Lake Bled: A True Gem in Slovenia’s Julian Alps

Lake Bled is a special place and admittedly may be one of the most beautiful locations I’ve ever visited.

Bold statement, I know.

You just have to see if for yourself.

So naturally, we recommend visiting Lake Bled because it delivers some of the most stunning scenery. From its picturesque island church, panoramic mountain views, and cliff-hugging medieval Castle, Lake Bled is a real gem.

Nestled in the Julian Alps, 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 Lake Bohinj.

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small island in the middle of a lake surrounded by blue water and mountains

It is probably most well known for it’s fairy-tale like island church which appears to be floating on its own in the middle of emerald green waters. Overlooking it all is Bled Castle, which is perched atop the sheer cliff-face above the lake.

View of the castle perched on the hill

Surrounded by nature and gorgeous views, Lake Bled has easily become one of my favorite weekend getaways. Just a mere 2.5 hrs from my home in Italy, Bled is a quick and easy drive from the Venice region and is a perfect place to take visiting guests.


How Many Days Should You Stay in Lake Bled


At least two days in Lake Bled is ideal since there are many things to do and see in and around the area. The lake is very peaceful and a leisurely walk around the 3.5 mile paved path around the lake is a perfect way to get aquatinted with the town.

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.


Visiting the Island in the Middle of the Lake


The fairy-tale island church is not just a beautiful sight, its 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 20 passengers to the island.

The pletna boats cost €12 per person and includes the round trip 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.

The fairytale church in the middle of the lake

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.

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 and gift shop (and a restroom).


Visiting 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, 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.

View of Lake Bled from on top of the castle

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.

Also, make sure to not miss the wine cellar where Andrej, dressed as a monk, will explain the different types of Slovenian wine and will even help you pour, cork and seal your own bottle!

You can reach the 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.

Entrance to the castle costs €9 for adults and €4.50 for children 14 and under.


Fun Activities to Do in Lake Bled


During the warmer months, when the snow has melted, Lake Bled’s luge ride 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 luge ride costs €8 per ride and is cheaper if you want to do multiple rides. Also, if you don’t want to partake in the toboggan ride you can take the chairlift up and down for €4.

Also during the warmer months you can rent stand up paddle boards and kayaks to cruise around the lake. We’ve also had a lot of fun swimming in the lake, although it can still be pretty cold!


Eat the Famous Bled Cake (kremna rezina)


Not my photo
Photo courtesy of google images

Bled 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!


Where to Eat


One of our 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.

We loved the cozy, outside seating, perfect during those cool summer nights when the sun sets late in the evenings. Their 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.

We also made sure to treat our taste buds to their homemade desserts including the traditional Bled cream cake and their own specialty tiramisu.

Our other favorite restaurant in Lake Bled is Oštarija Peglez’n and is conveniently located in an easy to find location on 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. We make sure to stop in for dinner during our visits to Lake Bled.


Where to Stay


› Hotel Berc

Hotel Berc and Penzion Berc are neighboring hotels run by two brothers. We stayed at Hotel Berc, run by Luka and is the newer of the two. Luka welcomed us as if we were guests in his home.

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 cash only and fills up fast in the peak seasons so make sure to reserve ahead!

› 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 their B&B on booking.com or airbnb.com.

› 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!

Always a great option is www.airbnb.com. We’ve also used this many times during our stay’s in Lake Bled and have found some other amazing places.

» For $40 off your first booking on AirBnB use this link!


Tips for Visiting Slovenia


  • Make sure to pick up a vignette before you drive through the country. This is Slovenia’s road tax and without it you could get a hefty fine.
  • 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 nice and the signs are easy to understand.

 

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