After about 2 hours drive from Dölsach, Austria, we arrived in a little town in the heart of Slovenian Alps.
A teal-colored crystal clear waters of an alpine lake, a dreamy island set right in the heart of the lake, and a medieval castle perched high on a rock cliff above blue-green water – We were in Bled, a magical resort town at the base of the Julian Alps along the glacial Lake Bled.
Everything felt like a dream.
It looked like an ideal town I mean like the one illustrated in the picture books.
It’s touristy yet feels quaint.
You can easily find your own peaceful spot away from the tourists to admire the dreamy landscape that actually is for real.
A day is enough to explore Lake Bled.
A day isn’t enough to feel Lake Bled.
So, do yourself a favor and spend a few days in Lake Bled. Let nature feed your soul.
Watch the Sunrise. Stroll around the lake. Sit on a bench by the lake. Read your favorite book. Admire the Alps and the turquoise lake waters and the fairy-tale castle. Feed the geese and the ducks. Listen to the soothing sound of the wishing bell coming across the lake. Better yet, ring the wishing bell and make a wish, Take delight in riding a Pletna. Hike to the viewpoints. Reward yourself with the evening sun reflecting on the lake waters before fading behind the Alps. Relish a Bled Cream Cake.
Does it sound ethereal?
It has to. Because It is.
Don’t have time to read? There, there, Pin it and read it at leisure.
I know you can relax doing nothing beside the lake forevermore but what if you are traveling with the little darlings.
For our tiny restless travelers, there are a bunch of things to do in and around Lake Bled for family travelers.
Best Things to do in Lake Bled, Slovenia
Out of many things to do in Lake Bled, Slovenia; you can choose a few depending upon the time, the number of days you’ve in Bled, and of course your kids’ liking.
The quintessential pictures of Bled Island beautifully placed in the heart of Lake Bled tempted me to add Bled to my Slovenia itinerary.
Bled Island is the soul of Lake Bled.
Capture it in all the classic frames – from across the lake, from the viewpoints, and from the Bled castle.
Get out on the water to get to the iconic island. You can get to Bled Island either by hiring a Pletna boat or renting a rowboat or hiring an electric boat or
Bled Island is verdantly beautiful with its Gothic church, Belltower, Sexton’s House, Potočnica and Provost’s House and a courtyard with wooden benches.
Pro-Tip: Pick the Bell of Bled as a souvenir from Potočnica, Bled Island.
Ring a Wishing Bell at Bled Island Church
The rustic baroque church, the Pilgrimage Church of the Assumption of Mary, aka Church of Mary the Queen, aka Our Lady of the Lake, aka Cerkev Marijinega Vnebovzetja (Slovene) on a teeny-weeny tear-shaped Bled island is famous for its wishing bell.
During the battle between the Christians and pagan religion followers, medieval temple of the ancient Slavic Goddess Živa was destroyed to be replaced by a Catholic church.
The church was built and rebuilt in the 15th and 17th centuries to its current form with a bell tower.
Hike up the 99 steps (south) or 78 steps (north) to reach the church to make a wish and say it loud pulling the rope hanging from the ceiling 3 times to ring the wishing bell.
The legend goes that a widow named Poliksena exchanged her jewels to buy a bell for the chapel in the loving memory of her husband but as luck would have it, the boat carrying the people aboard and the bell sunk in the lake due to an intense storm.
Distressed, Poliksena donated everything to the church and moved to Rome. The pope of Vatican sent his blessings along with a new bell to the church.
The legend also has it that you can still hear the ringing of the bell sunk in the Lake Bled.
The Entry Fee for St. Mary’s Church and the Bell Tower is 6 Euros per adult and 1 Euro per child up to 14 years of age. It allows you to climb the bell tower for some gorgeous views over Bled Lake.
Rent a Rowboat
Rent a rowboat to paddle yourself across the bluish blue lake to Bled Island. The island isn’t as fascinating as rowing a boat.
There are plenty of shops around the lake where you can rent a rowboat. It costs somewhere between 20 to 25 Euros for an hour.
Else, you can rent it online.
Ride a Pletna
If rowing a boat isn’t your cup of tea, hop on one of the traditional Pletna boats and enjoy the breathtaking views while oarsman takes you across the lake to the island.
The locals say that you haven’t really visited Bled without taking a Pletna ride.
Pletnarstvo (Pletna oarsman) profession is bequeathed from generation to generation since 1590, mastered by individual families.
With flat wooden bottom and a colorful canopy, Pletna looks very much like a gondola in Venice
Pletna transports a maximum of 20 people at a time and takes 25 minutes each way with an additional 45 minutes on the island.
A roundtrip costs 15€ per adult and 8€ per child. You can even hire a private Pletna but the price is way higher than you expect.
Pletna boat pier locations are Spa Park, Casino Bled, Mlino (under the Park Hotel Bled Cafe,) Velika Zaka, South Bled Island, and North Bled Island.
Hire an Electric Boat
An electric boat aka hydro bus or Črtomir runs from Kazina to Bled Island and costs 12 Euros for a roundtrip.
Hike through lush forests, climb the otherwise inaccessible rocky canyons, dive into the fresh mountain pools, jump down the waterfalls – canyoning is for those who crave for pristine nature and a pinch of adrenaline.
Bled hides a number of scenic and wild canyons in its vicinity where you can indulge in the magic of this adventurous water sport.
Kayaking in the wild alpine rivers in and around Bled is fun.
Being the first-time kayakers, we were scared to get onto the kayak but our guide was kind enough to make us learn how to paddle a kayak in baby steps.
Once on the water; I, hubby, and our 10-year old absolutely enjoyed soaking in the pure water, unspoiled nature, and the joy of trying new things.
If doing things differently excites you, try Bellyak. It’s nothing but kayaking on your belly.
Mini-me loves ziplining. She makes sure to coddle in her favorite adrenaline ride whenever wherever we go.
Dolinka Zipline Park has 4 km long Zipline dangling above Sava Dolinka River that offers breathtaking views over the Julian Alps from Stol, Babji Zob and Triglav.
Bovec Zipline Park, One of Europe’s biggest and fastest Zipline parks affords mystical views over Soča River and Soča Valley.
We chose to join mini-me this time and enjoyed a family Zipline adventure.
Take a Stroll around Lake Bled
This one’s my favorite thing to do in Bled.
With 6 km long trail, you can stroll the entire lake circuit in about 2 hours and admire the views of an island from different angles.
Cycle Around Lake Bled
There are some amazing bike routes around Lake Bled for bikers to experience the best of Lake Bled. Bike your way to the one you like.
You can also take one of the many day trips from Bled on a cycle.
However, Cliché, Pose with Iconic Heart Sculpture
A Heart-shaped sculpture on the eastern end of the lake is quite famous with tourists especially couples.
When in Bled, get that quirky picture with the love of your life around this sculpture of love.
Kids are the happiest at Lake Bled with umpteen things just for them.
Paddle Boarding is one of them. You can rent a paddleboard and explore the lake shoreline.
Swim in Lake Bled
Find a great swimming spot by the lakeshore and enjoy a swim in clear blue waters.
It helps you relax and freshen up after a long and tiring summer excursion.
White Water Rafting on the Sava River
Wet, Wild, and Fun! The longest river in Slovenia, Sava River makes for a great place to experience rafting.
Get Introduced to Slovenian Wines @ Wine Tasting Bled
Why do kids have all the fun?
Hit the 100-year old cellar with rusting settings to taste 7 different varieties of the finest wines from Slovenia’s diverse wine regions with local snacks.
Additionally, you can learn some interesting wine facts from a wine expert, and challenge yourself with interactive games.
Dating back to 11th century, Bled Castle is the oldest in Slovenia. Looming 130 meters high above the lake on a cliff, the castle features a museum, a chapel, a forge, a wine cellar, a restaurant, and the unobstructed views of Lake Bled with its island.
Wine tasting and wine bottling sessions are available in the castle wine cellar.
In case you feel like munching or lunching, Bled Castle Restaurant is opened daily from 11 am to 10 pm.
The Bled Castle is opened from 8 am to 8 pm in April, May, June, Septemeber, and October months; 8 am to 9 pm in July and August and 8 am to 6 pm in March and November.
The entrance fee is 11 Euros per adult, 7 Euros per student, and 5 Euros per child aged 14 or younger. A family discount is available.
Hike to Mala Osojnica
An easy hike up to Mala Osojnica from the west end of the lake rewards you with iconic views of Lake Bled.
The gravel path trail with a short segment of steps leads you through the woods. The trail is uphill so a bit exhausting, especially on a hot summer day.
You can stretch your legs at the wooden bench at the Mala Ojstrica and enjoy the panoramic views of the lake.
Mala Osojnica is another few minutes hike from Mala Ojstrica. It normally takes an hour round trip plus the time you spend enjoying the views.
You can even keep hiking above this point if you want for a different perspective.
Take a Ride on the Toboggan at Straza Bled
Toboggan is a fun and adventurous activity for kids and kids at heart.
Wallow in the breathtaking views as a chair lift takes you up to the hill and a toboggan rides you down the hill.
Taste Traditional Bled Cream Cake
You must try the celebrated Bled Cream cake, a soft puff pastry with coatings of vanilla cream and custard dating back to the 18th century when in Bled.
Most of the countries who were under the Hapsburg’s rule enjoy a version of this cream cake – krempita in Bosnia, kremówka in Poland, krémeš in Slovakia, and kremna rezina in Slovenia.
Almost all the cafes in Bled serve their own version of kremna rezina though locals highly recommend trying the original one at the Park Hotel.
You can also try it at Cafe Belvedere as it also offers amazing views over Lake Bled with a cream cake. The cafe is located on the hill above Vila Bled and needs you to climb about 156 steps to reach.
Enjoy the Sunrise over the Lake Bled
One of the best things to do in Bled is to rise up early in the morning to adore the sunrise over Lake Bled.
The lake looks sublime as it reflects the orange and yellow shades of the sky with the gold-sprinkled Alps at distance during sunrise.
The west end of the lake and Ojstrica viewpoint are two great locations to savor the glittery sunrise and click some amazing frames.
Take a Hot Air Balloon Ride over Lake Bled
If you’ve never ever ridden hot air balloon – jump right in it and experience how it feels to be up in the air like a free bird.
Hot air ballooning over Lake Bled is super amazing. A balloon gently drifts over Lake Bled, Bled Castle, snow-capped peaks of the Julian Alps, lush forests and woods, Slovenian rivers; bouncing up and down while you gasp in awe.
Fishing in Lake Bled
Fishing in Lake Bled is another great activity to indulge in. You can fish pike, catfish, carp and lake trout.
Remember to buy a Fishing permit for the Lake Bled, Sava Bohinjka, and Radovna rivers from Bled Tourist Association.
Just a 10-minute drive away from Lake Bled, Vintgar Gorge is 1.6 km long gorge with beautiful boardwalks and bridges along the Radovna River.
It’s spectacular and easy to hike with young kids! A must-visit when you are in Bled.
How to Get to Lake Bled
Lake Bled is quite close to the capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana. It takes less than an hour to reach Bled from Ljubljana. So, that makes Lake Bled a great day-trip destination from Ljubljana.
We, however, came to Bled from Lienz after exploring Austria. It was an easy and beautiful three-hour road journey as we had a rental car.
You can even get to Bled easily from Zagreb (Croatia), Graz (Austria), Trieste (Italy), and Venice (Italy) if you have a car.
Ljubljana to Lake Bled
A drive from Ljubljana to Lake Bled via A2/E61 hardly takes 50 minutes. You can park your car near the lake at Prešernova Cesta for 5 Euros per day. Plan to reach early as parking spaces fill pout fast during peak season.
Please don’t forget to buy a Vignette to drive the Slovenian highways. Read our guide to renting a car in Europe to know more.
A bus from Ljubljana bus station to Bled costs 12 Euros roundtrip and takes around 1 hour 15 minutes. A bus stops at both the bus stations in Bled – Union Bled and Main Bus Station. Lake Bled is a few hundred meters downhill from both the bus stations. Click here to check the bus schedule
A train from Ljubljana train station has frequent train connections to Bled Lesce train station from where you’ll have to take a taxi or local bus to reach the town center which is more than 4 km away.
Bled Jezero train station only has limited trains per day from Ljubljana. It is 3 km away from the town center.
A train journey costs 14 Euros roundtrip.
If DIY isn’t your thing, try taking guided day-tours. We have tried and loved Viator.
Do You Need Visa for Slovenia?
Most of the nationals barring a few need Schengen Visa to visit Slovenia.
Do You Need Travel Insurance for Slovenia?
A smart traveler never set out without a travel Insurance! Don’t forget to buy a reliable travel Insurance.
World Nomads is our favorite when comes to comprehensive protection while traveling. They are loved by Nomadic Matt, Lonely Planet, and National Geographic. Do we need to tell you more?
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Where to Stay in Lake Bled
There’s a great choice of accommodations (hotels, apartments, Airbnb, and hostels) plus restaurants in and around Lake Bled.
Penzion Kaps, Apartment Špica, Luxury Pearl Bled, Apartments-Rooms Kocijancic, Apartments and Rooms Tavcar, Apartment Skok, Design & Wine Vila Special Bled and Nature Hotel Lukanc are great for a couple as well as family travelers who crave luxury but think about the budget as well.
Hotel Triglav, Adora Luxury Hotel (ex Vila Istra), Eco Boutique Hotel AMS Beagle, Bled Apartment Kirsch, Apartments Mojca, Apartment Wellness Essense, Maline Apartments, Vila Sol, Old Bled House, Vila Bled, 4* Green Heaven in center of Bled, and Deerwood – Whole Villa relax with castle view are some of the luxurious, best-rated hotels and apartments in Bled for families and couples who stay in style.
You can even choose to stay in Bohinj for the raw experience.
Best Time to Visit Lake Bled
Lake Bled has a different charm in different seasons. Tourists flock here all time around.
Summer is the peak time that means hoards of tourists, and higher prices but on a brighter side, it’s the best time as all the activities are open.
We visited in June and the weather was warmer than it should be making us feel drained during exploration.
Spring and Autumn are the best seasons because of fewer tourists, perfect weather, vibrant colors, and most of the activities are still at hand.
Winter turns Bled into a magical wonderland but the weather is chilly and almost all the activities are closed except ski. If you plan to visit in winter, better plan during Christmas season to enjoy the festive spirit.
Hope this post helps you plan a perfect trip to Lake Bled. If it does, our goal is accomplished 🙂
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Need Ideas for your trip to Europe? Here are the ideas to get you started!
- Vintgar Gorge, Slovenia
- Bratislava, Slovakia
- Vienna, Austria
- Wachau Valley, Austria
- Hallstatt, Austria
- Salzburg, Austria
- Driving the Epic Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse
- Undredal – a Fjord Village in Aurland, Norway
- Oslo, Norway
- Finnish Lapland in Summer
- Copenhagen, Denmark
- Dragør, Denmark
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