Things to do in Bled
If you are reading this post, it's because you have probably seen the idyllic postcard photos of Lake Bled and is probably in your bucket list. The blue-green waters of the lake with the island in the middle are straight out of a fairy tale. This is, in fact, the most iconic and touristic sites of all Slovenia. It is also the perfect day trip from the Capital, Ljubljana. To enjoy this destination to the maximum, leave your car in the parking lot and enjoy this natural wonder.
Here is a guide of all the things to do in Bled (with the total cost of all the activities).
The Lake & its Activities
The best and most beautiful Bled’s attraction is, of course, the lake.
There is a 6km trail that snakes around the water, perfect to walk or to bike around. Walking the entire trail takes around 1 or 2 hours to complete. The path is very pleasant and you have several points in the area where you can sit and enjoy the lake.
Swim & other sports
You must be wondering if you can swim in these beautiful waters. Well yes, you can! The water is warm as it is thermal water and it can go up to 23 °C during Summer. So bring your bathing suits! There is one public beach, Grajsko kopališče, and it costs around 8.00 € for the whole day. If you’re a sporty one, you can swim to Bled Island but if you want to enter the Church, you need to bring clothes.
There are also other sports such as kayaking, standing paddle board or discovering the underwaters by diving into the lake.
The Bled Castle
When you thought that this place could not be more Disney-like, well let me tell you that there is a castle.
Perhaps one of the best viewpoints of the Bled Lake, the castle is perched 100m on a mountain that oversees the picturesque town. It is one of the oldest castles in the country. The towers, the ramparts and moats are part of its architectural design. In the castle, there is a chapel and a museum that traces the history of the lake from the ancient times. If you are interested in history, in the castle you can learn a few things.
While visiting the castle, you can have lunch or eat the famous Bled Cream Cake while enjoying the breathtaking views.
The entrance to the castle costs 11 Euros.
The tear-shaped island is symbolized by the gothic church that reins over it. The tiny island is only 2 km by 1.4km. The only thing in the island is a Church of the Assumption and a small museum, the Provost's House. There are 2 main legends that surround the island. The first legend is that the island was once a temple for a Slavic goddess Živa and that in the years of Christian conversion, this pagan religion was lost.
While on the island you will hear an incessant bell ringing. This is because visitors ring “the wishing bell”. This second legend says that whoever rings the bell, it gives honour to the Virgin Mary and gets his wish come true. To ring the bell you need to climb 99 steps to get into the church’s bell tower. The museum also has a small cafe that serves a traditional Slovenian cake that it is different from the Bled Cream Cake. I found this a little odd, why won’t they serve the local speciality?
The entrance to both of these attractions costs 6 Euros.
How to get to the island?
There are several options to get to the island. As for the first one, you can row your own boat to the island. Be warned that the lake has a little current so it might be hard or time-consuming to arrive at the island. The cost of this boat depends on the number of persons and ranges from €10 to €17.
The other options are either to board a traditional pletna, which is similar to a gondola, which costs around 14 euros per person for the round trip. There is also an electric boat which costs about 11 Euros per person for the round trip. There are no other boats allowed in the lake in an effort to conserve the waters as pristine as possible. The two latter option have strict schedules and will leave you on the island for around 45 min to 1h. I found that waiting for an hour on the island was a little long.
Hike the nearby mountains
Lake Bled is located in the heart of the Julian Alps and offers several hiking trails. The most popular hike is Mala Osijnica due to its fantastic views which shows the lake and the island from 645 metres above.
Other trips from Bled
Take the time to enjoy what surrounds this beautiful lake. The other well-known attractions are Lake Bohinj, Vintgar Gorge and Triglav National Park. Unfortunately, we did not have time to visit these other destinations. If you wish to stay a few days you can stay in different hotels or in a beautiful treehouse only 5min away.
Bled is undoubtedly beautiful. However, I did feel like it was on the edge of becoming some kind of a tourist trap. I wish I had taken the time to go hiking or swimming ( I didn’t know we could swim) instead of going to the island. I also found that it was a little expensive to do the main attractions. If you are two people and you wish to go to the church on the island, visit the castle and eat the cake, you will need to budget around 70 Euros. This is without counting for the parking or the transportation fees.
My suggestion will be to carefully decide what you wish to do and plan accordingly so you don’t feel disappointed.
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Disclaimer: We enjoyed the visit to the castle as guests of the Bled tourism board. A big thank you! All opinions are my own.
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