Lake Bled in Slovenia

Lake Bled: Slovenian Greatest Treasure

Nestled in the Julian Alps in northwestern Slovenia, Lake Bled is a breathtakingly beautiful lake that has captivated visitors for centuries. Its crystal-clear, emerald-green waters, quaint island with a church, and stunning mountain backdrop make it a postcard-perfect destination. Lake Bled in Slovenia is known for its natural beauty, rich history, and a wide range of outdoor activities, making it an ideal vacation spot for travelers looking to explore the best of Europe.

In this article, we will take a closer look at Bled lake in Slovenia, its history, attractions, outdoor activities, and some frequently asked questions to help you plan your visit.

The History of Lake Bled

Lake Bled has a long and fascinating history dating back to the Middle Ages. The first written records of the lake and the nearby Bled Castle date back to the 11th century when the area was ruled by the bishop of Brixen. In the centuries that followed, the lake and its surroundings were the site of many battles and political disputes.

In the early 19th century, the lake began to attract visitors, and a road was built to connect it to the nearby town of Lesce. The first hotel was built in 1855, and since then, Lake Bled has become a popular destination for travelers from around the world. Middle of the XIX century was the time of fast developing of health resorts and Bled became one of the most known ones.

Top Attractions at Bled in Slovenia

Tours in Slovenia With Private Tour Guide

Bled Island

One of the most popular attractions at Lake Bled is the island with the Assumption of Mary Church. The island is often considered to be the only one in Slovenia (which is not that much true, but it's certainly the only noticeable one). There are three main ways for the visitors to reach the island:

  • by traditional wooden boats called "pletna", which are operated by local boatmen. These boats are 7 meters long and take up to 18-20 people. The ride will take about 1,5 hours (there-time on the island-back) and will cost you 18 euro per person. You can take the boat in front of Park hotel, in Velika Zlaka and Mlino. Tip: Velika Zlaka is much closer to the island, than Park hotel, so departing from here means less time on the boat, more on the island. pletna boat do not follow any schedule: they depart when full. You can find more information about pletnas here
  • modern electric boat. This one is a little faster, than pletna, so you will have a little more time on the island, even though the total duration of the tour is the same 1,5 hours. Electric boats have schedule and depart every full hour. Please check the accurate schedule here
  • rent a pedal boat. If you would like to row yourself, there are a few places to rent a pedal boat around the lake. The closest to the island is also Velika Zlaka, it's about 10-15 min rowing from there to the island.

The church, with its Gothic and Baroque elements, dates back to the 17th century and has a long and fascinating history. There are a few legends about the church and the bell. If you would like to visit the church and bell tower, there is additional fee for that.

Tip from local guide: with all my love and respect to pletna boats and the very island I have to state that the views from surrounding viewpoints and circular trail around the lake are better. So if I were to chose between visit of the island and visiting viewpoints/walk around the lake (and many visitors are often limited in time), my choice would be the second.

Bled Castle

Perched on a hill overlooking the lake, Bled Castle is one of the oldest castles in Slovenia, with records dating back to the 11th century. Actually it's year 1011, when the castle is mentioned in written sources for the first time. Certainly it has been rebuilt and renovated many times after that, there was even an idea to convert it into a hotel. Today, it houses a museum with exhibitions on the castle's history and the local area.

You can walk to the castle or drive almost to the very gate. Entrance ticket is euro 15, parking fee is euro 3 per hour. The castle boasts magnificent views of the lake, descendant of the oldest vine in the world and an interesting museum, dedicated to the history of Bled region. More information about the castle, opening hours and actual information you can find here

Vintgar Gorge

A short drive from Lake Bled, Vintgar Gorge is a natural wonder with a wooden boardwalk that winds its way through the gorge, offering stunning views of the crystal-clear waters and lush vegetation. Vintgar gorge was first open for visitors at the end of XIX century and that makes it one of the widely known destinations of the area.

The main trail through Vintgar gorge is about 1,6 km, but it's at least twice as long to come back to the parking spot on the entrance. There are two main circular trail with walking distance up to 5,5 km. In total a visit of the gorge takes up to 3 hours if to take longer (but easier) trail back. For my customers I usually suggest a drop off on the entrance and pick up on the exit (thus saving a lot of time), but this option does not suits everyone.

The gorge is beautiful, but busy place. In June-September it is highly recommended to buy tickets online in advance to avoid huge queues. Usually it's considered that in morning hours the gorge is not so busy, but season 2023 showed that starting with 8-9 am it's already very busy, so buying tickets in advance is a must. I have an article about visiting the gorge with all the essential information here The gorge is usually open April to November, depending on the exact weather conditions. In 2023 it was already closed by mid-November. You can buy the tickets and also check for some other information on the official website

Tip from local guide: make sure to buy the tickets in advance to avoid queues!

Outdoor Activities at Lake Bled

  1. Hiking: Bled is surrounded by the Julian Alps, which offer plenty of hiking trails with stunning views of the lake and the mountains. The most popular trail is the 6 km path around the lake, which takes around 1.5 hours to complete. Also next to Velika Zlaka trails to viewpoints start. The closest is about 20-30 min walk, comfortable (hiking) shoes is a must!
  2. Zip-line "Dolinka". The longest zipline  in Europe, that's all that you need to know about it. For more information visit the website
  3. Toboggan. Next to Bled there is a Straza hill, where you can experience a toboggan ride during warm period of time. You can find some additional information and check opening hours here
  4. Cycling: Cycling is a popular way to explore the area around Bled, with many rental shops offering bicycles of all sizes. There are many cycling routes in the area, from easy rides around the lake to more challenging routes in the mountains.
  5. Watersports: With its crystal-clear waters, Bled is an ideal spot for swimming, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding. Visitors can rent equipment from local vendors or join a guided tour.

Restaurants in Bled

There are plenty of nice restaurants and cafes around. For national Slovenian foods I would advise to visit Babij Zob, for burger lovers Promenada Burger is a great place. Nice vegetarian/vegan place close by is Public&Vegan Kitchen. What you should definately try on Bled is Blejska kremsnita (Bled cream cake) and Park Hotel Restaurant states that it's them to invent it! And if you are looking for the best view for a coffee and a glass of sparkling wine, "Belvedere" is the place!

FAQs About Bled lake in Slovenia

  1. When is the best time to visit Lake Bled?

The best time to visit Bled lake is from May to September when the weather is warm and sunny. However, the lake is also beautiful in the winter, with snow-capped mountains and a festive atmosphere.

  1. Can you swim in Lake Bled?

Yes, swimming is allowed in Bled lake, and the water is clean and safe for swimming. In July and August the water warms upo to 24C (75F). However, visitors should be aware that there are no lifeguards on duty, and it can get cold in the water, especially outside of the summer months.

  1. How do I get to Lake Bled?

The nearest airport to Bled is Ljubljana Airport, which is about 35 km away. From there, visitors can take a bus or a taxi to Bled. There are also train connections from Ljubljana to nearby towns such as Lesce.

Lake Bled is a truly enchanting destination that offers something for everyone, from history buffs to outdoor enthusiasts. Its stunning natural beauty, rich history, and range of activities make it a must-visit spot for travelers to Europe. So pack your bags, hop on a plane, and get ready to explore the enchanting beauty of Lake Bled in Slovenia!