Oceans are aggressive, rivers are energetic but lakes are calm. Well, mostly.

There is a special air of serenity about lakes, especially if they’re in the mountains. It is as if they are the laid-back hippie mamas, while the harsh mountains are their protectors. They appear even calmer in comparison to their friend rivers, which are too restless to stay in the mountains because they’re on their own journey.

Whatever the reason may be my friends, I want to tell you about one such amazing mountain lake in Italy – Lago di Tovel.

Suggested: Val di Non in Trentino – Romantic valley of Apple Orchards, Castles and Brenta Dolomites

Lake Tovel – a.k.a. Lago di Tovel in Italy

Picture the bluest lake ever with clear glassy water surface that reflects the beauty of the surroundings. This is how Lago di Tovel looks like.

Lago do Tovel - the stunning lake in Val di Non, Trentino - Italy

Lago do Tovel – the stunning lake in Val di Non, Trentino – Italy

Lake Tovel, or as it is commonly called in Italy – Lago di Tovel is in Trentino Province. It is a freshwater lake. This lake is surrounded by snow-covered mountain range – the Dolomites. The Dolomites belong to the Alps parent range and are a UNESCO world heritage site. It is an alpine lake. Italy surely has some really beautiful lake. Have you ever heard of Italy’s heart shaped lake in Abruzzo?

This almost triangular lake is in Adamello-Brenta nature park. There is a thick forest that surrounds it.

The clear blue water of Lago di Tovel in Trentino, Italy

The clear blue water of Lago di Tovel in Trentino, Italy

Trentino is a comparatively unexplored part of Italy with many areas but the ones that I highly recommend are Val di Non and Alpe Cimbra. Val di Non is famous for its apple blossoms and orchards, while Alpe Cimbra is an amazing skiing, mountain biking and hiking destination. Lago di Tovel is a part of Val di Non, although geographically it is in the smaller Tovel valley.

How to reach Lago di Tovel

The easiest way to reach Lago di Tovel is if you rent a car for a trip in Italy. This way, you can just pick up your rental car in Venice or Verona airports and drive from there to Trentino. In any case, renting a car can turn out to be cheaper than paying for trains and buses internally.

You can also do this journey on train. Get on North Italy’s Bologna – Brennero train line and change at the Trento train station. From Trento station, you need to get on the Trento – Malé electric railway to Dermulo. Email your hotel to check the best option to reach them from Dermulo station.

To be close to Lago di Tovel, I recommend you stay in the nearby Val di Non (Non Valley). Lago di Tovel is in the nearby Tovel Valley, a.k.a. Val di Tovel. There is literally nothing there so I’d not recommend you to stay here.

Driving to Lago di Tovel, Trentino, Italy

Driving to Lago di Tovel, Trentino, Italy

Many hotels in the area organize or can recommend early morning bus trips that you can take to visit the Tovel Lake. I again recommend renting a car, because this way you can reach this lake and have it to yourself before the buses arrive.

Note: Lago di Tovel may definitely be one of the most beautiful lakes in the area, but it is still not as visited as the nearby Lake Grada (Lago di Grada), which is also in Trentino. I’d recommend you visit it before it gets famous.
The way to Lago di Tovel, Trentino

The way to Lago di Tovel, Trentino

When you arrive here by car, you can park your car at the parking area outside. From there, you’d need to walk for just 5 – 10 minutes to reach the lake.

Suggested: Alpe Cimbra in Trentino, Italy – Nature Rejuvenation

What to do around Lago di Tovel

The perfect reflection of the Brenta Dolomites on Lago di Tovel

The perfect reflection of the Brenta Dolomites on Lago di Tovel

There is a walking path that goes around the lake and it will take you just one hour to complete the full loop. This way, you’d get to enjoy the beauty of this lake from many different angles.

There are many other hiking trails inside the valley that leave from here so if you’re in the mood to walk more, you will have many options. You can also check out Casa del Parco Lago Rosso – it is a museum dedicated to the Adamello-Brenta nature park. We did not visit this museum.

The forest around Lago di Tovel, Trentino, Italy

The forest around Lago di Tovel, Trentino, Italy

It is worth noting that the Adamello-Brenta nature park is also home to the brown bear and it was reintroduced here in 1999 and 2002. Casa del Parco Lago Rosso is also dedicated to the brown bear.

Quick Facts

So what is the shape of Lago di Tovel?

It is kind of triangular in shape.

A satellite image of Lake Tovel captured on Google Maps - Lago di Tovel, Italy

A satellite image of Lake Tovel captured on Google Maps – Lago di Tovel, Italy

How big is this lake?

Lago di Tovel is one kilometer long and 500 meters wide. The total surface area is 0.38 KM square. Its deepest point is more than 38 meters deep.

Is the lake very high?

Lago di Tovel is 1178 meters above the sea level.

Can you swim in Lago di Tovel?

The semi frozen water surface of Lake Tovel, Trentino, Italy

The semi frozen water surface of Lake Tovel, Trentino, Italy

Umm.. if you’re not scared of jumping into freezing cold water – then yeah go ahead. Tovel Valley is not as sunny as the nearby Val di Non and as a result is much colder. The lake was semi frozen when we visited and I can’t imagive what would happen if you jump in for a swim. I’d need a lot of pushing and a visible reward before attempting this.

Literally every lake has a source. What’s the source of Lago di Tovel?

The water in Lake Tovel comes from two rivers – S. Maria Flavona and the Rislà

Isn’t this lake also famously called the Red Lake?

Yes, and you should jump to the nest section for this. But wait, before that I want to tell you something super interesting.

Lago di Tovel was actually created by a landslide 1300 years back. How awesome is that!

Suggested: Chandrataal – the Moon Lake in Spit Valley, the Himalayas, India

History and legends about Lago di Tovel – the Red Lake

Lago di Tovel - Red Lake painting by Luigi Grassi

Lago di Tovel – Red Lake painting by Luigi Grassi

Lago di Tovel is also called the Red Lake because the water would turn red during the summer months many years ago. The last time when it happened was 1964.

Back then there were many legends associated with it, but to much annoyance of imaginative story makers, the cause of the redness was later discovered to be a particular kind of algae. If you’re curious what it is called, it is Glenodinium sanguineum.

San and I spent time with a few locals in Val di Non and they mentioned that back then, there was a legend that the lake is red with the blood of the army of Princess Tresenga that fought for her.

As per the legend, Princess Tresenga said no to many suitors after the death of her father – King Ragoli. One such suiter, Lavinto from Tuenno did not accept her refusal and sent an army. Princess Tresenga’s people fought the army at the shores of Lago di Tovel but were defeated. At the end of the fight, the lake had turned red with the blood of those who were defeated. The princess was killed too and the red color of the lake actually honored their bravery as they risked their lives to fight for her.

The legend also says that the Princess Tresenga still comes to the shores of Lake Tovel and cries.

Best time to visit

Lake Tovel in spring, Trentino, Italy

Lake Tovel in spring, Trentino, Italy

The best time of the year when you can visit Lago di Tovel is from spring to autumn months. In spring time some parts of the lake may still be frozen and at autumn time you can see the contrast of reddish brown leaves against the blue of the water.

The best time of the day to visit Lago di Tovel is early morning. If you want to enjoy the calm beauty of the lake before the first bus of visitors arrive, then try to reach here at around 9 am.

Hotels around Lago di Tovel

If you want to stay near the lake, there are only two options of places to stay. I have mentioned those two options below but keep in mind that these are not “lake view” hotels but are close to the lake.

The time when I visited (April 2018), there was literally no connectivity in this area and nothing to do in Tovel valley. Alternatively, you can stay in Flavon, or Tuenno or Cles. Tuenno is the nearest town to the lake, Cles is the biggest town in the valley and Flavon is a smaller town where San and I had stayed.

1) Chalet Tovel – Mountain Lake, Tuenno (Near the lake)

Chalet Tovel – Mountain Lake hotel is near Lago di Tovel. As per my research on the internet, it seems there is a path from the hotel to the lake directly.  A room for two costs around €125 per night. Click here to read reviews about this hotel on TripAdvisor.

2) Albergo Lago Rosso (Near the lake)

Albergo Lago Rosso is a simple bed and breakfast. As per the information on their website, it seems the rooms don’t have a bathroom inside. Perhaps there is a shared bathroom in the common area. The cost per person per night here is €35. You can read get more information about this hotel on TripAdvisor.

3) Agritur Residenza De Poda, Flavon

San and I stayed in a charming old-fashioned inn called Agritur Residenza De Poda in Flavon and we highly recommend it. A room for two is around €60 here, which is half the cost of the first hotel. Flavon is lively with good options of places to eat but still has a small village charm which isn’t there in the nearby Cles. If you have a car, it will take you around 30 minutes to drive to Lago di Tovel from here.

Disclosure: San and I were invited to Trentino by Visit Trentino team but all silliness and thoughts expressed in this article are totally our own.

PS: Drifter Planet contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, we will earn a little commission at no extra cost to you. These commissions help us reduce the costs of keeping this site active. Thanks for reading!

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