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Lake Prags: the most picturesque lake in Europe




Lake Prags is located in the in the Prags Valley in South Tyrol, Italy. This place is truly the most beautiful in the area. Surrounded by the Prags Dolomites, the lake beckons for a romantic holiday in the summer. The lake has both Italian (Braies) and German names – Pragser Wildsee.

There are many hiking trails around the lake that go through beautiful places. Tourists can also go mountaineering in the Dolomites. On the shore of the lake there is an old boathouse with boats where you can ride on calm and clear waters. Braies is the deepest lake in South Tyrol. In some places, its depth reaches 38 meters. So even on the hottest summer day, the water here remains very refreshing, and not everyone dares to plunge into it.

La palafitta
La Palafitta. Photo: 12019 / pixabay (Pixabay License)
The Prags Dolomites on the background of the lake Prags
The Prags Dolomites on the background of the lake. Photo: Robert J Heath / flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Lake Prags
A bench on the lake shore. Photo: SimonePascuzzi (CC BY-SA 3.0)

On the western shore of the lake, due to its wider and gentler slope, there are numerous picnic areas. Here you can grab a bite to eat with stunning views, surrounded by majestic mountains and forests! On the same side, at the beginning of the last century, the Viennese architect Otto Schmidt erected a small stone chapel. The hotel called “Hotel Lago di Braies” was also built according to his project. It first opened its doors to guests on July 10, 1889 and is still working.

Lake Prags and la palafitta from above
Lake Prags and la palafitta from above. Photo: Ales Krivec / Good Free Photos (CC0 / Public Domain)
Mountains on the background of the lake Prags
Mountains on the background of the lake. Photo: Zairon (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Chapel of St. Mary by the lake Prags
Chapel of St. Mary by the lake. Photo: Zairon (CC BY-SA 4.0)

The commune of Prags is a quiet and peaceful place in the mountains, and the lake is a true local gem. It’s an amazing place to escape regardless of the season. Mountaineering and hiking await guests in summer, and skiing in winter. It is easy to get there by car from different cities in Italy or Austria. You can endlessly admire the local landscapes! However, we advise you to arrive early in the morning, since in the afternoon, in good weather, there are already a huge number of tourists on the beaches and trails around the lake.

Panoramic view of the mountains from the lake shore
Panoramic view of the mountains from the lake shore. Photo: Alan / pixabay (Pixabay License)
View from the western shore of the lake Prags
View from the western shore of the lake. Photo: Demis Gallisto / flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)
View of the lake and mountains from the north shore
View of the lake and mountains from the north shore. Photo: LaraBadioli / pixabay (Pixabay License)

Lake Prags has long been recognized as the most beautiful alpine lake in the Trentino-Alto Adige region. The main attraction here is delightful nature: local landscapes literally look like the postcards.

Mountain view against the background of the southern part of the lake Prags
Mountain view against the background of the southern part of the lake. Photo: RudiSteinboeck / pixabay (Pixabay License)

Legend of Lake Prags

Since a railway passes through the valley, this place has become popular among lovers of recreation, including family ones, in nature. However, only a few people know that Lake Prags is the protagonist of the ancient myth of the Dolomites, according to which the lake was an access to the underground part of the Fanes kingdom, which can be reached by boat. The gateway to another world, located at the foot of Mount Seekofel, is probably already completely flooded by now. Ladins still call Seekofel the “Gate Mountain”.

Panoramic shot of the Lake Prags with mountains reflecting in water
Panoramic shot of the Lake Prags with mountains reflecting in water. Photo: Edoardo Dusina (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Hotel Lago di Braies
“Hotel Lago di Braies”. Photo: Fischer.H (CC BY-SA 4.0)

If you decide to go around Lake Prags in a circle, do not forget comfortable shoes, a camera and food for the most amazing picnic ever. The length of the route is about 3.5 kilometers, but thanks to the well-equipped paths, you will not even notice how you cover this distance.

View of the lake and mountains from the north shore
View of the lake and mountains from the north shore. Photo: Frank Wittig / flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Lake Prags
Lake Prags. Photo: Armin S Kowalski / flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Lake Prags
Lake Prags. Photo: Armin S Kowalski / flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Perfectly clear water, which reflects snow-capped mountain peaks, clean air and fantastic views will not leave anyone indifferent. People come here to take a break from the bustle of the city, stay alone with nature, enjoy stunning landscapes and recharge their energy.

Lake Prags
Lake Prags. Photo: Damiano Pappadà Thanks for over 1.000.000 views / flickr (Public domain)

How Lake Prags appeared

According to legend, the lake was formed at a time when savages mined gold here. Local shepherds became jealous and tried to steal these treasures. The attempts were unsuccessful, because the savages discovered underground springs and flooded all the wealth in the newly-formed lake.

Lake Prags
Lake Prags. Photo: Andrea Skerlavaj / flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The legend is beautiful, but you will hardly manage to find the treasures in the lake. Most likely the water body appeared as a result of the collapse of giant stone towers. A valley was formed at the narrowest point, and the water that gathered behind it became the Lake Prags. This is the so-called dam lake, which has no visible water outflow.

Lake Prags
Lake Prags. Photo: delvaima / pixabay (Pixabay License)

Lake Prags on map: