Breathtaking and incredibly photogenic, the picture perfect island in the turquoise waters of Lake Bled is one of the most captivating places we’ve ever visited. From relaxing by the waters of Lake Bled and indulging in the local cream cake special to checking out its challenging hikes and stunning views there is a host of things to do in Lake Bled and its surrounds. We’ve put together our guide to Bled with the best sights and things you must see and do. Happy planning!
1 | Enjoy the views from Bled Castle
Perched on a cliff overlooking Lake Bled, the medieval Bled Castle is the oldest castle in Slovenia. The views are spectacular from its high vantage point: the iconic Bled Island sitting amid the emerald green waters and surrounded by lush forest make for one of the most beautiful places on Earth.
Bled sightseeing tip: the castle is accessible by road and the castle car park is located a short, although steep, walk from the castle. It’s possible to hike from the Lake to the Castle which sits about 130 metres above the lake.
2 | Swim in Lake Bled
On a sunny day the turquoise waters of Lake Bed entice swimmers from all around the lake. The cool waters of the lake are the perfect remedy for the hot summer temperatures and it’s a beautiful place for a swim. If you’re feeling adventurous you can swim across to Bled Island but remember, you need to bring clothes if you want to enter the church on the island.
Bled sightseeing tip: there are lots of swimming spots and, in summer season, you’ll find lots of swimmers along the shores of Lake. Our favourite spot was the private beach at Vila Bled, the beautiful lakeside hotel we stayed at in Lake Bled – book Vila Bled here. The views of Bled Island were incredible and we loved chilling out on the deck and having our own little sanctuary on the lake!
3 | Spend a night at the Lake
Lake Bled is a popular day trip from Ljubljana but we recommend spending at least one night in the area to experience the beauty of the lake early in the morning and late in the evening when the area is much quieter and serene without the crowds. We stayed at the incredible Vila Bled on the shores of the lake and it’s definitely one to splash out on if you want to treat yourself. Our top picks for accommodation at Bled are’:
- Vila Bled: on the shores of Lake Bled, we treated ourselves to a night here. The luxury property is President Tito’s former summer residence and has private lake access for guests. We loved the free parking, breakfast on the terrace overlooking Bled Island and the famous Bled Cream Cake, a hotel specialty – check latest prices here!
- Pension Bled: a beautiful little reasonably priced hotel located about 1 mile from the Lake. We spent a night here and loved the immaculate rooms, delicious breakfast and outdoor pool – check latest prices here!
- Penzion Kaps: another great option just 150 metres from Lake Bled with great rooms and breakfast – check latest prices here!
Bled sightseeing tip: Although we recommend to stay in Lake Bled for at least one night, it’s possible to take a day trip from Ljubljana
The backdrop for every Lake Bled photo, Bled Island needs to be admired both from a distance and by arriving on its shores.
4 | Explore Bled Island
The tiny, tear shaped island in the middle of Lake Bled, draws visitors from the lake and most make the 99 step climb up the Baroque stairway to the Church of the Assumption. It’s lovely to take a gentle stroll around the island and there’s also a café and a souvenir shop for vistors.
Bled sightseeing tip: if you’re lucky you might catch a wedding on Bled Island where it is considered good luck for the groom to carry the new bride up the 99 steps to the church on the day of the wedding. One of our good friends got married on the island and it is one of the most beautiful and romantic wedding venues on the planet!
5 | Row your boat!
Row boats are a fun way to explore the Lake and a great way to reach Bled Island which is about 10 minutes from the shore. Row boat rentals are available at some of the boathouses dotted around the lake: the Grand Hotel Toplice, the Pensoin Plenta and the Castle boathouse all have row boats available at a cost of EUR 15 to 20 per hour depending on the boat size.
Bled sightseeing tip: We’re not experienced rowers but it was a pleasant 10 minute trip out to Lake Bled and included a lot of laughs about the possibility of capsizing!!
6 | Ring the wishing bell
Legend has it that a young widow lived in Bled Castle and commissioned a bell for the church in memory of her husband. While the bell was being transported to the island a huge storm struck resulting in the loss of the crew and the sinking of the boat and bell. The widow lived out the rest of her life as a nun in Rome and, when she died, the Pope sent a bell to Bled. It’s said that whoever rings this bell and makes a wish will have their wish come true.
7 | Take a ride on a pletna
Pletnas, the traditional gondolas made by locals which transport passengers across the lake, are wooden flat bottomed boats with a pointed bow and a trip on one is a unique Lake Bled experience. The boats hold up to 20 passengers and are propelled by an oarsman who stands and rows with two oars.
8 | Indulge in the famous Bled cream cake
A scrumptious vanilla cream topped with a golden crust, whipped cream, butter dough and a sprinkling of icing sugar make up the delicious Bled cream cake, a local specialty. It’s even more delicious when enjoyed al fresco from a terrace overlooking the lake.
9 | Stroll the boardwalk at Lake Bled
A 6 km long trail snakes around the lake is the perfect way to explore Bled from a lake side vantage point and is hugely popular with walkers and cyclists.
Bled sightseeing tip: If you prefer to sit back and relax, a sightseeing tourist train takes visitors on a 45 minute loop around the lake.
10 | Take a hike
Lush green hills rise above the shores of Lake Bled and the hiking trails are a great addition to walks around the Lake. The most popular hike is to Mala Osijnica, a view point located 645 metres above the Lake. It’s a challenging 45 to 60 minute hike from the shores of Bled but the views make it 100% worth the effort!
Bled sightseeing tip: when you reach the top of the metal stairs turn left for this particular view point. After a few minutes you’ll reach Mala Osojnica with a bench and the view of Lake Bled. From here you can appreciate those iconic views of Bled Island and Bled Castle against the backdrop of the imposing Julian Alps.
11 | Watch the sunrise over the lake
Sunrise is spectacular in Bled as the morning sky illuminates against the backdrop of Lake Bled and the Julian Alps. The best sunrise spot is from Mala Osjinica, the aforementioned Bled hike.
12 | Take a buckelist sunrise hot air balloon ride over the lake
Lake Bled is magical and it’s a real bucket list moment to experience Bled from the sky. Floating over the turquoise lake while enjoying amazing views of Bled Island and Castle as the sun rises .. it doesn’t get much better than that!
Bled sightseeing tip: book a sunrise hot air balloon trip – click here
13 | Enjoy a Bled sunset
Sunset is a spectacular as the sunrise at Lake Bled and we loved nothing more than curling up with a glass of wine and a slice of Bled cream cake on the terrace of Vila Bled – check prices here. A picnic along the banks of the lake was another sunset favourite for us!
14 | Get an adrenaline rush at Straza Bled
Straža Bled is a hill overlooking Lake Bled and, with incredible views of the castle and the lake, is one of the best viewpoints around the Lake. It’s also a perfect spot for adrenaline junkies – in summer it’s possible to toboggan on the slope with a gondola ride up to the top and then the slalom ride back down to earth while in winter Straza Bled turns into a ski slope!
Short trips from Bled
While Lake Bled is undoubtedly the star attraction there are some amazing lakes, gorges and mountain passes close by. We used our rental car to travel from Bled to the sights below but, if you don’t have a rental, they are served by local buses during summer.
15 | Lake Bohinj
Often overshadowed by the more famous Lake Bled, Lake Bohinj is the equally as beautiful as its neighbour. It’s the largest permanent lake in Slovenia and there are some fantastic hikes including the hikes to Mount Pršivec and Vogar which both showcase amazing views of the lake below.
16 Vintar gorge
Only a few kilometres from Bled Town, the Vintgar Gorge is a spectacular sight as the clear turquoise waters cut through the surrounding rocks. The 1.6 km long gorge carves its way through the vertical rocks and the water swirls into waterfalls, pools and rapids.
17 Lake Jasna
Surrounded by imposing mountains Lake Jasna is a breathtaking alpine lake close to Bled. Jasna is small and busy but lots of fun: there’s even a diving platform for some extra lakeside kicks!
18 | Triglav National Park
Triglav National park is the only national park in Slovenia and draws adrenaline junkies, hikers and nature lovers from Bled and across Slovenia. The clear waters of the beautiful Soca Valley, the source of Soca River, are perfect for rafting and zip lining is also popular. We also loved our drive across the Vršič Mountain Pass, the highest mountain pass in Slovenia, where the views were spectacular.