What to do in Lake Bled
July 17, 2020
If you ever visit Slovenia, Lake Bled should be the first stop on your list!
Lake Bled is located in the Julian Alps in north-western Slovenia, just 55 km from Ljubljana, the capital city. It’s one of the most visited places in Slovenia, all year round. So be prepared to share this pearl with lots of other tourists too.
We had great luck by visited Bled just a few days after the travel lockdown was lifted. We were probably among the first tourist there. Many places were still closed, but it didn’t bother us. We managed to do and see all the things on our list.
Well, there is one thing that we didn’t do. We didn’t eat Bled Cream Cake in Cafe Belvedere. I’ve heard that this place has the best cream cake and on top of that, you can enjoy a fantastic view of the lake while eating. So, we didn’t eat the cream cake there, but we decided to climb to the cafe terrace anyway, just to enjoy the view. And it was definitely worth it!
Few tips for planning your trip
Before I get to the point and reveal to you all the beauties of this place, I have to tell you probably the most important information for planning your trip. I have to tell you about the weather!
This part of Slovenia is known as a place where rains a lot. And when I say a lot, I really mean a lot. Daily rain showers are normal here and should be considered when planning activities. Unfortunately, when it rains, there are a few things that you won’t be able to do, such as visiting Bled Island.
But don’t let the rain ruin your whole visit. It doesn’t rain all day, the weather here can change very quickly. So, even if rains, always be prepared to jump on the rowboat and paddle out to the island.
Another important question is: Can you explore the lake in one day?
I will say yes, of course, you can. It’s a small lake, you probably need one to one and a half hours to walk around the lake. So, if you’re planning to have a relaxing one day trip, eat the cream cake and enjoy the view from the coast, I’ll say go for it.
But if you want to explore a little more about this place, or visit some breathtaking viewpoints, you will probably need more than one day.
We made a one day trip to Bled, and we managed to see a lot of it, but not all of it. The rain played the role here too. So, we decided to visit Bled one more time a few days later. It was a few kilometers more than we planned to do, but I’m not regrating it.
WHAT TO DO IN LAKE BLED
It's raining, what should we do?
As we parked the car in a parking lot not far from the lake, it’s started to rain. I’ve instantly thought this trip will be a complete disaster.
We decided to hide from the rain in Vila Prešeren. A nice, cozy restaurant with a beautiful view of the lake and friendly staff. We ordered a coffee, and I couldn’t wait to visit Cafe Belvedere, so I ordered the Bled Cream Cake too. With an excuse, this way I can tell people later where the best cake is. I can always find a good excuse for eating 😉
It ended up being a great decision. Cafe Belvedere was closed, and when we came back to Vila Prešeren later that day, the delicious cream cake was sold out.
We were making a plan where we should go first, and we saw in the distance that something is happening on the sledding track at Straža Bled. We decided it should be our first stop. And believe me, it was probably the most important decision of this day.
Straža is a small hill located just a few minutes walks from the center of the city Bled. Finding where the sledding track is, was a little complicated. Putting aside that you have to climb almost to the top of the hill (actually, you don’t, there is a parking lot right in front of the entrance, but we decided to walk), you have to walk through few small streets filled with beautiful houses and just when you reach the moment when you think you are lost you will probably be there.
Along the way, we talked about how great it would be to have a house here. Waking up every morning with this view must be a dream come true. It was tough not to look at every backyard and imagine your life here.
And then finally, we were there!
We were looking for a place where we can buy tickets for the ride when the man approached us. He said that they are actually closed and that they are working now just for one school class on a field trip. I was really looking forward to trying out this sledding track, so this news was like another cold shower this day. First the rain and now this, oh I just can’t catch a break!
Sometimes you just have to ask...
We thought for a moment what we are going to do, and my sister said, let’s go ask him if the two of us can try it anyway. We didn’t have anything to lose, so we did it.
Fortunately for us, people are really friendly here, and we ended up taking the ride.
Chair lift took us to the very top of the hill, and we couldn’t believe our eyes. It was the most amazing view I’ve ever seen in my life. I literally couldn’t take my eyes off it. I knew it right there that this would be the highlight of our day.
Sledding track was pretty amazing too. I was a little scared, so I didn’t go down at full speed, and I haven’t really enjoyed the view along the way. But it doesn’t matter, it was an amazing experience, and I would recommend it to everyone.
Even if you aren’t such adrenaline junky, after enjoying the view, you can go back down with a chair lift.
If sledding track isn’t enough for you, there is also Adventure park with 81 attractions and 5 difficulty levels.
Sledding track is opened from spring to autumn, and in winter in turns into a small ski slope.
Another cream cake?
As it started to rain again, we couldn’t rent the rowboat, so we decided to take another break at Cafe Belvedere. But like I’ve said before, it was closed. After seizing the opportunity at Straža Bled, rain couldn’t stop us anymore.
Although we didn’t try the cream cake, we explored all unbelievable viewpoints and did a little photo shooting 😊
Even if the place is close when you visit Bled, it’s worth climbing to it to see the views.
Paddling to Bled Island
The sun finally came up, and we didn’t wait a minute. We rented the rowboat and started paddling to the charming island.
There are a few options to reach the island. The first one is renting a rowboat and paddling on your own as we did. It costs 20 euros per hour. We needed approximately an hour and a half, but we also took 200 photos there, and we needed a little time to master our rowing skills 😉
If you are a skilled rower and are not planning to take photos from every possible angle of the island, one hour is more than enough to explore this small island.
The second option is a more relaxing one, by the Pletna boat. You can grab a seat at many locations around the lake. Platna boat is like a gondola that takes a group of people to the island. It costs 12 euros per person, and you have 30 minutes to explore the island.
The third option is to swim to the island. It’s a great option if you want to save some money but still visit the island. The only disadvantage is that you won’t be able to enter the church.
Visiting Bled Island is free, but if you want to go inside the Church and climb the Bell Tower, you will have to pay 6 euros. Although there is not much to see inside the church, there is an interesting legend about the wishing bell.
I've rung the luck bell, let's hope I get lucky
Legend has it that the inconsolable widow lived in Bled Castle and gave all her wealth to make a bell after her husband’s death. A ship carrying a bell form the mainland to the island was caught in a storm and sank. According to this legend, the sound of the bell can be heard from the lake’s depths during calm nights.
Overwhelmed with grief, the widow soon died. After the original bell sank, Pope ordered a new bell, which is still on the island today. If this legend is to be believed, anyone who makes a wish and rings the bell, the wish will come true.
If you find yourself on the island of Bled, don’t forget to make a wish and ring that bell. And don’t forget, you are only allowed to make one wish! 😊
After paddling, it was time for lunch. A lot of restaurants were still closed, as not a lot of tourists were there. So, we sat down in the first one, which was open, Restavracija Penzion Mlino.
If I could choose again, I would choose wiser. The place was lovely, and the staff really friendly, but the food was just tasteless. I thought maybe it’s just my meal, but four of us ate four different dishes, and they were all completely tasteless. As if they had forgotten to spice them up.
Can we reach the top?
Some of the best views you’ll find on the west side of the lake. With Bled Island in the background and stunning colors of the lake and the sky, you won’t regret climbing to the viewpoints.
We climbed to Ojstrica and Velika Osojnica viewpoint. Both are amazing, but if I have to choose one, I’ll choose Velika Osojnica.
Our first stop was Ojstrica. The hiking trail is pretty moderate in difficulty and takes about 20 minutes. The challenging part is the last few minutes when the trail starts to be steep and slippery. There’s a bench at the top, where we took a break and just enjoyed the view. It’s pretty magical how the lake’s color changes during the day, from torques to blue to green.
To reach Velika Osojnica, you’ll have to go back (just the last slippery part) to the main trail and then continue to Velika Osojnica.
It took us another half an hour to climb to Velika Osojnica, and it was not easy either. You definitely need to have a fitness shape to reach the top, and you have to wear appropriate footwear. On our way, I had the feeling like we are never going to reach it, and at one point, I thought that we are entirely lost.
We were on the top of the hill, but we didn’t see any view just trees everywhere we looked. But we came so far, and we didn’t want to go back without seeing it. We passed the sign indicating that we had reached Velika Osojnica. After one or two minutes, we were finally there.
Just we and a breathtaking view in front of us.
I thought a lot about this view and how I should describe it, but I can’t find the words. You’ll have to climb and see for yourself.
Strolling around the Lake Bled
The pathways stretch around the entire lake, and they are 6 kilometers long and mostly flat. The perfect way to explore the lake and see the island from every angle. There are also a lot of docks where you can take a break and relax.
We ended our day by strolling around the lake back to Vila Prešeren. We went for another drink before going back home. It was really relaxing, and the colors of the lake at sunset were stunning.
Because we didn’t have enough time to explore the Bled Castle and I was the only one who tried the Bled Cream Cake, we decided to come back one more time. It was also a cloudy day, but it didn’t make the view less beautiful.
Blejski Grad - Bled Castle
More than 1000 years old history, gorgeous views, cream cake, and coffee… what do you need more?
Bled Castle or Blejski Grad is a must-see while visiting Bled. It’s one of Slovenia’s most famous attractions, so prepare yourself for crowds. It would probably be best to visit it as early as possible.
Castle is located on the top of a steep cliff 130 meters above the Lake Bled. So this time we decided not to climb to the castle. The parking lot is right in front of a castle and costs 3 euros, I think (it was free as we were there). The entrance fee for the castle is 13 euros (8.50 euros for students). It’s a little bit pricy, but I think the view is worth it. With the ticket, you receive a 2 euros voucher which you can spend inside the castle.
We decided to exchange our vouchers for lucky coins. It was interesting to see how the blacksmith makes our coins in an old-fashioned way.
Inside the castle, you can find a museum, blacksmith shop with a long family tradition, wine cellar, medieval printing press, chapel, coffee shop, and a restaurant. Museum did not leave me speechless, it is a mediocre museum, really nothing special.
The best part of the castle is definitely the terrace. We ordered coffee and cream cakes and enjoyed the view.
Staying longer in Lake Bled?
If you are staying for more than 2 days, I suggest you make some day trips. Some of the great locations you can find near Lake Bled are:
A beautiful city with a laid-back atmosphere. Impressive architecture, coffee shops, and local stores on every corner. There is something for everyone in Ljubljana. And the greatest thing about Ljubljana is that it can easily be explored by foot.
Lake Bohinj is the largest permanent lake in Slovenia. It’s located just 30 minutes away from Lake Blade. There are many interesting things to do here, such as riding the Vogel Cable Car, visiting Savica waterfall and kayaking, or paddleboarding on the lake.
Vintgar Gorge is 1.6 kilometers long and 250 meters deep gorge located just 10 minutes ride from Bled. Wooden walkways are running through the gorge, just a few meters above the pools, rapids, and waterfalls created by Radovna River. It’s one of the most popular attractions in Slovenia, and it’s definitely worth visiting.
To sum up, Lake Bled is a magical place that should be on the top of your list when visiting Slovenia. We had a great time, and it was a wonderful experience as we were almost the only tourists there.
I know it sounds a little selfish, but it was nice to have this place just for yourself.
Have you ever visited Bled? What did you like the most?