I didn’t really know what to expect when it was decided I’d be going to Slovenia. My mum chose the destination and booked it all, so unlike my other trips, I purposely didn’t over the top research and look at photos, so it’d be a surprise for me when I arrived. Slovenia impressed me. The people were friendly, I liked some of its quirky aspects and it didn’t feel packed full of tourists. Here are some of my favourite things to do in Bled after my 7 day stay!
What To Do In Lake Bled
(Updated Jan 2020)
1. Summer Toboggan
By winter, a ski slope, in the summer a toboggan run! Strapped into a plastic tray, attached to a rail and with a stop/go lever to control the speed! For an extra kick of adrenaline, keep it flat out, ignore the ‘slow down’ signs (disclosure: I will not be held responsible for you actually listening to that point, do so at your own risk!) and you’ll reach speeds of 30mph! It throws you about and at a couple of points you get the ‘stomach dropping feeling’ but it’s all part of the fun! It’s just over 500m long and has a gradient of 25%.
It’s reached by a chair lift up the mountain included in the toboggan ticket price! The chairlift + 1 toboggan ride is 9 euros (adult) or 16 euros for 2 turns! For a little bit of extra thrill, a high ropes course is located a short walk from the top chair lift station for an extra cost (22 euro for an adult). It’s good value for money as all 5 adult ropes courses take around 3 hours to complete!
You can find out more a Straza Bled.
2. Eat Bled Cream Cake!
Cream, custard, flaky pastry and a recipe that’s over 60 years old! The original recipe came from the Park Hotel over looking Lake Bled. In the summer you can choose to sit outside on the undercover terrace or in the inside seating area. The portion is huge and it’s yummy! It’s so good I had 2 from the Park Cafe and a 3rd from the supermarket! A must when you are in Lake Bled!
3. Hike from Vintgar Gorge back to Lake Bled
The hike through Vintgar Gorge is a nice walk in itself but rather than walk the same way back towards the car park, you can continue walking back to Bled through the forests, fields and little villages. The forest section has red targets painted on various tree trunks to help guide the way.
As you come out, there’s a nice cheap pub over looking the fields leading back to Bled (good for a well deserved beer!) before going down narrow little streets with fancy little houses! The very last section of the walk is a bit hairy…there aren’t really any pavements and because the streets are narrow you have to try and dodge the cars that pass pretty close! This was one of my highlights! There is a local bus that runs from Lake Bled to Vintgar Gorge.
4. Bled Castle
We decided to visit Bled Castle on a drizzly day! We walked up the 222 stairs through the woods, from the lake upto Bled Castle. Despite the low clouds, the views across the lake are worth the trip up there! From the summer toboggan hill, you only really get views of Bled Castle, however from the castle you can see Bled Island and the Church, so it does give you a different perspective of Lake Bled!
The indoor exhibits allow you to escape the rain on a dull day. I really enjoyed the printing press experience where for 8 Euros you choose a piece of handmade paper and using old fashioned traditions you print your name, the date and a picture of the lake on it and then finish it off with a wax stamp. Kind of expensive but it was a unique souvenir!
Entrance to Bled Castle is 11 Euros for Adults and 5 Euros for children under 14. The castle is open year round from 8am to either 6pm, 8pm or 9pm depending on the season.
5. Rent a Boat and Row to Bled Island
The traditional way to get to Bled Island is to go via Pletna. They will try and wait for as many people as possible before setting off, so you may be sat there a while. For 20 Euros you can hire a row boat for 2 hours and row to the island yourself. There’s plenty of dock space where you simply ‘pull up’ and tie the boat to a stake.
The main attraction on Bled Island is the ‘Church of the Mother of God on the Lake’ (bit of a mouthful). There are 99 steps leading up to it, it is said that if you get married on the island and the groom carries the bride to the top, it’s good luck! Continuing with luck, the church is home to a ‘Wishing Bell’ which stems from an old legend and if you ring it 3 times while making a wish, it’ll come true (so be prepared to hear a LOT of bell ringing)!
There’s not actually a charge to go ON Bled Island…some people even swim to it so don’t even have to pay for the price of a row boat! However there is a 6 Euro fee for an adult to enter the church and go up the lookout bell tower. There’s also a small snack shop (ice cream!) and a gift shop on the island.
Ringing the Wishing Bell
6. Lake Bled Swimming
If you do want to just swim in the lake (I did a couple of times!), the best place to do it would be on the far side of the lake nearly ‘Camping Bled’ camp ground as there is a small beach area (Velika Zeka) here! The lake is surprisingly warm but does get deep quickly!
The public lido (near Bled Castle) has waterslides and diving boards into the lake and swimming areas with depth markers. The lido has an all day entrance fee of 8 euros for an adult and 6 euro for a child (cheaper after 3pm).
7. Mini Golf
There’s also a mini golf course in Lake Bled which is said to be one of the largest in Europe! I do have a foot note in my journal that reads “the course was a bit subsided so the balls tended to roll away from the holes”…but that’s all part of the fun, so maybe if you’re a pro golfer who takes this seriously it may not be the best idea to visit (I’ve played loads of courses that are in a very similar condition)! A round of mini golf is 5 euro per person.
Day Trips From Lake Bled
If you are looking for other things to do in Lake Bled, there are several fun day trips you can take!
8. Julien Alps and Triglav National Park
Swimming in the Kosjak Waterfall
The Kosjak Waterfall in Slovenia feels like it’s come from some woodland fairy tale. It isn’t a million miles away from civilisation, it’s located on the edge of the Triglav National Park not far from the town of Kobarid. At the start of the hiking trail, there’s a car park and even a camp site. From there, you cross the bright blue Soca River over a rather long bridge. Although people that aren’t bridge fans, should be aware that not only is it long, it’s high up, VERY bouncy and only has cables as walls. If you’re not walking in time with the ‘bounce’ it feels like it might catapult you right over the edge (I found it hilarious)!
The 20 minute woodland trail is a fairly easy walk with only a bit of mud and tree roots to contend with…flip flops aren’t really suitable! As you near the falls, the footpath crosses back and forth over the stream using narrow planks of wood attached to little staircases made from rocks and stone which I found really cute and added to the adventure!
You hear the waterfall before you can see it. It’s in its own little cave/cavern. More stone steps and a board-walk clinging to the rock face (similar to those at the more touristy Vintgar Gorge) lead to a viewing platform so the falls can be seen in all its glory! The drop is 15 metres high, the rock walls around it are even higher and the pool at the bottom is bright green! (See image above)
The day I visited, it was cold and rainy but it didn’t stop my tour group from wanting to swim and what a swim it was! I don’t think I’ve ever been so cold in my life (and I’m used to surfing in England!) I thought my arms and legs were going to drop off but I wouldn’t have changed it for the world! Someone in my tour group said they had recently had an Ice Bath in Turkey and the bath was warmer! The only real way to reach the pool, was upstream, scaling the rock face, it’s sharp and slippery but worth it! Word of warning though…our guides told us not to get too close to the waterfall, as the closer you get, the current gets stronger and can suck you under the water…needless to say, none of us got too close to find out how true this was!!
Car train from Most Na Soca to Bohinjska Bistrica
Car trains aren’t THAT unique…after all there’s one that whizzes from England to France BUT this particular train that takes 40 minutes connects Most Na Soca to Bohinjska Bistrica is so much cooler!! Literally just a deck with railings you can see everything you pass from the comfort of your own vehicle.
Unfortunately you have to stay in your vehicle while it’s moving but it passes through the mountains via a series of tunnels, including one that’s 6327 metres long, leaving you in complete darkness for 7 minutes! At some stations, the train stops and you can watch a man on a bicycle cycling between the 2 signal boxes to put you onto the right track! It’s old school, I loved it. (A vehicle ticket, including passengers is around 40Euro)
White Water Rafting on the Soca River
Slovenia’s ‘Emerald River’. Not the most challenging rapids in the world, but the river is bright blue/green and really clear! Still a fun trip to take, the guides stop half way through for optional rock jumping and you can swim a short section on the river (definitely do the the swim! It’s FREEZING cold but cool to float down the river on your back, letting the current take you along). The day I went, it was rainy and cloudy and at some points there was a mist over the river with men standing in the middle fishing, it had a creepy atmosphere!
The Kosjak Waterfall and car train were part of my 65 Euro ‘Emerald River Adventure’ with 3Glav Adventures…it’s a great 12 hour day out around the Triglav National Park. For 35Euro more, I had the White Water Rafting thrown in too.
9. Ljubljana Day Trip
The relaxed capital of Slovenia is quite do able on foot. It has several unique bridges going over the Ljubljanica River, including Butchers Bridge which has been over taken as a ‘love lock’ bridge. Padlocks can be bought at a shop opposite and they even have marker pens so you can write messages/names on them before attaching them to the bridge!
Also along the river, is a weekend market and lots of cafes and bars with river side seating. A funicular railway goes up to Ljubljana Castle, the look out tower has a nice little observation deck. Trubarjeva Cesta is a cool little pedestrian street, on every power cable along the street, pairs of shoes are hanging up…it started by a man advertising his shoe shop and expanded from there!
There’s cute graffiti on the walls…and even over the trains, in England it would be scrubbed off (our graffiti is tacky rather than arty) but it’s colourful and adds to the character of the place!
Getting from Ljubljana to Lake Bled
In my opinion, the most direct and easiest way to get between Ljubljana and Lake Bled is on the direct Ljubljana to Bled bus. Buses leave every hour, taking approximately 1hr 20 and costs 7 euro one way. The bus leaves from the main bus station in Ljubljana and will arrive into one of 2 stops in Bled. We got on and off from the Bled bus station as it was closest to our hotel. Travelling to Ljubljana, the bus will most likely say LJUBLJANA on the front, heading back to Bled, it’s likely to be continuing on to LAKE BOHINJ. Check the timetables at the station or just simply ask the driver if it stops at Bled.
10. Day Trip to Venice (Italy) from Lake Bled
It’s a long ole day trip but it is possible to visit Venice, Italy for the day from Lake Bled! The coach picked us up at 7am and we didn’t get back to the hotel until 10.15pm (which I believe is one of the longest organised DAY trips that I have ever been on)! We had a total of around 5 hours in Venice, which was long enough for: a 30 minute Venetian gondola ride, eat gelato (of course), see the Rialto Bridge/Grand Canal, the Bridge of Sighs and take a trip up to the top of the Campanile bell tower in St Marks Square.
Where I Stayed in Lake Bled
Bled Rose Hotel
I stayed at the Hotel Jelovica, which is now the Bled Rose Hotel in Bled, just a short walk from the lakefront. It was completely renovated in 2019! My mum and dad had a room with a lake view, me and my sister had a village view. Both rooms had balconies which we found nice. Rooms include a buffet breakfast. The hotel also has a small indoor swimming pool and offer massages (so good!).
For more information on things to do in Lake Bled, you can check out the Bled tourism website.
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