As I mentioned before in my last few Slovenia posts, the whole goal of this roadtrip in the campervan was to make it down to Slovenia and spend a few days exploring the country. Well, Lake Bled was at the top of my bucket list for Slovenia. It’s plastered all over Pinterest and is such a touristy location that I keep seeing everywhere and I’m so glad we finally made it there!
Yes, it was super touristy, and yes, it was expensive (in comparison to the rest of Slovenia at least), but it was also absolutely stunning. Lake Bled isn’t actually all that big (it’s definitely not as big as it looks), so it’s an easy day trip from Ljubljana, though two days would give you a more relaxing trip for sure, but you can absolutely see Lake Bled in a day.
Lake Bled is a glacial lake around 45 minutes north of Slovenia’s capital, Ljubljana and is easy to get to using public transport, both by bus, train and car. There’s also plenty of hotels in Bled town, and a large campsite at the western point of Lake Bled where we stayed the night. There’s so much to do around the lake, with walking and cycling the most popular – the trail around the lake is only 6km and it’s pretty flat for the majority of the walk too so it’s a nice easy walk around the lake.
We spent our first afternoon there walking around the lake, and taking in all the views. One of the best views is from Mala Osojnica, a viewpoint along the west of the lake overlooking Bled Island with Bled Castle in the background. But we’d done SO much walking the previous two weeks that by the time we got to Slovenia, our legs were dead, and after completing the 6km walk around the lake, the thought of hiking up a hill to the viewpoint was just too much, so we decided to get the drone out the next morning instead.
Another popular thing to do at Lake Bled is to take a boat over to Bled Island. There’s two ways of getting there – hire a row boat, or hop on one of the traditional Plenta boats. There’s plenty of points around the lake to hire the boats or take a boat trip, but we opted for the row boat, since it worked out cheaper and was more flexible with the timings. The row boats cost around €15 for the first hour, then €8 for each additional hour, which you pay for on return of the boat.
A traditional Pletna boat costs €12pp and can take up to 30 minutes to get to Bled Island. The boats leave when they are full, so you may have to wait around for some time to leave and return back to the mainland.
I definitely recommend hiring a row boat. You can row right up to the island, with a special area for parking the rowboats. You then hop off, explore the island and then hop back on your boat before returning back to the dock where you hired it from (you can’t hire from one place and return to another, as they take your ID as deposit and note down your boat number). I’ve never really rowed a boat before, but Shane made it look so easy on the ride over to the island. I decided to row back, but I’ve never rowed a boat before, so all considering I don’t think I did too bad! I mean, we made it back in one piece haha!
We hired the boat first thing in the morning as soon as they opened at 9.30am and the Island was already so so busy by the time we arrived. There’s a tradition that a groom must carry his wife the 99 steps, and then ring the bell for good luck. You can go to the top of the church for €6pp and ring the bell yourself. All we could hear while we were walking around the island the day before was the bell ringing! It’s said that the bell was sent by the Pope to the island after a widow sent one to the island in memory of her husband, but there was a terrible storm which sank the boat and now the original bell lies at the bottom of the lake.
There’s not too much to do on the island itself, but it was good to go and see it. There’s a cafe, museum and church on the island, so after about 20 minutes we saw pretty much the whole thing and headed back to return the boat. It was good to see though, and I’d definitely recommend a trip over to the island while you’re there.
Other things to see at Lake Bled
If you have any spare time, you can take a trip to Bled Castle, which has amazing views overlooking the lake. We skipped this, but the views over the lake do look amazing. The castle sits at the top of a 130m cliff which you can see from most of the points along the lake, and dates back to 1011. Entry costs €11pp.
There’s also plenty of swimming spots located around Lake Bled, with the main area located near the campsite. The water is roughly 23c in the summer months, thanks to some thermal springs. It’s also super clear and the colour is amazing (sadly, you can’t really see it in the pictures). There’s also a whole swimming area called Caslte Bathing Area which sits at the north of Lake Bled below Bled Castle. It’s got two waterslides, a trampoline, climbing wall and plenty of water activities.
While in Bled you must try their famous Bled Cake. I wasn’t actually too keen on it, but I don’t really have a sweet tooth so who am I to judge? It was ok though, but it reminded me of those custard slices you buy from the supermarkets a little.
Have you been to Lake Bled? Is it somewhere on your bucket list?