Surrounded by the stunning Julian Alps and guarded by a medieval castle, Lake Bled is a destination that offers an array of fun and interesting activities to suit every traveler’s desires. During our recent two-week road trip through Europe, Slovenia was one of the four countries we visited, and I found myself falling more in love with the region each day we were there. I was left wondering, why doesn’t everyone have Slovenia on their travel “life list”? So, join me as I uncover the six top things to do in Lake Bled, for an experience like no other.
1. Explore Lake Bled Island
Take a traditional Pletna boat ride to the island, or if you’re feeling really adventurous, you can rent a wooden canoe and row over to the island on your own. Walk up the stone staircase (99 steps to be exact) to the top of the island where you will discover the Assumption of Mary Church, arguably one of the most beautiful and photographed churches in the world.
While at the church, be sure to ring the 16th century “wishing bell” and make a wish amidst the island’s serene beauty. Legend has it that those who ring the bell and announce their wish to the beloved Lake Bled widow will have their wish fulfilled.
2. Visit Bled Castle
Dramatically perched 130 meters above the emerald-green lake on a steep cliff sits Bled Castle. With a history spanning more than a thousand years, here you can immerse yourself in history while also enjoying the mesmerizing panoramic views. The well-preserved Romanesque walls and entrance tower are part of the original castle structure.
After exploring the castle and its museum, consider having a sit at the coffeeshop where you can taste premium Slovenian wines and craft beers. In the hot summer months, they also offer delicious homemade lemonade, iced tea, and custom ice cream blends.
One of my favorite spots was the Beehouse, a boutique shop offering honey products for sale and free guided tastings with more than 20 types of honey. You’ll enjoy the unique hive-shaped interior design of the shop and the interesting facts you’ll learn about Slovenian beekeeping.
If you aren’t ready to head back down to the lake, you can savor a meal at Bled Castle Restaurant where they serve local and regional dishes. As if the food isn’t wonderful enough on its own, you’ll be enjoying it amidst one of the most romantic views you will ever see.
3. Experience the Natural Wonder of Vintgar Gorge
A short 10-minute drive from Lake Bled is Vintgar Gorge, a natural wonder that beckons travelers with its mesmerizing beauty. The 1.6-kilometer-long gorge has well-maintained foot paths and wooden bridges that will take you alongside emerald waters, towering cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and lush greenery.
There is a even a small food stand near the end of the route where you can sit down and enjoy a beverage and snack after your hike. Considering how close the gorge is to Lake Bled, we were surprised to see that the trail was not crowded, even in peak summer season. I found the soothing sound of the flowing water and the tranquil surroundings to be quite peaceful.
4. Indulge in Famous Bled Cream Cake
No trip to Lake Bled would be complete without trying the world-renowned Bled Cream Cake. It’s a delicate puff pastry dusted with powdered sugar sitting atop layers of light vanilla cream and custard, which originated in Bled’s Park Hotel 70 years ago.
And there’s a skill to eating a slice….first you pierce the crispy top crust with your fork, then you want to make sure you capture all four layers at once in each bite. We shared a slice each day we were in Bled, and, it soon became one of our favorite desserts!
5. Walk or Cycle Around the Lake
There is a paved pathway that extends the entire perimeter of the lake. Along this scenic route, you can catch glimpses of Bled Island and Bled Castle from different vantage points. It’s especially beautiful in the early morning and at sunset.
In the summertime, don your swimsuit and take a dip in the lake along the way. However, only a certain area is designated as a swimming area. Alternatively, you can opt to take a bike ride around the lake, as there are plenty of bike rental shops in town.
6. Drive Through Triglav National Park
A journey through Triglav National Park, Slovenia’s only national park, promises to be the highlight of any trip to Slovenia. The park’s majestic beauty and diverse landscapes are a testament to nature’s grandeur, from the towering peaks to the waterfalls to the pristine alpine lakes.
As you drive through the park, you’ll encounter many picturesque viewpoints and scenic spots to stop and marvel at the beauty and snap a few photos. Mount Triglav, Slovenia’s highest peak, serves as the backdrop throughout your journey. The well-maintained roads allow you to drive through the park at your own pace, ensuring you don’t miss any of the hidden gems nestled within its vast expanse. If you have time, get out and explore some of the hiking trails and pristine forests along the way. Even though the park is not technically in Lake Bled, it’s too impressive to leave off this list!
Whether you seek adventure, history, or simply wish to immerse yourself in nature’s beauty, Lake Bled, Slovenia has it all. You should definitely plan to discover the magic of this destination. When you are ready, I can help you plan your visit to Slovenia and Lake Bled for the most unforgettable experience!
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