Lake Bled is Slovenia's most popular tourist attraction and although it's getting more and more famous, it's still relatively unknown comparing to other European landmarks. And, in contrast to other places flooded by masses of visitors, the beautiful Bled is not overrated at all. In fact, it is way better in real life than in the photos. The images cannot really convey the clear, deep blue color of water, pristine natural surroundings and charming architecture, all combined together.
The town of Bled is best visited in the summer when you can swim, kayak, hike and use it as a base to explore the amazing, hidden treasures of Slovenian Julian Alps.
How to get to Bled
You think it couldn't be easier - just take a bus or train from Ljubljana for a couple of Euros. Yes, that's true - it's not a problem to visit Bled from anywhere in Slovenia.
But I'm going to give you a few tips - don't come to Slovenia just to visit Bled (and don't come to visit only Ljubljana - although it's a nice city, it pales in comparison with other places in this tiny country). Flights to Ljubljana tend to be more expensive than to other cities in Europe, so if you want to save a few pennies on your flight tickets and have an absolutely amazing time exploring Slovenia - choose for example Trieste in Italy as your starting point. This is what we did.
Trieste is just a few miles away from the Slovenian border, and before visiting Bled, we traveled from Trieste to the Slovenia’s Mediterranean coastal towns of Koper and Piran (not to be missed!) as well asPostojna Cave and the famous Predjama Castle. I will write in more details about how we visited all those places soon.
Note that if you arrive by train from Ljubljana, the station is not located in Bled town exactly. It’s around 4 km to the south from Bled. To get to the lake, you can take either a bus that runs every 30 minutes or share a taxi with other passengers from the train.
Lake Bled is beautiful and the water is unbelievably blue. I used a polarizing filter to take the photos – the filter removes the reflection from shiny surfaces like water and helps show the way it really is. In real life, the lake looks so different than in some of the pictures online, for example if you compare photos from wikitravel’s page about Bled to those here on the blog. I can guarantee that if you visit it in the summer, the real beauty will be even better than what you can see on my blog.
The lake is quite large and it takes around 2 hours to walk around it. But it is a beautiful walk – surrounded by mountains and nature. From time to time, you can stop and take a swim, rent a kayak or a surfboard and paddle on the lake. Overall, it feels more like at the seaside in some more tropical place – due to the clear waters and the heat which can be unbearable in the summer.
You can also rent a gondola and visit the tiny island in the middle – this is the unique feature of Bled that attracts so many visitors. The price, however, is not that attractive – 12 EUR (15 USD) both ways.
On the island, there is the Church of the Assumption, dating back to the 17th century. It gives the lake the medieval atmosphere just like in a fairy-tale.
Bled castle (17th century) is located on the northern side of the lake, built on a high, steep cliff overlooking the entire lake. It offers one of the most beautiful viewpoints as well as cultural/historical attractions for all those who love medieval castles.
It’s renovated very well and there are many restaurants and cafes around. There are also countless crowds of tourists and thus the site looses a bit of the authentic, old feel.
And another bad side to it is the price – around 10 EUR for an adult. If you wish to get an amazing view of the lake for free – take a look below.
Mala Osojnica – The Best Viewpoint of Bled
On the opposite, southern shore of the lake, there’s a trail to the peak of the hill called Mala Osojnica. It’s a pretty steep hike to get to the top, but it’s not difficult. It takes around 45 minutes to reach the viewpoint.
The view is spectacular – you’ll see it exactly the way it is on a picturesque, postcard scene from Bled. It’s so worth to climb it, and surprisingly (or rather what you'd expect in places like this), there are few people on top comparing to the crowds lying on the lake’s beaches down there.
I would recommend, however lazy and tired you are, that you do go up and see this amazing view for yourself. The Alpine forest around is an attraction in itself and can provide the needed shade that will cool you down a bit.
The town of Bled is also charming – there’s a nice church (Zupnijska Cerkev) and a typical for central Europe, cozy center with narrow streets.
In the summer, Bled is a hot spot for all kind of night activities and concerts – there are festivals, laser lights and fireworks almost every weekend.
We were so lucky to come across an amazing light festival and after a beautiful open air concert and firework show, the lake was illuminated with thousands of floating candles. It was an unforgettable view.
And, what’s best, just a few hours later, in the morning, the shores and the lake was perfectly clean! There was no trace of even one burnt out candle. It was spotless! I do feel respect for people who respect the nature and the place where they live. Comparing it, to for example, beach parties in Thailand that we’d had a chance to witness – it was a shock – the beach in Thailand during the full moon party was turned into a dump with drunks urinating and defecating wherever they wanted. In Slovenia, the next day, after a great party – it was all clean, beautiful and neat.
Bled as a gateway to Triglav National Park
If you love Bled, do go and explore the area – it only gets better! And there are virtually no foreign tourists in other, not so popular places. Try the following: Vintgar Gorge (which is perfect for a half day trip from Bled); Bohinj Lake – less known but not less beautiful, less crowded and more wild; Triglav Lakes and Triglav National Park – spectacular trails with awesome views of the amazing Slovenian Alps; Soca River – unbelievable, crystal clear, turquoise river that has a color of a tropical sea. To find more information on how to see those places, see the “Related Posts” section below.
If you liked this article, you can also download it via the GPSmyCity app - you will be able to gain access to the guide, which will direct you to all the attractions described above, even if you're offline. Download it here.
Author: Tom @ Adventurous Travels
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