The Complete Guide to Lake Bled
A lake, with a church on an island in the middle, plus a castle on the side, all surrounded by mountains. What more could you want?!
I have dreamed about going to Lake Bled for a long time. I was planning on going last summer, when I was travelling through Croatia, but I didn’t have a lot of time and the forecast was awful. So I decided to leave it for another time. And I am so glad I did, because it meant I had lots of time to explore not only Bled, but several other parts of the country.
Lake Bled is quickly becoming the new trendy spot to visit. Unfortunately, with rising popularity comes higher prices and bigger crowds. But don’t let that deter you. It’s so incredibly worth it. I spent four days in the area, and I could still go back and see more.
Here’s some of the best things to see and do in the area.
Walk around the lake
As you walk around the lake you get constantly changing views. It’s a 6km loop, so with a bunch of photo stops, it’ll take about an hour and a half. There are various spots you can stop too, so you don’t need to do it all in one hit.
Attempt to see a sunrise over the lake
I really, really tried to see a sunrise over Lake Bled, but despite my sunny days, the mornings were always cloudy and foggy. When I walked around the lake at sunrise, it was just grey and gloomy. From my hostel, which was a bit higher up, I got some nice coloured sky. But not much. I’ve seen pictures of sunrise on the lake though, and it appears to be worth it if you get a clear day.
Check out the lake at night
The way the castle and church are lit up at night is just magical – bonus if you get a full moon! Shame iPhone doesn’t take good night shots.
Paddle out to the island
There’s many little vendors around the lake offering boat hire for as little as €10. Paddle your way out to the island and check out the church. If you’re not so keen on rowing, there’s an option to have someone else do the hard work for you.
Check out the views from the castle
The castle is perched up on a hill that overlooks the lake, so naturally the views are immense! Shame I went up on an overcast day. Walking up from town only takes about ten minutes and the stairs up are not too steep.
Climb up to an even more impressive viewpoint
On the south west end of the lake you’ll find the path up to Mala Osojnica, where you can get your postcard picture of the lake. It’s the perfect spot to capture the lake, with its island and castle, plus the never-ending mountains in the background. The walk up here is much more difficult and takes about half an hour, if you’re stopping regularly for photos (and to catch your breath!)
Cool off with a swim
Lake Bled is the perfect temperature for a swim on a hot day! Cool, refreshing, but certainly not too chilly. There’s a few designated swimming spots around the lake. If you’re feeling energetic, you could even swim all the way to the island.
Eat a Cream Cake at Park Hotel Restaurant
Created at Park Hotel Restautant in 1953, the Bled Cream Cake is a treat not to be missed. Somewhat similar to a vanilla slice, the cake is layered with vanilla cream and puff pastry. Just to top it off, you’ll get a fantastic view of the lake while you nibble on your dessert.
Walk to the Vintgar Gorge
The gorge is closed in by towering rocks and filled with fast-flowing green water, often forming little waterfalls. At the end, it opens up into a big, beautiful waterfall. From Bled, Vintgar is about a 5km walk. The walk is lovely, passing through the countryside and some smaller towns. You then walk from one end of the gorge to the other (2km) and take a different route back, with a lovely viewpoint of the valley on the way. All up, it’ll take three or four hours. Go early in the morning to avoid the crowds – its mayhem in the middle of the day.
Something I didn’t do, but would have loved to, is Lake Bohinj. This nearby lake is even bigger than Lake Bled, but apparently a bit less touristy. There’s not a lot of options for hostels in the area and it gets popular over summer, so you need to either book a couple of weeks ahead, or do it as a day trip from Bled.