Lago Bianco Switzerland: Everything You Need to Know

Lago Bianco Switzerland, also known as White Lake, rests high up in the Alps at 2,637 meters (8,650 feet). It’s way up there, one of the loftiest lakes around. This special lake gets its stunning turquoise hue from the minerals in the glacier water. Some tiny glaciers give their water to Lago Bianco.


This high-up lake sits at 2,234 meters (7,329 feet), with a length of 2.85 kilometers (1.77 miles), covering an area of 1.50 square kilometers (0.58 square miles). It’s pretty deep, too, plunging down to 53 meters (174 feet). Long ago, there were two smaller lakes here, Lago Bianco and Lago della Scala, but now there’s one big lake. They made it that way by building dams, one at the south (Scala) and one at the north (Arlas).

The lake flows south, just like the old lakes did, and eventually, its water finds its way to the Mediterranean through the Poschiavino, Adda, and Po rivers. However, Lej Nair, below the northern dam, heads north, ending up in the Black Sea via the Inn and Danube rivers.

Right next to the lake is the Bernina railway line, the highest mountain railway in Europe. It’s a neat ride with the Ospizio Bernina station right in the middle. The road that crosses the Bernina pass runs high on the same side of the lake.

Most of the lake is in Poschiavo, but the northern part and the northern dam are in Pontresina.

The Lago Bianco reservoir was made between 1910 and 1911 to keep the hydroelectric power plants in Val Poschiavo supplied with water. It can hold a lot of water, about 18.6 million cubic meters. At first, they sent the water down to a power station in Cavaglia that powered the Robbia station at San Carlo. Later, they built two power stations between the lake and Cavaglia. The highest one, the Palü power station at Lago Palü, gets water from a pipe at the south end of the reservoir.

Now, they’re thinking about making a pumped storage scheme with Lago Bianco and Lago di Poschiavo, a lake below that’s 1,270 meters (4,170 feet) down. This would involve a really long tunnel on the western side of Val di Poschiavo, followed by a shaft leading to an underground power plant by Lago di Poschiavo. It could generate a lot of electricity, 1000 MW in total, by pumping water up when there’s not much demand and letting it flow down to create power when people need it.

To do this, they’d need to raise the dams at both ends of Lago Bianco by 4.35 meters (14.3 feet). The authorities said it’s okay, but as of 2016, they’re not sure if it’s worth the money.

lago bianco switzerland

Things to Do at Lago Bianco Switzerland

Switzerland’s Lago Bianco is a wonderful spot to explore. This lake is nestled right in the heart of the Alps, with towering mountains all around.

People who come to Lago Bianco can have a great time doing different things. You can go for hikes, ride bikes, and have a nice picnic. There are many paths for hiking with different levels of difficulty near the lake.

If you want, you can also hop on a boat tour. These tours take you right onto the lake, so you can get really close to the incredible views. It’s a beautiful place to be.

History of Lago Bianco

Lago Bianco Switzerland graces the Pennine Alps, a little south of the mighty Matterhorn. This lake gets its water from three glaciers: the Grenzgletscher, which hangs out on the Italian border, the Morteratschgletscher, and the Roseg Gletscher.

To keep the lake’s water in check, there’s a handy weir at the end. The lake itself covers 1.48 square kilometers (0.57 square miles) and stretches for about 4 kilometers (2.5 miles). It’s no wonder that Lago Bianco is a Swiss hot spot for tourists. It’s a fantastic starting point for hiking and mountain adventures in the Pennine Alps.

Lago Bianco’s story goes way back to 1227, making it a pretty old-timer in the records. It first made an appearance in a document from the Saint-Maurice-de-Valais monastery. Then, in 1868, the very first hotel popped up on the lake’s shores. Ever since then, tourists have been a big part of Lago Bianco’s history. It’s a place with a tale to tell.

lago bianco switzerland

Best Time to Visit Lago Bianco Switzerland

The ideal season to visit the lake is in summer when the water is at its coziest and most welcoming. Nevertheless, even in winter, Lago Bianco offers a striking view with snow-covered mountains forming a beautiful backdrop to the serene waters. But be cautious during the winter, as the rocks and hiking paths can get quite slippery.

Tips for Visiting Lago Bianco

  1. Don’t forget your trusty hiking boots. The surroundings of the lake boast splendid hiking trails, making it the best way to embrace the natural beauty of the area.
  2. Take a refreshing swim in the crystal-clear waters of Lago Bianco, especially on a scorching summer day. Just watch for safety signs and stick to designated swimming zones, as the rocky lakeside can pose risks.
  3. Layer up your clothing: High-altitude weather can shift quickly, so ensure you wear clothes that can be easily added or shed as necessary.
  4. Guard against the sun: The high-altitude sun can be quite intense, so apply sunscreen regularly to keep your skin safe all day long.

Interesting Facts About Lago Bianco Switzerland

  1. Lago Bianco gets its waters from a family of glaciers, like Diavolezza, Morteratsch, and Bernina.
  2. The lake sits embraced by Switzerland’s loftiest peaks, such as Piz Bernina, Piz Morteratsch, and Piz Palu.
  3. Its deepest point plunges down to 53 meters. The name “Bianco” (white) pays homage to the glacier that once blanketed this entire valley in a snowy embrace.

How Much Time Did Visitors Spend at Lago Bianco

On average, folks typically spend around four hours by the lake. You can have a blast doing all sorts of things there, like hiking, biking, boating, and swimming. Plus, there are loads of chances to soak in the absolutely stunning scenery.

lago bianco during the winter
Lago Bianco During the Winter

How to Reach Lago Bianco Switzerland

At the peak of Europe’s loftiest mountain-crossing railway, you’ll find the Bernina railway line, skirting along one side of the lake. A scenic train ride can take you to the Ospizio Bernina station, which is just a short stroll away from the picturesque Lago Bianco.

Entrance Fee and Opening Hours

You can enter Lago Bianco Switzerland without paying any fees. Lago Bianco welcomes visitors every day and technically stays open around the clock, but it’s best to come during daylight hours for the most enjoyable experience.

Make sure you check our guide for the best lakes in Switzerland.

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