The postcard-perfect picture of the stunning Lake Bled is one of the top things to do in Slovenia. A visit to the Slovenia capital Ljubljana was part of our epic trip to Central Europe. During our stay in Ljubljana, we did a couple of day trips, one was to the coastal town of Piran and the other is the most popular day trip from Ljubljana which was to the beautiful Lake Bled.
The fairytale island church sits in the midst of the emerald blue Lake Bled in a picturesque setting. The breathtaking natural scenery surrounding the lake and the island makes for a postcard perfect picture. A trip from Ljubljana to Lake Bled is something you cannot miss on your visit to Ljubljana or Slovenia.
Ljubljana to Lake Bled – How to Reach?
There are plenty of buses running from the city of Ljubljana to Lake Bled. The buses start from opposite the Ljubljana main train station and take around 2 hours to reach Lake Bled. Check here for more info.
The lake itself is just 5 minutes walk from the bus stop. We strolled past a few lovely houses adorned with colorful flowers to be greeted by the magnificent view of the Lake Bled.
The promenade around the lake is perfect for a stroll for splendid views of the lake, the island and the castle from different vantage points. There are also a couple of restaurants and souvenir shops too around the lake.
Lake Bled Boating and the Island Church
One of the best things to do in Lake Bled is to hop onto one of the traditional Pletna boats. The gondola-style rowboats take you to the beautiful island to the stunning Baroque church. The present 17th-century Baroque church was rebuilt on the remains of a former Gothic church which was damaged by an earthquake.
There are regular departures throughout the day and it takes about 20 minutes to reach the island. The other option is to rent a rowboat and explore the island and the lake on your own.
Be informed that the Church of the Assumption of Maria or the island church can be reached through a monumental staircase of 99 steps. The climb is worth it for the beautiful church and the wonderful views of the surrounding.
The church has a rich baroque interior and decorated with remarkable Gothic frescoes. And when you are there do not forget to ring the ‘wishing bell’. As per a legend of the island ringing the ‘wishing bell’ in the church tower three times will fulfill your wishes. Though there’s a rule that you can make only one wish.
Ojstrica View Point
Ojstrica is a popular viewpoint offering the postcard-perfect picture of the Lake Bled, the island church and the Alps in the backdrop. The hike from the Bled lakeshore takes around 30-45 min. The path is a well-marked trail in the forest though it can get steep at times.
One can also choose to continue up to the higher viewpoint to Mala Osojnica above the Ojstrica View Point which takes another 15-20 minutes. Do not forget to carry plenty of water and good walking shoes to hike your way up.
The Bled Castle is one of the oldest castles in Slovenia. The complex sits on a cliff at a height of 130 m overlooking the Lake Bled. The castle complex comprises of two courtyards and several buildings. The Bled Castle can be reached through a a set of stairs along the lake promenade which takes around 15 minutes.
The castle terrace offers spectacular views of the Lake Bled and the Island church with mountain ranges of the Karavanke and the Julian Alps in the backdrop.
In the lower courtyard, there is an ancient well which was carved out from the rock beneath. Nearby are a Castle Printshop and a small cafe with outdoor seating.
The upper courtyard houses a 16th-century Gothic chapel. The chapel is dedicated to the bishops St Albuin and St Ingenuin. The Baroque interior of the chapel is decorated with frescoes and paintings of King Henry II and his wife Kunigunde.
There is also a souvenir shop next to the chapel which sells interesting wood carvings and magnets.
The museum in the castle walks through the history of the castle from as early as the Bronze age to the present days. Castle Forge displays some interesting collection of the artworks. The defense tower in the lower courtyard houses a memorial room for Arnold Rikli and a room dedicated to the Museums of Gorenjska.
Try the Famous Bled Cake
If you are planning to stop by the Bled Castle restaurant and eat something then do try the famous Bled Cake. The traditional cream cake known as Kremna Rezina can also be found in all the shops back in the Ljubljana City. We tasted it a few times in the city of Ljubljana and they were equally delicious but the one in Bled Castle Restaurant is said to be made from an original recipe from over 60 years ago.
Church of St Martin
On the way back down from the Bled Castle we visited this imposing neo-Gothic church dating back to early 20th-century. The church dedicated to St. Martina was built at the site of the previous Gothic church. The church has a beautiful interior decorated with frescoes.
For the one looking for some fun and thrill-filled activity how about sledding down the mountain slopes? There is a sledding track situated on the Straza Hill above Lake Bled on the hill opposite the Bled Castle. You can either walk up the hill or ride a chairlift to the top of the hill and toboggan down.
If you are planning to stay for a day or two at Lake Bled then do visit the stunning Vintgar Gorge. Vintgar Gorge, popularly known as Bled Gorge is a 1.6 km long gorge. An amazing wonderland carved by the Radovna River. The walk on the wooden board along the high canyon walls offers picturesque vistas dotted with emerald pools and rapids ending at the magnificent Sum Falls, the largest river waterfall in Slovenia.
Once back from the Bled Castle we walked back to the Lake Bled bus stop and waited for the bus to Lake Bohinj. There are plenty of buses running from Lake Bled to Lake Bohinj. Make sure you confirm with the driver before you board so as not to board a wrong bus and drive back to Ljubljana. The ride from Lake Bled to Lake Bohinj takes around half an hour through quaint villages and forest areas.
Lake Bohinj is the largest permanent lake in Slovenia located within the Triglav National Park. When we visited the forest surrounding the lake was awash in brightly colored fall foliage which was a breathtaking scenic vista. Though we did not find any boating options in Lake Bohinj we enjoyed walking along the lake. There are several walking trails in the forest around the lake.
At the spot where the bus stops there is a monument to the four courageous men commemorating their first ascent of Mount Triglav. Across the street are several restaurants and cafes and a tourist information office where you can get information on places to visit around the Lake Bohinj. Also worth a visit is the remarkable church of St John the Baptist located to the stone bridge on the Lake Bohinj. The small interior of the 15th-century Gothic church is decorated with its beautiful frescoes.
If you have more time around Lake Bohinj you can plan to visit the Waterfall Savica. The bus you take to reach Bohinj Lake continues to the starting point to hike to the waterfall. The bus frequency not being very good and walk would take you around 45 minutes the best option is to have your own car/cycle.
The 20 minutes hike up the flight of stairs walks you past several streams winding through the woods. The climb ends at the viewing platform where you can experience the behold the magnificent cascades gushing down into the emerald pool.
As we had visited Lake Bled only for a day we could only manage to visit the Bled Castle and the Lake Bohinj. The Toboggan was closed for the season. So if you are planning to visit the other wonderful places around Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj you would definitely need at least weekend.
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