A Day Trip to Lake Bled, Slovenia
Should you take a day trip to Lake Bled, Slovenia?
Absolutely! Let me tell you four reasons why you should take a day trip to Lake Bled, Slovenia.
#2 Lake Bled is Slovenia’s magical, turquoise colored lake at the foot of the Triglav National Park, nestled in the Julian Alps. The color of the water comes from the Ice Age Bohinj Glacier and the water temperature in the summer is surprisingly warm. It’s a really popular spot for swimming, rowing, and stand up paddling.
#3 Lake Bled is Slovenia’s most picturesque spot and is home to the only island in that beautiful country. The tear- shaped island is home to the famous Church of Assumption and right across from the island, is the gorgeous medieval Bled Castle.
#4 Lake Bled is steeped deep in history, culture, and stunning beauty. Take a day trip there because there are so many great things to do in Lake Bled. Don’t miss an opportunity to enjoy a day trip to Lake Bled, Slovenia.
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Know before you go
When To Go
Lake Bled is most popular between May and September. The summer weather attracts a lot of tourists, but it can be foggy in the Fall and Winter, so you may want to join the tourist season. December and January are cold and snowy, making the holiday season really festive and beautiful. The Lake freezes over some winters which means ice skating is allowed! How fun is that?
Where To Stay
Check out Expedia for places such as the Hotel Villa, Hotel Park, Triglav Bled, and Grand Hotel Toplice. I didn’t stay overnight at the lake, but if you are staying in Ljubljana and making your day trip to Bled from there, then I highly recommend the Hotel Lev. I had a beautiful room, the service was excellent, and the breakfasts were to die for! Bled also has many hotels with stunning views of the lake, mountains, and castle. Book accommodations early so you get ahead of the busy tourist season.
How To Get There
It takes a little over one hour to get to Lake Bled from Ljubljana (54.4km or 33.8 miles) by car or bus, which is why it makes for such an easy day trip. There are 20 buses daily from Ljubljana Bus Station (Avtobusna Postaja Ljubljana) to Bled for only € 3! The Bus Station is not far from the city center at Trg Osvobodilne Fronte 4.
Ljubljana also has an airport with regular flights arriving from nearby cities such as Graz or Vienna, Austria and Zagreb, Croatia. If you are coming from Italy, you will be closest to Trieste or Venice. There are also alot of train options from within Europe on Rail Europe.
What To Eat
Lake Bled is famous for its traditional Kremna Rezina, a cream cake recipe from the 18th century. It’s a golden puff pastry layered with vanilla cream, custard, and iced with sugar. And it’s only available from bakeries in Lake Bled because it has Protected Designation of Origin Status!
Slovenia is also famous for their traditional Struklji, which is a special pastry dough stuffed with sweet cottage cheese.
The Church of the Assumption cafe on the island is known for having the best Potica on earth! Potica is a paper thin, rolled pastry stuffed with a walnut filling.
The 4 Top Things To Do In Lake Bled, Slovenia
With just one day to spend in Lake Bled, the following 4 activities will fill your day and allow you enough time to relax with lunch. Feel like you had a full Lake Bled experience, and still get back to Ljubljana in time for dinner.
#1 How to Take a Pletna Boat to the island and visit the Church of the Assumption
- Arrive at the east side of Lake Bled, near the Casino. Across the road, on the shore of the lake, is a docking area for the famous Pletna Boats. Boats from the east side of the lake give you a longer ride to the island, so that’s a plus!
- Meet a Pletnarstvo (Pletna rower) who teach you to load the boat evenly so it doesn’t tip over!
- The cost is € 15 round-trip, per person. The boat launches, when full, with 16 – 18 people. (There is an additional cost of € 6 per adult to enter the church on the island).
- The 20 minute boat ride takes you to the island and docks at the foot of the 99 steps up to the Church of the Assumption.
- Return to the main shore on the next available Pletna when ever you are ready. Check with your Pletnarstvo for timing if you are concerned, but they row all day long!
The Pletna boat is the traditional Lake Bled wooden boat dating back to the 12th Century. The boat is flat bottomed, has a pointed bow, with a widened stern for passengers to load on and off. The oarsman use the Stehrudder technique of roaring with two oars at once. These boats, and the operation of them, are passed down through generations of families. Just like the Gondolas in Venice, only family members are allowed to operate the boats and become Pletnarstvo as a profession. Since no motor boats are allowed on the lake, taking a Pletna, or renting a rowboat, or stand up paddle, are your only way to get to the island.
#3 Walk the Lakeside Promenade
The lakeside walk is a 6 km stroll along the water and will take approximately 2 hours. Stop for photos along the way and sit on benches to enjoy the views. Depending on your timing, you could jog the lake and then take a swim afterwards to cool off. (Another next time goal!)
#2 Church of the Assumption on Lake Bled Island
- Climb the 99 steps, built in 1655, to the Pilgrimage Church of the Assumption of Mary, AKA, The Church of Mary the Queen, AKA Our Lady of the Lake.
- The entrance fee is €12 adults, €8.50 students, €5 children, €24 family.
- Ring the Bell Of Wishes and climb the Look Out Bell Tower. This bell was made in 1534 by Francesco Patavino and if you make a wish as you ring it, your wish will come true! But remember, only one wish per believer, is the rule. Take your turn and ring it as loud as you can!
- Don’t skip over the profound history of this site! It’s fascinating. Remains of this site were found from the 7th century, and the chapel was a gift from Henry II in year 1004! The Romanesque design was replaced by Gothic, and then more renovations occurred after 2 earthquakes in the 15th & 16th centuries. The current Baroque design is from the 17th century.
- Roam the island and church grounds.
- Have coffee and a snack at the Café Potičnica, on the church grounds. They even serve a Gluten Free version of Potica (the traditional pastry)! You can participate in a workshop and learn how to bake the Potica. (My personal goal next time).
- To attend a church mass, you must contact the church in advance for the schedule.
#4 Visit Bled Castle
- The Bled Castle is Slovenia’s oldest castle and was built before 1011. It has been through earthquakes and renovations and it’s current restoration is from the 1950’s. Many events and activities, are offered there, including wine tasting! The views, of course, are remarkable. It sits 130 meters above the lake, and everyone says it’s well worth the fee to visit.
- Ticket Prices €13 adults, €8.50 students, €5 children
- Your choices in getting to the castle are many – walking, driving, public bus, or horse drawn carriage!
- The main walking path, Arnold Rikli path, begins at the Grajsko Kopališče Public Lido which is a public swimming area with a beach, pools, changing rooms, and lockers. The walk from there is about 10 minutes up to the castle.
- The horse drawn carriages can be found in the center of town at the Bled Fiaker Coachmen for €50 or €60 to go around the lake or up to the castle.
More Things To Do At Lake Bled
Triglav National Park/Vintgar Gorge/Pokljuka Gorge – 5 km north of Bled, just a 10 minute ride, are the Vintgar Gorge and Pokljuka Gorges in the Triglav National Park. The gorges are along the Radovna River with boardwalks that allow visitors to walk next to and above the beautiful aqua and emerald green water. There is a price for entrance and for parking. Public buses run from Bled and Ljubljana to the gorge.
Lake Bohinj/Savica Waterfall – Also in the Triglav National Park just 26 km away, a 40 minute drive from Bled, is the lake region with the waterfall which descends 78 meters, after a climb of 533 steps through beechwood to the top of the waterfall.
Ostrica Viewpoint – There are many hikes in the mountains which offer spectacular views of the lake. The most popular is the Ostrica Trail. The trailhead is at the Camping Bled area on the Lake Bled Promenade. The hike is billed as a 30 minute, not strenuous, hike.
If taking a day trip to Lake Bled isn’t on the top of your list yet, put it there now! I honestly can’t wait to get back there to see more of this beautiful region.