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Best Day Trips From Lake Bled Slovenia
Written by Toccara Best of ForgetSomeday.com
Lake Bled is easily one of Slovenia’s most popular destinations. Chances are, if you’re planning a trip to Slovenia, you’re planning to visit Lake Bled.
While in Lake Bled, be sure to have a taste of the Bled cream cake. It’s delicious! Also, take a ride on a traditional pletna boat to the island in the middle of the lake. Here you can climb the 99 stone steps, ring the bell, and make a wish at the Assumption of Mary Church. Spectacular views of the lake can be seen from the 12th-century Bled Castle. And don’t forget to stay in any of the picturesque hotels in Lake Bled!
But we’re not here to tell you what to do in Lake Bled. We want to help highlight several day trips from Lake Bled you can take: just a short drive, cycle, or bus ride away!
There’s so much to do in and around Slovenia’s largest permanent lake. Lake Bohinj lies just 15 miles (25 km) southwest of Lake Bled. You can quickly drive to Lake Bohinj in about 30 minutes; trust us; you’ll want to spend the whole day there! The blue-green, glacier-formed lake is 2.6 miles (4.2 km) long and 0.62 miles (1 km) at its max width.
A 7.4-mile (12 km) trail goes around the parameter of Lake Bohinj. Walking around the lake is a favorite activity for those who want to enjoy the beauty and tranquility of the surrounding area. If you choose to walk the entire lake, allow anywhere from 3.5 to 5 hours. Most people walk counterclockwise around the lake, starting near the Church of St John, near the stone bridge at the lake’s southeast end. 14th-century frescoes embellish this more than the 700-year-old church. You’ll experience rocky, forested, and meadowed terrain along the trail around Lake Bohinj.
Activities on the lake include swimming, canoeing, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding. Nearby is Savica Waterfall, Slovenia’s most popular waterfall. The trail to the falls is short, about 20-30 minutes from the paid parking area. And while brief, it’s an uphill climb through a thick forest. There is a small entry fee (€3/pp) to access the waterfall. Another activity in Bohinj to consider, if you stay after the sun goes down, is stargazing! Due to the lack of city lights, the dark night sky near Bohinj is genuinely magical.
For spectacular views of the Bohinj region, you have three thrilling options. Your first option is to ride the Vogel Cable Car close to a mile (1,535 m) above the valley floor. This option is excellent for those with mobility issues, as strollers and wheelchairs are welcome. Once at the top, you’ll have access to many great hiking and biking trails, or you can take in the views. For more information about the Vogel cable car ride, including current prices, hours of operation, and add-ons, click here.
Your second option for top views is to make the windy drive to Koprivnik Village. It should take you about 25-minutes from Bohinj. Park near the 18th-century parish church and follow signs to Vodnikov Razglednik (panoramic site). This steep but rewarding hike should only take about 15 minutes. The views of Upper Bohinj Valley and Lake Bohinj from here are definitely worth the climb! If you’re feeling extra adventurous, your third option for stunning views over the Bohinj Valley is to jump off a mountain… with a parachute, of course! Paragliding is a popular activity in this region, and no doubt you’ll see a few paragliders peacefully drifting through the skies during your time in Bohinj.
Getting from Lake Bled to Lake Bohinj:
- Drive: Approximately 15.5 mi/25 km | 25-30 minutes
- Bus: Operated by Alpetour – Potovalna Agencija, D.O.O. | Departs from Bled Station several times throughout the day | 37-minute ride | Cost is just a few Euros |
- Bike: You can bike between Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj, but note that there are no designated cycling paths, and you will be on the main highway with other cars and buses.
Another option for a day trip from Lake Bled is to drive the Vršič Pass, Slovenia’s highest mountain pass. The start of the pass closest to Lake Bled is in the town of Kranjska Gora, just over a 30-minute drive away.
Vršič Pass is a windy and scenic drive through Triglav National Park, Slovenia’s only national park. The park is approximately 340 square miles (880 square km), making up about 3% of the country!
It’s important to note that the pass is closed during the winter months due to heavy snowfall. The road is only open for about an average of 7 months a year, so if traveling around winter, be sure to check if the road is open before making this day trip from Lake Bled.
The Vršič Pass winds through the heart of the Julian Alps, and yes, this road really winds! With 50 hairpin turns, this drive is not for the faint of heart. The road is narrow, with two-way traffic ranging from motorcycles to motorhomes.
Cows, sheep, and other mountain animals have been known to stroll into the road, so the driver must be extra alert! Each turn is labeled with a number (1-50) and the elevation. Give yourself plenty of time to make stops along the route to take in the jaw-dropping beauty of Triglav National Park.
Several recommended stops on the mountain pass, including the Russian Chapel (at turn 8), commemorates the 300 Russian prisoners of war who died in 1916. These prisoners were forced to construct the road and met their untimely demise when they were buried in an avalanche while working on the road. Just after turn 16 is an excellent stop for gorgeous views. It’s also a lovely setting to walk around and enjoy a picnic lunch.
See if you can spot the hole in the mountain, known as Front Window (Prednje okno), during your exploration. The legendary Pagan Girl (Ajdovska Deklicacan) rock formation can also be seen from here, but you’ll get a chance to get a lot closer at the peak of the pass. At turn 17, you’ll see a massive collection of stacked rocks left behind by previous travelers. Once you reach turn 24, you’ll know you’ve made it to the peak at 5,285 ft (1,611 m)!
The majority of travelers get out and walk around at the peak. There are several trails you can take to stretch your legs. The most popular hike is a short 15-minute stroll to the mountain hut of Poštarski dom na Vršiču. Along the path, you will get a closer look at the Pagan Girl rock formation, a legendary pagan goddess. See if you can locate this unique formation in the rocks.
Once you’re done exploring at the peak, it’s all downhill from here… literally! You’ve got 26 more hairpin turns to go until you reach Trenta. And the turns get a little tighter from here. The speed limit is surprisingly 90 km/h (55 mph), but most travelers are a little more cautious and go below the posted speed limit.
At turn 48, check out the bronze statue of Dr. Julius Kugy, an Italian botanist. He’s known in the Julian Alps as the father of modern alpinism. At turn 50 in Trenta, pat yourself on the back… you just survived driving up and over the Vršič Pass! Enjoy views of the vibrant turquoise waters of the Soča River. You can turn around and go back over the pass to return to Lake Bled or continue and explore more of the beautiful Triglav National Park.
Getting from Lake Bled to the Vršič Pass:
- Drive: Approximately 25 mi/40 km | 40 minutes | This route has tolls | This is just to get to Kranjska Gora, the start of the pass | The pass itself is approximately 15.5 mi/25 km each way | How long it takes you to drive the pass will depend on how often you stop to explore and hike
For another easy day trip from Lake Bled, you’ll only need to drive about 10 minutes! The charming tiny town of Radovljica is definitely worth a visit during your trip to Slovenia. Its claim to fame is that it contains Slovenia’s only still-existing moat, which dates back to around the year 1500.
On Tuesdays, the local tourist information center (located in the Old Town) gives a free walking tour at 10 am. Otherwise, you can stop into the tourist office during business hours to pick up a map of the town to do your own self-guided tour.
Some of the town highlights include The Sivic House, a unique example of an entirely preserved 16th-century gothic-renaissance building. Much of the Old Town center has been preserved in the structure and design of a 14th/15th-century medieval town.
Seeing the black marble altar at the Church of St Peter is another recommended stop on your visit to Radovljica, in addition to the Chapel of St Edith Stein, which is housed in an old German WWII bunker behind the Church of Saint Peter. Edith was a German Jewish philosopher turned nun who died in the Auschwitz gas chambers when the Nazis arrested all Catholic Jews in Holland (where she had escaped).
The Old Town square has many fascinating galleries, museums, historical buildings, and cafes. So, while the town may be small, there’s plenty of neat things to check out. The surrounding area is gorgeous as well, with views of the Julian Alps in every direction you look. To the east lies the Dežela plain, and to the west is the Sava river valley.
Getting from Lake Bled to Radovljica:
- Drive: Approximately five mi/8 km | 10-15 minutes
- Bus: Operated by Alpetour – Potovalna Agencija, D.O.O. | Departs from Bled Station several times throughout the day | 14-minute ride | Cost is just a few Euros
- Bike – Approximately five mi/8 km | Small elevation change. Rent an e-bike here.
A day trip to Vintgar Gorge from Lake Bled is a no brainer. The two are practically right next to each other. Well, it’s just over a 10-minute drive (3.3 miles/5.4 km), about as far as the drive to Radovljica. In fact, you could probably visit Vintgar Gorge and Radovljica on the same day, if you’re short on time for day trips from Lake Bled.
Like Lake Bled, Vintgar Gorge is one of Slovenia’s most popular attractions, and it can get very crowded, especially in the summer months. If you want to beat the crowds, get there early or go much later in the day! By 10 am, the buses have arrived, and hordes of visitors will clog the walkway.
Here’s a suggestion: get up before dawn to watch the sunrise at Lake Bled, and once the sun is up, head on over to the gorge. You’ll be among the first ones there. You may even have the place to yourself for a little while.
There is a small entry fee (just a few Euros) to enter Vintgar Gorge. Totally worth it!
A 1-mile (1600m) trail runs through the gorge and over the Radovna River. The trail starts as a wooden walkway and eventually becomes a smooth pebbled path with a few stairs. It’s a comfortable, family-friendly hike for people of all ages. Along the trail, you’ll come to a single-arch stone bridge constructed in 1906 as part of the Bohinj Railway. Here, a human-made dam routes water from the river to the small hydroelectric power plant under Šum waterfall, Slovenia’s highest river waterfall (43 ft/13 m). Šum waterfall translates to ‘noisy falls. ‘Many people use the falls as a turn-around spot and head back to the parking lot.
Otherwise, you would need to have arranged transportation pick-up at the other end of the trail. Walking back toward the entrance to the gorge adds another perspective, and you’ll have the opportunity to appreciate the beauty of the gorge once more.
Getting from Lake Bled to Vintgar Gorge:
- Drive: Approximately 3.7 mi/6 km | 12-15 minutes
- Bus – Operated by Alpetour: Potovalna Agencija, D.O.O. | Departs from Bled Station several times throughout the day (summer months only) | 9-minute ride | Cost is just a few Euros
- Bike: Approximately 3.7 mi/6 km | Please note, there are a few hills along this route. Rent an e-bike here.
Do you love wine? If so, you should definitely plan a visit to the wine region of Brda as one of your day trips from Lake Bled. (Please note, this is the Municipality of Brda (Goriška Brda), not to be confused with the village of Brda near Radovljica.)
The drive to Goriška Brda from Bled will take a little over 2 hours. Depending on which way you arrive, you may even dip into Italy for a few minutes, as the region skirts the Slovenia-Italy border.
If you happen to pass Paradiso dei Golosi during your short drive through Italy, be sure to stop in for some delicious gelato! Even if you don’t fancy wine, Goriška Brda is a gorgeous region to discover with scenic rolling hills and medieval towns. Brda translates to ‘the land of hills’ and has been appropriately nicknamed ‘The Tuscany of Slovenia.’
Rebula is the region’s most popular and exclusive wine, as the grapes used to create this wine are only grown within a 40 km radius of the Brda region. Rebula is a refreshing white wine with lemon and green apple notes. Other popular wine types are Cabernet-Merlot blends, Sauvignonasse, a Jakot wine (which is made from the same grapes as the Sauvignonasse), and Merlot, to name a few.
Dobrovo Castle houses the largest co-op cellar in Slovenia and is a fabulous place to do some wine tasting. Most wine tastings in Brda take place in people’s houses with the homeowner’s private wine collection.
Note: You must call ahead to see if they accept guests, so a little pre-planning needs to go into your wine tasting experience in Brda.
As mentioned, there are several medieval towns located within in Brda municipality. Sadly, a large portion of the region’s villages was destroyed in an earthquake in 1976. However, remnants of medieval architecture can still be seen throughout the region.
Several castles and churches, along with the charming town of Smartno, date back to the Middle Ages. From its prominent location on a panoramic hill, Smartno can be seen from pretty much anywhere in Brda.
The church in Smartno, St Martin, is the largest in Brda and contains a bell tower that was once a fortification tower. Kozano is another small village worth exploring. Its church, St Hieronymus, has a bell tower that stands utterly separate from the church.
Vipolze and Medana are other charming villages to visit on your day trip to the wine region of Brda.
Getting from Lake Bled to Brda:
- Drive: Approximately 105 mi/170 km | 2 hours | This truly is your best bet, as you will need a car to get between the villages in the region
While many visitors to Slovenia take a day trip to Lake Bled, we wanted to highlight the many options for day trips from Lake Bled.
Why not base yourself for a few days in this beautiful region of the country?
Surrounded by views of the towering Julian Alps with so many great places nearby to discover, Lake Bled is the perfect home base for your visit to Slovenia.
More Slovenia Travel Tips For Your Adventure
- Why You Should Consider Staying In A Log Cabin
- Where To Ski In Slovenia
- Best Cycling Itineraries In Slovenia
- Must-See Scenic Lakes (Other Than Lake Bled)
- Slovenia Accommodation For Every Budget
- Your Guide To Renting A Car In Slovenia
- How To Spend Two Weeks In Slovenia
- Fairytale Castles Of Slovenia
- How To Get From Ljubljana To Lake Bled