Lake Bled looks like the setting of a real life fairytale and that is exactly why you should go.
Bled is a small town in heart of Slovenia's natural beauty, which makes Bled the perfect destination, for an unusual combination, relaxation and adventure sports. From hiking to horse riding, canyoning to skydiving, Bled has it all.
Before I visited Bled I hadn't realised it had so many adventure sports, and unfortunately I didn’t have enough time to use up a full day or half day to take part. But I would highly recommend it, everyone I know that has been has had the time of their lives. If you stay in a hostel then they will be able to advise you on which company to use, but if not click here for the 3glav adventure company.
The thing to do whilst in Bled is to hire a boat and row across the lake to the Island. Hiring your own boat costs roughly €15 per hour, so either row quickly and make sure you get back within the hour or take your time and take up a full two hours.
If you are a romantic, then take a picnic with you to have on the island, or boat. This might be better to do during the off season due to the amount of tourists that visit the island. Also don’t forget your swimsuits boys and girls because the water reaches a very swimmable 26°C in the summer.
There is also a really lovely walk around Lake Bled, which is roughly 6km or 4 miles. Whilst walking around I realised that every angle is Bled's best angle (wish I could say the same). It takes about 2 hours, to stroll round, but I added on a good half an hour because I kept stopping every three steps to take yet another photo - sorry Matt.
You should be able to spot some bike rentals around the lake too which you can usually hire per hour or for a whole day.
There are some great hikes that have breath taking views of Lake Bled. Osojnica was my favourite hike, because of it’s amazing view which is very popular amongst photographers. I’m not going to sugar coat it, the hike is hard. It’s around 45 minutes up a steep forest path to the first viewing area ‘Mala Osojnica’ (685m) and then another 20 minutes to the top of Velika Osojnica (756m). It's going to get sweaty but it is 100% worth it, without a doubt it offers the most iconic views of Lake Bled.
Make sure you take some water with you, especially in the height of summer, and don't forget your camera! You don't want to miss that Kodak moment.
For those who love a little hiking there are a few other hiking trails around Lake Bled:
Straža: which is a much gentler hike but gives a great view which includes Bled Castle. In the summer you can even sled back down the hill if you’ve had enough of walking.
Ojstrica: around a 20 minute hike will take you to the top of the 611m high hill.
Kuhovnica: It is a little trickier to find the start of the path for this hike so I have put a link below to a map with all the hikes on, so you don’t get lost before you even start.
Click here for the hike map.
When we finally and sweatily reached the viewing platform we bumped in to a man from Beijing, who was carrying not one but two enormous camera's. How he didn't fall and crack a lens is anyones guess. He was hilariously insistent that Matt and I had a photo together, which took about 12 shots to get because I was too short for the light to fall on my face. Seeing that he spoke no English and all I learned in one semester of Mandarin was "My dad is a doctor, my mum is a teacher" (which is a big fat lie) we resorted to hand gestures. After moving left, then right, the left again, had one leg in the air and on tip toes on the other he finally got the shot (the photo above).
Well then, of course the time came for us to try and take a photo of him. I knew this was going to be a challenge, this man clearly had a very specific image in his mind, and I left Matt with the responsibility of taking a potentially new profile picture (and that is a big responsibility). I couldn't stop laughing to myself because he was clearly not impressed by Matt's photography skills. After 10 shots, he gave up and left. Heres hoping there was at least one that met his profile picture requirements, but I doubt it.
Bled also has an amazing medieval castle, the oldest castle in Slovenia, which balances on the edge of the cliff that overlooks the lake. It’s everything a medieval castle should be, it has towers and ramparts, moats and a terrace the offers amazing views. The castle is now a museum, which looks at the historical development of Bled, its culture and its population. It has a large armour and weapons collections, as well as jewellery found at Slav burial pits.
When we stumbled up there we walked in on a full medieval feast occurring outside the castle. Everyone was in medieval dress, eating lamb chops and mashed potato, jesters were skipping around playing music. It was as though I had just stepped back in time, (or into a Knights Tale) and I felt completely out of place in shorts and a t-shirt.
According to our hostel owner this isn’t unusual at all, in fact he found it amusing at how entertained we were by the whole event. It was so difficult to tear myself away from the feast to get on with why we were actually there - to see another great view of Bled.
Address: Grajska cesta, 4260 Bled, Slovenia. Click here for Bled Castle on google maps.
Price: Adult €10 / Student €7 /Children (up to 14) €5
Opening Times: Jan-Mar and Nov-Dec: 8am - 4pm
Apr-May and Sep-Oct: 8am - 8pm
June-Aug: 8am - 9pm
Directions: When you reach the castle, go left around the castle until you find a trail. Follow that and it will pop out at this amazing place.
Top Tip: It costs €10 for adults and €5 for children to enter the Castle. But if you book a table at the Castle restaurant, admission is free!
Vintgar Gorge is 1.6km of natural beauty, nestled 100 meters below the Hom and Bort hills the bluey-green water is glass clear in some parts, and rushing over rapids in others. It's one of Slovenia's most famous natural attractions for a reason and is perfect for a half day trip from Bled either by bus or walking.
Vintgar Gorge was discovered in 1891 and opened to the public in 1893 after the wooden walkway was built, but don't panic it has been rebuilt several times since then. The walk is easy, flat and suitable for everyone, but just remember to wear some good shoes because the walkway can become slippery when wet.
The Šum waterfall, translated as 'noisy falls', sits under the Bohinj railway bridge which was built in 1878 and marks the end of the trail. We managed to get lost when we were walking to the Gorge from Bled and started here, at the end, and walked to the start. But whichever you way you walk it its beautiful and calming, as long as you miss the crowds.
You can walk, drive or take the bus to reach the gorge. Here is the link to google maps.
Walking: It's 4.6km to walk from Bled to Vintgar Gorge, and takes about an hour.
Head to the Jelovica Hotel (close to the bus station).
Turn left walking behind the Hotel and continue on the road out of Bled heading in a north-westerly direction.
Keep left and follow the signs to Podham, a nearby town.
You should then be walking on a long quiet road for 1.5 km.
When you arrive in Podham, keep an eye out for signs to Vintgar Gorge (signs my say Blejski Vintgar or Soteska Vintgar) and follow them. This should take you there.
Once you have finished walking through the gorge, keep above the waterfall and you will come to a ticket office and cafe. From here follow the signs back to Bled.
This route will take you through a forrest, and the path won't always be obvious. Look out for trees with 'Bled' painted on them.
When you get out of the forrest you will be on the edge of Triglav National Park, with amazing views of the area. From now on just head towards the castle which will lead you straight in to Bled, and you will pass through the village of Zasip.
Between June-September, a tourist bus leaves Bled bus station at 10am and arrives at 10.26am, stopping at Panorama Restaurant by Grand Hotel Toplice, Mlino, Zaka - the far end of the lake and Bled Castle.
There is a return bus at 12.30pm.
And during July and August there is an additional bus that leaves Bled at 9am.
Address: Turistično društvo Gorje, Podhom 80, 4247 Zgornje Gorje, Slovenia. Click here for Vintgar Gorge on google maps.
Price: Adults €5 / Students €4 / 6-15yr olds €2.50 / 0-6yr olds €0.8.
Opening Times: April-October open between 8am-7pm.
To avoid the crowds on mass, make sure you don't visit any time between 11am and 1pm, this is when all the shuttle busses arrive.
To have Vintgar Gorge all to yourself arrive before 9am, your pictures will be stunning.
They only accept cash for tickets!
Parking is free.
Bled Cream Cake
Finally, after all that hiking up hills and cycling around lakes its time for a Bled Cream Cake! These massive pieces of deliciousness are not to be missed. They are as iconic to Bled as the lake itself. There's no doubt that Slovenian's take their Cream Cake seriously, they even have an annual festival celebrating it.
So, what is Cream Cake? Cream Cake has a base layer of delicate butter puff pastry and topped with light vanilla cream and custard. It can be dated back to the height of the Austro Hungarian Empire during the 18th and 19th centuries.
And where should you go to try it? Why not the place where the Bled Cream Cake was created? The Park Hotel, which still uses Lukačević's original recipe. It's so mouth wateringly delicious that in the 62 years since the Cream Cake appeared on their desert menu, the Park Hotel has sold more than 12 million of them! Up to 3,500 are sold on a given day, surely that should be enough to convince you. They are the only thing sweeter than Bled itself.
Address: Park Restaurant and Cafe, Cesta svobode 15, 4260 Bled, Slovenia.
Opening times: every day from 9:00 to 22:00
Now you know everything you need to know to have an amazing trip to Bled! Just don't forget to pack a toothbrush!