LAKE BRAIES: THE JEWEL OF THE ALPINE LAKES
Lake Braies, north of the Fanes – Sennes – Braies Natural Park is just a stone’s throw from our Hotel Koflerhof. With its emerald green waters, it is also known as the “jewel of the Alpine lakes”.
Here are some key facts:
- Metres above sea level: 1,496 m
- Surface area: approx. 31 hectares (biggest natural lake in the Dolomites)
- Length: 1.2 km
- Width: 300 – 400 m
- Shoreline: 3.5 km
- Maximum depth: 36 m
- Average depth: 17 m
- Max. temperature of water at the surface: 14°C
According to legend, the lake was created long, long ago as the result of a struggle between “savages” and shepherds. The savages, who were mountain dwellers, spent their days mining for gold and precious stones in the mountains. They had a rather peaceful existence until the shepherds came along with their animals, reaching the pastures at the foot of those very mountains. In the beginning, the meeting between savages and shepherds was a friendly one, so much so that the savages often offered the shepherds gold products as gifts, which they had forged themselves. However, as time went on, the shepherds became more and more greedy for gold and did whatever they could to rob the savages of their valuables. To protect their treasure, the savages decided to turn on the underground fountains, which gushed with water until they had formed the famous expanse of water we know today, dividing the pastures from the neighbouring mountains once and for all.
Lake Braies, which was in reality created by a landslide millions of years ago, attracts around 600,000 tourists each year, including hikers, avid cyclists and mountaineers. It is the ideal destination for both summer and winter.
ACTIVITIES AT LAKE BRAIES
Hiking around the lake
Hiking around Lake Braies is an enjoyable activity suitable for grown-ups and little ones alike. You can leave your car at one of the car parks (pay and display) near the Hotel Pragser Wildsee. Cross the road and, just after the small bridge, you will find yourself standing before the majestic picture-postcard Seekofel (2810 m), its beauty reflected in the lake’s still waters.
Start the round walk by taking the path to the left with respect to the little boat rental house: after a short, rather wide stretch close to the lake, the path becomes narrower, with the odd tree root sticking up here and there …watch you don’t trip! You will then reach the narrowest part of the lake. Continuing on your way, you will spot a number of places where you can stop for a picnic or simply enjoy the caress of the gentle breeze while admiring the stunning lake. The path then continues, becoming narrower, climbing up a vertical face with a series of ups and downs until you reach the southernmost part of the lake, where you will also find toilet facilities. From here, continue towards the hotel. You’ll be able to make out the path you’ve just walked along on the west shore and there are also many places for you to stop and rest or simply take in the landscape here too. Carry on until you reach the starting point.
- Starting point: Hotel Pragser Wildsee (1,490 m)
- Route: Seeweg, Around the Lake
- Time required: 1 -1.5 hours
- Climb: 93 m
In the summer months you can rent a small boat for half an hour or an hour to tour Lake Braies in a more unusual and… romantic way. Boat rental is available every day at the cute little stilt house at the edge of the lake. Half an hour costs around 11 euros and one hour, 17 euros.
Visit to the small church dedicated to the Virgin Mary
Right on the shore of Lake Braies stands a pretty little church dedicated to the Virgin Mary. It is now owned by the Hotel Pragser Wildsee. This is where Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife Sophie retired to pray a few days before the tragic attack that killed them on 28 June 1914 in Sarajevo.
The small church is also famous for being the place where Hitler’s most “illustrious” prisoners were set free. He had kept them hidden right here in Braies.
Lake Braies is a popular tourist destination during the winter, too, when its surface ices over and becomes the perfect place to practice cross-country skiing or see what it’s like to enjoy a walk on the frozen lake.
Discover our offers and choose the one most suited to you! We look forward to welcoming you!