27 February 2019

Lake Bled, Slovenia Travel Guide


Out of all the places I visited on my recent six-week trip to Europe, Lake Bled was my ultimate favourite. I'd seen it so many times in pictures but nothing compares to laying your eyes on it in real life. It's a slice of Slovenian paradise and one of the most beautiful places I've been to.

I visited Lake Bled in winter and it was an entirely magical winter wonderland. I can just imagine how fantastic it is in summer too and likewise, how beautiful it would be in autumn and spring.
My point being, any time of year is a great time to visit, so what are you waiting for? Put it on your European bucket list stat!


HOW TO GET THERE

Catching a local bus from Ljubljana is by far the easiest (and cheapest) way to get to Lake Bled.
It departs daily every hour from 6 am to 10 pm and costs 7 Euros each way or 12 for a return ticket (which doesn't have to be used on the same day).

You can check the daily timetable on their website here and even pre-purchase them online but you still have to go to the teller at the bus station to print the ticket out for you.

The bus station is directly across from the main train station which is very easy to find. Purchase your ticket from a teller inside (they speak English) and they'll give you a printed slip for the driver and tell you the stop number where the bus will be parked.


If you're early, there is a small waiting area inside the bus terminal and food shops where you can find bakery goods, sandwiches, coffee and cold drinks. There are toilet facilities and luggage storage available for only 3 Euros a day.

On board, the bus is warm, modern and comfortable. The scenic drive is only around an hour with a few stops in little towns along the way.



WHERE TO STAY

Penzion Berc

There is no shortage of places to stay in Lake Bled, ranging in different styles to suit your budget.
I stayed at Penzion Berc and I couldn't recommend them highly enough.


They are a small boutique hotel, run by the same family back when they used to be old farmhouses in 1843. It's in a great location, in a nice and quiet area that's only a five-minute walk to the lake.

My spacious room was super cosy and warm. The bed was very comfortable, making for excellent sleep quality and I loved the rainfall shower in the ensuite bathroom. The included mini-bar, delicious homely breakfast and amazing hospitality was the icing on the cake.




It was the perfect base to explore Lake Bled from and I had a truly fantastic stay. I spent two nights there and could have easily stayed for longer.

Check them out on Tripadvisor here.


WHAT TO DO

Pletna boat to the island

Catching a traditional wooden Pletna boat to Slovenia’s largest (and only) island in the middle of the lake is something you can't miss.

The boats originate all the way back to 1590 and one Pletna oarsman can row a boat of up to twenty people. It's a pretty special experience and worth the 14 Euros for a return trip.


You can board a Pletna boat from five different locations around the lake and you don't need to pre-book. It takes about ten minutes to get to the island by boat and then you get at least thirty minutes to explore the little island before you return.



On the Island

The island is the most recognisable symbol of Lake Bled and for an extra 6 Euros, you can visit the church of Assumption, built in 1465 and ring the bell for good luck. You can also climb the Bell Tower for more beautiful views over the lake.



On the island, you can also find a gift shop, art gallery and a cafe specialising in Potica, a traditional Slovenian rolled cake.


Walk around the lake

Walking around the beautiful lake is another must-do activity and best of all, it's absolutely free.
It's 6 kilometres long and takes about an hour, including plenty of photo stops. The lake views all the way around are mesmerising and the surrounding nature is stunning. 



If you're not up for walking you can also rent a bike to cycle around the lake which would be great in the warmer months.


Visit the castle

Blejski Grad (Bled Castle) is the most visited attraction in Slovenia. Not only is it the oldest castle in the country, dating back to 1011, but being perched on a rocky cliff 130 metres above Lake Bled, it has the most incredible views.



It costs 11 Euros to enter the castle and there is a large museum where you can learn all about the history, a wine cellar and an onsite restaurant to enjoy. It's quite a steep climb to get to the castle but it is definitely worth it!




Enjoy the Christmas Markets (in winter)

One of my absolute highlights was sitting at the Christmas Market while it was snowing. I was under a shelter, near a heater and looking towards the lake, a mulled wine in hand. It was so very peaceful and I felt so happy and content in that moment.


There are a range of market stalls to browse, including crafts and hot food and there is often live music playing at night.


Hike/swim/kayak

In summer there are many outdoor activities to enjoy including swimming, surrounding hikes, kayaking and you can even hire your own boat to paddle to the island.


WHERE TO EAT

I don't claim to be an expert as I was only there for two days, but I do have two very good recommendations for you.

Hotel Park Cafe

While in Lake Bled you have to try the famous Bled Cream Cake which is known as the symbol of Bled. Hotel Park Cafe is the original creator and the most popular place to try one. Located right on the lakefront, you get to enjoy amazing views of the lake and castle. 


It's similar to a NZ custard square/Aussie vanilla slice but with an extra layer of cream - it's dangerously good! It's the perfect reward after walking around the lake.


Restaurant Sova

For dinner, I highly recommend Restaurant Sova. They are a cute restaurant and wine-bar with views of the lake. The atmosphere is very pleasant and their chefs and menu are highly rated.


I had the chicken and mushroom risotto and it was creamy and indulgent, one of the best risottos I've ever had.


It cost 19 Euros including a glass of red wine, which was an excellent price for such a high-quality meal. It was also so big I couldn't finish it all, which was a shame as the desserts looked incredible as well.


Pin it! :)

I travelled Lake Bled solo and always felt very welcome and safe. I can't wait to return one day to experience it in summer and also explore more of beautiful Slovenia.

Have you been to Lake Bled or is it on your bucket list? Feel free to share any of your own tips to add in the comments below.

Happy Travels,
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