Whether they’re staying in Ljubljana or skiing in the Alps, few tourists come to Slovenia and leave without visiting Bled and its impossibly beautiful lake. It is located near the Austrian border and is 50 km away from the capital city of Slovenia, Ljubljana. The Lake Bled is one of the crown jewels of Slovenia, and only those with ice-cold hearts are not charmed by its dazzling blue waters, its tiny tear drop island, and the ominous looking castle that overlooks the lake. Bled is Slovenia’s most popular resort, drawing in everyone, from young couples enchanted by the romantic feeling, to backpackers who are ready for hiking, cycling, and water-sports possibilities.
Things to do
Those who visit the town of Bled come here on their way to the sparkling blue-green lake of the same name. Lake Bled is a glacial lake surrounded by humongous green mountains and has a small island on which an old church can be found. The lake itself is not very big: it measures 2 km by 1.38 km, so a stroll around it takes about an hour. However, there are breaks to stop a bit and take in the natural beauty and more breaks for liquid refreshment, so the stroll around the lake can easily occupy your entire morning or afternoon. Look at the elegant 19th century villas, gaze at ducks happily floating on the lake, and take in the sight of a wonderful canopy of trees.
To get to the island on the lake, you can get across by hand-propelled gondola or by hired rowing boat. When you get on the island, a flight of stone steps leads up to the 17th century baroque church, the Church of Assumption. Check out the richly decorated main part of the church and a brief exhibition of the island itself. Before leaving the island, you can ring the ‘wishing bell’ – it’s customary for visitors hoping to be granted a wish to try to ring the bell. Do not be fooled, though: ringing the bell is harder than it seems.
On the shore near the Bled Castle, the neo-Gothic Parish Church of St Martin stands since 1905. Even though you might not be able to enter the church itself if there is no mass, you can still peek through glass to check out its interior.
On Bled Island, along with the church, stands Provost’s House. It used to house priests and pilgrims in the past, and today it serves as a small museum.
The Bled Castle has been proudly standing on its rocky perch since the 11th century, watching over Bled and the lake. For eight hundred years it was the seat of the Bishops of Brixen. Today, it holds a large collection of weapons and armour, and jewellery found at the early Slav burial pits at Pristava. The hike to get to the castle is quite steep, but definitely worth it. In case you don’t want to walk, you can always hop on the road train that will take you up there.
Just 4 km from Bled lies the Vintgar Gorge. This breathtakingly beautiful gorge offers a 1600 m walkway, criss-crossing the Radovna River. If you love nature, this is the perfect place for you. But be careful – the walk can get slippery and wet.
Festival Hall is a popular Bled venue surrounded by greenery at the lake’s eastern edge. Take some time to check out what concerts, events, or exhibitions are being held during your stay in Bled – you will not be disappointed.
Bled Lake is also well known for offering various sports activities, such as cycling, hiking, rowing, and tobogganing. Try something out of the ordinary while you’re here.
The Bled days are the days when Bled is crowded with tourists. They come for a few days to see the production of local art craft and listen to concerts along the promenade. The highlight of Bled days, which usually attracts most visitors, is the traditional Bled night, when the lake glows. The organisers launch 15,000 lights in egg shells (made by Andrej Vidic from Bled) in the water.
Okarina Festival Bled, dedicated to the music of the world, has been held since 1990. Each year crowds of people gathering in and around concert venues create an amazing atmosphere, which is the best proof to the quality of the Festival.
Top places to eat
Bled offers numerous cuisine choices, such as local, national, and international. Try something local in restaurants such as Penzion Berc, Castle Restaurant, and Grajska Plaža. If you’re craving seafood, go to Ostarija Peglez’n. You can find internatonal dishes in Okarina and Špica. Wherever you choose to eat, you won’t be disappointed.
Top places to sleep
Bled offers an assortment of different accommodation, such as beautiful hotels, family guesthouses, and campsites – it’s a city tailored to everybody’s needs.
Hostel Dolar is situated in Bled, 900 m from The Bled Island. The property is around 2.5 km from Bled Castle and 2 km from Sports Hall Bled. The hostel has a garden and offers a sun terrace.More on Hostel
Offering free WiFi and mountain views, B&B Pletna a Double Lake-View Room is an accommodation set in Bled, just 1.6 km from Sports Hall Bled and 1.7 km from The Bled Island. The property is 3.3 km from Bled Castle.More on B&B
Located on the shores of Lake Bled, the elegant Grand Hotel Toplice features panoramic views of the lake and the Alps. The hotel has a boutique wellness centre with a thermal pool, saunas and various massage and beauty treatments. Guests can relax at the lake-view terrace. Free WiFi is provided throught the property.More on Hotel
Bled is just 40 km from Ljubljana’s airport. From there, you can easily go to Bled with either a train or a bus.
Bled is a small town. Go on foot or rent a bike and enjoy the peaceful scenery.