Day trip destination
Karersee lake near Welschnofen: a gem of emerald green
Karersee lake near Welschnofen is described as the prettiest mountain lake in the Alps with good reason: its fascinating play of colours leaves its impression on visitors both in summer and winter.
Anyone seeing Karersee lake near Welschnofen for the first time can hardly believe their eyes: water of such a beautiful emerald green can only be the result of witchcraft. This is what the Ladin ancestors of the local population thought when they called the lake 'Lec de Ergobando', which means something like 'rainbow lake'. This name originates from an old legend that explains the wonderful colours of Karersee lake.
The pretty mermaid
A beautiful mermaid who often sat on its banks and braided her blonde hair whilst singing was said to have once lived at Karersee lake. One day, the sorcerer of Masarè was watching her braiding her hair and singing and fell deeply in love with her. As the mermaid failed to be seduced by him, the sorcerer tried to win her over with his magic instead. Langwerde the witch advised him to stretch a rainbow from the Rosengarten to the Latemar mountains and approach the mermaid while dressed as a jeweller. No sooner said than done, but the wicked sorcerer forgot his jeweller costume in his infatuation: the mermaid was amazed at the rainbow, but then noticed the sorcerer and disappeared into the depths of the lake never to be seen again. The sorcerer, however, was beside himself with rage, and tore the rainbow down from the sky and threw it into the lake along with the jewels: this is why Karersee lake shimmers with all the pretty colours of the rainbow to this day.
Colour play on water
The lake nestles in a hollow beneath the Latemar group of mountains. When the weather is good, its waters do not just reflect the Latemar, but the Rosengarten, too. The lake is fed by underground sources from the Latemar mountain range. The depth and size of the lake are dependent on the season: the water table can reach 22 metres. In winter, Karersee lake is buried beneath a thick layer of snow and is very popular with documentary film makers who wish to capture the colours' effects beneath the water. But you can leave your swimming at home in summer, too: swimming is not allowed in Karersee lake – it is a natural monument with protected status.
The lake lies at the edge of the Latemar forest at a height of 1,520 metres above sea level, 20 kilometres east of Bozen and a few minutes' drive from Welschnofen. From Welschnofen, you drive towards Karerpass and leave your car at the large car park next to the lake. From there, you can walk around the lake on a pretty panorama path.