The Lago Di Carezza is a picture perfect alpine lagoon surrounded by the impressive dolomite mountains. It sits in a winding valley of dream like scenery only an hours bus ride from the German speaking, Italian city of Bolzano/ Bozen. Visiting this stunning setting was absolutely breath taking, seeing the Dolomites in all their jagged glory was the reason we made the stop of point in what otherwise is a hard to travel region that is out of season!!
When we originally made plans to travel across Europe, The Dolomites didn’t feature at all, in fact our only stop in Italy was to be a couple of nights in Venice before heading to Slovenia. Since our new plan had us starting in the fashion capital of the world; Milan! We thought, why no visit this region we had dreamt about for so long.
We knew that at this time of year we were caught between seasons, the winter snow and ski season had just finished a couple of weeks ago and the summer climbing and via Ferrata season was a month away. With this in mind we knew right from the beginning this wasn’t going to be like Switzerland and Interlaken was…as much as we would have loved that!
Truth being told we couldn’t afford that type of adventure alpine trip in the middle of backpacking through Europe…Switzerland set us back a pretty penny, and we don’t care, we had the greatest time of our lives. But here and now is not the time to do it again! Plus, my knee is still getting back to full fitness so even catching the end of the winter season would have been just too risky!
We did make a pact to ourselves though that we will come back, we have always wanted to climb the Cime Grande on the Tre Cima Lavaredo, tacking the WW1 via ferrata routes and snowboard down the epic routes of the region. Alas, these dreams will have to wait for the right seasons, more money and a fully healed knee!
BUT! That didn’t stop us wanting to make the most of travelling through the region, we might not be able to tackle any of these ferocious mountains this time, but we can hike to the most impressive viewing point and stand in awe at their majesty!
Just to see the Dolomites with their characteristically shaped peaks, jutting into the air as huge pillars and mastiffs unlike any others in the Alps is a dream. Ever since I saw images of this vast and untamed region I knew I had to visit. Standing here by this still frozen lake I feel the calling of the mountains even more, and know that this is my place! I have never been, and yet it feels like home!
As the bus wound its way through the winding mountain roads and the snow covered pinnacles burst into the blue sky I knew this was the right decision to come here. We had been uncertain with the cost and difficult public transport in the region, but we persisted…and here we are!
Our faces were pasted to the glass as we looked in awe at the mountain scenery, lush forests, alpine meadows and stereotypical chalets and villages passed us by. If we were driving along here ourselves we would have never made it with the amount of times we would have had to stop for photos!
Pulling over in the bus the turquoise colour of the lake crept through the branches of the woods on the side of the road. The peaks we had been staring at for almost an hour where now just beyond the forest line, waiting for us to drop to our knees in awe.
The heavily tree lined path only gave away hints at the beauty it beheld, teasing us and tempting us with snapshots of snow, rock and water. As the path cleared on to the wide open viewing area we both stood in silent shock. Sometimes the world is just too beautiful for words, to impressive to feel natural and too perfect to seem real. Standing here we felt like the luckiest people on earth!
One benefit of travelling here in the off season (as well as the lower prices for this often expensive region) is the absence of people! Now it’s not that I am trying to be anti-social here, but these places of impeccable beauty came become overrun, spoiling the feeling of being at one with nature. In Switzerland one of our gripes was just how chaotic the cable cars where, sometimes having to battle to get your place and even jostle just for that perfect shot of the wonderful mountainous terrain.
Here we were almost alone but for the odd one or two well manners hikers. The air was filled with the creaking of the melting ice, the singing of the birds and the wind rushing through the trees.
There were no coach loads turning up in droves, no loud chatter or selfish barging. Here it felt like we had found our own slice of mountain paradise, with the sun shining and the light breeze dancing across the water, what else do you need in life. Sitting here with a view you have to pinch yourself to believe…this felt like freedom!
Seeing the Lago Di Caressa:
From Bolzano bus station take the 180 and get off at the Lago Di Caressa.
The stop is hard to miss as it has a shop and toilets along an otherwise desolate mountain track. If you need to just ask the driver to give you a shout at the stop.
We used our Bolzano travel cards and took the journey for FREE! If you are staying in the city or the region you should get one from your accommodation. This card covers all museums and transport is a wide area surrounding the city. We even travelled to Alta Badia on them!
The bus otherwise is only around about 4 or 5 Euros.
The journey takes just under an hour on the direct service and runs regularly during the day – every 15 mins.
Sometimes the journey must be split into two, here you must change at one of the small towns along the route. It is simple enough, you just get off the 180 you were on and wait at the same stop for another one which will complete the second half of the journey.
This is a cheap and easy trip to take from the wonderful city of Bolzano, You don’t need to take a tour or hire a car or even spend a fortune on hours of public transport to see what has to be one of the most beautiful places in the world! If nothing else, this one journey alone has to be worth making the effort to visit the Dolomites if you are in the region. Simple breathtaking just doesn’t seem to be enough…in fact I am not sure there are enough superlatives to ever describe the sheer wonder of what we say here!