Lake Bled delivers some of the most stunning scenery in all of Slovenia. From its picturesque island church, panoramic mountain views, and cliff-hugging medieval Castle, Lake Bled is a popular destination for locals and visitors alike.
Lake Bled is a very special place and is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited.
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Lake Bled is most well known for the fairy-tale island church located in the middle of the emerald green lake. Overlooking it all is Bled Castle, which is perched atop the sheer cliff-face above Lake Bled.
Surrounded by nature and gorgeous views, Lake Bled was easily one of my favorite weekend getaways while I was living in northern Italy.
Where is Lake Bled, Slovenia Located?
Lake Bled is nestled in the Julian Alps in north west Slovenia. Located on the outskirts of Triglav National Park, this glacier lake is one of Slovenia’s most popular alpine resorts. Lake Bled was formed after the last Ice Age from the melted ice of nearby Lake Bohinj.
Lake Bled is located only 35 miles from Slovenia’s capital city of Ljubljana and is a quick 45 minutes drive.
How Many Days Should You Stay in Lake Bled?
At least 2-3 days in Lake Bled is ideal since there are many things to do and see around the area. If you have more time and you’d like to explore the surrounding areas such as Lake Bohinj, Vintgar Gorge or Radovljica then I recommend spending 4-5 days in Lake Bled.
While Bled is well known for its’ tranquility, the neighboring Julian Alps and Triglav National Park provide adrenaline junkies with exciting adventures such as white water rafting, hiking, mountain biking, canyoning and more.
You can visit either 3glav Advenures or Lifetrek Adventures in Lake Bled if you’d like to find out more information on the fun, outdoorsy adventures these companies have to offer.
Top Things to Do in Lake Bled, Slovenia
Lake Bled is the perfect getaway if you are looking to leave behind the bustling city life and escape into nature for a few days. There are many things to do in and around Lake Bled with the focus being on enjoying the outdoors. I’ve compiled all the top things to do in Lake Bled from my many visits there over the course of 6 years while living in northern Italy.
1. Take a Walk Around Lake Bled
The perfect way to get acquainted with Lake Bled and the surrounding town is to take a leisurely walk around the 6 kilometer (3.7 mile) paved path around the lake. The walk is stunning with varying views of Lake Bled, Bled Castle and the small island Church in the middle of the lake.
During your walk around the lake you’ll pass by many small shops, cafes and traditional style architecture. There is a small section of the path which turns into a wooden boardwalk with some of the best unobstructed views of Lake Bled.
There are no vehicles allowed along the 6 kilometer path so the only people you’ll have to share the path with are fellow walkers, runners, cyclists and roller bladers!
2. Visit the Island in the Middle of Lake Bled
The fairy-tale island church is not just a beautiful sight, it’s also fun to visit! There are various ways to reach it, the most common being the pletna boat or a row boat. The traditional pletna boats are still hand built using centuries old craftsmanship and remain an important symbol in Lake Bled.
The oarsman profession is well respected in Bled and is passed down through families from generation to generation. The oarsmen steer the flat-bottomed boat with skilled strokes creating a smooth ride for up to 20 passengers to the island.
The pletna boats cost €12 per person and includes the round trip journey to the island and a 30 min stay before heading back to shore. The pletna boats are easy to spot gliding across the lake with their colorful awnings.
If you are the more adventurous type, row boats can be rented from various rental spots around the lake. The row boats are an enjoyable way to leisurely float around the lake at your own pace.
We have taken a ride in the pletna and rowed our own boat, enjoying both options.
Once you arrive at the island, hike up the 99 stone steps that lead to the Church of the Assumption at the top. If you choose to enter the church, find the rope for the church bell and ring it. While Bled Island is free to visit there is a €6 entry fee for the bell tower and church.
Superstition claims that if you get the bell to ring three times with just one tug, your dreams will come true!
Also on the island is a small cafe, gift shop and a restroom. There is also a gelato stand with many flavors, perfect for those hot summer days!
» Must Read: A Complete Guide to Piran, Slovenia
3. Visit Lake Bled Castle Up on the Hill
Dramatically clinging to the steep cliffs over-looking the lake, the red and white Bled Castle is the epitome of picturesque architecture.
Dating back over 1,000 years, Lake Bled Castle is now a popular tourist attraction and since 1957 has provided visitors a look into the history and culture of Bled.
Gorgeous panoramic views of the lake and surrounding mountains can be seen from the castle’s terrace and outdoor cafe.
A visit to the castle wouldn’t be complete without checking out the original printing methods in the printing shop where you can print your own custom made souvenir picture or admiring the craftsmanship in the family run blacksmith forge.
Intricate, hand made wrought-iron works can be purchased in the forge downstairs below the gift shop.
Additionally, you should visit the wine cellar where Andrej, or another vintner, will explain the different types of Slovenian wine. You can also pour, cork and seal your own bottle to take home with you!
You can reach the Lake Bled Castle by car, tourist bus or by foot. If you decide to go by foot, the steep trail to the castle starts at the lake’s paved path and takes about 20-30 min to climb the steps to the top.
There is a parking lot at the top of the hill located at the foot of Bled Castle. Be sure to visit early in the morning while it’s less crowded to secure a parking spot.
Entrance to the castle costs €13 for adults and €5 for children 14 and under.
4. Hike to Ojstrica for Incredible Views of Lake Bled
One of the best hiking trails in Lake Bled is Ojstrica. The moderate climb takes about 15-20 minutes to reach the top. You can find the start of the trail head by typing Mala Osojnica Trailhead into your GPS. At the start of the trailhead you will find the directions for two additional hiking paths. The Velika Osojnica trail takes about 35 minutes and the Mala Osojnica path takes around 30 minutes to reach the top.
The view from the top of the Ojstrica hike is incredible and is one of the best hikes around the area.
All of the hiking paths can become quite crowded in the middle of the day due to the incredible views at the top. Therefore, it is recommended to begin your hike fairly early in the day.
5. Go on a Toboggan Ride on the Straža Ski Slope
During the warmer months, when the snow has melted, Lake Bled’s luge ride along the Straža ski slope is a fun activity for all ages!
Flying down the 570-yard-long track in a small plastic sled is sure to thrill as you twist and turn down the steep, metal rail track. The ride to the top in the chair lift provides more spectacular views of the lake, just make sure to turn around and have a look!
The chairlift plus one toboggan ride costs €8 but is cheaper if you want to do multiple rides. However, if you don’t want to partake in the summer toboggan ride on Lake Bled you can take the chairlift up and down for €4.
6. Kayak, SUP or Swim in Lake Bled
Also during the warmer months you can rent stand up paddle boards and kayaks to cruise around the lake. The rentals for the stand up paddle boards can be found directly across from the Camping Bled area of the lake.
We’ve also had a lot of fun swimming in the lake during the summer, although it can still be pretty cold!
7. Eat the Famous Bled Cake (kremna rezina)
The small town of Bled, Slovenia is well known for their dessert specialty, the kremna rezina, or cream cake. This delicious cake is made with a decadent vanilla custard topped with whipped cream and layered between a buttery, flaky pastry. Dusted with a light layer of powdered sugar, this delightful treat is my favorite in Slovenia!
You can easily find slices of kremna rezina at many of the cafes around town including the cafe Panorama.
Best Lake Bled Restaurants
One of my favorite restaurants in Lake Bled is the family run restaurant at Penzion Berc. Located directly across from Hotel Berc, this is the hotel run by the other Berc brother, Miha.
The restaurant has cozy, outside seating, perfect during those cool summer nights when the sun sets late in the evenings. The local chef deliciously grills up tender meat and fish on the outside barbecue while fresh herbs and greens are perfectly picked from their very own garden.
The restaurant also whips up an array of delicious homemade desserts including the traditional Bled cream cake and their own specialty tiramisu.
Another favorite restaurant in Lake Bled is Oštarija Peglez’n and is conveniently located along the lake.
The restaurant has a sweet, Slovenian country style decor on the inside and a lovely terraced patio out front. Cooking up traditional Slovenian and Mediterranean cusine, the extensive menu appeals to all taste buds.
The Best Lake Bled Hotels
There are many options of hotels and guesthouses in Lake Bled. Ideally you will want to find a place walking distance to the lake with free parking. Luckily, I’ve been to Lake Bled many times and can recommend quite a few places where you can stay that fulfills both of those requirements.
1. Hotel Berc
The hand carved wood interior and pleasant atmosphere only add to the charm of being at Lake Bled. The 15 beautiful and spacious rooms, with an impressively large bathroom, all come complete with your own personal balcony.
A large continental breakfast is included in the room rate and offers a wide variety of breakfast treats to start your day off right. Slightly tucked away, in a more residential area, the lake is only a few minutes walk down the hill. Hotel Berc is one of the best Lake Bled hotels and fills up fast in the peak seasons so make sure to reserve ahead!
2. Čarman Guest House
The Čarman Guest House is a friendly family-run bed and breakfast located right on Lake Bled with stunning views of the the island church.
Their 5 rooms (each room can accommodate 2-3 persons) are comfortable, adorably decorated and come with an en-suite bathroom. Their adjacent store fronts are a gift shop, restaurant/pizzeria, and row boat rental.
For an extra €5 per person, their room-delivered continental style breakfast will give you the energy you need for a day of outdoor fun on the lake! Look for Čarman Guest House Lake Bled on booking.com or airbnb.com.
3. Camping in Lake Bled
Camping Bled, located right on the shores of Lake Bled, is a perfect alternative for those wanting to sleep under the stars.
From €18.80 a plot (for 2 people per night) Camping Bled provides a comfortable space, including necessary facilities and equipment, for visitors to enjoy during their stay in Bled.
The camp grounds are pet friendly and even offer glamping, a more luxurious way to camp! Camping here isn’t just for summer months either, winter camping is available as well!
I’ve also used AirBnB during quite a few of my stays in Lake Bled and have found some other amazing places.
Driving Tips for Visiting Slovenia
- You absolutely need to purchase a Slovenian vignette before you drive through the country. This is Slovenia’s road tax and without it you could get a hefty fine. Currently the cost for a 7 day vignette is €15 euro. You can also purchase vignette’s for longer lengths of time for an additional fee.
- You can purchase your vignette just outside the border at any gas station or rest stop. There will be signs for the vignette so you’ll know if they have them for sale or not.
- The vignette must be displayed on your car’s windshield in the upper left hand corner.
- Driving in Slovenia is super easy as the roads are all very well maintained and the signs are easy to understand.
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