10 Best Dolomites Lakes for every kind of vacation + where to stay

The Dolomites Lakes nestle in the valleys made by the 18 peaks of the UNESCO-listed Dolomites mountains that cover 141,903 ha. Tourists flock here in both summer and winter but it can be difficult for first-timers to Northern Italy to know which Dolomite Lake they should visit. But you’ll be a pro after reading this guide which covers the best Dolomites Lakes for hiking, stunning scenery, family activities, winter sports, spas, and wellness activities, and the best places to stay beside each lake.

How to Get to the Dolomites Lakes

You’ll find the Dolomite Lakes in the far northeast of Italy, at the foot of the 18 peaks of the Dolomites, a part of the Italian Alps. The lakes are linked by ancient footpaths, well-signposted hiking trails, and cycleways.

The Dolomites are one of the most recognizable and spectacular natural landmarks in Italy. They occupy an area south of the Austrian border in the Autonomous Province of Bolzano – South Tyrol. They cover the regions of the Veneto, Trentino-South Tyrol, and Friuli Venezia Giulia.

They are divided into the:

  • Northern Dolomites
  • Southern Dolomites
  • Eastern Dolomites
  • Western Dolomites
  • Central Dolomites

The closest town and airport to the Dolomites is Bolzano. Trento is also in the Dolomites but doesn’t have an airport.

You’ve probably heard about the beautiful northern Italian Lakes that include jet-setting favorite winter and summer favorite, Lake Como, and the largest of the Italian lakes, full of castles and beaches, Lake Garda. You may also have heard of Lake Maggiore which is in both Italy and Switzerland. But none of these major Italian lakes are the Dolomites Lakes. Instead, they are south and east of Milan and east towards Verona, and there are 10 northern Italy lakes in all.

Getting to the Dolomites by Plane

Here are the closest 8 airports to the Dolomites:

  • Bolzano (right in the Dolomites)
  • Innsbruck (80-minute drive to Bolzano)
  • Verona (120-minute drive to Bolzano)
  • Bergamo (150-minute drive)
  • Venice, Milan Linate, Munich (180-minute drive to Bolzano)
  • Milan Malpensa (210-minute drive to Bolzano)

Getting to the Dolomites by Train

Get a train from these closest towns/cities to the Dolomites:

  • Bologna to Bolzano – fastest – 2hrs 30 minutes
  • Milan to Bolzano – fastest – 2 hrs 45 minutes (change in Verona)
  • Venice to Bolzano – fastest – 2 hrs 30 minutes (change in Verona)
  • Bergamo to Bolzano – fastest – 3 hrs 25 minutes (2 changes)
  • Verona to Bolzano – fastest – 2 hrs 3 minutes
  • Innsbruck to Bolzano – fastest – 2 hrs 4 minutes

10 Best Lakes of the Dolomites Region

The Dolomites Lakes manage to please everyone – there is some of the world’s most spectacular hiking along dozens of well-planned hiking trails through the beautiful natural landscape of the mountains that surround these lovely lakes.

The beauty of these places doesn’t differ based on whether the Dolomite Lake is natural, artificial, located at a high elevation in the mountains, or not far above sea level.

If an adventurous or active holiday is what you’re after, the Dolomites Lakes are full of adventure activities in every season.

The Map below shows the location of the 10 best dolomite lakes for holidays, and you’ll notice that 8 of them are in the northeast, in and around Tre Cime National Park.

The Visitor Center for the Tre Cime National Park is in Dobbiaco:

Visitor Center Tre Cime
Cultural Center Grand Hotel Toblach, Via Dolomiti 37
39034 Dobbiaco
Tel.: +39 0474 973017
E-mail: info.tc@provincia.bz.it

Map of the 10 Best Dolomites Lakes for Every Type of Vacation

Map of the 10 Best Dolomites Lakes for Every Type of Vacation
Map of the 10 Best Dolomites Lakes for Every Type of Vacation

Quick Guide

🏞️Best Dolomite Lake for Hiking for inexperienced hikers: Lago di Sorapis

🏞️Best Dolomite Lake for Hiking for hikers wanting to be a little off the beaten path: Lago Federa

🏞️Best Dolomite Lake for Hiking for hikers wanting a challenge: Lago di Limides

🏞️Best Dolomite Lake for Scenery: Lago di Landro – called the “fairytale lake”

🏞️Best Dolomite Lake for scenery that is easily accessible: Lago di Limides

🏞️Best Dolomite Lake for Families in Summer: Lago di Misurina

🏞️Best Dolomite Lake for Families in Winter: Lago di Braies

🏞️Best Dolomite Lake for Winter Sports Fun: Lago di Dobbiaco

🏞️Best Dolomite Lake for Christmas Fun: Lago di Caldaro

Best lakes in the Dolomites for hiking

The lay of the land makes the Dolomites an ideal place to hike nature trails while skirting the most popular Dolomites Lakes.

1. Lago di Sorapis – Altitude: 1925 m

Lago di Sorapis is located in the province of Belluno. It is a popular destination for hiking enthusiasts because of the many trails that pass through this area. The beautiful natural landscape is reflected in the blue waters of the lake.

Lago di Sorapis, Lake Sorapis, Dolomites, Italy
Lago di Sorapis, Lake Sorapis, Dolomites, Italy

This intense coloring of Lake Sorapis comes from the glacier from which it originated. Among the hiking trails, the Three Crosses Pass trail represents one of the most beautiful in the Dolomites.

Its low-difficulty trails make it a great choice suitable even for the less experienced. Along the trail of Lake Sorapis, you can stop for a break at the Vandelli Hut, from which you have a splendid view of the pretty mountain lake.

Where to stay near Lake Sorapis

Cortina d’Ampezzo is the closest town to Lake Sorapis but it’s also possible to stay nearby at San Vito di Cadore.

Grand Hotel Savoia Cortina d’Ampezzo, A Radisson Collection Hotel – a summer garden bar, outdoor winter terrace, indoor swimming pool and wellness center, and superb views of the Dolomites from your room are some of the reasons this is such a highly rated hotel by guests.

Rosapetra SPA – Small Luxury Hotels of the World – entirely furnished in wood with enormous guest rooms and suites that have balconies with Dolomites mountain views. The spa is top notch and there is a good fitness center.

Fiori Dolomites Experience Hotel: is a great little find in San Vito di Cadore, somehow only 3 stars, 500 m from Donariè ski lifts, free bicycles free wifi, a property with 24 comfortable, rustic-style rooms with wooden floors and beamed ceilings. They also hire ski gear and you can buy lift passes here.

2. Lago Federa – Altitude: 2038 m

Lake Federa is a hidden gem of the Dolomites. Trails in this area pass through huts and refuges that are off the classic routes.

Located in the vicinity of Cortina d’Ampezzo, it still remains a little-traveled trail but its late autumn/fall foliage is nothing short of spectacular.

Autumn foliage surrounding Federa Lake, Dolomites, Italy
Federa Lake, Dolomites, Italy

CAI Trail 432 is traversable both by foot and bike, and this 5-kilometer stretch leads to this lake of unparalleled colors.

Lake Federa is one of the few lakes in the Dolomites to have retained its pristine natural features. The lake maintains a constant water level because of the number of underground springs feeding it. The lake is not swimmable.

Even in summer, the water of Lake Federa remains crystal clear and you can see the surrounding forest reflected in the water.

Where to stay near Lake Federa

Cortina d’Ampezzo is the closest town to Lake Federa but it’s also possible to stay nearby at San Vito di Cadore.

Grand Hotel Savoia Cortina d’Ampezzo, A Radisson Collection Hotel – a summer garden bar, outdoor winter terrace, indoor swimming pool and wellness center, and superb views of the Dolomites from your room are some of the reasons this is such a highly rated hotel by guests.

Rosapetra SPA – Small Luxury Hotels of the World – entirely furnished in wood with enormous guest rooms and suites that have balconies with Dolomites mountain views. The spa is top notch and there is a good fitness center.

Fiori Dolomites Experience Hotel: is a great little find in San Vito di Cadore, somehow only 3 stars, 500 m from Donariè ski lifts, free bicycles free wifi, a property with 24 comfortable, rustic-style rooms with wooden floors and beamed ceilings. They also hire ski gear and you can buy lift passes here.

Best lakes in the Dolomites for immersing yourself in unspoiled nature

The lakes of the Dolomites are magical places set in nature. Sometimes it is difficult to even get a glimpse of them amid the dense conifer and mountain pine forests.

3. Lago di Landro – Altitude: 1400 m

Lago di Landro is also called the “fairytale” lake. The setting and atmosphere around it seem straight out of a magic book.

Convenient and practical, thanks in part to the existence of several parking lots, it offers a pebbly beach from which to dive into the beautiful lake.

Lago di Landro, morning shot, Dolomites, Italy
Lago di Landro, morning shot, Dolomites, Italy

Although it is an alpine lake, thanks to its not-too-high altitude, the water maintains an ideal temperature for swimming.

But it’s also possible to rent boats here, and it’s a practical base for reaching the Tre Cime (Three Peaks) of Lavaredo, a short distance from Lake Landro.

There’s a terrific 4.3 km loop trail that takes about an hour and a quarter.

In German, Lago di Landro is called “Dürrensee” and the lake is only 12 km from Dobbiaco.

Where to stay near Lago di Landro

Skyview Chalets am Camping Toblacher See – these Adults-Only chalets are among the most romantic places to stay in the Dolomites and honeymooners love them! 9 km from Lago di Landro, 19km from Lago di Braies on Lago di Dobiacco, and 27km from Lago di Sorapis, the Chalets are contemporary, and stylish, with an Italian restaurant, minimart, terraces, and many other quality inclusions.

Hotel Lago di Braies: a unique, recently renovated 3-star resort on Lago di Braies and the only hotel on the lake. It is protected by the Fine Arts Foundation and has free bikes and fishing permits, and a bar and restaurant. It is secluded, but also easily accessible.

4. Lago di Limides – Altitude: 2174 m

Limides Lake offers hikes suitable for all ages. The walks that skirt one of the beautiful lakes in the Dolomites are easy and well-marked, precisely to ensure a safe and genuine experience.

Lago di Limides, Dolomites, Italy
Lago di Limides, Dolomites, Italy

A landscape that offers incredible views of the Dolomite mountain range and fully reflects the origin of the glacial lake and is only 2 miles from Cortina d’Amprezzo, this is an easily accessible holiday destination.

The entire lake is surrounded by rich vegetation, particularly larch, and stone pine. Surrounding the lake are the Sasso di Stria, Averau, and Lagazuoi mountains.

Limides Lake is one of the most beautiful lakes of the Italian Dolomites and of northern Italy as a whole. It is easily reached from the Falzarego Pass or the Col Gallina Refuge.

Where to stay near Lago di Limides

Cortina d’Ampezzo is the closest town to Lago di Limides (2 miles) but it’s also possible to stay nearby at San Vito di Cadore.

Grand Hotel Savoia Cortina d’Ampezzo, A Radisson Collection Hotel – a summer garden bar, outdoor winter terrace, indoor swimming pool and wellness center, and superb views of the Dolomites from your room are some of the reasons this is such a highly rated hotel by guests.

Rosapetra SPA – Small Luxury Hotels of the World – entirely furnished in wood with enormous guest rooms and suites that have balconies with Dolomites mountain views. The spa is top notch and there is a good fitness center.

Fiori Dolomites Experience Hotel: is a great little find in San Vito di Cadore, somehow only 3 stars, 500 m from Donariè ski lifts, free bicycles free wifi, a property with 24 comfortable, rustic-style rooms with wooden floors and beamed ceilings. They also hire ski gear and you can buy lift passes here.

Best lakes in the Dolomites for enjoying a family vacation

The Dolomites are an ideal place to spend family vacations full of fun and discovery. Trails, beautiful landscapes and food, and wine specialties to try all together.

5. Lago di Braies – Altitude: 1496 m

A particular lake in the Dolomites. Lago di Braies is famous for its emerald green waters and many activities suitable for the whole family.

Lago di Braies, Dolomites, Italy
Lago di Braies, Dolomites, Italy

Adults and children alike can venture along some of the trails that lead into the beautiful forests and surrounding nature of Lake Braies.

One of the experiences not to be missed at this South Tyrol Lago di Braies are hiring the antique rowing boats.

Even in winter Lake Braies retains its charm thanks to the blanket of ice that forms on the surface of the water and several ice skating rinks are constructed.

Note: In summer, there is a limit to when you can drive the Pragser Tal Valley. You need to do it before 9.30 am or after 4 pm. Between 9.30 am and 4 pm you can still use public transport, and of course you can walk or cycle.

Where to stay at Lake Braies

Hotel Lago di Braies: a unique, recently renovated 3-star resort on Lago di Braies and the only hotel on the lake. It is protected by the Fine Arts Foundation and has free bikes and fishing permits, and a bar and restaurant. It is secluded, but also easily accessible.

Skyview Chalets am Camping Toblacher See – these Adults-Only chalets are among the most romantic places to stay in the Dolomites and honeymooners love them! On Lake Dobiacco, 19km from Lago di Braies and 27km from Lago di Sorapis, the Chalets are contemporary, and stylish, with an Italian restaurant, minimart, terraces, and many other quality inclusions.

6. Lago di Misurina – Altitude: 1754 m

Lake Misurina is another of the pearls of South Tyrol. It is the largest natural lake in the Cadore area and has a long history of wellness retreats.

Lago di Misurina, Dolomites Italy
Lake Misurina (I’ve not altered my raw image – it’s just this beautiful!), Dolomites, Italy

Nestled among the Italian Alps, Lago di Misurina also overlooks the Tre Cime National Park. Trails to reach the summit of these mountains start from here and also lead to the Auronzo refuge.

Lake Misurina is taken by storm by tourists in the summer months when they can explore the stunning lake area by renting boats and mountain bikes.

In winter, Lake Misurina offers spectacular views of the snow-capped mountains, possibly inside the classic huts converted into places to warm up with a good hot chocolate with a view of the beautiful lake.

Where to stay at Lake Misurina

Grand Hotel Misurina: South Tyrol’s most coveted four-star hotel. Elegant rooms reflecting a traditional style sit alongside a modern spa and are set on Lake Misurina. Pets are welcome.

Hotel Sorapiss – the most popular accommodation on Lake Misurina is this 3-star property that has a terrace, restaurant, bar, room service, and free parking. It’s 36 km to Lago di Briaes and just over 9 km to Lago di Sorapis and 250 m from the shore of Lake Misurina.

Best lakes in the Dolomites for winter sports enthusiasts

The famous lakes in the Dolomites are ideal for summer sports, but especially winter sports. Skiing, skating, curling, and other activities can engage young and old in local fun.

7. Lago di Dobbiaco – Altitude: 1259 m

Lago di Dobbiaco is located within the Three Peaks Nature Park and is only 18 km from Lago di Braies.

Lago di Dobbiaco, Italy
Lago di Dobbiaco, Italy

Tiny Lake Dobbiaco manages to captivate during the summer months, but during the winter period, it is at its best.

During summer you can walk around the lakeshore for an hour, and take a dip in the shallow but very cold water, or muck about in a paddle boat for a few hours.

Touring Lake Dobbiaco in the snow, however, allows you to admire a breathtaking mountain landscape surrounded by forest.

For those who want their holidays full of adrenaline, you can try your hand at sledding. Taking cable cars, you can begin way above Lake Dobbiaco. It is also possible to skate, ski, and try sports such as curling.

You can even opt to ride in a horse-drawn sleigh or book a hot air balloon flight so that you can admire South Tyrol province from above.

Where to stay near Lake Dobiacco

Skyview Chalets am Camping Toblacher See – these Adults-Only chalets are among the most romantic places to stay in the Dolomites and honeymooners love them! 19km from Lago di Braies on Lago di Dobiacco, and 27km from Lago di Sorapis, the Chalets are contemporary, and stylish, with an Italian restaurant, minimart, terraces, and many other quality inclusions.

Hotel Lago di Braies: a unique, recently renovated 3-star resort on Lago di Braies and the only hotel on the lake. It is protected by the Fine Arts Foundation and has free bikes and fishing permits, and a bar and restaurant. It is secluded, but also easily accessible.

8. Lago di Caldaro – Altitude: 216 m

Lago di Caldaro (Lake Kaltern) is the lowest in the region considering the meters above sea level. It is an ideal place to spend a winter vacation. The Christmas atmosphere given by the traditional markets adds to the charm of this town.

Lago di Caldaro (Lake Kaltern), South Tyrol, Italy
Lago di Caldaro (Lake Kaltern), South Tyrol, Italy

There are 6 ski resorts around Lake Kaltern that are easily accessible by car.

You can, in addition, practice ice hockey at the many facilities in the area or venture out snowshoeing on the magical snowy trails.

It is one of the largest lakes in the region, providing a convenient base point for exploring the entire region. It may not be one of the most popular lakes in the Dolomites, but I think this is why it retains its charm.

Where to stay at Lago Caldaro

Lake Spa Hotel Seeleiten – the only 5-star resort in Caldaro, the free wellness center is a major draw, with a sauna, hot tub, and Turkish bath.

Im Zeitlauf -life with nature – contemporary chic with an infinity pool and outstanding views, this stylish property has enormous rooms and suites, a bar, a restaurant, and an outdoor fireplace.

Hotel Goldener Stern – the most popular hotel in Caldaro, only 2 km from the Lake, situated in a renovated 18th-century building with a large sauna.

Best Lakes in the Dolomites for Wellness Retreats

The Dolomites are a place of peace and well-being. Thanks to the particularly healthy air and products made from local raw materials, visitors’ well-being is all but guaranteed!

9. Lago di Carezza – Altitude: 1519 m

Lake Carezza is also known as the rainbow lake because of the colors of its waters, making it very popular with tourists. It is a lake fed by underground springs fed by the Latemar mountain range.

Lake Carezza, Dolomites, Italy
Lake Carezza, Dolomites, Italy

Lake Carezza manages, despite its 1519 meters above sea level to keep itself the warmest lake than others with similar characteristics.

The uniqueness of this amazing lake also lies in the wellness-related services that many facilities offer. In fact, there are many spas that aim to relax their guests in the Lago di Carezza area.

Local products made using local raw materials, such as massage oils with essences from the Dolomite forests, will be the basis of a cure for the body and mind.

Lago di Carezza takes care of everyone with its enchanting locations and state-of-the-art facilities.

Where to stay near Lake Carezza in Bolzano

Parkhotel Laurin – the most popular 4-star hotel in Bolzano, it’s a very attractive grand Art Nouveau building with enormous marble bathrooms, a charming bar, and a restaurant and is only 200 m from the station.

Hotel Stiegl Scala – 4-star hotel in Bolzano in a charming 1898 building furnished with all mod cons, a seasonal outdoor pool, and a beautiful garden

Stadt Hotel Città – a popular 4-star hotel on Bolazano’s main square with large and elegant rooms, a spa, a fitness center, and a restaurant.

10. Lago D’Antorno – Altitude: 1866 m

Lake Antorno is a beguiling small lake in which the Three Peaks of Lavaredo are reflected in its waters.

Lago d'Antorno with the three peaks in the background, Dolomites, Italy
Lago d’Antorno with the three peaks in the background, Dolomites, Italy

Lake Antorno is located in the Cadore area only a 2 km walk from Laken Misurina and offers a hiking trail to explore every season. There is a very impressive trail, the 101 Trail, that leads right to the Three Peaks.

Lake Antorno is a popular location for television series and movies because of its beauty but its reputation for pristine mountain air has made a focus of wellness tourism.

Where to stay at Lake Misurina (near Lake Atorno)

Grand Hotel Misurina: South Tyrol’s most coveted four-star hotel. Elegant rooms reflecting a traditional style sit alongside a modern spa and are set on Lake Misurina. Pets are welcome.

Hotel Sorapiss – the most popular accommodation on Lake Misurina is this 3-star property that has a terrace, restaurant, bar, room service, and free parking. It’s 36 km to Lago di Briaes and just over 9 km to Lago di Sorapis and 250 m from the shore of Lake Misurina.

Hotel Lavaredo: In the heart of the Belluno Dolomites overlooking Lake Misurina. The wellness center offers individually-tailored treatments.

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