Top Tips for Visiting Lake Bled in Slovenia
Getting to Lake Bled
Lake Bled has no airport, so if you're arriving from another country, you will need to fly into Slovenia's main airport located in the capital Ljubljana. From Ljubljana, you can reach Bled by train, bus or rental car.
The town is relatively small and if you intend to stay in the centre, then I would suggest catching the train or bus as car parking is limited. However, there are many great places to stay outside of the town, offering fantastic views and opportunities for walking and cycling. If you think you may want to venture into the surrounding area, I would suggest renting a car.
Accommodation in Lake Bled
Lake Bled is mainly a tourist town, so it is packed full of hotels, hostels and bed-and-breakfasts. However, even though there are so many hotels, the town is still fairly small so they do get full up in the peak summer months. The constrained supply and the high demand also mean that prices tend to be high—much higher than elsewhere in Slovenia.
Camping is also an option in summer, but the site is located a few kilometres outside of town so you'll need a car to take advantage of this option.
If you're not intent on staying in the centre of town, you should consider a guesthouse or B&B on the edge of the town. Lake Bled is surrounded by beautiful countryside and some of the accommodation options situated just a few kilometres outside of town offer fantastic value for money and a real homely quality.
If you do plan on staying outside of town, be warned that buses are infrequent and don't run to all areas. It would be sensible to have a rental car to take advantage of staying out of town.
Top 10 Facts About Lake Bled
A claim that you'd be hard-pressed to argue with is that Lake Bled is one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. From the colour of the water to the positioning of the mystical church on an island in the centre to the fairy-tale castle looking down on it to the majestic snow-capped mountains in the distance, Lake Bled has it all.
- Its Slovenian name is Blejsko jezero.
- The lake has a maximum depth of 97 feet and covers a surface area of 0.56 square miles.
- The only island in Slovenia stands in the centre of the lake, upon which stands the Church of the Assumption of Mary.
- Bled is located 55 kilometres from Slovenia's capital city, Ljubljana.
- The town welcomes more than one million visitors every year.
- Lake Bled is the starting point for a hike up Slovenia's tallest mountain, Mount Triglav.
- President Tito of the former Yugoslavia had a summer house here (now a hotel).
- The Lake is unusually warm for an alpine lake, reaching a water temperature of 26 degrees Celsius in the summer.
- The lake contains 19 species of fish, including pike, carp and catfish.
- The walk around the circumference of the lake takes around 2 hours.
Top Sights and Activities at Lake Bled
Go Walking or Cycling
It takes around 2 hours to walk around Lake Bled, mostly through woodland paths. Along the route, there are many opportunities to take trails that lead higher into the hills. Taking these trails up will lead to some breath-taking views out across the lake.
It's also easy to cycle around the lake and there are plenty of trails suitable for bikes. Many accommodation places offer bicycle rental so ask at your hotel. But if not, there are many outdoor sports and adventure shops in town that offer bicycle hire at a reasonable price.
Swim in the Lake
In the summer months, the water temperature of the lake is surprisingly warm, reaching highs of around 79 degrees Fahrenheit. Join the many locals and tourists for a refreshing swim at one of the designated swimming spots. Watch out for boats though.
Visit Bled Castle
When walking the path around the lake you can take a turn up the hill that goes right up to Bled Castle. You have to pay and entrance fee to enter (check local listings for current price). It's a very romantic setting, but don't expect to learn too much about the history of the building. The best thing is the view down to the town and across the lake and the surrounding mountains, including the peak of Mount Triglav if you're lucky enough to see it without cloud cover.
Hire a Boat and Row to Bled Island
You can get to the island in the middle of the lake by either buying a ticket for the passenger boat or by hiring a paddle boat for yourself. The distance is short and an hour is usually enough time to row to the island and back and to spend some time at the pilgrimage Church of the Assumption. When you dock your boat you will need to ascend the 99 stone steps up to the church. Hard work on a hot day but there's cafe at the top where you can grab a cold drink.
Ride the Ski Lift and Take the Toboggan Down the Hill
A fun little novelty activity that makes use of the ski lifts outside of the ski season is the toboggan run at Straza Hill. Just a short walk from Bled town, the slope at Straza is transformed for the summer months into a tourist attraction that doesn't involve any snow. You buy a ticket to go up on the chair lift and then take the toboggan back down. Make sure you hang around at the top long enough to take some pictures and savour the fantastic view of the lake and the surrounding mountains.
Visit the Vintgar Gorge
Located just a few minutes drive or cycle ride from Lake Bled is the fabulous Vintgar Gorge. The 1.6km gorge offers a fantastic linear boardwalk through a majestic canyon on the edge of the Triglav National Park. The walk features a series of bridges to walk across, offering fantastic views up and down stream, and you will get to see some incredible waterfalls, including the Sum Waterfall.
You have to pay a small entrance fee to enter, and I would suggest arriving just as it opens to get some awesome photographs without any people getting in the way. I'd recommend spending about an hour in the gorge.
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© 2019 Matt Doran