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Planning Your Lake Bled Holidays? Here Are The Best Things to do in Lake Bled Slovenia
Slovenia the tiny country which boasts some spectacular sights just waiting to be discovered. One of Slovenia’s most popular sights is the stunningly beautiful Lake Bled. This natural wonder is packed with experiences and picturesque scenery, as well as being home to curative, wonderfully warm waters, which have reputed health benefits for those with aches and pains.
My first trip to Lake Bled had me standing in awe and looking around wondering how this place could be real. I was also chased by some ducks which then had me screaming like an idiot…but that is a different story.
Here is our guide to everything cool to do in Lake Bled.
Where is Lake Bled?
Lake Bled is an Alpine lake, set in some of the most breathtaking countryside scenery you’re ever likely to set your eyes on. The mild climate makes outdoor activities a must, while photographers will love the boundless opportunities for a great shot.
The lake is located just outside the town of Bled, which is situated in northwestern Slovenia. The lake is surrounded by majestic and towering mountains, namely the Julian Alps and the Karavanke Range. The average temperature here is around 18 degrees during the summer, and -2 degrees during the winter, which means no matter what the time of year, there are activities to enjoy.
On the lake, you’ll find a small island, and the surrounding mountains shelter the town from cold winds during the winter months, which means it is often milder than other alpine lakes and resorts. Lake Bled is therefore well known for health breaks, or those seeking peace and tranquility, while also being an excellent choice for adrenaline sports too.
The History of Bled and its Famous Lake
The history of Lake Bled goes back centuries, right back to Medieval times. Appearances of Bled itself are noted in 1004; however, settlement history was evident around Mesolithic times too. As you can see, you’re looking at a seriously historic area.
The land is green, lush, and fertile while being sheltered from the adverse weather by the hill on which a castle is perched. Because of this, settlers as far back as the Stone Age have flocked to the Bled area. Settlements also increased during the Iron Age, when the mining of iron increased. Many archaeological digs have taken place around the area, and have found around 80 gravesites in this region which date back to the Iron Age.
You will find fascinating historical stories all over the Bled area, with much of the old architecture still in place today.
Things to do in Lake Bled
Summer or winter, there are countless activities to enjoy in the Lake Bled area, and most are outdoor in nature. Getting out into the countryside is something not to be missed, probably more than anywhere else you’ll visit in Slovenia. Check out these killer ideas on things to do on your Lake Bled holidays.
For the best view of Lake Bled, the surrounding towns Bled, and the region head up to Bled Castle. Perched on a cliff overlooking the lake the is Bled Castle which was built in 1011. These days the castle is on display, and you can learn about its history, the town’s history and view some interesting displays. During the summer months, various cultural events are held in its courtyards overlooking the lake.
Assumption of Mary Church
Located on the tiny island in the middle of Lake Bled is the Assumption of Mary Church. Take a ride on one of the traditional wooden boats, which have been in use for centuries, to the island and climb the 99 steps up to the church. Legend has it that if you make a wish while listening to the church bells on the island, your wish will come true. Legends aside the island is beautiful and gives you great views over the lake.
There are many steep walls around Lake Bled, and climbing is seriously popular. The Julian Alps are an excellent choice for anyone who wants to test their climbing abilities. The starting point of this climbing area is located around an hour’s drive from the lake itself, so it’s always a good idea to employ a guide.
Anywhere with a large body of water is fantastic for enjoying water-sports, and kayaking is very popular around the Gorenjska region.
There are many beach volleyball courts around the lake area, and this is an excellent way to enjoy family time, or perhaps some exercise in the most natural of settings.
Is there any better view than soaring high over the lake and surrounding area in a hot air balloon? Sunrise or sunset is a fantastic time, however, even during the day, you will see the best of the area from the sky.
Do be aware that it is illegal to cycle off road or track in Slovenia anywhere, but there are many tracks to enjoy, and you can easily hire a bike to explore the area. Traffic around the lake itself is not that heavy, so cycling is a healthy activity for everyone to enjoy, especially traveling families.
Bled has the largest course in the country, and from March to December, you will see countless people enjoying the scenic golfing opportunities around the lake. The backdrop of the forest and water is, quite frankly, amazing.
Adrenaline! If you have always wanted to jump out of a plane and make your way back down to earth, then this is the sport for you. There is a diving center around 4km from the lake, and here you can do tandem skydiving, as well as glider flights. You will be given expert training, so no worries on that score!
Swimming and Beach Time in Lake Bled
Grajska Beach is a designated beach area on the shores of Lake Bled, and this is packed with facilities for your day enjoying the scenery. The lake is known for its reputed health benefits, so bathing is not only enjoyable but possibly very healthy too! There are many changing rooms and lockers to keep your belongings safe, and kiosks selling snacks and drinks.
Lake Bled Summer Tobogganing
The Straza ski slope has a summer tobogganing chute which is fantastic fun for both adults and children. You will whizz past the trees and countryside, with fantastic views from the top of the castle, the lake, and the area overall.
Visit Bohinjska Bela
This picturesque and lovely village is great to visit at any time of the year, but during the winter months when the snow is on the ground it looks extra magical. There are fishing and nature walk activities here, as well as checking out the authentic architecture and history of the area.
While Lake Bled is not known for having the best visibility in the world, it has been cleaned up considerably, and the chance to check out some unusual underwater plants and flowers is a great opportunity for divers. You’ll also find resident fish, around 18 different species, and shellfish too.
Without a doubt, one of the most popular activities to enjoy in the Lake Bled area is hiking. The mountains provide landscapes for different abilities, and the woods around Pokljuka and Jelovica area are ideal for nature walking.
Skiing and Snowboarding
Outdoor activities are not just for the summer months, as the considerable snowfall during the winter months means that skiing and snowboarding are more than possible. Straza is the most popular area for skiing, and night time skiing is great fun under the floodlights. This is only a short walk away from Bled itself, and there are many facilities for your ski fun day, as well as artificial snow machines for those slightly warmer winter months.
Hiking up a frozen waterfall body is a thrilling and fun activity to enjoy, and during the winter months, you can hire a guide to take you out to enjoy this pastime, especially around the Mojstrana and Bohinj areas.
Can you imagine a more fun activity that whizzing past frozen landscapes on a sled? This is an iconic winter activity, and if you are traveling with kids, they are sure to love this one.
Check out the Scenery by Steam Train
The Bohinj railway is very close to Lake Bled, and this historic steam train is around 110 years old. Slowly meander your way through high hills and mountains, across forests and stunning natural landscapes, all with the old-world feel of a steam train. All age groups will love this particular activity.
How Long Should You Stay at Lake Bled?
This totally depends on what you are planning to do once you are there. If you are heading to the area in winter time, and you want to enjoy the skiing opportunities, then around five days to one week should be enough for you to really get to grips with the great outdoors. If, however, you are visiting during the summer months, then perhaps four to five days is enough.
Many people visit Lake Bled as a passing through destination, as they visit the capital, Ljubljana, or move around the country itself. Having said that, Bled does have more than enough to keep visitors occupied for a week’s holiday, with many places to stay and restaurants to try.
Where to Stay in Bled
Here are a few top choices of hotels and B&Bs to stay in when you visit the Lake Bled area:
Grand Hotel Toplice
This is a very popular choice of hotel and has stunning views over the water from its lakeside position, while also being decorated in old, traditional style.
Garni Hotel Berc
Again, top views across Lake Bled will greet you in this mid-sized hotel.
This is actually an old-style villa, and its décor and style has been kept the same as years gone by. If you enjoy history and want to explore how things used to be, this comfortable hotel is for you, with stunning scenery too.
Hotel Astoria Bled
A modern choice with many different dining options, including half board, greet visitors to this up to date base.
Park Hotel Bled
This is another modern hotel, which almost has the look of a business hotel. Despite that, the modern feel is great for couples and groups who want a more up to date place to stay.
Hotel Triglav Bled
The authentic architecture of this hotel is charming and fits in very well with the almost fairy-tale feel to the area. Again, you are very close to the water in this hotel, so views are guaranteed.
This is a large and very reasonably priced hotel, which is modern and located right on the edge of the water, with fantastic views.
Kompas Hotel Bled
A large and homely feel welcomes visitors to this hotel, with a great central location for exploring the area.
This hotel is also located on the edge of Lake Bled and offers a homely, family-run base.
Where to Eat & Drink in Bled
Bled is a tourist resort, and that means plentiful restaurants to enjoy. The nightlife in the area isn’t ever going to be raucous and loud because that wouldn’t fit in with the chilled-out vibe of Bled, but there are many fantastic eateries and gastronomical delights to try.
Fine food Penzion Berc
If you are looking for somewhere classy to try a traditional meal, or perhaps an old favorite, this is the place to go. The menu is extensive, and the prices are reasonable too.
ZaZiv Vegan Bar Bled
It’s not always easy to find food to suit your diet, especially if you are vegan, but this particular bar has a huge range of delights for you to try, the vegan burgers are very popular.
Stunning views top service, and fantastic food. This is a perfect place to head for special occasions.
This is perhaps one of the best places to go for views, and the food on offer is fine dining in style, so you can certainly find something special here.
As the name would suggest, this is the place to go in Bled for fantastic pizzas!
Italian food is world famous for being delicious, and as you are quite close to Italy when visiting Bled, check out some authentic dishes from over the border.
Slovenian-style puddings and pastries are delicious, and while they may not be that good for the waistline, this place is packed with different ones to try.
This is a top choice for vegetarians, as the menu is packed with choices which are meat-free. Not the cheapest restaurant in the Bled area, but certainly one with choice.
A la Carte Restaurant 1906 Bled
If you want to sit outside during the warmer months and gaze over the lake while enjoying a fine dining experience, this is the place for you.
Seafood lovers flock to this restaurant, however, be aware that the portions are huge! Meat platters are also on offer, so if you are hungry, give this one a go.
Fun Facts About Lake Bled
- The lake was formed after the last Ice Age, making it extremely ancient! It was formed after the Bohinj glacier deepened underground before the ice melted and filled with water – this is what is now Lake Bled.
- The waters of the lake are renowned for their healing properties, thanks to the pleasantly warm temperature of the thermal springs which run into it. The lake is around 26 degrees in temperature, which makes it one of the warmest alpine lakes the world.
- You can swim in the lake as far into the year right up until September, thanks to the mild temperatures – winter time, however, is not to be recommended!
- The Lake Bled region is not just about the water, as the buildings which surround it are equally as fun and exciting. The main attraction is the Church of the Assumption of Mary, dating back to the 17th century.
- During a wedding, legend says that if the groom carries his bride up the 99 stone steps which lead to the church, before ringing the bell and making a wish, the will be blessed with good luck and a long and happy marriage.
How to Get to Lake Bled
Lake Bled is around 34 miles from the capital city, Ljubljana, and there are many road and public transport network links to get you to the heart of the outdoor action.
- Train. Lake Bled is accessible by the Lesce-Bled International Railway Station and line. The service runs long distance between Illach-Jesenice-Ljubljana-Belgrade-Istanbul-Athens, and stops at Lesce. To get to Lake Bled from there, you need to grab a taxi or public bus for the remainder of the journey (4km).
- Road. You can easily drive to Bled and the lake by car, depending on your starting point. The lake is 45km from the Austrian and Italian borders, and it is 50km from Ljubljana via the A2 Highway.
- Bus. There is a bus station which is a few minutes’ walk from the lake site, and buses head to the capital from there on the hour, returning hourly, at half past the hour. The journey takes around 70 minutes in total and is certainly very picturesque.
- Fly. You can fly into Ljubljana Airport and grab a direct shuttle bus from there to Bled, which takes around 70 minutes, depending on traffic.
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Lake Bled is an exciting, natural, and incredibly beautiful area. Visitors are certainly spoiled for choice when it comes to things to see and do. Remember to pack accordingly, as during the winter months the temperature can plummet. Overall, this is a destination which is perfect no matter what the month!
Main photo credit: Tom Mrazek