The best 7 tips for visiting Lago di Braies for a pre-wedding shoot
Whether you are planning your pre-wedding photoshoot, a wedding or your elopement 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.
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 you are going to 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 everbody wants to see if it really is as magical as the countless photos that can be found online suggest. It is one of those must see, checklist-destinations – and this is where it gets tricky: you won’t find idyllic tranquillity there anymore (if you don’t plan ahead intentionally).
1) Be prepared to encounter a lot of people
Like, A LOT. Lago di Braies is one of those locations that have (sadly) risen to Insta-fame very quickly and is busy all year round. Scrolling throw 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 the hotel, 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 – you will have to take a shuttle bus. For this reason, try to avoid peak holiday season 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 (mostly) 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 around 10am to rent the handmade wooden boats to tourists. After that, you can count somewhere up to 20-30 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 crowded – especially in high season months.
3) If you want more privacy, consider renting the boat jetty
If you are looking for a photo on the famous boat jetty, you might think about exclusively renting it. The boat house and the dock are available for an exclusive photo shoot rental fee of 150 Euro for 1,5 hours in the mornings from 7.30-9am.
Is it worth the money? Not only are the morning hours the best time of the day at Lago di Braies, it is pretty much your only chance to have the docks to yourself as well as an unobstructed view of the tied up boats and the beautiful mirror reflection of the mountains in the lake. You can enjoy the sunrise as well as the calm water for a truly unique experience. After the boat rental opens, the lake gradually fills up with boats.
4) Book way ahead of time
If you are planning your wedding or elopement, or even an engagement shoot and are dreaming of photos on the famous jetty, you need to plan ahead and book way in advance. Choosing a weekday or a date in shoulder season will make it easier to find a free date.
5) The best months are June and September.
Of course you can plan your couple shoot all year round and also in winter, but these months are in my opinion the best choices because the weather is the most stable. In winter the lake freezes over as it is located at 1496 meters sea level and the wooden boats are stored away until summer 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 present and it’s a good compromise if you are torn between a winter and a summer shoot. In the winter months, depending on snow depths, moving around the lake can sometimes be limited – 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 plenty of beautiful spots all around the hiking trail that leads around the lake and nearby 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. Just show up early and you’re good!
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 nature and a mountain lake in higher altitudes. Lago di Braies is beautiful in every season and weather – especially moody weather 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.
Extra pro tip:
While Lago di Braies is truly a stunning location, I encourage you to look further. The Dolomites have so much to offer and there are many less busy and beautiful destinations to explore. The overtourism at Lago di Braies has most certainly become a problem and I encourage every couple to think twice about visiting this lake, even if it’s beautiful.
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!