Lake Bled is a picturesque destination located northwest of Slovenia’s capital city Ljubljana, in the beautiful Julian Alps. Home to a hilltop castle, bright turquoise waters and a tiny church on an island, it’s not a surprise that Lake Bled is one of Slovenia’s most popular destinations. Lake Bled is a common day trip destination from Ljubljana. However, it is recommended to spend at least one night in the area, so you can fully experience all there is to see.
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1Visit the Bled Castle for That Iconic View
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Perched upon a steep hill, you will find Bled Castle, the oldest Castle in Slovenia. This medieval castle is fit for a king and one of the main highlights of visiting Lake Bled. There is lots to do at this intriguing historical site. For example, in the castle’s cellar, you can bottle your own wine and seal the bottle with wax. Bled Castle offers an iconic view of nearby Bled Island surrounded by lush forest and emerald green waters. The castle is easily accessible by road, and there is a car park located a short, although steep, walk from the castle- so be sure to wear comfortable footwear! It is also possible to hike from the lake to the castle as it sits around 130 metres above the lake.
2Visit Bled Island
Bled Island is a charming little tear-shaped island in the middle of Lake Bled. It is home to the Church of the Assumption of Maria, built at the end of the 17th century and has been a popular pilgrimage site for centuries. To enter the church, you must climb up the monumental baroque staircase that has 99 stairs. Don’t forget to ring the bell when inside the church! It’s said that whoever rings the bell and makes a wish will have their wish come true.
There are two ways to reach Bled Island. The first option being by Plentas, which are traditional gondolas built by locals to cross the lake. This is a unique experience, and the wooden gondolas are shaped like flat bottomed boats with a pointed bow. The second way to reach the island is to row by boat. It takes about 20 minutes to reach the island from shore, and there are rowboats nearby for hire.
3Get an Aerial View of Lake Bled from a Hot Air Balloon
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If you want to see the gorgeous views of Lake Bled from a different angle, consider taking a hot air balloon ride. Viewing Lake Bled from the air is genuinely a bucket list experience that you won’t forget. Prepare to be mesmerized as you float over the turquoise lake while having amazing views of Bled Island and Castle. You will also be treated to views of the Julian Alps, Triglav National Park and other areas in the region. 3glav Adventures is a wonderful tour company with hot air balloon rides, and for an even more memorable experience, we recommend booking a morning flight to catch the sunrise.
Recommended Company: 3glav
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4Take a Hike or Bike Around Lake Bled
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Lake Bled is the perfect destination for those who like to be in nature. There is a 6km trail that runs around the lake and is a great way to explore Lake Bled on bike or foot. To take in one of the best views of Lake Bled, you’ll want to check out Mala Osojnica. This viewpoint is 645 meters above the lake, and there are stunning views of Bled Castle and Bled Island against the backdrop of the striking Julian Alps. Mala Osojnica also has perhaps the most popular bench in Slovenia, which is not a surprise, as this bench is well-placed with beautiful views of Lake Bled.
5Indulge in a Famous Bled Crème Cake
Those with a sweet tooth will love Bled’s culinary speciality, ‘Kremšnita’, commonly known as crème cake. Made of a golden pastry base and top, with a delicious custard centre and a creamy layer above, and a sprinkle of icing sugar, this sweet crème cake is a must-try when visiting Bled. Kremšnita is incredibly rich and pairs well with coffee. One of the best places to try this crème cake is Café Belvedere in Vila Bled. The café’s terrace overlooks Bled Island, and it has one of the best sunset views in all of Lake Bled.
6Horseback Ride Across Bled’s Countryside and Surrounding Areas
One of the most relaxing things to do in Lake Bled is to go horseback riding. Horseback riding is not only a great activity, but also provides you with an opportunity to see Lake Bled’s countryside, beautiful alpine nature and villages around Bled. Gallop through Pokljuka, Radovna Valley or explore Triglav National Park’s charming paths and pristine landscapes through the woods.
If horse riding itself isn’t your cup of tea, there is also an option to explore lake bled aboard a traditional coach known as Fijakers. These horse carriages have a long tradition in Bled. Anyone simply cannot become a driver of such carriage, this profession has to be handed down from generation to generation.
Recommended company: Slovenia Horse Riding
7Visit Straza Bled for Summer Tobogganing & Ski Lift
Straza Bled is an adventure park on a hill that overlooks Lake Bled. It is the perfect place for adrenaline junkies and has incredible views of Lake Bled and Bled Castle. In the summer months, you can go tobogganing on the slope by taking a gondola ride to the top, then riding down the hill on the roller-coaster-like toboggan ride. There are also several other exciting activities to participate in. For those visiting during the wintertime, Straza Bled turns into a ski resort!
Places Near Lake Bled
8Take a Ride on Bohinj Steam Railway
An alternative and unique way to explore Lake Bled’s surrounding areas is aboard the Bohinj Steam Railway. One of the special features of the railway trip is the Solkan Bridge. This bridge crosses the River Soča near Solkan and is the largest stone railway bridge in the world! Its main arch with an 85-metre span was built in 1906. The nearly two-hour train ride will take you through the alpine region and showcases all the best views in the area.
Located only 30 minutes from Lake Bled is Slovenia’s largest permanent lake, Lake Bohinj. Often overlooked by Lake Bled’s popularity, Lake Bohinj has blue-green waters and is a part of Triglav National Park. There are plenty of outdoor activities in the Lake Bohinj area. You can relax by the lake or take a swim in its gorgeous and crystal-clear water. There are also several trails for hiking, walking, and cycling- plus, you can kayak and go horseback riding!
This lake is very much loved by the locals, bigger than lake bled and less touristy. Towards the west end of the lake, you will find one of Slovenia’s most visited waterfall, Savica waterfall.
Postojna is a unique destination and a must visit in Slovenia. Popular for its extensive cave system that is open to the public. Postojna has an extensive cave system with 24 kilometres of chambers. It is great fun to explore it aboard an underground train, marvelling at the beautiful stalagmites and stalactites. Postojna also has a mysterious medieval castle known as the – Predjama Castle which is also worth exploring. The castle stands 123 metres high on a clifftop and has 700 years of history to reveal. Each July, it is the setting of a medieval jousting tournament which attracts spectators from all over the world making it a great time to visit.
11Triglav National Park
Triglav is the country’s only National Park and one of the largest in Europe. You can plan a whole holiday around this natural park with plenty to do from exploring the nearby villages, hiking to exploring waterfalls, calm lakes, canyons and much more.
Some of the highlights of Triglav National Park include:
Part of the Triglav National Park and located just 2 miles from Lake Bled is the most picturesque boardwalk through the canyon with clear water rushing underneath.
Vogel Cable Car
Enjoy the panoramic view from the top of Mount Vogel. You can take the cable car or even hike to the top.
The Soca valley is also part of the national park.