports lovers. This is also one of the easiest to reach in our guide, and is just 560 metres above sea level, one of the lowest ones.
Around the lake, you can find many beaches, with Lidos too, bars, and restaurants. It’s the ideal lake for watersports like Kayaking, Canoeing, diving, and water skiing. For these diverse opportunities, it’s often hosting international events.
LOCATION | Caldonazzo Lake
Lago di Resia | Der Reschensee
Well, this is the best off the beaten path lake in the Dolomites. Lake of Resia or in German Der Reschensee is one of the most suggestive on our list.
This lake covers a small village underwater, today the only part visible is the tower bell of the local underwater church. This is another artificial lake of about 6,6 Km. Because of that the Lake of Resia is unique and the most beautiful, but also a hidden gem in the Dolomites. Check the photo if you don’t believe us.
LOCATION | Lago di Resia
Ready for a Dolomites Itinerary?
Q&A Best Lakes in the Dolomites
Can you swim in Lake Braies?
YES. Many people are just interested to get the best shot at Braies Lake in the Dolomites. Actually, the ultimate experience will be to swim in this amazing lake. However, we have to warn you that in an alpine lake it’s usually very cold and so is Braies Lake.
Can you swim in Lago sorapis?
No. Despite what travellers think, you can’t swim in the Lago Sorapis. However, is common to see photos of people swimming in the lake.
How many days do you need in the Dolomites?
At least a week. However, there is not a perfect answer to this question. You can organize a perfect itinerary of the Dolomites even in 4 or 5 days. Depending on the time of the year you are visiting the Dolomites, the length might vary. We have a complete 7-day itinerary of the Dolomites ready for you.
Are the Dolomites worth seeing?
YES. Doesn’t matter which part of the Dolomites you want to experience and neither for how long. This part of Italy is one of the most suggestive in the world. The Dolomites are perfect for every kind of traveller.
Do you need a car in the Dolomites?
If you want to have the best time in the Dolomites you’ll need a car. There are many opportunities to rent a car in the nearby airports or Trento and Bolzano. There are chances that you can reach some places just using public transport, but this means losing a lot of time travelling and sometimes changing buses in the mountains. Also, you can easily reach Trento or Bolzano and Belluno by train, plus some other small towns on the way.
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