Situated in Central Europe, Slovenia is renown for it’s mountains, water and natural wonders. Bled – with it’s iconic castle, pretty island church and glacial lake – is one of the top tourist attractions in the country, making it a perfect destination for first-time visitors. Surrounded by the stunning Julian Alps, there’s plenty of things to see & do in and around Bled (during both Summer & Winter), making it a great all-year destination. With many hidden wanders just a short train or bus journey away, they’re all well within reach and easily accessible. There’s honestly not many places I would say I would go back to in the next couple of years (because it’s such a huge world out there with so much to see and do), but this is one of the very few I would. I completely fell in love with the country, the culture and the natural beauty; and I can’t wait for you to, too!
Things To See & Do In and Around Bled:
There is plenty to keep you occupied in Bled itself, but here’s a few ideas to fill into your itineraries:
1) Walk the loop around the lake
Whilst in Bled you MUST do one of the most popular walks in Slovenia, which is the 4-mile loop going all the way around the lake. It’s flat, scenic and enables you to explore the lake from different viewpoints. A combination of paths, roads and even wooden walkways over the lake itself, it’s the perfect morning/ afternoon activity to get you settled in! Want a change from walking? Why not try cycling the route instead? It’s more than manageable and mixes things up!
2) Head up to Bled Castle for panoramic views
Another magnificence viewpoint is from Bled Castle. This is a medieval castle (said to be the oldest in Slovenia!) built on the cliff edge, overlooking the lake and mountains. You can reach the castle either via car, or -if you’re staying on the lake itself- that walk I mentioned that goes along the edge: well, there’s a pathway up to it directly from there. It winds left and right and is pretty steep, but the easiest way to get there on foot. The views are 100% worth the trip, but even aside from that, the castle itself is pretty iconic making it a good attraction to tick off in the process. Check out their restaurant (after all, how many people can say they’ve dined in a castle!?) offering traditional Slovene dishes with a modern twist. Or, why not head to their Castle Coffeeshop at the lower court yard? Here you can taste premium Slovenian wines and craft beers or grab a small tasty bite to eat with unforgettable backdrops.
3) Go Tobogganing Down the Straža
Between April to October, you can head up to Straža -a small hill just by the edge of the lake- to take an adrenaline-filled toboggan ride down a 520m long course; considered to be the most beautiful viewpoint in the area. With speeds reaching up to 40km\h, it will definitely take your breath away (in more ways than one!)
4) Take a boat to explore the island
The little island of Lake Bled is full of history, myths and magic! Prior to the today’s glorious Gothic church -built in 1465- stood a temple of the ancient Slavic goddess of love Živa. Because of this, urban legend says that if your partner manages to carry you to the top of the 99 stairs on the island, and you then both cling the bell inside the church- you will get eternal good luck and live happily forever after… So yep, you guessed it: we tried it, we succeeded and -if the rumours are true- our future is now set 😉 It made it hands-down the most hilarious memory our trip and -as we only had a limited amount of time before our boat returned- we ended up literally running around to complete the mission! Try it… I dare you! And who cares who’s watching?!
5) Hire your own boat!
So if you’re feeling super adventurous, you can actually hire your own boat and row it over to the island, or simply enjoy paddling around at your own pace. We went for the latter option with this and it was so much fun; giving us a lot of giggles! Rowboats can be hired from the Lido Swimming Area, the western side of the lake at Velika Zaka, out front of the Penzion Pletna and out front of the Hotel Toplice; costing around 12 – 18 euros per hour, per boat.
6) Paraglide over Lake Bled
Okay going one step up for different ways to see Bled: why not try paragliding? Weather dependent and seasonal of course, so dependent on when you go. But 3Glav Adventures offer it from 100 euros taking you up up and away; exploring the majestic skies above the Julian Alps with phenomenal views! LOOK OUUUUUUT; this could be you-
7) Hike to the beautiful Bled viewing point
There are lot’s of hiking trails around Lake Bled for endless adventures and explorations! Two of the best however are the Osojnica and Ojstrica trails. The difference? Ones a little longer (but a lot tougher)… but both with breath-taking views. As you walk around the lake, when you start to get to the western point, you will see signs indicating trail number 6 (Osojnica, Ojstrica). It’s roughly 100 yards south of “Bled Camping” and is then pretty easy to follow from there. It gets steep in parts, but is relatively short so easy to fit into your day. Both views offer a jaw-dropping lookout, but my preferable one is the closer Ojstrica stop. There’s no fences (like at Osojnica) and as you stand on the rock edge, you feel like you’re on top of the world!
8) Taste the famous Kremšnita Cake
An absolute must in every itinary, is taking a stop at a cafe/ restaurant to try the famous Kremšnita Cake. One of my favourite cakes back at home has got to be the custard slice (I have a MASSIVE sweet tooth)- absolutely love them! The Kremšnita Cake is kind of like this, yet not as sickly sweet, more cream-like and softer, but oh so heavenly! Just make sure you try one earlier in the trip, so you then have the time to have more of them throughout 😉
9) Take a traditional horse and carriage ride to see the top sights and attractions
Companies like Kompas offer horse and carriage rides around Bled’s most popular attractions. A unique experience and a different way to see the town! Plus, it will be like stepping back in time with their traditional outfits!
10) Have a break!
Due to its mountain climate and unspoilt nature, Lake Bled was once widely considered to be a health resort, with safe swimming spots in the summer and thermal springs in the north-eastern part of the lake. If you’re looking for a chilled long-weekend away from the typical beach holiday: try taking a break in Bled! There’s also nothing more peaceful than grabbing a quiet lake-side drink, away from it all. The landscape and scenery makes it super indulgent……….
We went to Bled in the low-season of October, which meant we were able to stay at a stunning lakeside hotel, for just a fraction of the price. Although riskier with the weather (which we were lucky enough to have go in our favour), we’d highly recommend this as it was so so beautiful. Staying on the lake itself (the above was the view we had whilst having our breakfast every morning!) just adds to the relaxation & tranquility, and you have everything right at your doorstep! Please note: during late Autumn/ Winter, some attractions may not be open due to quietness/ safety. However, the winter brings opportunities to then also do things like ice-skating, snowshoeing, skiing, cross-country skiing; so there’s certainly enough to keep you busy!
Top Day Trips:
If that’s not enough, there’s also plenty to do surrounding Bled. A few day trip destinations for you to explore further:
- Vintgar Gorge
- Mostnica Gorge
- Lake Bohinji
- Savica Waterfall
- Pericnik waterfall
- Triglav National Park
- Medieval Kranj & Skofja Loka
- Postojna Cave & Predjama Castle
- Soca “Emerald” river & VRSIC Pass
- Logar Valley (Logarska Dolina)
- Peninsula of Piran: Coastal Trip
- Maribor (East Slovenia)
- Hiking Trips **
** The 3 most famous hiking trails that you can start from Bled are Pokljuka, Mt. Stol, and Triglav. You can choose which one fits your hiking expertise the best. Pokljuka is fairly easy and totally doable for those people who have not hiked in a while, Mt. Stol is a little bit more advance because some parts of the trail are tougher to do, and for those who are looking for a weekend long-expert trail hike then Triglav is the place for you.
Our favourite day trip was to Bled’s brother lake, Lake Bohinj. Just a simple, short bus journey away, Bohinj is far less touristy, for a more ‘undiscovered’ beauty. It’s a lot larger, which means you can’t walk around the WHOLE of the lake in a day, but you can walk a good stretch of it for a peaceful wander. If you’re heading here, taking the Vogel Cable Car is an absolute MUST! Snow-topped mountains for a surreal experience when you reach the top, and breathtaking views of the Julian Alps, the Triglav Summit and Lake Bohinji. Seriously so under-rated.
If you have two day in the area, you can also take a trip over to the beautiful Savica Waterfall (as mentioned above) Located at the western end of Lake Bohinj, up in the mountains, the waterfall escapes out in the middle of a cliff from an underground river and drops in a sparkling emerald color pool. Considered the best waterfall in Slovenia by many locals, it may be difficult to get to with a tough 550 step climb, but it’s oh so worth it!
Watch our highlights here:
Any questions? Pop them in the comments below. If you dream of exploring more of Europe, check out our Destinations page which runs through our countries visited and favourite guides within them. Happy traveling!