One of the top most visited places in Slovenia, welcome you in any season. In the summer you can swim in the “emerald green” lake, rent »pletna« or your own boat, hike to the amazing viewpoints and eat the famous Bled cream cake… these are some highlights of Bled. What’s more, I can suggest some great place to stay and all benefits you can get with your visit.
While the municipality drove away domestic tourists two years ago (because it was too crowded), now due to a new virus they welcome everybody again. Good lesson?! Never take any tourist for granted!
While in Bled, take PLETNA or your own boat to go to the island. If not now, when? Enjoy the calmness, walk around the lake and not the full lake of tourists right now!
PLETNA BOAT – “It is a wooden flat-bottom boat with a pointed bow and the stern widened with a step to enable passengers to enter. The boat is 7 meters long and 2 meters wide and it ensures safe navigation for 18 people. Pletna boats are made by locals and owned just by families. Their origins date back to 1590. There are 23 “pletna” boats on the lake, Start points are in the Spa Park, in front of Park Hotel, in Mlino and Velika Zaka” (Bled official site, 2020)
PRICE: 12 €/ person, 6€/ child
ISLAND ON THE LAKE
The only island in Slovenia has a Church of the Assumption of Mary, known also as Pilgrimage Church that was built in the gothic style and it was renovated in the 17th century in baroque style. In the church, you don’t forget to ring the bells. Admission fee is 6€ per person.
THE LEGEND OF THE SUBMERGED BELL
A young widow lived at Bled Castle. Her husband was killed by robbers. To honor his memory, she collected all her gold and silver and had a bell cast for the chapel on the island. As the bell was taken to the island, a severe storm came, the boat capsized, the boatmen drowned and the bell sank.
On calm and clear nights, the bell still rings from the depths of the lake. The young widow went to Rome and entered the convent. After her death, the pope sent another bell for the lake church. Legend says who rings the bell three times at the church their wish will come true. Every year on Christmas Day, the Bled legend is revived by the Bled Underwater Activities Association, which lifts a submerged bell from the bottom of the lake.
“On the south side is South Staircase built in 1655. The staircase comprises 99 baroque steps. Bled Island is a very popular wedding location. A local tradition says that the husband needs to carry his new bride up to the top for a happy marriage”.
As you walk up you will pass the Chaplain´s House and the Provost´s House. What else you can find on the island are souvenir shops and coffee shop.
WHERE TO SWIM IN BLED? Bathing waters on Lake Bled are in Velika and Mali Zaka, in Mlino, in the Castle Baths and in the baths of Villa Bled and the Grand Hotel Toplice.
For more adventures, you can rent paddle boards for 10€.
“Medieval castle, clinging to a rocky cliff and some of the highest peaks of the Julian Alps and the Karavanke as backdrops, invite you for its history, museum exhibitions, and good cuisine”. Perched on a steep cliff more than 100 meters above the lake, Bled Castle is all how most people imagine medieval fort to be. From towers, ramparts, moats, and terrace which offer you an amazing view of the lake and island.
Entrance fee: 13 €/adult; 8,50/€ student.
BLED CASTLE FOR SUNSET
TITO´S SUMMER RESIDENCE
If you pay attention, you will notice one hotel by the lake. It is not just a normal hotel, but a hotel with so much history! Today’s Vila Bled was built in 1883 by Prince Ernest Windischgrätz. Planned diplomatic activity began in first Yugoslavia when King Alexander Karadordevich declared Bled a summer royal residence. The king bought the manor in 1922 and renamed it Suvobor.
During the Second World War, the role of Bled increased. Architect Vinko Glanz soon had to hurry up with plans for the construction of a mansion on the site where Suvobor stood. An architect, also Plečnik’s student, who also signed the Slovenian Parliament, with the intervention of the Minister of Construction Ivan Maček had very little time to complete the project. He had just six months to supply the building materials, which were not easy to obtain in the post-war period and the final equipment of the building. Because he succeeded, Glanz earned Tito’s favor. This brought the architect the position of chief designer of protocol facilities in the former Yugoslavia.
Since the middle fifties, kings, emperors, statesmen from all parts of the world have lined up in Bled: from Greece, Turkey, Egypt, France, Italy, the Soviet Union, …
Vila Bled is located probably in the best location by the lake with a view of the island and the castle, today also with its boathouse and lake bathing area. It is one of the most expensive hotels in the Bled area for petite guests.
We visited Vila with attention to see the fresco in the conference hall which was covered with curtains after independence. It was made by Slavko Pengov, the Slovene painter. The longer wall depicts the National Liberation War, the central motif is the crossing of the Neretva river and the battle for the wounded. A part of history that suddenly became less important. The shorter wall depicts the construction of a new homeland, where in the foreground is a large allegorical figure of a woman with a huge flag in her hand and a child on her shoulder.
“In addition, their quality was recognized by the organizers of the prestigious International Hospitality Awards, which nominated Vila Bled as one of the best boutique hotels in 2017″.
In 1906, Bled has declared a resort and an important tourist destination. The Bled thermal springs were located on the eastern side of the lake. Fortunately along came a Swiss doctor named Arnold Rikli who saw the lake´s full potential. In 1855 he opened baths where the casino stands now, taking advantage of the springs, the clean air and mountain light. Because of his investments in this area, Bled received a gold medal at the international exhibition of health resorts in Vienna in 1903. Today, Rikli’s villa, which stands on the shores of Lake Bled and under the church of Sv. Martin, it’s a wreck.
NATURE AROUND THE LAKE
CIRCLE TOUR OJSTRICA (611 m) – VELIKA (756 m) – MALA OSOJNICA (685 m)
The hike starts from Velika Zaka. Where is the camping Bled, on the right side you will see the path and signs for 3 viewpoints. Velika Osojnica, Mala Osojnica and Ojstrica.
For Ojstrica (611 meters) you will need from 15 – 20 minutes to hike on the top. It is probably the most famous view of the lake and also really crowded.
From the rock, you go down and follow the signs for Velika Osojnica. In 2019, this instagrammable spot became famous because of the love bench. For all lovers and romantic souls, this is the perfect place to enjoy a little peace and quiet.
From Velika Osojnica the path will lead you to the Mala Osojnica where is another view, bench and a table with a map.
Explore 1600 m long and up to 250 m deep gorge on the eastern edge of the Triglav National Park, 4 km northwest of the center of Bled.
The trail takes you past the church of the St. Catherine to the Šum Waterfall. “A wooden bridges hug the rock wall for along the Radovna river”. You will spend a minimum of 2 hours walk in Gorge. !It can get wet and slippery!
GORGE – is a narrow and deep valley with steep, rocky walls with a stream or river running along their bottom. It all happened in the past when the mighty glaciers dug and sanded rocks. Today’s results are deposited on many rocks, boulders in the river.
Now when it is just just one way through the Vintgar, at the end you can choose to go back to the entrance to 1) Blejska Dobrava or 2) around to the church St. Katarina! Both paths are nice and take approximately 45 minutes to come back to the main entrance!
PLACES TO TRY CREAM CAKE
“Kremšnita (Cream cake) was first made in 1953 in Hotel Park by the lake and the layers from bottom to top are followed by puffy pastry, egg custard, cream, puffy pastry, and sugar. The original cream slices in the size of 7 x 7 centimeters are freshly prepared every day with high-quality ingredients”.
A lot of options, different prices. You can enjoy cream cake with an amazing view in Cafe Belvedere. By the lake is the famous Kavarna Park, but with the most expensive prices (4.70 €). I did not have good experiences with the service here. For me, the best option is Slaščičarna Zima (3,30 €).
RECOMMENDATION: THE BEST PLACE TO STAY
Bled is not just for petite guests, it welcomes EVERYBODY!
One of the best places to stay is the 1A ADVENTURE HOSTEL. Located in the small city of Lesce, it is less than 10 minutes away from Lake Bled. The hostel is perfect not just for backpackers, but also for couples and families. It has good connections for trains and busses.
What is more, they provide a free shuttle for their guests. Besides that, you will get discounts for all kinds of activities such as rafting on Sava river, canyoning, skydiving, paragliding, horse riding,… and so much more.
Rent bicycles or rent a twizy, avoid crowds, and enjoy the lake from the closest perspective. You will experience a cozy and friendly stay here. Feel like at home! Choose 1A Adventure Hostel!
Soteska Vintgar, 2020. URL: https://vintgar.si/soteska-vintgar/
Vila Bled, 2020. URL: https://www.brdo.si/en/vila-bled/vila-bled-0
Seaside in Slovenia: PIRAN