Bled is a small town in the foothills of the Julian Alps in the north-western part of Slovenia and easily accessed from the capital city, Ljubljana. The town lures in thousands of tourist every year because of it's world famous and picturesque blue lake. Lake Bled is surrounded by vibrant green forests and overlooked by Bled Castle, the oldest castle in Slovenia. In the centre of the lake, there is a little island with a beautiful church, which can only be accessed by a plenta, a traditional wooden boat. Lake Bled is the very quintessence of 'picture perfect' and an absolute must do on your travel itinerary for Slovenia.
If you are renting a car and drive from the capital of Ljubljana to lake Bled, the drive is no more than 45 minutes and as it is mostly along the highway, it is very straight forward. We hired a car for 4 days and it cost us €250 ($293) deposit with a car hire fee of €140 ($164; we hired with insurance) through Sixt car rentals. Sixt car rentals office can be found in Ljubljana's main train station.
If you don’t fancy hiring a car or you are working on a tighter budget, you can also travel to lake Bled by bus. There are frequent buses departing from the main bus station in Ljubljana, leaving every hour between 6am and 10pm. There are fewer services during the winter months so please check the website for the time you are planning to visit. The total travel time is around 1.15 hours and you can buy your tickets via the website or at the station. If you are booking via the website and traveling from Ljubljana, select ‘Ljubljana Avtobusna Postaja' for your departure city. Cost is €7.80 ($9.20) for a one way or €12.84 ($15) return, both are adult tickets. Prices are cheaper for children and military veterans. Depart from the bus at Bled bus station which is around 350m from the lake. Check out our travel guide on Ljubljana for more information.
There are 2 train stations servicing 2 different train lines in Bled: Lesce and Jezero.
- Lesce has frequent connections with Ljubljana, but the station it is over 4km away from lake Bled, so you will need to catch a bus (Alpetour, bus stop Lesce ZP, cost €1.30 / $1.50) or a taxi for the remaining distance to the lake.
- Jezero is located around 1.5km north west of the lake. It has less connections with Bled, but it is one of the most scenic train journeys in Slovenia, taking you through the Soca Valley.
Given the distance of both of the train stations from lake Bled, I would advise on taking a bus or renting a car from Ljubljana to lake Bled. It is more cost effective and easier in terms of getting from A to B. You cannot buy your tickets online for the train, so you will need to go to the main train station in Ljubljana. Journey time to lake Bled is 1 hour.
Bled is a very small town and the main attraction is the lake, which is walkable or you could rent a bicycle to go around the perimeter. Bike rentals can be found around the lake or through your hostel in Bled.
The perimeter of lake Bled is 6km in total and easily walkable with idyllic spots along the way for a little dip. If you would rather a bit more pace, you can hire a bicycle and cycle around it, taking around 40 minutes. If you prefer something a little more relaxed, put down a towel at one of the many swimming spots and go for a dip. The warm (22°C / 72°F) and crystal-clear waters offer an idyllic experience.
Go Travel and Talk Top Tip: For some of the places around the lake, you have to pay to sunbath or swim, but there are plenty of beautiful spots that are free and just as nice, I liked the Rowing Centre Bled, which is at the half way point on the walk around the lake, but just keep going until you find the perfect place for you.
If you wanted to get off the main tourist path around the lake, there are plenty of easy and well signposted hikes heading up into the surrounded forests. Pick up a map from Bled town and choose the route best for you. I can recommend Velika Osojnica which offers a stunning view over the lake or Mala Osojnica.
In the center of lake Bled is a little island which is home to a gorgeous church. You can reach the island via a traditional wooden boat (Pletna) which can be boarded at various locations around the lake and takes between 10-30 minutes depending on where you board. Or, I would suggest renting a boat, kayak or SUP. Costs vary but it tends to be €20 ($23) for first hour and €10 ($12) for each supplement hour. You will find renting places all around the lake. Once on the island, you can climb the 90 stairs and visit the church of Assumption - make sure you ring the bell for good luck.
Bled castle is reportedly the oldest castle in Slovenia, with mentions dating back to 1011. Bled Castle towers above the lake and its central island with its romantic church. Easily accessed from the lake, it takes around 20 minutes to walk up to the castle, get ready for lots of stairs! If you don't fancy walking, you can drive or take a taxi from central Bled or down by the lake.
Entrance for the castle is €11 ($13) for an adult ticket; it is cheaper for students. The castle has two courtyards once you pass through its impressive gateway, both of which offer breath-taking views of lake Bled and the surrounding Gorenjska region. There are souvenir shops, a restaurant serving traditional Slovenian dishes and an interesting museum explaining the history of the castle.
Bled castle is open all year round from 8am.
Head to the Adventure Park (Pustolovski park) on the west side of the lake for some thrill seeking. You can take the cable car up the hill which offers impressive views over the lake and then taboggan down.
Cost is €9 ($10.60) for both, and worth every penny! You can walk to the park from the lake, look out for little blue and white signs that say ‘Straza Bled’.
It is by the main Bled town hub, address: Pod Strazo, 42600 Bled.
No trip to Bled is complete without visiting Vintgar Gorge and it is a huge draw for travellers when exploring Slovenia.
There are many ways to reach Vintgar Gorge from Bled. You can walk from the town of Bled to the entrance of the trail (4km), where you continue down a 1600m trail leading to the Sum Waterfalls. But you will need an extra 1.5 hours each way to do this (on top of the 2 hour Vintgar Gorge walk). You can also rent a bicycle, take a shuttle bus, take a taxi or drive your own car there. However, keep in mind that there are no pedestrian or bike paths between Bled and Vintgar Gorge, so if you do walk or bike, be careful of the traffice.
If you wanted to take a shuttle, use Mamut Slovenija, a Slovenia outdoor adventure company, that runs an hourly shuttle between Bled and Vintgar Gorge. Their office is right next door to the Bled bus stop. For a return journey it should cost no more than €5. The shuttle will drop you off at the gorge's ticket office and then pick you up 2 hours later.
Vintgar Gorge is visually stunning with its cascading waterfalls, lush green fauna and turquoise pools viewed from romantic wooden bridges. You can swim there so make sure you back your swim wear if you are up for a dip! And why not pack some picnic bits - there is no better place to sit and relax. Entrance fee is €5.
Mount Triglav sits an an elevation of 2864m (9396ft) above sea leavel. As the highest mountain in Slovenia, it is a powerful national symbol and draws many locals and tourists every year to climb it.
Surrounded by deep valleys, Mount Triglav can be climbed from multiple directions. The easiest is that from the Krma Valley which takes around 2 days with a total of 14 hours of climbing. People with little or no hiking experience can do this route without much difficulty.
For more experienced hikers and thrill seekers, go from the Vrata Valley, again allow 2 days and around 14 hours of hiking.
Photo credit to: @runner_climber_traveller
Jensen Guesthouse: A beautiful homestay based a short 15 minute walk from the lake and owned by a really lovely couple. It is a separate annex from their main house, guarded by their gorgeous dog Lucy.
For €100 ($117) per night you get a very comfortable double bed and ensuite bathroom, tea/coffee and delicious chocolate truffles! However, there is no air conditioning and in the height of summer, it was hot!
Head to their website page on booking.com or contact them on: email@example.com; +386 51 251 765
Youth hostel Bledec is a great hostel and only a 5 minute walk from the lake. They have a great tour operator onsite and you can rent bikes for as little as €2 ($2). The onsite restaurant is open for lunch and dinner and they have a kitchen if you would like to make your own food.
Specious rooms, good bathroom facilities, a nice common area and free parking. Prices are as low as €12 ($14) for a bed in a 8 bed mixed dormitory, but check online, prices fluctuated depending on the time of year.
Penzion Kapps is based a 10 minute walk from lake Bled and it is an exceptional hotel.
They have bikes for free rental, parking close by, super helpful staff and a great restaurant serving a particularly delicious breakfast which is included in the price. There is the choice of single, double, triple and family rooms. A single room in high season costs €65 ($76) with breakfast, air-conditioning, Wifi, parking and bike rental included.
- When in Bled, you must try the famous Bled cream cake. A delicious tower of vanilla cream and puff pastry. You will find them sold everywhere around the lake, however, I really liked Park Cafe, which has been labeled as the home of the original Bled cream cake! Whilst the service isn't great as they are often super business, it is a nice spot right on the lake and the evening menue is delicious.
- If you fancy a quick bite to eat, head to Pizzeria Gallus in the main tourist hub of Bled by the lake. They serve pizza by the slice as well as Bled cream cake and Kranjska sausage, a traditional Slovenia dish.
- I can highly recommend restaurant Sova Bled which is based in the small village of Mlino, on the shore of lake Bled. They serve incredible dishes that look and taste amazing.
- If you want to splash the cash and enjoy a unique experience in a regal setting, why not have dinner in the Bled Castle Restaurant which overlooks the lake. They offer local and regional dishes, with an elegant twist. They are open from 11am-10pm, and have good vegetarian options.
Vegan & Vegetarian Food:
- Definitely don't miss out on Public & Vegan Kitchen, which is super close to the lake. It is a little pricier than local Slovenia food and of course a little touristy, but if you are vegan or vegetarian, it is a great place to go. If you are visiting in Summer, sit outside, it gets very warm inside and there is no AC.