Lake Bled is one of the most picturesque places in Slovenia. I recall watching a travel show about Lake Bled when I was younger and knew I had to visit one day. From its tiny island to its mighty castle, Lake Bled has something for everyone! This post covers 8 amazing things to do in Lake Bled along with a bonus that you should not miss!
8 Things to Do in Lake Bled
1. Stroll Along Lake Bled
The entire perimeter of the lake is around 6km and is very easily walkable. The South and West side have the best views in my opinion. The South side has more of the castle views while the island dominates most of the West. Surprising the West was also the quietest as you are on a trail under the trees rather than on the main road for this part of the walk.
2. Visit Bled Island
It’s hard to imagine what Lake Bled may look like without its most famous center piece, Bled Island. The island is home to the Church of the Assumption, a small church that can be visited by climbing the 99 steps that lead up to it. My very honest opinion is that the church itself is skippable and not worth the entry fee. Unless you want to ring the bell which according to legend will make your wish come true. This being said, I still do recommend the trip to the island itself.
3. Take a Boat Ride
There are lots of options at Bled for either a self-driven or guided boat ride. Your self-driven option is to rent a small row boat and you will find renting places at various points along the lake. If you want to be driven, then you have either an option of a electric boat or a pletna boat.
You can do any one of the options above to get to Bled island. I chose the pletna boat option and was able to catch a boat from the Mlino Port near a restaurant called Sova.
4. Hike to a Look Out Spot
One of the best things to do in Lake Bled is to hike to one (or more) of the lookout points. The trail head for all 3 start in more or less one place (at the West end of the lake) and are clearly marked. These lookout points are called Ojstrica, Mala Osojnica and Velika Osojnica.
I started off at the trail head for Ojstrica with the intention of going to Mala Osojnica after but I started chatting with a lovely French couple at Ojstrica and we chatted for a long time by which point the day had got hot so I decided to skip Mala Osojnica.
If you start at Ojstrica, you can go to the other 2 lookout spots from there as the trails connect. One thing to note is that Ojstrica is the lowest point so the views get smaller as you go higher to the other two spots.
The trail can be pretty steep in places and extremely muddy (at least it was when I visited), so highly recommend wearing sneakers even if you don’t wear hiking shoes. Also recommend going early morning or late in the evening to avoid all the crowds.
5. Visit Bled Castle
Next up on this 8 things to do in Lake Bled post is one of the lake’s famous landmarks…the castle. This castle is the oldest in Slovenia, dating back to 1011. The castle offers various attractions, from a museum to a wine cellar where you can do a tasting. However, the castle is probably most famous for the sweeping panoramas over Lake Bled and the surrounding mountains and the restaurant offering regional cuisine. It’s pricey but the reviews are good. You have to book ahead if you want to eat here.
6. Have Bled Cream Cake
Made out of puff pastry, chantilly and custard cream, Bled cream cake is the regional dessert and a must have! While there are lots of places to indulge in Bled cream cake, Café Belvedere is one of the best places. The view from this café cannot be beat.
7. Relax on the Beach
There are lots of spots along the waterfront to just sit back and relax and take all the lake views in!
8. Water Activities
Paddle boarding is a popular activity at Lake Bled. You can rent paddle boards at various places along the lake. Swimming is also popular and there were plenty of people in the water although it was a little too cold for me!
Vintgar Gorge is about 10-15 minutes from Lake Bled and is absolutely worth the drive/bus ride/hike! I visited Vintgar in the afternoon when Lake Bled was crowded and I needed a break.
The entire gorge is around 1.6km in length and is easy to do. One thing to note is that the journey is one way (a change during covid times) and you have to cut through a small village to get back to the parking lot. The 1.6km distance does not include this part. Ask the ticketing office for a map and directions. Overall, it took me around 1 hour and 20 minutes (with tons of pictures) to complete the trail.
I had heard it can get really crowded but I didn’t experience this. Not sure if it was the time of the year (May) or time of day (late afternoon) but I was the only person most of the time and it was amazing! The shades of green of the Radovna river is very unique and simply beautiful.
HERE is the official website for more information. Definitely recommend reading it before you visit, especially for the opening times as they vary by month.
Where to Stay
I stayed at Čarman House and the location was just perfect! I got the attic room which was almost like a little apartment. One side was the bedroom and the other side was a living room. The living room had two massive windows that opened up to one of the best views of the lake and island.
Where I Ate
Right next to my hotel (literally sharing a wall) is restaurant Sova. The food was great here and so was the service. However, the real star of the show were the amazing views of the lake and island!
Tips for Bled
While Bled can easily be visited as a day trip from Ljubljana, I highly recommend staying overnight for the best experience. Bled is most enjoyable either early morning or late evening when all the day trippers haven’t come yet or have left and it is nice and peaceful.
If possible, try to find accommodation around the lake. Looking out from my hotel window early morning and taking in the quiet views was one of the most memorable parts of the trip.
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Did you know Lake Bohinj is only a 30 mintue drive from Lake Bled? Larger but quieter, Bohinj makes for a great side trip from Bled. Click HERE or below!
Also visiting Ljubljana? Check out my best things to do in Ljubljana post HERE or below!
I visited Bled as a part of a 12 day road trip around the Balkans! Check out this trip HERE or below!
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