7 Things You Need To Know About Visiting Lago Di Braies For An Elopement Or Wedding Photo Shoot

The best 7 tips for visiting Lago di Braies for a wedding or elopement

Whether you are planning your elopement, your wedding or a pre-wedding photoshoot at Lago di Braies (also called “Pragser Wildsee” in German) or want to visit just for fun – these tips will be helpful for a better experience and prepare for what to expect. See the full elopement at Lago di Braies here.

Ahhh, Lago di Braies.

A magical and pristine lake in the heart of the Italian Dolomites, a storybook boat house with a cute dock and tied up wooden boats . A crystal clear mirror reflection surrounded by majestic mountains in idyllic tranquillity.

If you are planning a trip to the Dolomites and start researching about which places to visit, sooner or later (but definitely sooner) you will stumble upon Lago di Braies – one of the most famous destinations in Northern Italy next to Tre Cime di Lavaredo and Seceda. Everybody has heard about it and everybody wants to see if it really is as magical as the countless photos that can be found online suggest.

It’s been the set for the Italian TV show “Un passo dal cielo” with the (at least in Europe) well-known actor Terence Hill and has risen to one of the most famous “must see” film locations among Italians. It truly is the dream setting for a wedding or elopement – and this is where it gets tricky if you don’t plan ahead intentionally.

Lago di Braies Wedding

1) Be prepared to encounter a lot of people during the day

Lago di Braies is one of those locations that have (sadly) risen to Insta-fame very quickly and is busy all year round. Scrolling through instagram, photo galleries and websites, one could be lead to believe this idyllic mountain lake is yet totally undiscovered and one of the best kept secrets in the Dolomites. This couldn’t be further from the truth! It is definitely one of the busiest locations in the Dolomites and upon arriving at the huge parking area next to Hotel Lago di Braies (which sits right next to the shore), you start realizing this. After all, it is probably the most effortless to reach destination in the Dolomites. From July to September between 10am und 3pm the road to the lake is closed for traffic – you will have to take a shuttle bus or rent an e-bike. For this reason, try to avoid peak holiday season / peak visiting hours in summer, weekends or major national holidays. Instead, try to plan your visit between Monday to Thursday – and by the way, every season at Lago di Braies is unique and offers a unique experience!

2) Visit and shoot at sunrise

If there is one time of the day when you can avoid crowds, it’s at sunrise. The boats are still neatly tied up at the dock and the lake is calm and untouched with a beautiful reflection if weather conditions are right. This will change later when the boat house opens to rent the handmade wooden boats to visitors. After that, you can count somewhere up to 10 boats during the busiest hours that will be paddling all around the lake – goodbye, peacefulness! However, even sunrise hours have recently become more and more popular for people to visit – especially in high season months.

3) Rent the famous boat house and dock for a private and exclusive experience

If you are looking for a ceremony spot or for photos on the famous boat jetty, there is no way around exclusively renting it. The boat house and the dock are available for an exclusive photo shoot rental fee of 400 Euro for 1,5 hours before the official boat rental hours begin every morning – included is the rental of two wooden boats.

Private dock rentals are available starting at mid/end of May to mid June from 7-8.30am, mid June to mid September at 6.30-8am, mid September to end of September from 7.30-9am and October to early November from 8.30-10am. Online bookings for the current season already open on February 1st and with only one slot available per day certain dates can be gone fast – so be quick if you have your eyes set on a specific date.

For exact dates, times, pricing and online booking check “La Palafitta – private shooting” – the official dock and boat rental website. 

Is it worth the money? As someone who’s shooting multiple weddings/elopements there every year – a resounding YES! Not only are the morning hours the best time of the day for photos at Lago di Braies, you’ll get the boat house, the whole dock as well as two vintage row boats exclusively for yourself and can be the first (and only one) to paddle around the lake. Dock access is locked outside of boat rental hours, so this is your only chance to have the dock to yourself as well as an unobscured view of the tied up boats and the beautiful, untouched mirror reflection of the mountains in the lake. You can enjoy the calm water for a truly unique and exclusive experience and use the boat house as your getting ready location, whether you are planning to propose or say your vows during your elopement at Lago di Braies in privacy. After the boat rental opens, the crowds start flocking in and the lake gradually fills up with boats.

4) Always be up to date and respect the local rules

Overtourism at Lago di Braies has most certainly become a problem and it’s really important to know what to expect when visiting this lake for a wedding or elopement photoshoot. Boat rental / Boat house rental policies, rental fees, rental hours have changed over the years and traffic regulation during high season months is in place – make sure to always be up to date and check the newest policies at the beginning of each rental season (which starts every year in mid/late May, with online bookings opening in February). Lago di Braies is part of the Fanes-Sennes Braies National park and the property around the lake is private. Flying drones is forbidden and can be fined. Please act responsibly, respect nature, the owners and other visitors and don’t fly drones. For more info check the FAQ section on the official rental website “La Palafitta”

5) The best months are May, June, September and October.

Of course you can plan your photo shoot all year round and also in winter, but these months are in my opinion the best choice. In winter the lake freezes over as it is located at 1496 meters (4900 feet) sea level and the wooden boats are stored away until spring (mid-late May) again. July and August will have comfortable temperatures in the mornings, but undoubtedly be the most busy months. May and October are considered shoulder season in the Dolomites, less busy and can be a great choice if the weather plays along, however, there can be cold weather snaps and rain/early snow/. In late April there sometimes can still be quite some snow and ice on the lake present and it’s a good compromise if you are torn between a winter and a summer shoot. In the winter months (November-March/April), depending on snow depths, moving around the lake (which can be frozen with no reflection or covered in a snow blanket during peak winter months) can be limited and boat rental is closed – however, even this season is magical!

6) There are many beautiful spots all around the lake

If you couldn’t care less about the boat house hype or are visiting on short notice and the jetty is booked, don’t fret! There are gorgeous spots along the hiking trail for beautiful wedding photos. For these you don’t need to make any arrangement in advance. Also, you don’t need a special photography permit.

7) Be prepared for any weather

As you are probably planning your visit or photo shoot months or weeks in advance, you can’t choose the weather for your shoot. Instead, embrace whatever comes your way – it is after all a mountain lake in high altitude. Lago di Braies is beautiful in every season and weather – especially moody weather with clouds or fog rolling in looks amazing at this location. If possible though, try to plan in an extra day for a back up in case of pouring rain all day long or a very foggy day. In early spring and fall, be prepared to bring enough warm clothes, gloves, etc. – just standing right next to a cold body of water can be tougher than you would expect.

Extra pro tip:

While Lago di Braies is truly a jaw-dropping location, it’s only one of many! The Dolomites have so much to offer and there are many less busy and beautiful destinations to explore. I help my couples find truly stunning and off-beat, tailored locations for weddings and elopements in the Dolomites – if you need inspiration, I’m happy to help as a local expert! Check out this post to find out more about weddings and elopements in the Dolomites.

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Gah…that last image took ,y breath away!

Such great info for anyone who hasn’t been there before! So great that you help couples find some epic off the beaten path locations too!!

Yep! So true! Beautiful place, but so many people!! Great advice.

Such good information! I have always wanted to visit here but I had no idea it was so popular. It’s awesome that you can rent the dock. Would definitely want to do that for a wedding shoot or elopement.

I love this article! When I visited Lago Di Braies 4 years ago I was so surprised by the people there!! It’s gorgeous and well worth it though! Sunrise would definitely be the time to visit!

I have never heard of this place but it seems amazing!