Your guide to Lake Bled, Slovenia

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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 mesmerizing that it attracts people from all over the world.

Best things 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!

This is the ultimate list of of the most unique and best things you should do, try, see and experience when visiting Lake Bled.

If you are tight on time we recommend you follow our one day itinerary that takes you through the absolute highlights of Lake Bled in just one day.

1. Paddle to Bled Lake island

There are several rowboat rental companies and you’ll see little rowboats docked all around the lake so just walk to the owner and rent one. The paddle to the island takes about 10 to 15 minutes one way.

Another very exciting way of reaching the island is by SUP. You can rent a paddleboard at Hotel Park and at Grajska Plaza. It takes between 20 to 30 minutes to SUP to the island from this side of the lake.

There is a docking site at the back of the church where you can dock your boat or sup while you explore the island. The island is tiny and you can walk the circumference in just a few minutes.

We recommend you walk around by the water and then take the the famous 99 step staircase to get to the charming Church of St. Mary. Here you’ll also find the bell tower, curacy and provost’s house, a small hermitage and Poticnica where you can try the traditional Potica cake.

RENTAL PRICES
A rowboat costs 20€ for an hour and can fit 2 or 3 people comfortably.
Paddleboards are 10€ for an hour and you ride solo.

 

2. Ride in the traditional Pletna boat

If you don’t feel like paddling yourself, or if you’re up for a truly authentic Bled experience, then hop on a traditional Pletna Boat.

Pletna Boats are the Slovene equivalent of Venetian gondolas, and all the 23 boats on Lake Bled are built and navigated by locals. The pletnar, that is what you call someone that navigates a Pletna boat, stands on the back of the boat and propels it by “rowing” two big oars.

There are four boat stations where you can hop onto a Pletna: under Hotel Park, Milno, Spa Park and Velika Zaka. If you’re going for a Pletna boat ride, it will drop you off at the bottom of the famous 99 step staircase at the front of the church.

TICKET PRICE
15€ per person for a round trip

 

3. Ring the bell and make a wish

No visit to Bled Island is complete without ringing the bell at the Wishing Tower. Or maybe this is just a money pit, you decide. Pull the cord three times to make your wish come true. For €6 a pop this wish better come true!

TICKET PRICE
€6 to enter the church and climb the bell tower

 

4. Visit Lake Bled Castle

Bled castle is perched at the top of a steep cliff 130 meters above Bled Lake and overlooks the picturesque Bled island and surrounding mountains.

There is a small museum in the upper courtyard where you can learn all about the history of the castle and Bled as well as a medieval print shop where you can have your own text printed in traditional style and a wine cellar.

To be completely honest, the exposition isn’t that impressive, but the museums aren’t the reason we’re here. The main reason to visit the castle is the view.

Bled Castle offers some of the best views over Bled Lake and some of the most magical sunset displays Slovenia has to offer. End your day with this gorgeous view, watch the sun set behind the mountains and admire how it paints the lake into the most beautiful shades of orange and pink, ideally with a glass of wine in your hand or over dinner at the Bled Castle restaurant.

TICKET PRICE
13€ adult ticket

 

5. Dine like a king

Bled Castle restaurant is one of our favourite restaurants in Slovenia. The food and service are exactly what you’d expect at a castle – ou’re treated like royalty and the food tastes heavenly.

This upscale restaurant can be found in the upper courtyard and not only does it offer fabulous food and a great wine selection, it also boosts some of the best views in town. The menu features traditional Slovene dishes with a modern spin created by renowned chefs Chefs Luka and Ana Šušteršič.

The entrance fee to the castle is included in the menu price when booking a table and purchasing a dinner tasting menu. While dinner here is not cheap for Slovene standards, it won’t burn a hole through your wallet either.

6. Visit the beautiful Vintgar Gorge

The Vintgar Gorge is one of the most beautiful gorges in Slovenia and a true highlight of a trip to Bled.

This 1.6-kilometre long gorge is carved out by the Radovna River and the trail winds over bridges and suspended boardwalks and gives you spectacular views over the emerald-green water and rapids of Radovna river, as well as the 13-meter high Sum waterfall.

Check out this Vintgar Gorge guide we’ve written to find all the up to date information on visiting the gorge.

TICKET PRICES
10€ adult ticket

 Read Next: Your guide to visiting Vintgar Gorge read now

7. Go for a swim in Lake Bled

In summer the average water temperature in the lake is a pleasant 21°C, so if you want to cool down a bit, swimming in Lake Bled is a great option! There is a small part of the lake near the park where swimming isn’t allowed but there are plenty of beaches and other spots where you can jump in for a refreshing dip.

8. Take in the views from Ojstrica viewpoint

Ojstrica viewpoint offers some of the best views of Lake Bled. Here you’ll get a bird’s eye view over the island and the castle in the back. The hike up takes about half an hour and it’s pretty steep but so worth it!

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!

You can continue the hike from Ojstrica viewpoint and turn it into a 2h loop by continuing up to Velika Osojnica and return down via Mala Osojnica.

 

9. Go hiking in Triglav National Park

Lake Bled sits just outside of Triglav National Park and it’s the perfect midway point to some of the pretties waterfalls, charming gorges and breathtaking valleys.You can easily visit them on a self drive day trip or you can join one of the guided tours.

Triglav National Park offers some wonderful hikes and breath taking views. A lot can be explored on short walks and even by car, but the real deal and the best views require some sweat and proper hiking. Check out this guide on the best hikes in the area.

 Read Next: Best Hikes in Triglav National Park

10. Hop over to Bohinj and Slap Savica

Lake Bohinj is only a 30 minute drive from Bled and you can do the trip on your own or join one of the Lake Bohinj tours. Lake Bohinj is bigger than Lake Bled but a lot less touristy and absolutely beautiful.

From here you can visit Slap Savica, explore Mostnica Gorge, take the gondola up to Vogel and do a bunch of awesome hikes in the Julian Alps.

 

11. Try the delicious Lake Bled cake

Lake Bled is famous for its cream cake (Kremna Rezina) and we can vouch it is delicious and goes marvellously with your morning coffee. The cream cake has been awarded the certificate of national origin and it consists of a thick layer of vanilla custard-like cream, followed by a layer of whipped cream and enclosed between two thin crispy crusts and generously topped with powdered sugar.

You can find the Cream Cake in most coffee shops and restaurants, but we recommend you pick a spot with a view like Kavarna Park, Grajska Plaza or Panorama.

 

12. Stroll around the Lake of Bled

The 6 kilometres long walk around Lake Bled takes about 1.5 hours and it’s the perfect way to get acquainted with Lake Bled and take in the views from every angle.

You’ll get the perfect view over Bled island with the castle in the back from the wooden paths over the water on the Western side and you can take photos at the Bled Heart on the Eastern shores.

 

13. Ride in the traditional fjakerji horse carriage

Traditionally the fjakerji served as cabs, mostly transporting people between the train station and town. While you can still arrange for a cab drive with them, today they’ve mainly turned into a tourist attraction and will take you for a ride around the lake.

These old school open carriages are operated by locals wearing traditional gowns and are bound to transport you back in time.

Prices from 50 € per ride

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?

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.

Read Next: The Perfect Day Trip to Lake Bled

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?

We recommend visiting Bled in 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.

However, the best time to visit Lake Bled greatly depends on your own preferences since every season will give you a slightly different experience.

As we mentioned before, Lake Bled is a very popular tourist destination and it can get very crowded 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.

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 and there are plenty of winter activities to do in the area.

Read Next: Amazing things to do in Lake Bled in Winter

 

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.

The surrounding mountains offer enough trails and hikes to keep you entertained for days if not weeks. If you’re not much of a hiker 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. 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.

 

Where to stay in Lake Bled

The best area to base yourself while at Lake Bled is in Bled town on the Eastern shore of the lake. This is where the majority of bars, restaurants, shops and amenities are.

Many choose to visit Lake Bled as a day trip but there is so much to do, see and experience in and around Bled that we really think you should spend at least one night in this little slice of paradise. To choose your stay pick between the top deals below or check out the full Bled accommodation guide.

Grand Hotel Toplice

OPPULENT AND HISTORIC

The only 5-star establishment in Bled with a rich history and elegant rooms where you’ll be treated like a king.

CHECK PRICES

Vila Bled 

VIEWS TO DIE FOR

Former President Tito’s summer palace turned into an elegant and classy boutique hotel.

Check prices

Vila Pavlovski  

HOME AWAY FROM HOME

Apartments with a fully equipped kitchen and laundry, modern furnishing and breathtaking views.

Check prices

Read Next: Where to stay in Bled – your guide to the best accommodation

 

Where to eat in Bled

In Bled you will be spoiled for choice when it comes to restaurants.

Mega Burger offers 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.

Babji Zob is best known for traditional Slovenian food and fantastic steaks.

Jezersek restaurant at Bled Castle takes the crown when it comes to fine dinning. 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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Zi @Craving Adventure
Zi @Craving Adventure

Zi is the Founder and Editor in Chief behind Craving Adventure.

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