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Italy - Dolomites - Lago di Braies - one of the nicest lakes in Europe!

Updated: Aug 16, 2023

The trek to Lago di Antermoia ignited a fateful love for the Dolomites in my heart, and even during the journey back home, I was devising a plan to explain to my wife that I had to return there the very next week. Fortunately, Austrians only have 10-day motorway vignettes, and given that we had to buy two vignettes for one extra day anyways (my wife simply had to go for 11 days, 10 was not enough...), it was necessary to use them appropriately, right?! =)

With the prospect of zero traffic, I set off on Friday evening. I quickly stop to buy trekking poles (and after this trip, I'm sure I'll never go anywhere without them again, because my back thanks me for it even now). The journey is absolutely trouble-free, I speed through Germany without braking, Austria is classic IGL, so pinchinch myself in the face to stay awake and at about 1am in the morning I am crawling into a sleeping bag in the car park at Lago di Braies (parking here).

Lago di Braies (Pragser Wildsee in German) is an alpine lake in the Fanes-Sennes-Braies nature park, which is part of the UNESCO World Heritage. More specifically, Lago di Braies is located in the Braies Valley (Valle di Braies in Italian, Pragser Tal in German), a side valley of the Upper Puster Valley in South Tyrol, Italy.

Parking at Lago di Braies

Somewhere I read that you can park here without any problems at night and leave in the morning after taking photos before the arrival of the fee collector... well, yes and no... but more on that in a moment. I quickly checked Google and it claimed that sunrise at Braies will be at 5.44, the only bummer was that it should be raining… and quite a lot... with a bit of skepticism in my soul, I set the alarm for five and finally switching myself off.

The iconic boats in the foreground at Lago di Braies with the lake and the rock massif in the background, Italy, Dolomites

Sony A7 III, Tamron 17-28mm f/2.8, ISO50, 1.3s and 0.4s (composed of two shots), f/16, VFFOTO magnetic UV GS adapter 67-82mm

It's morning... and... it's not raining! Hooray... I'm lucky again! Lago di Braies looks just as kitschy in person as it does in photos. Emerald water, small iconic wooden boats in it, and a mountains reflecting in the water... what more could you want, right... maybe to be there alone...

Because those other 20 photographers squeezed into 5 square meters and running around trying to fight for the best spot (not that I behaved any differently) do spoil the atmosphere a bit (ehm, I'm updating the website in 2023 and things have "slightly" changed... in the morning there are already about 50 photographers and due to restrictions to reduce the amount of traffic from July 10th to September 10th during the peak tourist season in the Braies Valley, parking must be pre-booked at But this only applies for the times between 9.30 and 16.00, outside of these you can still drive there and enjoy the lake).

Believe it or not, the sun really did rise at 5.44 (well done Mr. Google, from now on I will follow this everywhere) everyone is snapping photos as if their life depended on it and about 20 minutes later only 2 of us remain... finally there's peace, the sun is warming, I'm taking a few more drone shots and slowly off to the car park before the guard comes...

Drone view of the emerald green Lago di Braies with the rock massif in the background, Italy, Dolomites

So of course the fee collector was already there and immediately starts demanding 6 EUR... but I was only here for a moment, so no 6 EUR, no, no, no, I won't be parking here, I'm leaving right away, so I'm not paying... but the man isn't a softie and is obviously used to these "tricks"... so we argue for a while longer and then I think... "do you really need this, it was beautiful, the weather was great, you did great shots, so don't be a knee-biter and pay..." and so I turn around and want to pay, which probably confuses him and he gives me a discount... happy ending, joy on both sides and I'm off to the magical Tre Cime di Lavaredo.

Until next time!

Michal Stehlik


Camera: Sony A7 III

Drone: Mavic Air 2s


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