Whenever there's a travel ad or a story about Slovenia, Lake Bled always seems to be in the spotlight. A turquoise lake with crystal clear water, an island in the middle with a church on it, the Julian Alps around, and a medieval castle overlooking it all. What's not to like?
Lake Bled is the most popular resort in Slovenia. Relax in a romantic lake side scenery or have an active holiday around and on the lake - these are the main reasons why so many people decide to travel there.
Where to stay
Bled village is located on the eastern side of the lake. It's the area with most of the hotels, restaurants, cafes and shopping possibilities.
The best areas for swimming are found on the opposite side of the lake, so if that's the main reason for going to Lake Bled, perhaps an accommodation on the south or west side of the lake would be more appropriate. Unless you want to use the public lido on the north side, which is a paid area, then it would be best to stay in Bled. There is also a camping area on the western side of the lake.
Things to do in Lake Bled
Bled Castle has been mentioned in writings as early as around 1004 AC. The castle is rather small, it's spread across two levels: the upper courtyard and the lower courtyard. There's a cafe and a restaurant and stunning views around the area. And of course a museum etc. The walk up to the castle is not too long, but it's pretty steep. There are several starting points to get to the top, zoom the map above to see where the routes go (green dashed lines).
The admission fee is 11 Euros for adults, there are no free areas.
This pdf gives you a good idea of the castle: blejski-grad.si
More about the castle here: blejski-grad.si
The most famous thing in Lake Bled must be the Church of the Mother of God on the Lake, standing on a tiny island with a bell tower next to it. You can see it in half the pictures in the gallery above. There are some other building as well in the island.
There are a few places around the lake, where you can buy a seat in one of the Pletna boats, that take tourists in and out of Bled Island.
There are several places around the lake where you can go swimming, but no real beaches. The closest thing to a beach is a small pebble beach in the southwest corner of the lake (picture 15 on the map).
Most of the grass areas suitable for swimming and sunbathing are found on the south side of the lake. There are also a swimming and sunbathing pier as well as a sidewalk by the water in the southwest corner.
There is also a public lido close to the town Bled and under the castle. They have a lot of services, but it's not free to enter. For more information: Public Lido
The list for summer sports activities in Lake Bled and in the vicinity is long, all 27 options can be found here. Some sports, like Stand Up Paddle boarding (SUP), are not even mentioned in there. All motor vehicles are forbidden on the lake, so it's a good place to enjoy the more slow-paced activities.
Vintgar gorge is located in Gorje, only four kilometers away from Bled. It's about 1.6 km long gorge in River Radovna with a trail that is very easy and comfortable to walk on. The only steeper part is just after the trail ends, if you want to walk down to see the Šum waterfall (last picture in the gallery). The trail ends on top of that waterfall.
The gorge is very popular among tourists and it's advisable to go there outside the peek hours. The problem is, the path is sometimes so narrow that it can be hard for even two people to pass each other. And if there are 15 people coming from one way and 15 from the other, you can guess how that can be. So I wouldn't necessarily go there on a July weekend. And there can be a long line sometimes to even get a ticket and get in.
There is a ticket booth in both ends of the Vintgar gorge, it costs 5 Euros for adults to enter. You can also buy water etc. from there. And at the usual starting point (marked on the map) there is also a restaurant and a big parking lot. A smaller parking lot at the Šum waterfall. If you can avoid the crowds, it is definitely a must go place!
Viewpoints around Lake Bled
There are several viewpoint around Lake Bled, but three of them rise above others. The lake is perfect for walking around, not too big or too small. It takes about an hour or two and the road is comfortable all the way. There are restaurants, cafés etc. along it, and the view to the lake is always good.
- One of course is from the Bled Castle, picture number 3 in the gallery below was taken from there. The problem with that spot is, there is no viewpoint outside the castle, so you have to pay 10 euros to get inside.
- The other two, Ojstrica and Mala Osojnica, are located close to each other on the southwest side of the lake.
Ojstrica and Mala Osojnica
The road to Ojstrica and Mala Osojnica goes through the woods, and it begins very close to the picture 8, that is marked on the map above. If you walk to that spot, you will see a crossroads and signpost pointing to Ojstrica and Osojnica. It's quite a comfortable path to walk, but steep at times. And near the closer one, Ojstrica, it feels almost like rock climbing towards the end.
After maybe 10-15 minutes of walking there is a signpost: Ojstrica to the right, Osojnica straight ahead. If you go to the Ojstrica viewpoint, it's very close, but takes a few exhausting minutes to get all the way up to the top.
If you continue to the Mala Osojnica viewpoint, which is further and higher than Ojstrica, it's a longer walk, but there is no sudden rise in the end. It's more comfortable that way, even though it takes a longer time to reach. At some point there is a sign pointing to Mala Osojnica to the left, and Velka Osojnica straight ahead. Mala (meaning small) Osojnica. At the Mala Osojnica viewpoint, there are three benches where to rest on and more flat area than in Ojstrica.
Pizza in restaurant
Steak in restaurant
33 cl beer in restaurant
Hotel room, 3-4* (April)
Hotel room, 3-4* (July)
Find the right hotel in Bled for you from the Booking.com Hotel Map Search
How to get from Ljubljana airport to Lake Bled
- Bus from Ljubljana to Lake Bled. It takes about an hour or a little more and there are several buses every day: ap-ljubljana.si. The main station in Ljubljana is Avtobusna Postaja and it's right next to the train station.
- Train from Ljubljana to Lake Bled . Trains run often, but there is no train station in Bled. The nearest station is Lesce-Bled (in Lesce). The distance from there to Bled is about four kilometers and bus is a good option for that part. Timetables for trains: slo-zeleznice.si
- Bus from the Ljubljana Airport to Lake Bled. There is only one international airport in Slovenia, Jože Pučnik, that is located in Brnik, but often referred as Ljubljana airport. The journey takes about 31 minutes. Timetables can be found here: ap-ljubljana.si. The airport stop is called Brnik/airport Ljubljana and the destination naturally Bled. The bus station in Bled is marked on the map. If you have a late flight and the last bus has already gone, there is a private company arranging airport shuttles as well.