Lake Bled is one of Slovenia’s most gorgeous destinations and the perfect setting for a relaxing holiday enjoying the outdoors.
But beyond being a photographer’s paradise and travel eye candy, Bled has all the ingredients of a fantastic destination. From swimming to kayaking and stand up paddleboarding, hiking to biking and canyoning, there’s a lot of exciting things to do in and around Bled year-round. With plenty of amazing natural landscapes to explore, restaurants and pubs serving delicious Slovenian and international cuisine, and a long list of exciting adventures and experiences to check out, a holiday in Lake Bled is one that’s sure to be sweet and satisfying.
Whether you’re coming to kick off your shoes and relax by the shores of Lake Bled with a cold beer, or to hike as many trails possible to see a slew of breathtaking landscapes, our travel guide to Lake Bled will help you plan the perfect trip.
Little Holidays Travel Guide to Lake Bled, Slovenia
- How to spend 2 days (or more) in Lake Bled
- Map – landmarks in Lake Bled
- Best things to do in and around Lake Bled
- Day trips from Lake Bled
- Where to eat and drink
- Planning your trip
- Beyond Lake Bled – where to go next
- Download the PDF travel guide
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Lake Bled is a fantastic destination for a weekend trip. You can certainly fill up two days with beautiful sights, exciting adventures, and lots of delicious food. If you have more days for your trip, you’ll definitely find more to explore in the Julian Alps. Here are my top tips on how to plan your holiday in Lake Bled and beyond.
Day 1 – Spend your first day exploring Lake Bled and the surrounding areas. Go for a walk around the lake and hike up to Mala Osojnica for amazing views. Ride a pletna to Bled Island and go up the church. Afterward, go up the castle to learn more about the traditions of Bled and Slovenia. End the day with a delicious dinner by the lake.
Day 2 – Now it’s time for exciting adventures. Lake Bled isn’t just eye candy – there’s plenty of things to do around the area. From rafting and canyoning to underground kayaking, you’ll see a side of Slovenia you haven’t seen on Instagram. If you prefer a more relaxing chilled out day, go for a leisurely bike ride or swim in the lake, then end the day with wine tasting.
More days? – If you can add more days to your trip, there’s a lot you can do around Lake Bled and the Julian Alps. Hike or bike around the Triglav National Park, drive to Lake Bohinj, go for a stroll along the Vintgar Gorge, or go for a day trip to Kranjska Gora and Lake Jasna. If you want to see more of Slovenia, check out this road trip guide that covers the country’s most beautiful sights.
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Use this Google map to help you plan your trip to Lake Bled. I added all the important landmarks, the best places to visit, as well as the best hotels and restaurants in the area. I also added nearby destinations in case you have more time to explore the area.
If you’re coming to Lake Bled by car, use Waze to navigate. Make sure you have a valid Slovenian vignette that allows you to use the tolled roads, then add it to your Waze app’s list of toll & HOV passes to get the best routes. (Go to: Settings > Navigation > Toll & HOV Passes > Vignette SLO – Vinjeta)
Spend a day exploring Lake Bled, the island, and the castle. Go for a stroll along the boardwalk or go for a hike around the lake. The most popular trail is the one to Mala Osojnica (check the Google map to find the trailhead), where you can get amazing views of Lake Bled against the backdrop of the Julian Alps.
Ride a pletna or row a rental boat to Bled Island. A ride on the colorful traditional pletna costs around EUR 15, while a boat rental is for EUR 20/hour. Check the Google map for ports and rental locations.
The island in the middle of Lake Bled is home to the Church of the Mother of God. It used to be the site of an ancient Slavic temple dedicated to the pagan goddess of life and fertility before it was replaced by the church in 745 after the region was Christianized. The church has since been rebuilt – first in 1465 to a Gothic style, then in the middle of the 17th century to its current Baroque style. While you’re there, make sure to make a wish and ring the bell three times!
Afterward, go up the 52-meter-high free-standing bell tower for panoramic views of the lake and to see the mechanical oscillation clock.
Walk along the short path around the island. At the southern end, you’ll see the staircase with 99 stone steps. Legend has it that if you want a happy marriage, the groom must carry his bride up all 99 steps. Until now, couples who wish to get married on the island adhere to this tradition.
If you manage to go up the stone steps, celebrate with potica – traditional Slovenian festive pastry made with leavened dough and rolled with a variety of sweet and savory fillings. You can have a bite at the Potičnica, a café and souvenir shop near the staircase. Locals recommend the potica with hazelnut filling and dried figs!
After exploring the lake and the island, go up the Castle Bled for amazing views. It’s also a great place to learn more about the history and traditions of Bled and Slovenia, plus a great spot to try the Lake Bled cream cake, a traditional dessert prepared under the guidance of the lucky number seven.
Castle Bled is Slovenia’s oldest castle, first mentioned in 1011 as castellum Veldes, its medieval German name. The first documented owners of the castle are the Bishops of Brixen, who never actually lived in the estate. From 1011 to 1803, it was leased to a slew of nobles but mostly managed by castle staff. For a short time, it became a Protestant stronghold, before it became nationalized in 1803. This frequent change of managers was said to be the reason why Bled Castle has little valuable equipment or items with high historical value, despite the estate’s vastness and strategic location.
Presently, the Bled Castle houses a museum, a wine cellar, a chapel, and several interesting halls with artifacts and exhibits on Slovenian history and culture. There’s also a restaurant up there with fantastic views of the lake.
You can visit from 8 am to 6 pm during winter months, and up to 9 pm during the summer months. Check the Bled Castle website for real-time information on opening hours and ticket prices.
Relaxing in Bled
Now that you’ve seen the highlights of Lake Bled, it’s time to kick back and relax.
During warm months, you can swim in designated areas around Lake Bled. Grajska Beach is the most popular one and is just below the Castle Bled. You can also rent kayaks from them.
If you want to enjoy a private beach, book a stay at either Vila Bled or Grand Hotel Toplice. Both have private beach areas for their guests, free parking, and near Bled’s top sights. Grand Hotel Toplice also has a thermal pool and saunas for that maximum holiday relaxation.
Adventures in Bled
Here are more adventures and activities you can do around Lake Bled.
- Bike around Bled and beyond – This self-guided biking tour around Bled will bring you to picturesque spots around Lake Bled, local shops, and farmsteads. The tour includes food and beverage tastings of traditional Slovenian treats. If you feel you’ve seen enough of Bled, you can instead venture a few kilometers away. This self-guided biking tour to Vintgar Gorge brings you to the beautiful ravine through gorgeous countryside roads, all the while avoiding the occasional Bled traffic jams. If you prefer to carve your own path, rent an e-bike or a mountain bike and pedal to where your legs take you.
- Rafting and canyoning – If you’re looking for more action and excitement, embark on an adrenaline-fueled day of rafting and canyoning around the Lake Bled area. Don’t worry if you haven’t done this before – the Sava Dolinka river is perfect for beginners, groups, and families, and you’ll be in the capable hands of a certified guide.
- Underground kayaking – If rowing across the lake to Bled Island got you pumped and ready to level up your kayaking game, go on a kayaking adventure in an abandoned underground mine. You’ll be hiking and paddling past dark passages and mysterious galleries – it’s sure to satisfy your thirst for adventure.
- Wine tasting – After a full day of adventures, relax and indulge your senses. Sample Slovenia’s top wines and delicious appetizers with fellow wine-lovers in a century-old wine cellar. Learn fun stories and historical facts from a wine expert and become the next Slovenian wine ambassador.
You can certainly fill a long weekend trip with plenty of things to see and do around Lake Bled, but if you have more days to spare, there’s plenty of day trips you can take from Bled.
While Lake Bled may be Slovenia’s most famous landmark, there are a lot more places to visit around the area. You can be as laidback as spending the day swimming and sunbathing at the Lake Bohinj or as intense as going for a hike to the Triglav Peak. For something in between, a short trek to visit the Savica Waterfalls or a leisurely walk along the Vintgar Gorge is a great way to see Slovenia’s natural wonders up close.
Lake Bohinj is about a 30-minute drive from Bled and is an excellent spot for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports during the summer.
Lake Bohinj is Slovenia’s largest lake, so even at the peak of summer, it’s easy to find a spot to lay down your beach towel and relax. You can go cycling and hiking around the lake, with plenty of trails passing through hamlets and quiet, lovely villages.
If you’re craving something a little bit more exciting, go canyoning in the Bohinj valley.
From Lake Bohinj, drive 10 minutes to the parking lot near Savica Waterfall (Koča pri Savici). The drive itself is an adventure, with lots of winding roads and hairpin bends. From the parking lot, you can then climb the stone steps through the woods to the waterfalls in around 20 minutes.
Mt. Vogel is a 1922-meter-high mountain that is home to one of the biggest ski resorts in Slovenia. You can ride the Vogel cable car for amazing views of the Julian alps – the lower station is near Lake Bohinj. There are several hiking trails from the upper station, one of which brings you to the Vogel summit.
If you’re visiting during the winter months (December to April), you can go snowboarding at the Vogel Ski Center.
Vintgar Gorge is nearer to Bled (15-minute drive), and you can walk through the ravine trail and back to your car in 2 hours (3 KM walk).
It’s a pleasant, easy stroll on wooden boardwalks along the gorge carved out by the Radovna river, with spectacular emerald waters, plenty of small waterfalls, and rapids along the way. You’ll also see a preserved and functioning stone arch railway bridge built in 1904 from cut stone.
At the end of the gorge, you’ll see the beautiful Šum waterfall, and you can either go back again through the gorge (fastest way back to your car) or take a longer, alternate hiking trail back to the parking lot.
If you’re not driving, you can visit Vintgar Gorge with this self-guided biking tour from Bled.
Hiking in the Triglav National Park
Hike and bike on one of many trails around Triglav National Park. There are easy trails as short as 1 KM (the Goreljek bog nature trail) and cycling trails like the 16-km Radovna trail. You can find more information about the trails here.
If you prefer hiking with a guide, check out this full-day guided hiking tour of Triglav National Park. You’ll visit beautiful hiking spots like Lake Bohinj, Pokljuka plateau, Vintgar Gorge, and the pretty village of Mojstrana.
If you’re not quite up for a full-day hike, check out this half-day hike to the Pokljuka Gorge. You’ll walk through a gorgeous forest and reach incredible viewpoints. If Bled’s crowds have overwhelmed you, this is a nice break to enjoy an untouched piece of Slovenia all to yourself.
Kranjska Gora is a town 40minutes’ drive northwest of Bled. There’s lots to see and do around this area, and if you love hiking in natural parks, consider staying a night or two in the area.
Drive to Tromeja, a 1,508-m tall peak located at the triple border between Slovenia, Italy, and Austria. Then, go for a walk around the beautiful Zelenci Nature Reserve. Afterward, relax at the beautiful shores of Lake Jasna. If you still have time, visit the Peričnik and Martuljek Falls before heading back to Bled.
If you’re not driving but want to visit most of these places, go on this day trip from Bled. You’ll get to see the Peričnik Falls, explore the Zelenci Nature Reserve, drive through the Vršič mountain pass, and relax by the shores of Lake Jasna in one comfortable and convenient day trip.
Plenty of restaurants line the boardwalk of Lake Bled, but during peak season, you might have to hop from one restaurant to the next to find a table. That’s why I highly recommend reserving a table in advance to one of these amazing restaurants.
Restaurant Sova is a bit off the center but worth the 15-minute walk. They serve creative and delicious dishes with bold flavors in a beautiful restaurant with amazing views of the lake. Highly recommended dishes are the veal pâté with truffles, the salmon fillet on prawn ravioli, and the slow-cooked veal cheek. As the restaurant is very popular, call for a reservation a few days in advance, even if you’re coming during the low season.
For a taste of traditional Slovenian cuisine, go to Gostilna pri planincu, a cozy pub in the old center of Bled. You can have traditional dishes like goulash and beef tripe or enjoy platters of cheese and sausages with local beers or homemade fruit brandy.
If you’re in the mood for hearty Italian cuisine, go to Oštarija Peglez’n located near the shores of Lake Bled. They serve delicious pasta and seafood dishes, and the bright and cheery mood in the restaurant says it all – the food here is perfect!
If you’re heading to Lake Bohinj, have brunch at Gostilnica Štrudl. They serve traditional Slovenian cuisine. Try the ajdovi žganci, a dish made of buckwheat. We had it with their meat platter, and it was filling and satisfying for two.
Driving – Slovenia is a great road trip destination and I highly recommend going to Lake Bled and exploring the Julian Alps with a private car. You can book a rental car online and read more about driving in Slovenia.
By train or bus – If you’re coming from nearby countries, you can reach Bled by train or bus. Check Flixbus or Regiojet for bus trips to Ljubljana, then continue to Bled with Arriva. The first bus from Ljubljana to Bled leaves at 6 am, with departures every 30-60 minutes until 9:45 pm.
You can also travel by train all around Slovenia. Check for trips and timetables here. If you plan to go to more cities and regions in Slovenia during your holiday, get a Eurail pass for convenient and unlimited train travel.
Day trip from Ljubljana – If you’re coming from Ljubljana and have time only for a day in Bled, join this comfortable and convenient day trip to Bled. You’ll travel comfortably through the countryside with an English-speaking guide and get to experience all of Bled’s highlights.
Renting a car – Lake Bled is an excellent destination for a road trip. If you’re coming from Ljubljana, you can reserve a rental car online in advance and pick it up either at the airport, near the train station, or in locations near the city center.
Vignette for driving on Slovenian motorways – Make sure that your car has a valid vignette for driving on Slovenian motorways – most rental cars from within Slovenia would have this. If you’re coming from neighboring countries, you can buy it from gas stations in border towns.
Waze is a good app for navigating around Slovenia. Make sure you have a valid Slovenian vignette that allows you to use the tolled roads, then add it to your Waze app’s list of toll & HOV passes to get the best routes. (Go to: Settings > Navigation > Toll & HOV Passes > Vignette SLO – Vinjeta)
Here’s a comprehensive guide to driving in Slovenia as a tourist.
Best places to stay on your trip to Lake Bled
To fully enjoy the lake town’s charming ambiance, stay in a beautiful lakeside hotel like Vila Bled. If you’re traveling with family and friends, stay in a spacious holiday home like Old Bled House. If you want a relaxing stay away from the crowds, enjoy a laidback countryside holiday at Farm Holidays Povsin.
Here’s a more comprehensive guide to the best hotels in and around Bled.
If Lake Bled’s natural beauty got you enchanted and excited for more trips to dreamy destinations, here are my top recommendations for your future trips.
A calm blue lake mirroring the sky, mountain ranges setting a picture-perfect background, and pastel lakeside houses lending the historic town a storybook vibe – that’s what to expect in Hallstatt, Austria! It’s a great stopover on a drive from Vienna to Salzburg, and an excellent base for exploring the rest of the gorgeous Salzkammergut.
Cesky Krumlov’s twisted streets and scenic vistas will have you falling hard for this medieval castle town. Walk around its charming cobbled streets and gorgeous castle grounds, get to know its royal families and artists, and enjoy a magical evening on the banks of Vltava.
This beautiful region filled with majestic mountain ranges and snow-capped peaks is exactly the stuff of dreamy Swiss holidays. Head to Jungfraujoch and Grindelwald for breathtaking views. Or, if you want to enjoy that traditional Swiss countryside ambiance, head to Lauterbrunnen and Mürren for easy hiking trails, stunning alpine views, and warm and welcoming chalets.
From medieval cobbled towns to charming villages splashed in pastel tones, the lovely Alsace region in eastern France is a holiday destination straight out of a storybook. Spend days wandering around narrow postcard-perfect streets, go for a road trip through picturesque vineyards and to scenic peaks, and enjoy the good life with oodles of hearty cuisine and excellent wine.
If you’re headed to Amsterdam, take a fun side trip to Giethoorn, a beautiful village with lots of picturesque canals, flower-decked houses, and a lot of traditional Dutch charm.
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I hope this guide helps you plan your trip to Lake Bled!
While we certainly expected it to be one of the most gorgeous destinations we’ve ever laid eyes on (thanks Instagram and Pinterest!), Lake Bled and the rest of the Julian Alps still managed to surprise us at every turn. Winding roads opened into breathtaking vistas, rustic meals came with bold flavors, and slow and lazy afternoons enjoying the outdoors turned into exciting adventures filled with a diverse array of natural landscapes. The Lake Bled hype is real, y’all!
Make sure to download the PDF guide and use it to plan the perfect little holiday in Lake Bled and the rest of Slovenia. If you have any questions or need extra help planning your trip, send me a message, and I’ll do my best to help you out.
Thanks for reading and have a fun and exciting holiday in Slovenia!