Choose a holiday to Bled to dive into a picture-postcard resort with a fairytale castle, magnificent blue lake and stunning mountain surroundings.
Lake Bled is a glacier-formed, crystal blue lake, known for its castle and panoramic views. It's also close to Slovenia’s culture-packed capital, Ljubljana.
Lakeside walks are the best way to see Bled Castle, with its beautiful mountain backdrop. The leisurely 2-hour walk around the lake is gentle and scenic, and there are loads of lakeside cafés to stop at along the way for a coffee and slice of delicious kremšnita cake. Not to mention the quiet lakeside spots, ideal for a spot of sunbathing and a paddle.
You’re likely to see a fair few boats on Lake Bled, but none of them with an engine. Quite simply, motor boats have been banned. Instead, traditional Pletna boats, handed down through generations, have the run of the lake and take people across to the island church. Weddings are a regular occurrence at the iconic Church of Maria of the Lake and grooms traditionally carry their bride up the 99 steps to the church before ringing the wishing bell for good luck.
Out and about
• Lakeside path
• Lake bathing
• Boat trips
• Rowing boats
• Bike hire
• Horse-drawn carriage rides
• Tennis courts
Places To Stay In Bled View all places to stay »
Things to See and Do in Bled
Tranquil Lake Bled is surrounded by secluded grassy areas that are perfect for laying down on a towel and dipping your feet into the water. Take a walk around the perimeter to find your perfect spot, and settle down for the day.
The campsite on the western shore of the lake has its own dedicated lido, complete with sunbeds, parasols, a bar and even views of the famous Bled island and church. Just up from the campsite, there are huge stone steps that look out over the lake - an idyllic spot for catching some sun. In summer, there are jetties in the area where you can sit on the edge and dip your feet in.
Another designated bathing area is Grajska beach, situated just below the magnificent castle rock. The 300m-long stretch has waterslides and a jumping board to keep water babies busy, and has even been awarded the Blue Flag as proof of its commitment to environmental standards. If you fancy exploring the lake from the water, you can rent a boat from the local boathouse.
There are local fruit and vegetable markets in the town centre, every day until noon, plus a weekend flea market that opens at 10am, near the bandstand by the lake. Here you can find a range of bargain buys to take back home with you.
The best place for a bit of retail therapy is the Bled Shopping Centre - over 60 local and high-street shops are set over four floors, giving you plenty to peruse. Across the road on the Cesta Svobode you'll find some more mid-range shops, including famous names like L'Occitane and Chesterfield.
For more upmarket buys, you'll have to head to Slovenia's capital, Ljubljana, which is full of high-street and designer names. If you have the time, wander around the ginormous BTC City, which is home to 450 retailers. If you'd rather sightsee at the same time, there are many locations by the river - including Mestni, Stari Trg and Miklosiceva - that are known for their top-name brands and boutiques.
Set off for an evening walk along the promenade, before heading to a local bar or back to your hotel for a quiet drink. For a more cultural experience, some of the bars offer wine tasting sessions.
There are various hotspots around Bled that are great for a lively evening. Art Café and Bled Pub are popular options - the latter has a wonderful selection of drinks, as well as a DJ and TVs showing various sports. For live music, make for the Panorama Bar. There are also a couple of casinos around town, too, that'll keep you entertained.
Besides the many restaurants and cafés in the centre of town, there are various eateries dotted around Lake Bled - so if you're out for a stroll, you’ll have a medley of places to stop at for lunch. Specialities include the gorgeous vanilla kremšnita cake and the beef in karst sauce with grilled polenta.
Seafood and more at Ostorjija Peglez'n
Tucked away on the main road beside the lake is Ostorija Peglez’n, a homely restaurant with pretty interiors and quaint atmosphere. It's known for its large seafood platters and fish dishes, and the owners are more than accommodating.
Feel like royalty at the Bled Castle Restaurant
Up the hill at Bled Castle is the Bled Castle Restaurant, which offers breathtaking views of the lake below. The modern interiors and inventive Slovenian dishes make it a popular choice with tourists and, if you make a reservation before you go, you’ll get free entry to the castle too.
Take a siesta at Chilli Restaurant
In the north-eastern part of the lake is Chilli Restaurant, a Mexican-style place with an extensive menu that includes other international dishes too. It’s always busy but never fails to provide good hospitality. And the presentation of their chocolate soufflé is definitely something to be seen.
Strolling around Lake Bled is the perfect way to take in this beautiful Slovenian town. Wide, pedestrianised streets also allow you to admire the authentic architecture of Bled, and maybe enjoy a cake in one of the pavement cafés.
Non-motorised pletna boats transport visitors and locals to the island church in the middle of Lake Bled. Pletna boats depart throughout the day from various locations around the lake.
There are two stations near Bled - Lesce station is accessible by local bus, and from here you can get to Llubljana in just under an hour. Bled-Jezero station is located on the far end of the lake and can be reached on foot. Trains from here run to Jesenice and other nearby towns every 2 hours. A tourist train also operates in Bled town centre every 45 minutes between 9am and 9pm.
The bus station is located beside Hotel Jelovica. You can jump on buses to Kranjska Gora and Bohinj and be at your destination in around 45 minutes. A tourist bus also runs once a day at 10am from the town centre to Bled Castle and Vintgar Gorge. During July and August, a second bus runs at 9am.
The stunning scenery of Bled, including the iconic island church, is some of the most photographed in Slovenia – and the chance to see it up close is not one to be missed. The area is easily explored on foot, though the best place to start is with a leisurely walk around Lake Bled itself – take in the magnificent views, and stop for a drink or two along the way. There's a range of other interesting walks, from the trail to Vintgar Gorge, the climb to the ramparts of the castle, or the numerous paths through the Triglav National Park.
Around the lake
The most popular way to explore Lake Bled is, unsurprisingly, by walking around the lake. There’s a path that hugs the shore along the entire perimeter, so it couldn’t be easier to join or follow. Along the way, you can discover all that the area has to offer, from great cafés and restaurants to those incredible views of the famous island and church. To do the whole loop in one go takes around an hour and a half.
A bit more demanding than the lakeside path, this 3km walk is well worth the effort – it leads straight to one of the most beautiful natural attractions in Bled. Follow route 13 towards Podham and then look for signs to the gorge. Take your time along the 1.6km boardwalk through the gorge itself – there are plenty of places to stop for photos. After that, follow the forest trail on the edge of the national park for fantastic views of Bled.
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