Lake Bled has been on my bucket list for a number of years now and I finally made the trip over the recent bank holiday weekend. Bled is what fairytales are made of – it is absolutely staggering. I can’t recommend Bled enough and if you plan on going, hopefully this guide will be of use to you!
We stayed in Hotel Lovec (Best Western Premier) when in Bled. The hotel is in a fantastic location, just a couple of minutes walk from the lake. There are shops, restaurants and a supermarket right on the doorstep. The hotel was clean and modern and the room had lots of good facilities including air-con, a safe, drink making facilities and toiletries. There were also lots of nice touches; chocolate on our pillows, complimentary bottles of water on our first day and robes, slippers and an umbrella for use during our stay. Breakfast was fantastic, especially considering the hotel isn’t that large. Our stay here wasn’t particularly cheap but I do think it was worth paying a bit extra for the location of this hotel. It was also really lovely to come back to a nice cool room with extra comfy beds after days of hiking in the heat.
We flew from Manchester to Ljubljana with Adria airways. This was a good little airline and everything went smoothly with the flight. I found the website difficult to negotiate so a little tip – Adria is free check in at the airport. I tried for ages to find out how to check in online!
On arriving in Ljubljana we found an airport shuttle service outside which offered services to Bled. The lady asked us to wait 40 minutes for the next flight to arrive so she could attempt to get more people. It would have been €49 (for two) to go immediately or €37 (for two) if we waited. If more people joined, we would only pay €13 each. We decided to save the money and wait, but no one else joined so we spent €37 between us – not too bad for a 35 minute journey.
Bled is a small town and we therefore did everything on foot when we were there.
Bled was a bit hit and miss in terms of food. We ate at Park Restaurant and Cafe on our first night which was average at best. We had a fairly good meal at Chilli one lunch time – the food was good but quite expensive for lunch. We also got lunch from ZaZiv Vegan Bar which offered lots of different vegan burgers and you certainly get a lot for your money! I’d recommend visiting here for a cheap, on-the-go lunch.
Our second night brought the best meal we had in Bled. Vila Preseren offers great Slovenian food in a gorgeous setting right by the lake. As a vegetarian, it can often be challenging to sample local cuisine. However,Vila Preseren marked their dishes with ‘taste Bled’ or ‘taste Slovenia’ and this included meat-free dishes. I had a lovely local cheese risotto. We also shared a cream slice which Bled is famous for – this is a must whilst visiting Bled and this one was to die for. Prices were quite reasonable here for such a lovely meal and experience. We paid €48 for two mains, a side, a dessert, water and three glasses of wine.
On our last night we ate in Okarina which offers a mix of Indian and other cuisines. The food here was lovely but was very expensive. We got a lot less for our money than elsewhere and I was a bit stung by the €7.50 price tag on the sparkling wine they offered in place of rosé! One of our vegetarian mains was €17.90 which is a little hard to justify in my eyes.
We spent our first morning simply walking around the whole lake – this was a beautiful walk and was a great way to get our bearings and take in Bled’s beauty.
We then opted for a bit of adventure and went Summer Tobogganing down a mountain! This wasn’t cheap, at €12 each for two rides (options also include one ride at €9 or three rides at €15) including the chair lift up there. However, it was a great experience and the views from the top are spectacular. If you’re not an adrenaline junkie and don’t fancy tobogganing, you can pay €4 for the chair lift only. Once you’re at the top, there are stunning view points and free outdoor fitness facilities. You can also pay to use the treetop park, similar to GoApe.
Our first day was glorious weather wise so we thought it a prime opportunity to swim in the lake. We opted to pay to use the public lido where there are lifeguards and steps into the lake making swimming easier. For an afternoon at the lido we paid €6 each for entry as well as €3 each for sun beds and €2 for a locker. Again, this was quite expensive but it was worthwhile for the experience of swimming in Lake Bled.
On our second day we decided to go to the very popular Vintgar Gorge which is 4km out of Bled. We decided to walk it; the hotel receptionist advised that this was possible. ‘Just walk up past Chilli restaurant and then it’s straight up and there are signs’, she says. Walking in 30 degree heat along roads barely wide enough for cars, let alone pedestrians too, I really started to resent that receptionist. An hour and a half and a lot of frustration later, we finally made it to Vintgar. A bit of advice – don’t attempt this walk. It’s definitely not straight forwards and it’s very dangerous at times. Plus, it’s 4km from the edge of Bled – not from the lake itself. We walked 7km to get there from our hotel. Luckily, Vintgar was worth it. The stunning walk on the zig-zagging bridges over the crystal clear water is an unforgettable experience. I’ve not been to a place quite like it. There is an entrance fee here like most places around Bled.
Unsurprisingly we opted to get a bus back from Vintgar but stopped off at the castle. As if we hadn’t done enough walking, we then walked down the hundreds of steps back to the lakeside. We decided not to pay to enter the castle but took in the lovely views nonetheless. We stopped off for some grub and then headed over to the lake for a boat trip across to the island. This seemed to be regarded as a ‘must-do’ for Bled so despite the cost, we went for it. We opted to go on a staffed rowing boat instead of rowing ourselves; this set us back €14 each. It started to pour down during our trip over, so when we got to the island we needed to quickly take shelter. We decided to pay into the church (€6 each) and then went and had a coffee and cake in the cafe. There isn’t much to do on the island and so the boat only waited 40 minutes but I’m glad we did it nonetheless. Due to the storm and very heavy rain, we were taken back from the island on a more sturdy electric boat.
We only had two full days in Bled but there was so much more I would have liked to have done. There are lots of outdoor activities available, including white water rafting, canyoning and even sky-diving. There are also day trips you can make from Bled – I would have loved to have gone brown bear watching.
Bled is unfortunately really quite expensive as you’ll have noticed from some of the prices outlined above. I spent a lot more in Bled than I usually do during short breaks. If you want to really make the most of your time here, be prepared to spend some extra pennies.
English guide books are unfortunately quite limited for Bled and Slovenia in general. I bought the Berlitz Slovenia guide and was very disappointed with it. Considering Bled is the largest tourist destination and Ljubljana is the capital of the country, having only a couple of pages on each was a real let down. I personally wouldn’t bother investing and would instead do your reading online beforehand.
Bled was everything I hoped and more – definitely worth the wait. I really wish I had been there longer as there was a lot more I wanted to do. I don’t say it very often but I would definitely like to return to Slovenia. My Ljubljana guide will be live very soon!