You’ve probably seen photos of fairytale Lake Bled located just outside Slovenia’s charming capital of Ljubljana. The lake is nestled between mountain peaks framing a small island upon which a castle-like church stands. If it sounds magical, that’s because it is. I’m curious how many travelers have booked a trip to Slovenia after only seeing a photo of stunning Lake Bled… Although I don’t personally fall into this category (but certainly won’t judge if you do), I was very eager to visit Bled and feast my eyes upon this iconic view during my road trip through Slovenia. (You can read all about why I chose Slovenia, what the country offers travelers and my road trip route in detail here). I would argue that you can’t leave Slovenia without visiting Bled. Here are 5 Reasons You Must Go To Lake Bled, Slovenia:
5 Reasons You Absolutely Positively Must Go to Lake Bled
1. “Wow” Natural Beauty.
I had a rather obvious epiphany on a trip to the French Alps a couple years ago – I like visiting picturesque lakefront cities carved into mountains. Why? They are really, really pretty. Mountains and lakes basically guarantee epic landscapes. As a traveler, I love breathtakingly beautiful scenery and Lake Bled does not disappoint.
You will hear “ooohs,” “ahhs,” and “wows” escape your mouth the instant you first catch a glimpse of Lake Bled. If you’re like me, these sounds won’t cease until you leave the country of Slovenia.
2. Views for Days…
Views, views, views! Another obvious thing mountains and lakes guarantee travelers? Epic views. Literally, everywhere you turn there is beauty in Bled. As I walked around the lake I couldn’t help but find myself enamored with each and every varying angle of Bled Island. The sun had started to set as I finished my loop and I literally had to stop myself from retracing my steps around the lake again. Each moment during sunset was more enchanting than the one before it. I could have happily admired and photographed Bled for several more days.
Head up to Bled Castle or hike up one of the lakefront mountain peaks for particularly great panorama views like the ones pictured above.
3. There are actually things to do other than stare at the lake (but, I’d recommend you do plenty of that too).
Bled is a very small town, one which many tourists only experience during a day trip from Ljubljana. I implore you to stay in Bled at least two nights and I promise you won’t be bored. Bled is far less crowded and even more stunning once the hoards of day-trippers leave in the evening. Obvious things to do in Bled include walking, cycling or hiking around the lake.
Sometimes it’s fun to give in and indulge in (worth-while) super-touristy activities. Don’t fight the urge to rent a rowboat to putter across the swan-filled lake to the Church of the Assumption. I couldn’t force myself to wait in the long line of tourists to climb up the 99 stone steps to the top of the bell tower, but legend has it that if you ring the bell three times your wish will be granted.
If you choose to rent a rowboat, whether to disembark on Bled Island or just row around it to enjoy the sun and views, I’d recommend that you pack refreshments (I prefer champagne). It’s hot out there and rowing that wooden boat across the lake is much harder than it looks.
Bonus points if you can trick someone else into doing the rowing for you so you can kick back, relax and enjoy your champagne! 🙂
Visiting Bled Castle is also a must. I would recommend that you plan your visit around dinner time and indulge in a lovely meal at the castle’s posh restaurant. Your entrance fee to the castle will be waived if you have a dinner reservation. Like with many locations in Bled, you’ll be treated to a sweeping vista of the lake and Bled Island below you (without even having to get up from your dinner table).
4. Bled is a great base to explore the area’s surrounding beauty.
An easy and worthwhile trip from Bled is Vintgar Gorge. I would definitely recommend you carve out a couple hours for an easy walk the gorge’s wooden foot bridges and enjoy the Fern Gully-like gorge.
Bled is also a great base to explore the lesser-toured Lake Bohinj. There seems to be an ongoing debate among travelers as to whether Lake Bled or Lake Bohinj is “better.” Is a trip out to the Lake Bohinj worth it? Yes. Visiting Bohinj is certainly worth the time and effort; however, I find myself confused by the constant comparison between the two lakes. In my opinion, the only thing the lakes have in common is that they are located near each other. Other than their location, they are very different. Go to Lake Bled if you’re a tourist visiting Slovenia and only have time to see one. Sure, Lake Bled is touristy, but there’s a reason throngs of tourists flock to the city all year long – the views of Bled Island are striking. You’ll find natural beauty and a more peaceful setting at Lake Bohinj, but no fairytale castles.
On this note, I would highly recommend that you rent a car to explore Slovenia. Although you can easily take public transportation from Ljubljana to Bled, it can be difficult and/or time consuming to reach some locations in Slovenia without a car. I wouldn’t have been able to visit Lake Bohinj, Vintgar Gorge or even get up to Bled Castle quickly and easily without my Auto Europe rental car.
5. Super fun and unique accommodations.
While in Bled I stayed at Garden Village. I adored this unique “eco resort” and could have easily spent a day solely exploring and enjoying the grounds. (Seriously, the place was adorable). The accommodations at Garden Village aren’t your run-of-the-mill hotel rooms… Heck no. You can stay in a pier tent, glamping tent or treehouse depending on your preference (and budget). But, just because you’re “glamping” doesn’t mean you’re going to be roughing it. Prepare yourself to be one with nature in a chic atmosphere.
I think the glamping tents with private wooden hot tubs are where it’s at, but even if you stay in a Pier Tent you’ll be equipped with electricity (including a small refrigerator) and a double mattress. The Pier Tents are super cute – they are situated along a pond and are accessible by hanging footbridges.
The resort also has a “living pool,” which is home to a couple vocal bullfrogs and provides the perfect atmosphere for relaxation, a fire pit for guests to mix and mingle each evening, a Finnish sauna to treat your muscles after a long day of hiking and a restaurant that serves delicious gourmet farm-to-table cuisine.
I can’t stress enough that you shouldn’t miss this resort if you’re in Bled. Garden Village isn’t necessarily cheap by Slovenian standards, but is well worth the splurge. I’ve discussed in this post that Garden Village has been one of my favorite lodging experiences to date.
Want to read more about beautiful Slovenia? Check out these posts: Ultimate 1 Week Slovenia Itinerary and Ljubljana City Guide: Europe’s Most Charming Capital City
Have you been to Bled? What did you think? Do you agree that travelers visiting Slovenia must go to Lake Bled?
Although I received a heavily discounted press rate to stay at Garden Village, all my opinions are my own – I loved my glamping experience in Bled! Thank you to Auto Europe for sponsoring my road trip through Slovenia. CC image from Flickr: Ck Lake Bled from on High by Jedd and Neda Fields. FWTG is an Amazon affiliate, meaning that I earn a small commission at no cost to you should you choose to make a purchase through any Amazon link. I appreciate your support in keeping this site up and running! You can read FWTG’s disclosure policy here.
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