Backpacking,  Camping,  Dolomites Hiking,  Hiking in Europe,  Hiking in Italy

Old drowned village Graun and the most beautiful alpine lake Resia in South Tyrol, Italy | Dolomites Hiking #1

This truly amazing trail started in the village Graun in Val Venosta close to the Austrian border. For that day we planned to do around 15 kms and hike around the big lake Resia through the village San Valentin to the other smaller lake Haidersee.

The day was sunny and bright and when we first came out to the lake Resia fantastic view opened to our eyes. The water was very still and quiet and we could enjoy the reflections of all of the surrounding mountains which was an amazing sight. The air was cool but at least there was no wind. As we just recently came from the middle of Italy province of Tuscany we still were getting used to the weather here. It was much colder and wet, all the last days it was rainy and cloudy. So it was one of the first sunny days. And several days ago we were dying from heat in Tuscany, that was a crazy change in climate but it felt very nice anyway. We reassured another time that summer is the best to spend in mountains, here is the most comfortable climate.

While enjoying the view of the lake and mountains around we noticed the sinked bell tower in the middle of the water that was very strange to see. But later we learnt some interesting facts about it. It turned out that before the lake was smaller in size and got bigger in the years of 50s of the last century when there was a construction of the dam on this lake to produce hydroelectric power. As a result big part of the village Graun sinked into water or was destroyed and more than 70 percent of population had to emigrate. Because of this fact we had a mixed feelings about whether it was worth it or not and probably it wouldn’t happened in the modern times. But we have to confess that this bell tower in the water was adding something special to the landscape.

So we continued on walking alongside of the lake on a very flat pavement route. The path was going as close as possible to the lake but the car road was still a bit annoying. Fortunately the path turned away from it soon and then it became quieter. Walkers like us were sharing the route with a lot of cyclists and it seemed to be a very popular cycling trail as well. Later we learnt that in this region of South Tyrol there are more than 5 destinations and long routes you can take by bicycle. And it may be a great option for bicycle touring around the region with well adapted cycling paths. Also we saw that there are a lot of bike rental points around and you can even purchase a bike pass for as long as you need to to be able to take or leave the bike as you go. We thought it is a useful information to know.

The light was working in our favour all the first part of the trail lightning up the glorious mountains and rocks and making it a perfect postcard looking picture.

 Then we turned over the lake and started to move in the other direction. The path began to twist between the pine forest going up and down the hill but continued to be the pavement cycling path. Overall we felt like the route was very easy all the way through and apt for all levels and physical forms.

The other thing we noticed after being in this region for several days is the amount of German language used among people. We did know that there will be people talking some German but we didn’t expect it to be so widely spoken especially considering the fact that we were still in Italy. But because the annexation of this land from Austria to Italy happened not so long ago just after the World War it explained a lot of things. But still it was so strange not only hear so much German but also see that the architecture is very different from Italian in these places. So we figured that we were more in Austria than anywhere else and for a tourist that’s a real bonus when you can by travelling to Italy visit several countries at once.

So we made our way to the village San Valentino which was located in between the two lakes and were out to discover the second smaller lake Haidersee.

We saw a several working cable cars close to the village going up the mountain and thought that it may be nice to take one the other day. Because normally most of them are closing when it’s not a ski winter season.

Right away when we started walking along the second lake we saw that it was a lot smaller but at the same time much more natural with more vegetation and bird life. We have spotted different ducks and even cormorants that were always surprising us with their ability to dive down and moving extremely quickly underwater.

The weather has been changing quickly, at one moment the wind started to blow and the clouds came out and the other moment it was drizzling rain. This type of weather we’ve seen the last couple of days already so we weren’t really worried much because the rain normally didn’t get too strong. The only thing we missed was the sunlight that was needed to make great pictures. And when we were at the location like this with the natural environment it was a really big deal to us.

But the views on iconic Alpine rocks were accompanying us all day long which was incredible.

We had only about 4 kms left to go over this lake and the route was going very flat and easy turning into the gravel paths in between the pine trees. Also there was less bike traffic on the route and at one point the routes for bikers and walkers got separated and we continued on walking the lower one which was really quiet.

At this part of the trail we think we saw the most amount of the picnic tables and benches than in any place before. They were at every corner, some inside the forest planes, some at the very bank of the lake and it was amazing to see so many rest and chill out areas. Also there we’ve seen the most unusual bench ever made out of wood that had a form of the box with the side parts and even the ceiling! In addition to that it could rotate 360 degrees and to us it was a real discovery of a great invention protecting you from the wind and even some little rain.

At one moment the rainbow appeared in between the mountains on the other side of the lake and the sun rays beamed through the clouds lightning up this idyllic beautiful picture. And at this moment we were grateful for the rain because without it we wouldn’t see this miracle.

At the end of this peaceful path we went through the floating bridge that opened two beautiful sceneries of the mountain peaks on both sides. Then the wooden route continued because of the wetlands around it and we came out to the little village Fisherhause – our final destination where we got on the bus to Glurns where we stopped at the campsite.

This is how we finished this wonderful day with the iconic views on the Alpine rocks turning into pink sunset colours…

Here is the link to Google map to follow the hike:

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