Located right in the middle of th Julian Alps, Bled is one of the most visited destinations in Slovenia. This little gem is situated only 45 minutes away from the Slovenian capital, Ljubljana, and offers everything a true travel and nature lover needs for a perfect day trip.
Of course, Bled is mostly famous for its nearby Lake Bled with a tiny island in the middle. But, I can assure you, there is so much more to Bled and its surroundings than this beautiful lake.
Keep reading and find out why Bled is a must visit point on your Slovenian itinerary!
The best time to visit Lake Bled
To be completely honest with you, there is no bad time to visit Lake Bled. Take it from me who had only one day to explore the place and it was pouring rain all day long. It was still such a memorable trip and the place looked more magical than ever.
If you visit Lake Bled in winter, you will get a stunning view of snowy lake and Julian Alps. If you like outdoor activities and prefer sunny weather, summer is a good option then. However, bear in mind that it gets quite touristy during the summer.
If I had to choose, I’d say that the best time to visit Lake Bled is from October to December and from March to May. Fewer people, more nature to you!
How to get to Lake Bled from Ljubljana
Now if you’re planning to visit Lake Bled, chances are that you’re probably going there as a day trip from Ljubljana. That’s what I did as well (well, to be 100% honest, it was more like a 1,5-day trip). There are a few transportation options for you to choose from depending on your preferences:
a) Go by bus
Price: around 7 Euros / there are discount options
Time: Up to 1 hour 20 minutes
This is probably the most popular choice among travelers. It’s just super easy.
There are hourly departures from the main bus station in Ljubljana starting from around 6 a.m. and ending at around 10 p.m. Since all buses are local and not intercity, sometimes there is no way to book seats in advance. In this case, you have to purchase the ticket at a ticket office in the bus station or from the driver.
You can check prices and times here.
The first stop in Bled is Bled Union which is quite near the lake itself, around 300 meters. The next stop is the main bus station which is right in the centre of the town. You should check out before you’re going which bus stop is best for you.
IMPORTANT: Drivers don’t speak English much and no one announces which stop it is. So check your phone for a bit of navigation just in case and be quick when you need to get off the bus.
b) Go by train
Price: 7 Euros / discounts available
Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Another option is to catch a train from the main train station in Ljubljana. Good thing is that both train station and bus station are next to each other, so in case you miss your train/bus, you have a plan B.
There are two train stations near Bled: the larger Lesce train station and Jezero Bled.
Lesce train station is located about 4.5 km away from Lake Bled and this means that you’ll need to catch a bus or taxi even to get from Lesce to Lake Bled. The bus that runs to Lake Bled is the same one that would take you from Ljubljana to Bled, so either way, you will have to use the bus.
Another station, Jezero Bled, is a bit closer to Lake Bled. It is located on the western side of the lake and is around 2.5 km away from Bled Castle. The trains aren’t as frequent to this train station, so you need to check the time schedule in advance.
From there you can take a short walk by a trail to the lake or simply catch a taxi, bus if you prefer.
Check out times and prices here.
c) Go with a tour
If you don’t want to travel on your own and prefer to have everything planned for you, there are plenty of day trips and excursions offered to Lake Bled. You can visit it from Ljubljana, Zagreb or even Trieste. Prices start from 40 Euros to up to 100 Euros for a day trip.
Check out all the offers and prices here.
The best things to do in Bled and its surroundings
There is quite a lot to do in Bled and its surroundings considering that it’s a pretty small town. I compiled a list of all best things you can do while staying at Lake Bled.
Walk around the lake
One of the things I absolutely loved about Lake Bled is that you can actually walk around the whole perimeter of it. There are sidewalks and even bridge like paths all around it, so you can enjoy the view from every angle of the lake. And it’s absolutely FREE!
Like this is all a budget traveler needs.
You can easily hike around the lake in one hour and a half or two hours if you want to make more stops and take beautiful photos.
One thing I learned while taking a walk around the lake is that there is simply no bad angle of the lake! Though if you want to take a nice shot of the island, I would suggest making a stop on a western end of the lake. It opens up beautifully!
Hike up to get the best view of Lake Bled
While taking a walk around the lake, I also did a bit of hiking to see the lake from the top. You can do this separately or combine walking around the lake and hike together (like I did!).
There are two main spots which you can reach to have an amazing view of the lake, Bled town and, of course, Julian Alps (if it’s not foggy, that is!).
Osojnica is around 1-hour long hike and offers an absolutely stunning view of the landscape. Many prefer to hike there in the early mornings, so they would catch a sunrise.
Only 20 minutes from Osojnica, you can hike up to Mala Osojnica which is the highest point. The trail was pretty steep and slippery due to rain, so bear this in mind and wear fitting footwear.
All the trails are marked with signs, so you can easily access the viewing points without any struggle.
On the top of Mala Osojnica there is a bench which makes up for a perfect Instagram shot or simply a magical spot for a picnic. Take your pick!
Take a boat to the Bled Island
Another fun thing you could do while in Bled is to take a kayak or a boat and swim to the tiny Bled Island right in the middle of the lake. On the island, you can find a famous church with a bell that apparently makes your wishes come true if you ring it 3 times.
The bell was ringing non-stop while we were hiking to Mala Osojnica which I found quite funny. Guess someone had a lot of wishes!
The boat or kayak costs from 10 to 15 Euros for a round trip and you also have to pay for attractions on the Island itself. So in total, you could spend around 19 Euros for a visit to this magical, wish-granting Island.
Now this one of the things I haven’t done while in Bled simply because I’m a cheap person. I don’t know about you, but a 15-minutes visit to a church with a bell isn’t something I would spend 15 Euros for, but that’s a personal opinion.
I know people who visited the Island and they absolutely loved it. So if that’s something you want to do and don’t mind spending money on, go for it!
Visit Bled Castle
Bled Castle is situated on a steep hill near the end of Bled town and it offers a pretty damn amazing view of the whole town. Also, this castle is known as the oldest castle in Slovenia. How cool is that!
You can take a short walk up to the castle (warning: lots of steep stairs involved!) and learn more about the history, explore the surroundings or simply enjoy the view.
In the evenings when it gets dark, the whole castle gets illuminated and looks like something from a fairytale or even a movie about vampires. I was there on a Halloween, so that added up to the whole atmosphere.
The entrance to the castle costs 11 Euros for adults, 7 Euros for students and 5 Euros for children (prices for 2019).
Explore Bled town
The town is pretty small but it’s a nice place to wander around. You can find many cute cafes and restaurants to have lunch at or simply enjoy a nice breakfast. In the very town centre, you can even find little shops with souvenirs and local products such as wine, snacks, handmade beauty and body products.
IMPORTANT: Bled is quite a touristy town, so the prices are a bit high compared to Ljubljana.
Taste the famous cream cake
Oh my God! If there is one thing you absolutely need to do in Bled, this cake is the one.
Fluffy cake with a soft and delicious cream and lots of sugar powder on top. In other words, heaven. My mouth started watering just writing this!
You can find Bled cream cake almost in every cafe and restaurant in the town. So don’t worry about that just make sure to set aside a few minutes to enjoy this god sent dessert.
Explore Vintgar Gorge
If you have extra time in Bled, you have to make a trip to Vintgar Gorge which is located 4 km away from Bled town. This is the most scenic gorge trail which I’ve ever seen. Wooden trails, waterfalls, crystal clear water. Need I say more?
The trail is about 1.6 km long (one-way!) and it takes around one hour to complete for a round-trip with lots of stops and opportunities for gorgeous photographs.
You can reach the gorge in 10 minutes with a car or by taking a bus (runs only during the on-season). You can find more information here.
Another possibility is to take a bike there or simply walk (like I did!). It’s not that far away and the route to the gorge offers a splendid view of the Alps and picturesque villages near the foothills.
The Vintgar gorge is closed during winter months and gets quite crowded during the summer. The entrance fee is 5 EUR for adults and 4 EUR for students which is incredibly affordable for such a remarkable experience.
Where to stay in Bled, Slovenia
If you want to explore Lake Bled for more than a day which I highly recommend, then you have quite a few options for accommodation depending on your budget:
$ – Castle Hostel 1004
Super affordable and probably the cheapest alternative in Bled, Slovenia. This is where we stayed during our trip as well. It is not the best hostel I have ever stayed at but it a great option if you’re looking for a cheap stay.
$$ – Guest House Mlino
The mid-range guest house which is situated near the Bled Adventure Park. Beautiful view of the lake from the terrace and great facilities for a comfortable stay.
$$$ – Grand Hotel Toplice
The elegant and very much luxury option for those who want to indulge a bit while in Bled. There are saunas, thermal pools at your disposal. The majority of the rooms offer an amazing view of the lake as well from your own balcony.
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Have you visited Lake Bled?
What is the most magical place you have been to?