Here are the top things to do in Lake Bled. This location is among the best known in Slovenia and it had to be on my bucket list as well. Lake Bled will mesmerize you in any season since the water of the lake gets to be 25 degrees Celsius in summer and it often freezes if it’s too cold in winter.
Given that tourists often come here for a day, this post will bring a few must-dos that can fit into this timeline. If you can spend a couple of days at the lake or even a week, this will be the best location to relax and unwind and forget about the city, any city.
Before saying anything about things to do in Lake Bled, we should learn a thing or two about the destination. The lake is located about 50 kilometers northwest of Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. It occupies the valley where the Bohinj glacier once melted, leaving this beautiful landscape behind.
There is also a lovely legend about the lake’s origins that is a bit more romantic, and given the scenery – totally ’believable’. The story says that mountain fairies danced around the rock on the small hill in the meadow. They asked local shepherds to fence the area where they danced because they didn’t want the grass to be grazed by their sheep. After they ignored the request and the youngest fairy broke her leg while dancing, mountain fairies got angry calling upon springs to storm the valley. And so, the meadow was now filled with water leaving only the hill dry, the same hill where fairies continued to dance.
When one gazes upon landscapes at Lake Bled, it’s not so hard to believe such stories, right!
Anyway, don’t expect to see fairies today. Instead, head over to visit Bled Castle high up on the hill, take a boat ride to Bled island and have the famous local cake.
This is the oldest castle in Slovenia. Its history goes back to 1004 when German king Henry II gave the estate of Bled to Bishop Albuin of Brixen. Bishops built the first fortification for defense in 1011 but they never lived here. The castle changed throughout the centuries getting new towers, decorative coats of arms, paintings on the walls, etc.
For history buffs, there is a museum in the upper courtyard with artifacts found during numerous local excavations. One can visit the wine cellar, and take a walk along its heavy walls, but the best thing here is by far the view. Whether having a coffee on the balcony or just taking photos from the terrace, this will prove to be one of the best viewpoints when it comes to Lake Bled landscapes.
Take a few minutes and enjoy the coolness of the 16th-century Gothic Chapel, especially if you come during the summer months. German king Henry II and his wife are featured at the alter.
Also, have in mind that you will need at least 20 minutes to climb up to the castle. It takes time to get up there and back, so plan wisely if you only have a day.
Lake Bled Island
The most photographed place at the lake is Bled island. It now houses the 15th-century Church of the Mother of God with a charming white bell tower. They say that an ancient Slavic temple once stood in its place that was dedicated to the local goddess of life and fertility.
There is an option of renting a boat to get to the island but the best way is to hop on the traditional boat called pletna. According to regulations, only paddling vessels are allowed to ride through the lake at a certain speed. So, have in mind that it will take 40 minutes to get to the island and back with about 15 minutes to spend on the actual island.
When you get there, you will be welcomed by the famous staircase. There are 99 stone steps to take to reach the church. This is a popular wedding destination where the groom is supposed to carry his bride up the stairs. So, don’t be surprised if it seems like you’ve crashed the wedding when coming here.
Take a walk around the island, climb to the tower, and try some ’potica’ cake with nuts. if you are lucky, the bell tower will ring echoing through the entire area.
One of the things to do in Lake Bled is to taste the local cake called kremšnite. They say that the original recipe is still in use. I was told that I just had to make time for some kremšnite in a local restaurant. It looked like a perfect spot to rest after taking all the things I mentioned above off my list.
But it turned out that I didn’t have enough time! I was too mesmerized by the castle and then it took a while to get the pletna ride to the island… Still, I couldn’t miss this opportunity:
„Excuse me, is it possible to take a piece to go?“
And so, the smile was back on my face while I was leaving Lake Bled – with a delicious kremnašnite in my hands.
Other things to do in Lake Bled
If you happen to have more than a day, there are some lovely additional locations to visit around Bled. For instance, there is a beautiful unspoiled gorge Vintgar to see or Osojnica viewpoint to climb if you have enough time. One can take a walk around the lake itself (6 km).
Given that Lake Bled is located near the Julian Alpes and the Bohinj Lake, this is another destination to visit. Take a hike at the Triglav National Park and admire the sites along Sava Dolinka and Sava Bohinjka rivers.
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