A small fairytale island amidst turquoise waters and high snow-capped mountain peaks in the background… This is the most popular Slovenian landscape, namely Lake Bled! The most famous tourist destination in the country captivates with its unique natural beauty and despite its incredibly growing fame, it still remains unknown to the mass tourist…
Where is located and where to stay
Lake Bled is located in northwestern Slovenia, closer to the border with Austria (25 km) than to the capital Ljubljana (54 km). It is located at the foot of the Triglav National Park (Julian Alps) and the Karavanks mountain range, which is very clearly visible from its shores. Its altitude is 475 m and is pleasant to visit in any of the seasons!
The distance from Sofia is a little more, about 975 km. We left around 03:00 and with a few breaks we arrived for 13 hours. Our place to spend the night was 8 km from Bled. The small Slovenian village which is turned out one of the most beautiful places I have visited – Zirovnica! I will not lie to you, I chose it because of the lower price of the nights… But now I would choose it again and again! You can read more in “Under the sounds of nature in Zirovnica”. We were in the area for three nights and that’s why we divided our visits to Bled on three different days…
First steps in Bled
While we left our luggage and reached the lake, it took some time and we arrived just before 5 pm. At that moment it was unnecessary to head to the central parts, and also we could not wait to see the most beautiful views over the lake. For this reason, we headed to the west coast. We parked in the paid parking lot in camping Bled – HERE. This is the most convenient place for parking when climbing to the views over the lake… A is the only regulated one. Two quick shots and it’s time for a little climb.
Above Bled – Ojstrica (611 m)
Leaving the parking lot, we head south, on the main road going around the whole lake. After 7-8 minutes you reach a fork to the mountain, which is the starting point for both desired destinations. The first is Ojstrica – the most famous bench around Lake Bled! The trail splits shortly after its start… We take to the right path, which enters smoothly into the forest. The tall green trees create a fairytale atmosphere. The signs are good and we just watch the markings that take us to the beautiful panoramic rock…
And there is the bench with the most beautiful view! In the late afternoon there are almost no tourists willing to climb the mountain, which is helped by the light rain. It takes us about 20 minutes to get to the top, and the view is stunning… The whole lake is at our feet… It’s nice to have the culmination of a trip at the end, but we started dizzyingly! The majestic mountain looks a little angry and has sent us some gloomy clouds, but they don’t frighten us… On the contrary! They create an additional mystery of the incredible landscape… You sit on the bench and you are paralyzed in front of the unique masterpiece that nature has created…
Mala Osojnica (685 m)
Going back is much easier and faster, in 10-15 minutes we go down almost to the main road and take the direction of the red signs behind the buildings. The paths are steep and don’t believe the inscription 15 minutes… it takes 20-30 minutes to get there… with photo breaks.
One of these breaks is especially impressive! It is revealed 10 minutes after the start of the road. After a turn in front of us reveals a fabulous view… Lake Bled… among the green vegetation on the hill!
The walk continues headlong up and reaches one of the most interesting parts of the road – a steep staircase, the end of which isn’t visible! Before stepping on the first step, you can take a look down… Or to the small island between the rock and the nearby tree, surrounded by the turquoise waters of the lake…
And finally we get to the second bench… Actually… I’m not very convinced that it was Mala Osojnica, I’m even more sure it wasn’t… From the photos on the internet it was clear that there the view is much clearer, without the vegetation here. But the increasing rain at times and the already advanced hour made us content with what we saw here… Which is definitely worth it… even if it is only a step away from Mala Osojnica…
On the south alley
We go down a little tired and hungry, but we decide that we have a little more time before dusk and we can see the other marked places in this part of the lake… We turn right from the fork from which we descended, where the start the trail along the south coast. A green and very well maintained alley deviates from the main road. Here is one of the points I had set for photos. Slight deviation to the water, a few broken trees to jump over and we are right next to the shore… Great angle for photos to the small island, its reflection in the turquoise waters and low clouds, slightly obscuring the mountain… And in the background… Bled Castle, peering like a protector over the area from the high cliff!
Shortly after that is the frontal view to the stairs of the Church of the Assumption, located on the small island. In fact, this is the only Slovenian island! And an interesting superstition attracts newlyweds from all over the world! It is believed that if the man carries his beloved through all 99 steps from the pier to the entrance of the church, then their family life will be long and happy! Another legend says that standing under the church bell, you can make a wish and pull the rope, and the bell will ring all over the lake and your wish will come true… Throughout the day you can hear the bell ringing from tourists who decided to try its truth! We never got to the island itself…
We wanted to sit down for a coffee with the most beautiful view around the lake ( Café Belvedere ) to try the world famous local cream cake. But… it was closed… We were satisfied with a few photos from the stairs and another different view of the island…
A little more from the west
We return to the parking lot along an alley passing directly over the water! It meanders under the main road and gives us another view of the island…
The alley leads to a pontoon for boats for rent… It is closed and a padlock is placed on the doors, but my desire to take a few pictures of empty wooden boats is stronger than some locked door… I succeeded to jump over and in just a few seconds I was ready for photos… Several uninvited ducks were caught, which can be seen all over the lake.
Right in front of the campsite is the so-called beach… The temperatures in summer allow the lake to become a place for cooling and many tourists sunbathe and bathe in its waters, which in turn reach temperatures of 24-25 degrees. The meadows are filled with towels, sunbeds and all kinds of beach accessories. There are natural pools, diving centers and many other attractions.
In the city center
We pay for the parking in the campsite, which for 10 minutes charges us for the 4th hour, and the price was not very low… 3 euros per hour… It’s already about 20 hours and we return to Zhirovnitsa, leaving the walk in the central part for the next day.
Parking there is also difficult… That’s why we chose a parking lot far from the center. The price was 1 euro per hour, without restrictions in the hour stay and free after 20 hours – Parkirišče Seliše 2.
Church of St Martin
The main attraction in the city is the church of St. Martin. It is believed that there was a chapel on this place 1000 years ago! The current church was built in 1905 on the remains of a 15th century Gothic church. It can’t be missed, we saw she from the opposite shore the day before, it can still be seen from the streets of the city… It definitely stands out among the surrounding greenery. It impresses with its interesting roof and gothic style. It’s worth crossing her doorstep and peeking inside.
Bled cream cake – Kremna Rezina
We couldn’t try the traditional local dessert overlooking the lake, but we did it in one of the most recommended places – Slaščičarna Zima. A piece of this sweet temptation costs about 3 euro. There is an abundance of delicious cream between the brittle dough crusts. The cake dates back to the heyday of the Austrian and Austro-Hungarian Empires in the 18th – 19th centuries. Many of the countries of the then territories have their own interpretation of the cream cake and, accordingly, their own name. In Serbia and Bosnia it is exactly the cream cake (Krempita), the Poles called it kremówka, and the Slovaks enjoy their krémeš.
The original source of the Slovenian version (Kremna Rezina) is the centrally located Park Hotel. The pie has been served there since 1953, shortly after the arrival of the confectioner Ištvan Lukačević from Serbia. He puts his imprint on old recipes to build the Bled’s cream cake as it is known today. Between 3,000 and 5,000 pieces of local pastry are sold per day, and the record is 7,000! Interestingly, each component of its preparation is strictly monitored, and the ideal piece of Kremna Rezina has the proportions of a perfect square with a side length of 7 cm!
To the shore
We descend the neat streets of the city to the busiest part – the coast. It is so clean all over Slovenia that you wonder… is it really possible! It’s obvious… For a short time we reach the beautiful park… Perfectly aligned bushes, bright green areas, dissected by beautiful alleys and many places for seat and enjoy to the views. Peace and quiet by the lake… And the castle, strewn with light, became clearer and brighter as night fell.
Perched on a 130-meter cliff, the medieval castle is one of Slovenia’s most famous landmarks. It reveals a beautiful view of the lake. Over the years, it was used for defensive purposes, as the residence of various noble families (including the Yugoslav leader Tito), and also as the headquarters of German troops during World War II. The visit fee is 13 euro, and more information about it, as well as opening hours, can be found HERE.
Today’s functions of the castle are a museum, and the rooms and the atmosphere inside aren’t something impressive. For this reason, I met slightly contradictory reviews on the Internet and decided to skip the visit and enjoy it only from a distance.
The heart of Bled
Another popular attraction is the heart, located on a small pier in the waters of Bled. Couples in love from all over the world do not miss the opportunity to take a photos against the background of the lake. And at dusk, with the lights from the castle and the nearby coast, the atmosphere was really very romantic!
The third morning, before heading to Zagreb, we decided to take one last walk along the lake. The weather had changed drastically, and the gloomy clouds of the previous days had given way to the sun’s rays. We left the car in the 3rd different place – the parking lot of the Mercator store. This is the biggest store in town and if you have to shop for something, this is the place. The parking lot has tickets and can be used as a fee. The price per hour is 1 euro. In about 1 hour and 30 minutes we managed to get almost to Café Belvedere and back – rest of the south coast, which we couldn’t get around on the first days.
In a short time we reached tо Casino Bled, from where the promenade along starts, just behind the small weather station. There is also one of the largest stops for traditional boats crossing the lake several times a day – “Pletna”. The price to the island is around 15 euros, and the stay there is 40-60 minutes. The price may be lower if you get on around the campsite or around Villa Bled, because of the shorter distance.
The walks along the alleys by the lake are fabulous! Especially in such pleasant and sunny weather, when Bled Castle impresses even more. There are many benches from which you can admire the beautiful scenery overlooking the opposite shore. And while the front boats were waiting for their local boatmen to enter the waters of the lake, some others were neatly arranged under a special canopy… And passing by them we saw a very interesting in appearance hotel – Jadran.
The beautiful landscapes and the pleasant atmosphere on the alley don’t stop! Everything is so stunning green… The beautiful villas alternate one after the other, and the view of the lake can leave everyone breathless… The road passes through a small tunnel, which predisposes to beautiful photos. It is worth getting as close as possible to the waters of the lake. The clear waters allow to see some of its inhabitants… On the opposite mountain peaks you can see the many snow that had covered them the day before (at the end of April).
Imperceptibly we reach the second busiest part around the lake, the area in front of Villa Bled and the makeshift ports for local boats. But most were in the waters, scattered to the island, as if competing, which will be first…
This area is preferred for staying because of the beautiful view of the lake, the tranquility and the pleasant restaurants with colorful terraces nearby. We didn’t get on a boat, but I decided to get as close as possible to one of them, on the swaying pontoons… We got good photo against the background of the bell tower and the island!
For a final
Lake Bled is one of those places in Europe that you just have to visit… Because of the proximity to nature, cleanliness, tidiness and beautiful views. Slovenian jewelry is a destination that will continue to attract more and more tourists from around the world. And Slovenia is the epitome of its most famous landmark – a beautiful and very green country!