Saying it’s beautiful is an understatement. Lake Bled with a tiny little island in the middle simply blows your mind. Looks like out from the fairytale and I can certainly name it a hidden european gem. The whole country is full of beautiful places and together with the town of Piran, Bled is my another favorite to visit in Slovenia.
If you have never considered visiting Slovenia, believe me, you are missing a lot. Welcoming people, great food and places listed among the most amazing locations in the world, are just few reasons to name. Let me take you for another trip!
Do you know this legend?
Once upon a time a young wife living in the Bled castle lost her husband. He was killed by robbers and his body was thrown into the lake. So she gathered all her gold and silver and asked a man to make a bell in the memory of her husband. Unfortunately, the bell, the boat and boatmen sank during a terrible storm. The young widow was so desperate that sold all her properties, left Bled and lived the rest of her life in Rome as a nun. After her death the Pope had heard of her story an decided to make a new bell and send it to Bled. He said that anyone that rings the bell three times, his or her wish would come true. Nowadays, you can visit the bell tower and ring it too. Just do not forget to make a wish :)
When is the best time to visit Lake Bled?
Lake Bled is beautiful at any season but of course, each season has some pros and cons. Summer is a perfect time as the weather is beautiful and you can take an advantage of crystal clear lake. You can sunbathe, you can swim and just enjoy outdoor activities. On the other hand, it is also the most touristic time and the prices, especially when it comes to accommodation, will be much higher. Spring or autumn can be satisfying too as you can enjoy hikes with less tourists around. It will be also easier to book nice and not overpriced place to stay. On winter you can enjoy Bled with more intimate, off season atmosphere and significantly lower prices. Unfortunately, you may not be able to hike to some view points as they may not be accessible because of the winter weather. From my personal experience, I would advise you May or June if you want to swim in the lake or early Autumn if you are more into hikes.
How to get there?
The nearest airport is Ljubljana which is only 1 hour drive from Lake Bled. Other options you may consider is Zagreb Airport with 2 hours drive, Salzburg airport 2 hours 30 minutes, Munich Airport 4 hours, Vienna Airport 4hours 20 minutes or Bratislava Airport 5 hours. All these airports offer cheap airline flights.
Coming to Bled by car you should also take into consideration that parking slots are very limited. The most convenient solution is of course to have a parking by your hotel. If you are not staying in Bled for the night, you will need to park at the beginning of Bled town and than walk quite a way.
What to do in Bled?
There is plenty of things you can do in Bled, no matter if you are a solo traveler, traveling couple or a family with kids. What I recommend:
- Visiting Bled’s church island in the middle of the lake. You can eihter rent a boat and row by yourself or use traditional transportation boats called pletna, available at the shore. The entrance to the church costs 6 euro. There is also a museum on the island and a little cafe where you can try famous Bled’s cream cakes.
- Hiking around the Lake Bled to find most spectacular views. There are different hiking trails with different difficulty levels, for more details please read the next paragraph.
- Renting a boat – I absolutely recommend that! If only rowing a boat is not a problem for you, this gonna be super fun to explore the lake by yourself. There are few places you can rent a boat. We rented it from Pletna Boat Rental (just next to Sova restaurant) and the price was 15 euro per two hours. This boat rental is open daily from 8 am till 4 pm.
- Renting a water bike, kayak or a paddle board – available in few places at the shore, usually at boat rentals.
- Swimming in the crystal clear lake. Yes, it is possible to swim in the lake. You can use the dedicated beach part or just jump basically from any place by the shore. There is a grass area around the lake where people sunbathe, make picnics, play sports etc. The water is available from the stairs located in few places or you can just jump directly from the shore. Side note – the shore is not adjusted to small kids and there is no lifeguard so you swim at your own risk.
- Booking hot air baloon flight – sunrise flights over the lake and Bled city is a unique and magical way of exploring the sight. Check this page for more information and for booking your flight.
Where to hike for the best views of Lake Bled?
There are a few nice photo spots in Bled. The one you usually see on pictures from there is called Ojstrica and it is the one you can reach in an easiest way. But there are two more…at least, not to count unnamed spots on the way to them.
Your route to Ojstrica
You should start from Vila Bled which is on the oposite side of the lake, i.e. vis a vis Centrum. Then you take a lake path until you see a small path going up on the left with a woodden pole with sign Mala Osojnica. Go steep way up until you see a very steep stairs and after them there is a bench with a nice Lake Bled view.
Then you might want to go to the second which is called Velika Osojnica. To get there just continue up and left after the signs to that summit or red signs of 6 on trees. You will get to a cross road with signs to Velika Osojnica and Ojstrica and you will need to decide. Ojstrica is the point with a famous rock. Velika Ojstrica is the hidden spot with a nice “frame view” of the castle. From Ojstrica it is just 20 min walk down to the main road on the edge of the Lake Bled. I have marked both paths on the map.
Where to eat?
Garden Village – great place with fantastic, fresh and eco style food. Pricy but the quality speaks for itselfs.
Sova Restavracija – perfect for lunch with a view. Really nice and easy going atmosphere, good service and terrace tables with great lake view. They are also super flexible, so if you want to take your wine/drinks etc and make yourself comfortable on the grass area by the lake (just the opposite the restaurant) no issue at all.
Cafe Belvedere – worth visiting for spectacular Lake Bled view from the top, especially if you like taking pictures. They offer coffee, cakes and drinks.
Where to stay?
This one is the hardest for me to answer. You must be aware that Bled, comparing to other Slovenian sights, is actually quite pricy. Especially in the high season. Also, the standard you get for the money you pay can be pretty low.
The central part of Bled is more touristic area but if you pass the center and go left, in Velika Zaka direction, you get to a cozier and less touristic part of the town. This is where I would advise you to search for a guesthouse. There is lots of them and they are cheaper than overpriced hotels. I will not recommend you the hotel we stayed in, as it turned out to be pretty awful. With one exception – we had quite a nice lake view from our bedroom window.
If you are searching for something unusual, check Garden Village. It’s a unique concept with luxury tents located by the river. Luxury glamping experience, especially if you book a big family tent with your own outdoor tub. The whole place is eco friendly and absolutely perfect for families with kids.