Visit Lago di Carezza (Karersee) for some of the best views in the Dolomites
Lago di Carezza (or Karersee, as it’s known in German) is one of the most beautiful lakes I’ve ever seen. My jaw hit the floor when I first caught a glimpse of it, and I promptly forgot about the two-hour bus ride to get there because it was instantly worth it. The lake’s crystal clear, turquoise water shimmers under the sun and perfectly reflects any clouds in the sky. It’s surrounded by lush vegetation, a forest of pine trees, and there are wildflowers everywhere you look. If that wasn’t enough, it’s set against a backdrop of stunning mountains, too.
Lago di Carezza is the very definition of small, but mighty. It takes less than 40 minutes to walk around the perimeter of the lake, even when you’re stopping to take photos every few seconds.
Even though you can capture the whole lake in one shot, it’s worth moving away from the information point at the entrance so you can see it from every angle, without any crowds getting in the way. That being said, it never felt like Lago di Carezza was overrun with tourists, even in the July mid-afternoon sun.
The best thing about the lake (at least in my opinion) is that nobody’s allowed in it, and that’s no doubt one of the reasons why the water has remained so pristine. So, while it may be tempting to dive in and see if it’s actually a portal to Heaven, the wooden fence around Lago di Carezza means there’s no risk of anyone photobombing your pictures.
I headed to the right-hand side on arrival and walked around the lake anti-clockwise, which is what most people seemed to be doing, but you really can’t go wrong!
Given that it took me four hours to get there and back from Ortisei, I didn’t venture further afield, but I’m sure the surrounding area offers plenty of hiking opportunities too – it certainly looked like it based on the views I saw from the bus.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so here are some of my favourite (unfiltered) photos from my visit:
The best place to stay if you’re visiting Lago di Carezza by public transport
Bolzano is your best bet – the 180 bus to Vigo di Fassa/Karerpass leaves from Stand A at the main bus station (which is only five minutes walk from the train station). From there, it’s just a 50-minute journey to Lago di Carezza / Karersee. Keep an eye on the screen at the front of the bus – you’ll want to get off at the stop named ‘Karer See.’ And get a window seat if you can, so you can admire the mountain views on the approach to the lake.
You can find up-to-date bus times on the SüdtirolMobil journey planner. Select ‘Bolzano, Autostazione’ (Bolzano bus station) as your departure point, and ‘Welschnofen, Karer See’ as your destination. Tickets can be purchased on the Südtirol mobile app or from the driver, but if you’ve been given a Südtirol Guest Pass by your hotel, there’s no need to buy one as the trip won’t cost you a penny – you just have to validate your pass when you’re getting on the bus by holding the QR code up against the scanner.
I was delighted to discover the bus drops you off practically at the shore of the lake – you head down a few steps and then you’re there. It’s crazy to think this natural wonder is right by a main road but, fortunately, the traffic doesn’t detract from the experience. It’s just a shame the same can’t be said for Lake Misurina.
I was staying in Ortisei and had a long wait between buses, which is why the journey took me two hours each way, but the trip would be much more manageable directly from Bolzano – and well worth doing regardless.
On the way back, just cross to the opposite side of the road to catch the bus back to Bolzano – there’s a bus shelter if you’re in need of some shade, and the seats there are carved out of tree trunks.
How to pronounce Lago di Carezza in Italian
Just in case you’re buying your ticket on the bus and need to tell the driver where you’re headed, it’s pronounced Lahgo de Ca-ret-za.