This Alpine lake with the only island in Slovenia has been a world-renowned paradise for centuries, impressing visitors with its natural beauty, wealth of legend, and special powers to restore well-being. Look out at the lake from a castle on a cliff and visit the island on a traditional “pletna” boat.
Visit Lake Bled to make your wishes come true
Traditional wooden boats – pletnas – have been taking visitors to the island in the middle of the lake for centuries. These boats are operated by standing rowers known as pletnars. After landing, guests climb 99 stone steps to reach the Assumption of Mary Church. On this island, which is the subject of legendary tales, listen to the church bell and ring it yourself. Legend has it that this will make your wishes come true. As you return to the lake shore, view the island on the lake from the castle or from the walking and horse-carriage trails that lead you around the lake. Take a ride with Bled coachmen, known as fijakers!
The church bell, made in the early 16th century, is said to have come from the pope himself. The story goes that he gave it to the church after the original bell, sent to the island by an inconsolable widow in remembrance of her late husband, ended up sinking to the bottom of the lake in a storm. So, Bled really has a pair of legendary bells: the one in the church and the one on the bottom of the lake. The legend about the sunken bell is brought to life every year by a special Christmas event.
The most beautiful view of the lake, its island, and the surrounding peaks is from the castle towering over the lake on a cliff. Due to its beauty, it is considered to be one of the loveliest wedding venues in Europe, and it has also been the location of important diplomatic and state protocol meetings. In addition to the picturesque architecture, this 12th century castle is also home to a museum collection; a castle printing works, where you can learn about traditional manual printing; the castle cellar, where you can bottle wine and seal the bottle with wax ; a castle smithy, and a restaurant. In the summer months, you can meet a castle lord or experience an archery tournament.
The most beautiful places for the most prominent guests
Bled is one of the most recognisable iconic places in Slovenia. In the 19th century, it was visited by hydropathy enthusiasts following the methods of the Swiss physician Arnold Rikli. At the beginning of the 20th century, Lake Bled was considered to be the most beautiful health resort in Austria-Hungary. After World War II, this was the location of one of the most important state protocol residences. Villa Bled has retained this function to the present day.
Due to its mountain climate and unspoilt nature, Lake Bled was once widely considered to be a health resort, and there were pleasant bathing areas on the lake. The lake does not have major natural inflowing streams; water is only supplied by a few springs. There are also thermal springs in the north-eastern part of the lake, which now supply the swimming pools of Bled hotels. (Grand Hotel Toplice, Park and Golf hotels.)
Natural beauty at Vintgar Gorge
Not far from Lake Bled there is a gorge which, because of its exceptional beauty, was attracting tourists as early as in the 19th century. Wooden bridges and viewing galleries lead you down the 1.6 km long gorge among waterfalls, pools, and cascades. A stone, single-arch, former railway bridge also towers above the gorge. Vintgar Gorge, which also shares its name with other, similar gorges around Slovenia (vintgar is the Slovenian word for gorge) also take you by surprise due to its unique flora.
You can reach Mt. Triglav (2864 m), the highest mountain in Slovenia, using different trails. The easiest, yet still quite difficult, is the mountain trail that starts on Pokljuka (6.5 h), a wooded plateau near Lake Bled. One of the educational trails in the Triglav National Park can also be found on the Pokljuka Plateau.
This place, which has been attracting visitors for centuries, also offers excellent culinary delights. The most famous delicacy at Lake Bled is a dessert – the Bled Cream Cake (“kremšnita”) made using an original recipe from over 60 years ago. More than 12 million pieces of this dessert have been sold in Lake Bled so far.
The major attractions in Slovenia can also serve as the best starting points for your holiday. Here you can discover the special features of landscapes and treat yourself to a plethora of activities in nature.
To the highest peaks
The path to the mountains always rewards you with incredible views of Alpine peaks. Head to the highest mountain of Slovenia, Mt. Triglav, located in the middle of the Julian Alps, or to the popular peaks in the Karavanke Alps and the Kamnik and Savinja Alps.
Explore Slovenia by bike. Riding amid the hills and plains, mountain peaks and forests, along the coast and the karst landscape and along the rivers and lakes of Slovenia is a lushly verdant fairy tale. Different trails are suitable for on-road and off-road biking.
Numerous trails in forests and amidst mountain peaks are suitable for beginners and world-class cyclists. Simply visit one of the many marked biking trails, and adrenaline junkies can also visit multiple locations for downhill rides on mountain bikes.
Slovenia is a country of smaller ski resorts that are family-friendly and suitable for beginners, children and experienced skiers alike. Numerous ski schools and ski instructors, who speak different languages, will make sure that you really enjoy the snow.
Treat yourself to a swim in some of the many thermal spas and swimming pools. In summer, take a dip in the sea, lakes or rivers. Slovenia is rich in natural water resources. Visit Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj or one of the many natural swimming areas located on the coast.
Also visit museums that house the greatest treasures of Slovenia. Marvel at the special features of the landscape in protected nature areas. In the Karst, which lent its name to all karst phenomena throughout the world, you can also learn about the special features on the land surface, and not only those found in karst caves. All types of accommodation await you in the vicinity of major attractions.
In the green heart of Slovenia, your view stretches from the mountainous Alps to the tranquil beauty of the Pannonian plains in the east. Mediterranean Slovenia with its coastal towns and the stunning Karst are waiting for you to discover them in all their beauty.