Lake Bled: Slovenia's Idyllic Gem
by Katie McCabe | @awelltraveledpair | November 6th, 2018
Lake Bled is every bit as dreamy as you would expect. With a medieval castle perched high on a cliff, a quiet and serene atmosphere, and a picturesque island located perfectly in the middle of a breathtaking blue lake, this gorgeous Slovenian town is truly awe-inspiring. John and I visited in September 2018 and completely fell in love with it. The crisp, fresh air, fairytale-like sights, and one delicious cake recipe had us never wanting to leave. Out of all our travels, Lake Bled will always remain one of our favorite destinations. If you happen to visit, and I hope you do, here are five things you mustn't miss!
Where will you find the best views in Bled? Definitely at the top of Ojstrica! This easy uphill hike will take you along a well-marked wooded path for about twenty minutes until you reach the best viewpoint in town. The trailhead is fairly easy to find. If you park in Camping Bled's parking lot (parking is €5), exit the lot on foot, turn right onto Kidriceva cesta road, and you'll notice a small sign that says 'Ojstrica' on the right hand side of the road up near the woods - that's the trailhead! The hike is easy to moderate level and will take you about an hour round-trip. About half way through the hike, you'll encounter a fork in the path. Stay to the right and follow the sign towards 'Ojstrica'. Once you're at the top, enjoy the most beautiful views in all of Bled. Don't forget to pack your camera!
Tip: If you follow the trail to the left at the fork, you will end up at Osojnica. It's slightly higher than Ojstrica, the views are very similar, however, I think Ojstrica has a better overlook.
Visit Bled Island
This gorgeous little island will beckon you from the moment you arrive. What has now become the iconic symbol for this Slovenian town, Bled Island consists of a church, museum, house, and a couple of ancient folklores. Many believe that the island was left behind by fairies. Others believe that if a man carries his new wife up 99 steps to ring the Church of Assumptions Wishing Bell, they will live happily ever after. All legends aside, visiting Bled Island is a must-do. In order to get out there you'll either have to row yourself on a pletna - a small wooden rowboat - or have a professional oarsman row you out. John was up for the challenge, so we rented our own pletna from our B&B. The price? €15 / per hour. Depending on where you rent a boat, and how good your rowing skills are, it could take up to an hour to get out to the island. It took us, well mainly John, about twenty minutes. Most people spend around thirty minutes to one hour on the island exploring the church, museum, and ringing the Wishing Bell. If you don't plan on visiting the island, I at least recommend renting a pletna, even if you stay close to shore. It is quite an experience!
Visit Bled Castle
Bled Castle is what makes this splendid town feel like something out of a fairytale. Sitting high above the lake, on its own private cliff, this gorgeous Renaissance-style castle comes fully equipped with Romanesque towers, numerous courtyards, a chapel, and its own moat and drawbridge. Adults pay an €11 entrance fee to tour the grounds, exploring everything from the Knight's Hall and Museum to the Printing Works and Water Well. Visitors can also dine at the Castle Restaurant and take part in wine tasting in the ancient Wine Cellar. There is parking available if you want to drive to the castle, however, I suggest walking. It's a lovely trek and depending where on Lake Bled you are coming from, it shouldn't take more than 30 minutes.
Enjoy the Outdoors
The number one reason to visit Lake Bled is to enjoy the outdoors. Hiking, biking, walking, paddle boating, and zip lining are just a handful of activities that visitors enjoy in the spring, summer, and fall months. While skiing, sledding, snow shoeing, and ice skating are enjoyed in the winter months. No matter what time of year you visit Bled, there will be an abundance of activities to choose from. Get outdoors and enjoy nature at its finest!
Eat Bled Cake
During your trip to Lake Bled, you're going to be hiking, biking, walking, and possibly rowing. You're going to be burning quite a few calories. You're going to need to replace those calories. And, I suggest doing so by eating as much Bled Cake as possible. This delicious custard cake dates back to the late 1800's. It is filled with smooth, creamy custard, has a crispy crust, and is topped with powdered sugar and whipped cream. It's delicious! It can be found all over Lake Bled so be sure to eat as much as possible during your stay.