Your guide to Lake Bled, Slovenia
You’ve probably seen the postcard-perfect photo of a picturesque lake with mountain peaks in the background and a little island in the middle of the bluest water you’ve ever seen. A tiny church sits on the island and there’s a magical castle perched at the edge of the exposed cliff rising from the water. Your jaw probably dropped and you thought to yourself, “I gotta go there!”
Lake Bled is quite possibly the number one reason why many visitors decide to come to Slovenia and rightfully so. The beauty of this picture-perfect mountain lake is so mesmerising that it attracts people from all over the world. And we know what you’re probably thinking - that tourist trap radar is now flashing in your mind and you’re wondering …
Where is Lake Bled
Lake Bled is located in the Gorenjska region of Slovenia, only a stone throw from Triglav National Park. It is just a 45 minutes drive from the capital city Ljubljana or a 30 minute drive from Joze Pucnik International Airport.
And please don't make the silly mistake of confusing Slovenia with Slovakia. We've heard about too many backpackers who landed in Bratislava as part of their Euro trip looking for the shuttle to Lake Bled. Needles to say, it took a lot more than just a shuttle ride to get to Bled.
How to get to Lake Bled?
That the best, easiest and fastest way to get to Lake Bled is by car. Alternatively you can catch a bus or train.
If you can, we recommend you rent a car when in Slovenia as it gives you the most flexibility. A lot of the nicest destinations are outside of public transport routes and to be perfectly honest, public transport in Slovenia can be quite slow and can waste a lot of your time.
When driving in Slovenia make sure to buy the vignette, a tolling sticker that will let you use Slovenian motorways and expressways.
Ljubljana to Lake Bled
Most people choose to visit Lake Bled as a day or multi-day trip from Ljubljana. Bled is only 50 kilometres from Slovenia’s capital city and it is easily accessible by car, bus or train from there.
By car: The best way to get to Lake Bled is by car. From Ljubljana to Lake Bled takes about 45 minutes. Take the highway towards Jesenice and then take the exit for Bled. You will enter from the eastern side and will be welcomed with a beautiful view over the lake as you approach. It’s best to park the car on top of the hill just before the lake, we found the cheapest car park with plenty of space in a street to the right.
By bus: The second best option is taking the bus from Ljubljana to Lake Bled. There are regular bus services between Ljubljana and Bled and the trip can take between 45 minutes to 1 hour and 25 minutes depending on the route. The bus departs from Ljubljana Central Station and will drop you off in Bled village. Get the bus timetable and tickets here.
By train: Trains in Slovenia are fairly slow and the trip from Ljubljana can take anywhere from one to two hours depending on the line. If you choose to travel by train to Lake Bled, make sure to exit at the station Bled Jezero and not Bled Jesenice. Check the train timetable and prices here. Get the train timetable and tickets here.
Airport to Lake Bled
The airport of Ljubljana is located out of town and it is only 34 kilometres from the airport to Bled. There are car rental options at the airport as well as a taxi shuttle services to Bled which costs 45-60 eur per car. In summer there is also a direct bus line from the airport to the lake but in winter you need to switch busses in Kranj.
Zagreb to Lake Bled
Bled is only 200 kilometres or a 2 hour car ride from Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. There is also a direct train from Zagreb to Lake Bled, but the bus is faster and drops you off in Bled town (the train station is on the Western side). Alternatively you can choose to do a guided tour to Lake Bled and Ljubljana from Zagreb.
Salzburg to Lake Bled
Bled is 240 kilometres or a 2.5 hour drive from Salzburg, Austria. There is a train connection between Salzburg and Lake Bled but it requires two transfers and can be very time consuming. Similarly you would have to change busses in Ljubljana so the best way to travel from Salzburg to Lake Bled really is by car
Getting around in Bled
In summer there is a hop on hop off bus service that goes as far as Vintgar gorge and a tourist train that drives around the lake.
If you're staying in Bled town then most points of interest will be walking distance for you. You can also choose to rent a bike or an e-bike, or you could take advantage of BLED Green Ways automated bike rental system.
The traditional fjakerji serve as cabs and double as a tourist attraction. These single or two-horse open carriages are operated by coachmen in traditional uniforms.
If you prefer to travel by water you can choose between Pletna, the traditional boat taxi or hop on the wooden electric boat, that operates between pier below the Cafe Park and Bled Island. You can also rent a rowboat or a paddle board.
Parking in Bled
Not gonna lie, parking at Lake Bled is a bit of a pain and can get pricey in high season. It also keeps changing year to year and usually for the worse.
In Bled town the best place to park is in one of the three car parks along Presernova cesta. They cost 2 Eur per hour and there is no limit on your stay. On the western side of the lake you can park at Parkolo for 5 Eur per day or at Mala Zaka for 2 Eur per hour.
If you're spending the night in Bled, it is a good idea to make sure your accommodation also has parking facilities. Luckily Bled isn't big so you can walk or bike almost everywhere.
When is the best time to visit Lake Bled?
In short, any time is a good time to visit Lake Bled! Every season will give you a slightly different experience.
Summer, when the days are longer and the water is warmer are considered high season and most choose to visit then. Lake Bled is also stunning in winter when there are skiing and snowboarding opportunities and the mountain tops are covered in a white layer of snow. Spring and autumn also wonderful as the surroundings put on a colourful display of orange leaves or blush blossoms.
The best season to visit Lake Bled greatly depends on your own preferences. As we mentioned before, Lake Bled is a very popular tourist destination and it can get very crowded, especially in summer. If you want great weather, want to go for a swim in the lake and don’t mind crowds, then summer is the season for you. If you happen to be in Slovenia in summer and really don’t like crowds, then consider driving to the coast and visit Piran instead, which is a perfect Slovenian summer location.
Otherwise, we recommend spring or fall. In spring, temperatures are pleasant but most of the surrounding mountains still have snow on their tops, providing a magical backdrop. In fall, the whole area changes to autumn colours, and it really doesn’t get much better for fall foilage than Bled.
Lastly, winter in Bled should not be forgotten. In Winter, Lake Bled looks like a scene out of the Disney movie Frozen. Everything is snowy white, the lake freezes over and allows for ice skating on it, and there are plenty of winter activities to do in the area.
What to do at Lake Bled
Lake Bled offers something for everyone - from stunning views to delicious food, history and adrenaline pumping activities. There is enough to do, see and experience to keep you entertained for several days! However, if you are tight on time we recommend you follow our one day itinerary that takes you through the highlights of Lake Bled.
Top 10 things to do at Lake Bled
These are 10 of the most unique things you should try while in Lake Bled. For a full list of activities in lake bled check out this blog.
1. Take the traditional pletna boat to Bled Lake island
2. Try the delicious lake bled cake
3. Ring the bell and make a wish at Lake Bled Church
4. Travel back in time at Lake Bled Castle
5. Visit the beautiful Vintgar Gorge
6. Go for a swim in Lake Bled
7. Get your blood flowing at Adventure Park Bled
8. Go hiking in Triglav National Park
9. Do a day trip to Bohinj and Slap Savica
10. Try fishing at Lake bled and catch a carp
Map of lake bled interest points
How many days should you spend at Lake Bled?
Lake Bled can be done as a day trip from Ljubljana, but if your schedule allows we wholeheartedly recommend you spend at least two days at Lake Bled for a more authentic experience.
A day trip to Lake Bled will give you enough time for a quick visit to Vintgar gorge (closed in winter), have a coffee and try the famous Bled Cream Cake and paddle to the Island. If you get to Bled early enough you will also be able to squeeze in a speedy visit to the Bled Castle or a short stroll along the lake after lunch. This is a great introduction to Lake Bled, but there is just so much more to do and see, and you should not rush it.
If you can schedule two days or more at Lake Bled you will be able to better experience this idyllic mountain gem and perhaps even explore the surrounding area and do some hikes. While you definitely shouldn’t skip the paddle and Cream Cake, spending a second (or even third) day at Lake Bled will give you the chance to explore the true goodies.
Book your stay in Lake Bled below
If you are up for an early start, Ojstrca viewpoint is the best place to enjoy a breath taking sunrise over the lake. Seeing the light hit the water and colouring it all the prettiest shades of pink will make the steep hike in the dark so so worth it!
Vintgar Gorge (Blejski Vintgar in Slovene) is located only 4 kilometres north-west of Lake Bled and is often part of a one day itinerary, but this is one of the most beautiful gorges in Slovenia and you could easily spend three to four hours there, more if you choose to go for a very cold swim.
The surrounding mountains offer enough trails and hikes to keep you entertained for days if not weeks. If you’re not much of a hike you could visit Lake Bohinj, heck, you should visit it either way! Bohinj is another stunning but lesser known mountain lake just a 30 minute drive from Lake Bled, but it only gets a fraction of the tourists!
Lake Bled isn’t big, and if you want to, you can easily do it as a day trip. We’d even argue that the views (and the cream cake) are worth the trip for just a couple of hours. But, if you’re anything like us and like to travel slow and deep, you will want to spend at least a couple of days at Lake Bled in order to really take in the views and explore some of the surroundings too.
Where to stay in Lake Bled
In Bled you can chose from a vast assortment of hotels, hostels and appartments and they really do cater to all budgets and preferences. These are our favourites
Where to eat in Bled
In Bled you will be spoiled for choice when it comes to restaurants.
At Mega Burger you will find some of the best burgers in Slovenia. Public Bar has a fantastic choice of vegan food and their cakes are to die for. Grajska Plaza is a great choice for beers and a snack or lunch by the lake. For traditional Slovenian food and fantastic steaks head to Babji Zob. When it comes to fine dinning, the Jezersek restaurant at Bled Castle takes the crown**.** It offers breath taking views and it is managed by one of Slovenia's best chefs.
Is Lake Bled worth visiting?
Absolutely! Lake Bled is definitely worth a visit. You all know we’re not into crowds or tourist hotspots, but for Lake Bled we’re willing to make an exception at every chance we get. And honestly, it isn’t even that busy! There’s so much to do in the surrounding area that people get scattered around, and you’ll be too busy taking in the views to even notice anyone else.
Over the past years we’ve visited Lake Bled several times and we’ve spent anywhere from 2 hours to a few days at the time there and we always enjoyed it immensely - every single time.
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