Few places in the world speak to the imaginations as much as Lake Bled Slovenia does. The lake holds all the elements of a real-life fairy tale – sunshine reflecting off the crystal clear water and a church with “wish-granting properties”. There are tons of things to do in Lake Bled, read on to plan your perfect itinerary.
Lake Bled is undoubtedly one of the top tourist attractions in Slovenia, and one of the easiest day trips to take from Ljubljana. Aside from swimming in and rowing on the lake, there are a host of surprising activities to do in Lake Bled including hiking, canyoning, and trying the famous Bled Cake.
If your trip to Lake Bled coincides with the high season (June through September), keep in mind you will be sharing this natural beauty with a lot of fellow travelers. The lake tends to get very, very, busy. The negative impacts of overtourism have started to creep in slowly.
Autumn and Winter in Lake Bled are two great alternative seasons to visit, without the hubbub of fellow tourists. Now that word of caution is out of the way, time to delve into all the wonderful things to do at Lake Bled!
Lake Bled things to do: Quick Guide
Looking to plan the perfect trip to Lake Bled in Slovenia but short on time? This section gives you the most relevant information at a quick glance.
Getting to Lake Bled from Ljubljana is easy with public transportation. Direct busses run between Ljubljana and Lake Bled virtually every hour in summer and a few times per day in winter.
Tickets can only be purchased at the bus station (payment by card or cash) on the bus itself (payment in cash).
WHERE TO STAY
Lake Bled tours and activities
VALUE FOR MONEY: Lake Bled, Lake Bohinj and Vintgar Gorge Tour
Departs from Ljubljana, this guided tour takes you to beautiful Lake Bled where you will partake in the top things to do in Lake Bled (visit the castle and take a Plentna boat ride), next, a visit to the lesser-known Lake Bohinj and a hike in Vintgar Gorge (entrance fee included in the ticket). Book tour.
CULTURAL TOUR: Lake Bled & medieval village Radovljica
Day tour from Ljubljana which includes a visit to Lake Bled and the Bled Castle, take a traditional plento to Bled Island and ring the bell. Visit the medieval village Radovljica, learn about traditional Slovenian food, and tuck into a typical Slovenian lunch. Check availability.
SUSTAINABLE TOUR: Explore Lake Bled by bike
Explore Lake Bled and its surroundings with a local guide on a bicycle. Get to see both the main Lake Bled attractions as well as hidden spots with amazing views over the lake. Ride through neighboring quaint villages before visiting Lake Bled Castle. Transfer from Ljubljana is included in the booking price.
Check availability and price.
Top 12 things to do in Lake Bled
According to ancient folklore, Lake Bled was created by nonother than the fairies themselves. Legend has it that the area containing the lake used to be a lush grassland that provided soft under footing for the fairies to dance on at night.
During the day, the grasslands were frequented by shepherds and their sheep, who happened to love munching on the grass. Panic struck the fairies as they watches sheep munching down their dance floor. When the shepherds refused to build a fence, protecting the much-coveted grass from the sheep, a plan was formed.
The fairies were so angry that they flooded the entire valley, only keeping a little patch of greenery for them to dance on – known today as Bled Island.
And so the magical Lake Bled in Slovenia was born, nestled in the heart of the Julian Alps, with a little island in the middle for the fairies to frolic on at night. If you are lucky, you might catch of glimpse of the fairies if you keep your eyes open.
Aside from fairy hunting, there is a surprising amount of things to do at Lake Bled Slovenia, perhaps the delicious cuisine might tempt you!.
1. Eat the Lake Bled Cake
One of the sweetest things to do in Bled is to try the famous Bled Cake. The cake can be found all over Slovenia. Locals agree that the best place to try the cake is in fact at the source, Lake Bled.
What exactly is a Kremsnita or Bled cake? Think a crispy crust of puff pastry, filled with mouth-watering vanilla cream, topped with light and fluffy whipped cream, and dusted with icing sugar.
The treat dates back to the height of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the 18th and 19th centuries. A variety of this dish can be found in all the countries that were under the Habsburg reign. This specific recipe was coined around 60 years ago and stems from the Park Hotel in Lake Bled. The hotel has a large terrace and is well accustomed to visitors popping by to try a slice of Bled Cake.
Cost: €4 ($5) for a slice
Where to go for Bled Cake: One of the cafés on the shores of Bled Lake
2. Visit Bled Town and the markets
Bled has become synonymous with its beautiful lake. Few people know that this resort town in the foothills of the Julian alps is called home by 8000 people. If your visits happen to coincide with a Saturday, you can schedule in a stop at the local markets held between 09.00 and 12.00.
More info can be found on the official Bled website.
3. Hiking in Lake Bled
The town of Bled is one of the entry points for Triglav National Park which offers some of Slovenia’s best hikes. The Lake Bled hikes are a lot less strenuous than those you will find in the national park, sweeping views over the lake are never far off and should keep motivation high for this activity!
There are around 24 different hikes around Lake Bled with varying degrees of difficulty. Check out the routes on the official Lake Bled website.
4. Hike to the Ojstrica (611m) and Osojnica (685m) viewpoints
Ojstrica (611m/2,000ft) and Osojnica (685m/2,247ft)
Lake Bled hikes are not just about hiking around the shoreline of the lake. In fact, both the best hikes and views can be found from the hills surrounding the lake for example Ojstrica and Osojnica hill on the west coast of Lake Bled.
Hiking up to the top will offer you the iconic view over the lake as seen on social media. Hiking up Osojnica hill is slightly more challenging but very much worth it to see Bled Castle, Straža, Dobra gora, Kozarca, and Obroč in all their glory. The hike is around 2,4km (1.5mi) and will take one hour to complete.
If you are a little less keen on hiking up a steep hill your best bet is to hike up the Osjtrica hill instead!
5. Learn about Slovenian wines
Get together with fellow wine lovers and have a taste of 7 Slovenian wines from all different parts of the country. This wine tasting is held with a local wine expert in a 100-year-old cellar at the heart of Bled town. Delicious appetizers and nibbles are included in the tasting.
Know before you go: The tour is not held every day, so check availabilities before booking.
6. Rent a boat and row around Lake Bled
Time to get those muscles pumping and get on the lake. There are various ways to visit Lake Bled, one of the more active options is to rent a rowboat. Many a marriage proposal has been undertaken in these rowboats!
When walking around the shoreline of the lake, you will undoubtedly come across one of the many places that rent out rowboats. It is noteworthy to mention that during high season (summer) the rowboats all tend to get rented out and you might have to wait a little while before you get access to your boat.
Price: Boats are rented by the hour and will set you back €20/hour ($22).
Practical: Boats to be picked up and returned from the same place
7. Walk around Lake Bled
Languorously stroll around the pristine lake and take in the magnificent views of Bled Island and Bled Castle. The route around the lake is a 6 km (3.7mi) paved loop. Walking the full loop at a relaxed pace will take about 1.5 hours. The walkway is car-free, aside from the occasional carriage coming by. Worth noting the loop is accessible for wheelchair users.
The farther you walk from the start, the fewer tourists you are likely to encounter and the more secluded little beaches you will find for sunbathing (weather permitting).
Tip: Read up on the protected villas around Lake Bled before embarking on your walk so you know what to look for while strolling around the lake.
8. Visit Lake Bled island and ring the bell for good luck
Lake Bled Island is shrouded in mystery and legends. Two of these legends are widely spread across Slovenia and abroad. The first legend proclaims good luck for a newlywed couple if the groom carries his bride up the 99 steps and rings the church bell three times. His lovely bride has to keep utterly silent during the whole process.
The second one is a story about a widow who had the bell made in memory of her late husband 500 years ago. During transport across the lake, the boat was struck by a storm resulting in the boat, the crew, and the bell sinking to the bottom of the lake. A new bell was made and consecrated by the pope, and this time was successfully transported and installed in the church.
Either way, superstitious or not it seems ringing the bells at the Assumption of Mary Church has turned into quite the popular thing to do at Lake Bled. The fee for visiting the church, and ringing the bell is €6 ($6.5) and can be paid at the entrance of the church.
9. Treat yourself to a Plentna boat ride
Lake Bled in Slovenia is awash with activities for the active outdoor traveler. But what if you are not the sporty, active type? Fret not, the traveler looking for a relaxing holiday is equally in for a treat.
The Lake Bled Pletna or a traditional “communal” rowboat is an excellent alternative for those who do not feel like getting sweating and rowing themselves. These traditional wooden boats, with their colorful awnings, are handmade by locals, a tradition that dates back to the 16th century.
Pletna boats leave from a variety of docks dotted around the lake. Simply step onto this charming wooden boat and enjoy the view of Bled Castle and Bled Island. The boats travel between the shore of Lake Bled and Bled Island – a pleasant 15-minute boat ride – where they drop off passengers and pick others up (sort of like a water taxi).
Tip: If you purchase a two-way ticket, the boat will drop you back off at the starting point. You can choose to take a one-way ticket and purchase a return ticket for a different pletna on your way back, ensuring you get dropped off at a different spot on the lake.
Cost: €14 ($15) / person for a return ticket
Practical: To be paid in cash to the captain/rower of the Pletna.
10. Go swimming in Lake Bled
If you visit Lake Bled in summer and the heat gets unbearable, simply jump into the crystalline water for a refreshing swim. Those in top shape might even try swimming from the shore to Bled Island (roughly 2 kilometers/1.24 miles each way).
Swimming in Lake Bled is permitted everywhere at your own risk (i.e. you can basically jump in from anywhere you like). But to avoid a negative impact on the environment, it is recommended to swim in one of the designated bathing areas (complying with strict environmental standards).
11. Visit Lake Bled Castle
Lake Bled Castle (Blejski Grad) is the oldest castle in Slovenia. Sources say it dates back to the 11th century when it was built as an administrative center, a function which to this day it still holds, hosting functions for high-ranking statesmen.
Bled Castle can be seen from Bled Lake, as it is perched precariously on the 130-meter (127-foot) cliff towering over the lake. Who knows how many royals have sat at the windows, enjoying the stunning views that the castle has to offer! The castle grounds hold a museum as well as a restaurant that serves traditional Slovenian dishes.
Hike up from the shores of Lake Bled. Follow the well-indicated wooden signs for about 15-20 minutes. The hike is a little steep and proper footwear is highly recommended.
Tip: If you do decide to have dinner at the restaurant, the entrance fee to the castle is free.
Bled Castle Opening Hours: Summer 09.00-19.00
Bled Castle Ticket: Adults €11 ($12), Children 14 and under €5 ($5.5), Students €7 ($7.6).
12. People watch at the cafes around the lake
Plonk yourself down at one of the many cafés lining the shoreline of Lake Bled, order a refreshing drink or the nation’s favorite – a cup of steaming coffee – with a slice of Bled Cake and simply watch the world go by. We had coffee at the Art Cafe (€1.5 for an espresso) which has a beautiful terrace overlooking Lake Bled.
Additional things to do in Lake Bled for adventure lovers
Self-guided E-Bike to Vintgar Gorge
Weather permitting, why not bike around Lake Bled and to the stunning Vintgar Gorge. This 4-hour self-guided tour includes the e-bike, helmet, map of the route, and entrance ticket to Vintgar Gorge.
Meet in Bled center where you pick up the bike and get a small briefing on the terrain and the map of your chosen route. Routes can be adapted in function of your personal preference. Book your bike
Rent a mountain bike and explore
Lake Bled and the surrounding Julian Alps are an absolute dream to explore on a mountain bike. Rent a mountain bike for the day, get a bike, protective gear, and a map of the area, and head out into nature.
Where to stay in Lake Bled
There is no lack of accommodations in and around Lake Bled to choose from. While visiting Lake Bled is perfectly feasible as a day trip from Ljubljana, staying a night around the lake will give you the opportunity to explore without the hoards of tourists that usually flock to Bled.
$ VALUE FOR LOCATION:
Carman Guest House
Carman House is a small, locally run guesthouse with just 7 rooms. The views over Lake Bled are unbeatable, as is the location (right on the lake). Great value for money property.
$$ LOCALLY RUN GUESTHOUSE:
This heritage hotel offers spectacular views over Lake Bled and Bled castle, some of which can be enjoyed from the comfort of your plush bed. The on-site restaurants serve delicious Slovenian cuisine and rowing boats to visit Bled Island can be rented right on the doorstep of the hotel.
$$$ SPA AND WELLNESS
Those looking to splurge a little will find the charming Vila Bled, with an on-site spa and private bathing area off Lake Bled to be the perfect match. The former presidential residence is located in a quieter area of Lake Bled and surrounded by a tranquil park.
Lake Bled Itinerary: Responsible Tourism Tips
The beauty of Lake Bled has caught the eye of many travelers across the world. In fact, it quickly rose to the most visited attraction in Slovenia. The large footfall poses a significant threat to this natural beauty, endangering not only the lake but the surroundings.
- Go off-season: Consider visiting Lake Bled in autumn or even winter
- Explore lesser-known lakes in the Julian Alps instead: Lake Bled is absolutely stunning, but there are plenty of lakes equally quaint and much-more tranquil. Try visiting Lake Bohinj (direct connections from Ljubljana) or the adventurous souls might want to venture into the heart of Triglav National Park to swim and hike in the Triglav Lakes, Križ Lakes, the lake on Planina pri Jezeru, or Duplje Lake.
- Swimming: Stick to designated bathing areas as these conform to strict environmental rules
- Leave no trace: Do not leave your garbage in/around the lake
Things to do at Lake Bled FAQ
How to get to Lake Bled from Ljubljana
There are various ways to get to Lake Bled, the easiest and most sustainable of which is by using the very well-run network of public transportation.
Bus Ljubljana to Lake Bled
There are a variety of options to get to Lake Bled, however to easiest (by far) is to take the bus. Take a direct bus from the main bus station of Ljubljana to Lake Bled bus station (at the cross-section of the roads Cesta Svobode and Grajska Cesta). Busses run from 06:00 AM to 22:00 PM hourly in the summer months.
Tickets cost €7 ($7.6) one way and can be bought either at the bus station (card or cash payment) or on the bus itself (payment in cash). Tickets cannot be purchased online The bus ride from Ljubljana to Lake Bled will take around 90 minutes.
Tip: Tourists start coming at around 09.00, so try and grab an early bus if you want to visit Lake Bled with fewer tourists.
Train Ljubljana to Bled
I ended up taking the bus to Lake Bled as it turned out to be the fast and easiest way to get from Ljubljana to Lake Bled. There is however a second option, to hop on a scenic train ride from Ljubljana to Lake Bled. The train ride takes between 1h30 and 2h30 and costs between €8 and €20 ($9-$22).
The main train station in Bled (Bled Jezero) is roughly 1.5 kilometers from Lake Bled (15-30 minute walk). Consult timetables, purchase your tickets directly at the Ljubljana train station.
How long to stay in Lake Bled
The main Lake Bled attractions can easily be visited in a day, or two depending on the speed at which you travel. Thanks to its popularity, Bled town is a great place to use as a hub for excursions into the Triglav National Park if you do not have a car. Consider booking a few additional nights to allow you to visit nearby Lake Bohinj, Vintgar Gorge, and perhaps even the Triglav Lakes.
To conclude Lake Bled activities
There is plenty to do in Lake Bled, one could easily fill 2 days exploring the lake and its beautiful surroundings. Be mindful of overtourism, and if possible aim to visit Lake Bled in early autumn or even winter to have one of the smallest islands in Europe all to yourself!
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