With a 1,000 year old storybook castle perched on a cliff and a 17th century church built on an island, Lake Bled, Slovenia is like no other. Surrounded by the Julian Alps and dense forests, it is arguably one of the most picturesque lakes in the world.
How To Get To Lake Bled
Lake Bled Tour
The drive is amazingly scenic as the road winds though the majestic Alps to your first glimpse of the storybook lake below.
Things To Do At Lake Bled
In the center of the pristine turquoise waters is Lake Bled Island. Reachable only by wooden Pletna, an awning covered gondola-type boat dating back to 1590. The 15-minute ride costs 15€ per person and is as magical as the island itself.
If you are fortunate, your pletnar (oarsman) will be Jože Berc, a former two-time Olympian who, at the age of 19, rowed for the Yugosavian Rowing Team in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Born in Bled and now 79 years old, Jože has been rowing for over 55 years and is still an amazing athlete making the 30 minute round trip several times a day.
Or, if you prefer to row yourself, boats are available to rent at a cost of 20€ an hour.
Standing proudly atop the hilly island is the 12th century Assumption of Mary Church with the chime of its magical wishing bell echoing gently across the lake. Destroyed in a 1511 earthquake, it was rebuilt in its current baroque style.
A popular wedding location, tradition requires that the groom carry his bride up the 99 steps leading from the Lake to the Church, ring the Tower’s bell and make a wish.
The well manicured grounds of the Church are immaculate and provide a beautiful view of the surrounding lake.
Returning to the dock to meet Jože for the return trip to Bled, we were still amazed at his stamina and agility. After debarking from the pletna, we set out for the short scenic drive to the hilltop Bled Castle.
Built on a precipice overlooking the Town of Bled and Lake Bled, the medieval castle reminds us of a scene out of a Disney movie. Constructed in 1004, it is Slovenia’s oldest castle and one of the country’s most visited attractions.
Located 130 meters above the lake, the castle is open year-round with hours varying by season. Entrance to the castle is €9 for adults; €7 students and €4,5 children.
The panoramic views of from the castle are breathtaking with the town and lake below as well as the surrounding Julian Alps. Although the vistas are without doubt the focal point, there are numerous sites to visit including a print shop with a reconstruction of Gutenberg’s wooden printing press, a blacksmith’s shop, a wine cellar, a beehive, a restaurant as well as exhibitions and a museum.
Hiking Lake Bled
Being nestled in the natural beauty of a glacial lake surrounded by the Alps and Triglav National Park, it is no wonder hiking is one of the most popular activities. Walking the 6km around the lake is as old as the lake itself. Making the 1km long, 100m ascent to Bled Castle is exhilarating. Additional trails include Mala Osojnica, Velika Osojnica and Jelovica are popular as well.
Lake Bled Restaurants
There are several restaurants at Lake Bled, but no visit would be complete without trying a piece of Kerman rezina. A delectable creamy cake affectionately called Kremsnita. Traditionally made each day since 1953, it is a MUST TRY for everyone!
But if you are one of the few not craving Kremsnita (which would be a shame), you can always enjoy a cold gelato while setting on the steps of the castle.
Is Lake Bled Worth Visiting?
Absolutely! No visit to Slovenia would be complete without a day trip to Lake Bled regardless of the time of year. The cliff-hanging Bled Castle, the fairy-tale charm of Bled Island, the picturesque beauty of the Julian Alps and so much more make for a day of fun and relaxation.
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