Travel Bliss in Bled, Slovenia

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After spending three days falling in love with Ljubljana, I wasn't sure Slovenia would have anything more up its sleeve to charm me with.

Well, as so often happens when I travel, I soon learned that I was wrong.

Lake Bled, Slovenia

From Ljubljana, my next stop in Slovenia was the small town of Bled. This town, tucked into the beautiful Julian Alps, is best known for its picturesque glacial lake (Lake Bled), complete with overlooking castle and fairy tale-like island-with-church in its center.

I could totally picture a Disney princess calling this place home.

Lake Bled, Slovenia

Lake Bled, Slovenia

Bled is most popular with European tourists in the summer months, but it is also becoming increasingly likely that you'll find other international tourists here, too. Yes, the secret is spreading that Bled is an amazing destination.

Lake Bled, Slovenia

I was treated to perhaps the best introduction to Bled by the lovely Maja of the Bled Tourist Board. She picked me up from the bus station upon my arrival from Ljubljana and spent an entire day showing me the best of everything Bled has to offer.

We began at Bled Castle, the medieval structure perched high above Lake Bled that is one of the most-visited attractions in Slovenia. Dating back to at least the 1000s, the castle today is mostly a museum, with displays on the history of Slovenia and medieval life. I even got to use a replica Gutenberg printing press!

Bled Castle, Slovenia

Bled, Slovenia

From the castle, we headed over to Camping Bled — which is about so much more than just camping. Though the operation offers up traditional camp sites, there's also a brand new “glamping” village, dog kennels, a trampoline park, and more.

Bled, Slovenia
I SO want to stay here!

Visiting gave me a better sense of how Bled is attempting to manage the increasing influx of tourists each year. Not wanting to be overrun, the town has strict codes on building new accommodation. This does mean more demand (and perhaps higher prices), but it is a very smart step towards avoiding overdevelopment.

Lake Bled, Slovenia
They want to keep Lake Bled looking this green

Following a quick tour of the glamping village, Camping Bled then provided Maja and I with a gourmet picnic lunch (remember how I said they do so much more than just renting campsites??), which we headed down to the lakeshore to eat. The skies were cloudy and the temperature a bit cool, but there were still people swimming and enjoying themselves outdoors.

Lake Bled, Slovenia

Lake Bled, Slovenia

Lake Bled, Slovenia

I didn't want to leave our relaxing perch by the lake, but eventually we had to. Because the next planned activity of the day was taking a pletna boat out to the island in the middle of Lake Bled.

Lake Bled, Slovenia

The history of pletna boats is actually pretty interesting. A pletna is essentially a wooden boat with a roof, 7 meters long and 2 meters wide. It's rowed by a man standing at the back, kind of like a gondola (except with 2 long oars). The boats are made in the village of Mlino on the shores of Lake Bled, and ownership/captainship is passed down from generation to generation.

Lake Bled, Slovenia

I was amazed at our pletna captain and the ease with which he guided the heavy boat around the lake. It certainly is a physically demanding job.

Lake Bled, Slovenia

Riding in a pletna is one of the only ways to get out on Lake Bled, however (the other is renting a row boat yourself). Because of Bled's commitment to eco-friendly, sustainable tourism, motorized boats are not allowed on Lake Bled to avoid water pollution. It's because of this fact that the glacial lake is ridiculously clear.

Lake Bled, Slovenia

Lake Bled, Slovenia

Once out on the lake, there is really only one place to visit — the island and the Assumption of Mary Pilgrimage Church. The church is essentially the only thing on the island, and therefore draws many visitors each day. There are 99 steps leading up to the church (which grooms are supposed to carry their new brides up) and a bell inside that you are supposed to ring for good luck. I didn't have a husband to carry me up the steps, but you better believe I rang that bell.

Lake Bled, Slovenia

Lake Bled, Slovenia

After visiting the island, our pletna captain dropped Maja and I off at Vila Bled, the luxury hotel overlooking Lake Bled that at one time was a summer home of Yugoslavia's beloved President Tito. The gorgeous building has some seriously pretty views, and Maja and I enjoyed a drink on the patio while chatting with the hotel's concierge. I had heard about huge crowds here during the summer months, but Bled was surprisingly quiet in late July.

Vila Bled, Slovenia

I capped off my Bled-in-a-day experience with dinner and a slice of the town's famous cream cake (Kremna rezina)ย at Hotel Park's restaurant, which overlooks the lake. Sitting outside and watching the sun set over the nearby mountains, I could not think of any place I would rather be.

Lake Bled, Slovenia

Lake Bled, Slovenia

If you're searching for travel bliss in Slovenia, look no further than Bled.

——

Is Lake Bled a place YOU would like to spend time visiting?

 

*Note: Special thanks to the Bled Tourist Board (and Slovenia Tourist Board) for the great introduction to Bled. And thanks to Roomorama for helping me find a great B&B to stay at while I was in town. As always, though, all opinions are my own.

"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and, if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might get swept off to." - JRR Tolkien

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55 Comments on “Travel Bliss in Bled, Slovenia

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  1. Hey Amanda, great to find your blog! I was also in Bled in Slovenia and it was just beautiful. I was there in 2008 and we did some white water rafting and stayed in the George Best hostel. Keep up the good work. Jonny (http://dontstopliving.net)

      I also did some rafting near Bled, and it was awesome! Glad to hear you also enjoyed your time there.

    Amanda your photos are amazing! I remember meeting the Tourism reps in the NYT Travel Show a few months back and they confidently said how I would really fall in love with Slovenia! With the photos they provided and yours including, I could see why they were so confident about their statement… It truly looks magical!

      Aww, thanks Antoinette! I really do feel like it would be difficult to visit Slovenia and NOT fall in love with it!

    Wow!! Lake Bled, and that castle are breathtaking! I haven’t been to Europe yet, but this is exactly how I imagine it, and you’ve just put Slovenia on my bucket list. Excellent job on these photos too!

      Slovenia is definitely just as pretty as the rest of Europe (maybe even more so in some cases), but it’s not nearly as crowded and is still somewhat “undiscovered.” I think that’s why I ended up loving it so much!

    It looks so beautiful and relaxing there. I think it’s great they don’t allow motorized boats on the lake, and that they’re trying to control tourism development. Hopefully Bled will have this pristine beauty for years.

      I certainly hope that the steps Bled is taking help it remain this way for many years to come!

    Amazing views, amazing town. Never thought Slovenia was so beautiful. I would like to be there for that lake alone.
    I love glacial lakes, crystal clear cold waters . Also the food seems simple but natural as well as the hotel and their services.

      Slovenia is definitely beautiful, but I feel like most people haven’t realized it yet! (If more people knew, I think the place would be much more crowded!)

    It looks so peaceful from your pics. Wanna go there! May be next year…
    The last pic is awesome!

      I did find it to be a very peaceful place. I’ve heard others comment on Bled being crowded in the summer – but I thought exactly the opposite of it in July!

    I went to Slovenia years ago. To this day, it’s my favorite country. Ever since I started my site, Lake Bled has been my logo and header for Budget Travel Adventures. I love Lake Bled! I did a photo post on it last year. Photos of Lake Bled never get old ๐Ÿ™‚

    I sooo want to go to there. I may have a press trip in the works next spring, so this post made me very excited!

      Awesome!! For your sake, I hope that trip work out, because Slovenia is ah-ma-zing.

    We were just there last week! A bit cloudier and colder I’m sure, nonetheless, it was still beautiful. And.. blissful. Love your pics!

      Thanks, Kieu! Hopefully you still enjoyed Bled even in chillier weather!

    I drove through Slovenia several times, but never visited it so far. Stupid right? ๐Ÿ™‚ Also considering that is bordering my native country.
    Well, it is on my soon-to-go list, together with Croatia. The latter maybe in two weeks.
    Thank you for sharing.

      Glad to hear it’s on your soon-to-go list – it really is a great place to visit!

    I got to spend a few days in Bled and even did some white water rafting there. I, like you, didn’t think that Slovenia could get any better, but I was charmed by Bled! And just the attitude of the locals — so cheerful and happy! I left thinking I wanted to move to Slovenia and even did some research on making it happen! I was in sLOVEnia… ๐Ÿ™‚

      Slovenia is definitely a place I could picture myself living for a while, too. Gorgeous scenery, friendly locals, a relaxed atmosphere… what more could you want??

      I also did rafting near Bled! (I’ll be writing about that adventure soon!)

    Slovenia is already on my list so now I’m adding Bled. Love to see them thinking about sustainability.

      I loved that about Bled, too. Slovenia in general is a pretty sustainability-conscious country, though it doesn’t hit you over the head with it, which I like.

    Great read and the pictures are incredible…

    I was in Slovenia this summer and was only meant to stay for 3 days- I stayed for 10! I saw Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj- both rank among the top five most beautiful places i’ve ever seen. True to form though, I went and lost my camera with all of my un-backed-up photos on it whilst in Croatia, so a hundred times thank you for posting this!

    Josh

      Oh no! Bummer that you lost your camera! That’s rough. But hey – maybe that’s just a sign that you need to go back to Slovenia!!

    Great post! Now I really, really want to visit Slovenia. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Me too! Those pictures were great, it really does look like something straight out of a fairy tale.

        It’s the castle, coupled with that island in the middle of the lake – nothing screams “fairy tale” more than that!

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