Home to the most beautiful, unspoiled landscapes, discover some of the most enchanting hidden lakes here in Italy's Dolomite mountains. The incredible aesthetic richness of this UNESCO site is just one of the many reasons why it's so appealing to travellers alike throughout the year. From the singing streams and untouched green slopes throughout the spring and summer time, to fairytale-like snowcapped mountain tops and frozen lakes, here are some of the most magical must-see lakes in the Italian Alps. (See map below for more information)
Surrounded by the incredible Latemar Dolomite Mountains, Lake Carezza symbolises the everlasting colours of a yearning wizard’s sorrow. A mythical legend has it that a beautiful mermaid who once lived in the lake attempted to seduce a wizard who fell in love and sought advice for his devotion from a mysterious witch. Advised to form a rainbow over the lake and disguise himself as a jewel salesman, the wizard did all that was advised but forgot to disguise himself. Scaring the mermaid away, her presence in the lake was no more. Heartbroken and outraged, the wizard ripped the rainbow out of the sky, leaving it to dissolve and spread throughout the lake. Due to his heartbreak, the magnificent colours of the rainbow continue to radiate through these crystal clear waters today, gifting it its fabled name, the “Rainbow Lake”. Deep in Italy’s South Tyrol region, Lake Carezza is a must! Home to one of the best hikes in The Dolomites, whether you choose to visit in the heat of summer or the briskness of winter, you can expect impressive scenery at all times. If you’re looking for somewhere to stay nearby, Hotel & Restaurant Bad Schörgau will enhance your enchanting experience of the infinite colours of Lake Carezza, to an alpine-spirited hideaway.
Hidden away in the Italian Dolomites awaits the beautiful Lake Sorapis. Limestone lines the bed of the lake, leaving it with stunningly bright colours of turquoise melded with a soft and milky tone. Sorapis in local dialect translates to “above the waterfall”, so expect to stumble upon this alpine lake secluded up in the mountains nearly 2000 metres above sea level. Due to its slippery cobbled paths, small waterfalls to cross over and some narrow rocky stairways, this a truly outstanding but somewhat challenging hike up that’s certainly worth it. World War One caves are located on the journey up if you want to indulge yourself with some local history along the way. Witness this magical place of awe-inspiring allure, with unmissable views of the Dolomites’ mountain peaks. If you’re looking for a challenging but inspiring hike up to one of Northern Italy’s most enchanting lakes, brimming with myths, legends and chalky blue waters, Lake Sorapis really is heaven on Earth.
Known as the “Pearl among Dolomite Lakes”, Lake Braies (Pragser Wildsee in German) is one of the most beautiful and popular lakes in Northern Italy. Offering unmissable views of the surrounding steep alpine mountains that reflect onto the emerald green waters, it’s definitely worth the visit! Whether its a hike around the lake, a romantic boat ride or a picnic under the sun, the area is home to myths and legends that can be found at the foot of the Croda del Becco Mountain - translating to “Gate Mountain”. Lake Braies is a photographer’s dream, the old wooden boat house reigning as a famous focal point. The best time to get the perfect isolated shot is at sunrise, to avoid the crowds, where you can enjoy that crisp, fresh morning mountain air. Although it’s a breathtaking experience all year round, we recommend you go in the summertime to experience everything to its fullest. Located just 30-minutes away, discover the enchanting alpine hideaway of Hotel Petrus - the perfect home away from home owned and run by two generations of the Aichner family. Boutique Hotel Zenana is also a great place to stay if you’re looking to keep within the local area. Zenana is a family-run mountain marvel, with nine charming suites and a warm homely feel. If you do venture to the charming Lake Braies, keep your expectations high - they will certainly be met!
From Ice Age to the twenty-first century, Lake Como is the popular holiday destination for aristocrats and wealthy individuals since the Roman Empire. It is one of the most favoured celebrity and tourist ‘go to’ destinations. Hemmed in by beautiful highland mountains and sheer hills, it’s the idyllic retreat for all! Shaped like an upside down ‘Y’, due to the movement of a gigantic glacier back in the Ice Age period, Lake Como boasts the diversity of nature and beauty, its sinuous shoreline covered with ancient villages and marvelous villas. For incredible sunrise and sunset views, hike up to the top of Brunate (known as the balcony of the Alps), which is a small town located north-east of Como. Known as one of Europe’s deepest lakes, its colouring is an exceptional deep water blue, making it one of Italy’s most picturesque locations. If you find yourself in this exceptional location, the Grand Hotel Tremezzo is the lakeside grandeur you’re after, with breathtaking views and classically elegant rooms, a hotel for a very stylish retreat. However, if you have a strong passion for local materials such as wood and stone (originally made by Italian craftsmen), Filario Hotel & Residences is the perfect combination of a contemporary and luxurious atmosphere. A spectacular landscape, cobbled streets and gothic architecture, there really is no other place like Lake Como!
The ideal place for nature lovers and skating enthusiasts, this small and beautiful paradise is located in an intimate mountain setting south of the Dobbiaco village. Lake Dobbiaco (also known as ‘Toblacher See’ in German) is the perfect location all year round! Bird watching in the spring, row boat trips in the summer and ice skating on the lake in the winter, its characteristics make it such a value of nature, with its absolute crystal clear waters, surrounding botanical gardens and soaring mountain tops. An attractive destination for all, especially for families and younger visitors if you’re not looking for such a challenging hike on your way up! If you just can’t get enough of alpine tops and shimmering lakes, the Seehof Nature Retreat is really the cherry on top of this experience. An immersive haven nearby Lake Dobbiaco, this woodland surrounded hotel retreat is in the serene tranquility of the Isarco Valley. As you watch the sun set behind the mountains of Dobbiaco, savour a glass of wine or two, and enjoy this perfect location of peace and relaxation.
The arrestingly beautiful Lake Garda is without a doubt, a spectacular destination for all outdoor enthusiasts. It is Italy’s largest natural freshwater lake, formed by a gigantic glacier over a million years ago, leaving a diversity of landscapes, beaches and shimmering blue waters. With its rich history, Lake Garda was part of the Roman Empire and its region was affected badly by the World Wars. To take a stroll in its history, walk along the ‘Old Ponale Road Path’ past remains and ruins where you can enjoy the breathtaking panoramic views of the lake and its surroundings. The best time of year to go is in the heat of summer; where you can either hike up to the top of Monte Baldo, go sailing or windsurfing on its wind-ruffled waters or simply enjoy the local cuisine with sensational scenery.
Go back in time to the lesser known beautiful lake of Northern Italy. Lake Iseo is an outstanding natural beauty with its green mountains, rising Alps and crystal clear, deep blue waters. It culminates great views of the wooded island of Monte Isola, which is the largest lake island in Italy. Lake Iseo is located in between the larger and more famous lakes; Lake Como and Lake Garda, giving visitors plenty of opportunity to explore the surroundings by bike or by foot, experiencing rich agricultural areas of vineyards and olive groves, and several medieval towns surrounding the lake. There are no cars on this island so you are free to roam as you wish. Or perhaps you could take a boat to Monte Isola to visit its glorious chapel surrounded by chestnut groves. If you’re looking for a romantic getaway filled with cobbled streets, iron balconies and great history, Lake Iseo is the place to be. Relax, and take in these picture-perfect views whilst you enjoy their local cuisines along the lake shore.
Located in between the two mountains of Becca Poignenta and Monte Charvel, this hidden gem is an easy trip to get to for all. Lake Arpy is a small lake surrounded by gloriously green woodland and snow-capped alpine mountains, just over 2000 metres above sea level. There’s no ‘best time’ to come as its incredible beauty blossoms all year round. Whether its enjoying a picnic on the shores of the lake, or hiking the snowy mountains and skating the frozen lake in winter, Lake Arpy is an outstandingly charming place to spend your time. If you just can’t get enough of alpine tops and pure remoteness, Mont Blanc Hotel Village is nestled in the heart of the Italian Alps, where you can catch the skyway cable car to the top of Punta Helbronner, and experience the top of Europe! Whether you seek to relax, explore nature or fill your days with sporting activities, Mont Blanc Hotel Village is the place to stay. Take in the breathtaking views of the silhouettes of the majestic mountains and breathe in the fresh alpine air. Let the surrounding alpine environment of Lake Arpy become your redemption.
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