Recently, someone asked me for recommendations in Lake Bled, Slovenia. Right before that, I was asked about recommendations in Rome, Croatia, Amsterdam, Dublin, Ljubljana, and more. What do these places have in common? I don’t have city guides for them!
I have decided that anytime I write a friend with recommendations, I may as well create an informal city guide for the blog so it can be easily shared with others in the future. These city guides may not be as thorough or formal as previous city guides, but they are full of great information, including the best possible places to eat! To learn more about some of my most favorite cities, check out city guides for Florence, London, and Paris. So here we go.
Quick City Guide #1: Lake Bled
Lake Bled is a stunning lake located in Slovenia. It has gained popularity over the past 10 years, with increasing numbers of visitors each summer. My personal recommendation is to visit during the “off” season, but while it’s still warm (September, October, May, June). You can’t actually swim or fish in the lake, so HOT weather is not a requirement.
There are a variety of accommodations on and around the lake. My recommendation would be to stay at Hotel Jelovica, located right on the water. It’s a great hotel with plenty of amenities, and at an affordable cost. Location wise, you can’t get any better. Alternatively, if you’re into Glamping (a.k.a. Glamorous Camping), there are a couple of Glamping options around the lake as well.
In terms of things to do:
- If you’re the active type, take a few hours to walk around the entire lake. It’s a beautiful walk and a perfect way to get some exercise. You get to see everything in detail this way, too – and you can always discover a new restaurant, bar, or café at which to take a break. Alternatively, you can hop the tourist train which takes you around the lake. It makes various stops to pick up more passengers, and If I’m not mistaken, your ticket allows you to get off the train and board again. It will take you all the way around the lake at your leisure.
This is a view of the lake from the Bled Castle:
2. Rent a boat (they have these cool “swan-shaped” boats) and paddle across to the church in the middle of the lake. Alternatively, you can hire someone to take you across the lake to the small island, wait for you, then bring you back when you’re done (this is what I’d recommend). You don’t need more than an hour on the island, including a break for coffee at the small café.
Here we are on our boat:
The steps leading up to the church on the island:
3. Walk up to Bled Castle. If you cannot or do not want to do the 20 minute up-hill walk to the castle, there is a road that will take you very close by car. Even if you choose not to walk up all of the stairs to get to the castle, please note there is a very steep hill leading from the base of the castle to the entrance. I recommend paying to go into the castle. When we went, there was a medieval festival going on. It totally felt like we were in Game of Thrones (one can dream). The views of the lake from the castle are stunning, and there’s a cute little café to enjoy coffee. My other recommendation in the castle is to visit the monk!! You’ll see. There’s a very charismatic “monk” that helps you bottle your own wine. You bottle the wine from the barrel, cork it, seal it, and sign it. It’s not very expensive, and it’s a great keepsake and experience.
See! Game of Thrones:
4. Lake Bled is the PERFECT place to be adventurous. There are multiple companies that offer excursions for canyoning, hiking, paragliding, skydiving, and so on. We went canyoning and paragliding, two things I NEVER thought we’d do, but I absolutely loved it. Fun fact: Sarah (my sister) and I starred in a Slovenian television show about canyoning during our excursion… We were by far the worst in our class.
Here I am, right before Paragliding (I was actually terrified):
5. Whether you have kids or not: Check out “Straza Bled”, a small amusement park of sorts. There’s plenty of activities for climbing, jumping, zip lining, and a luge that takes you back down to the bottom of the park. From my understanding, it can be very crowded in high season, so I especially recommend this activity in off season.
6. Lastly, take a trip out to Vintgar Gorge. It’s only 10 minutes driving from Lake Bled. Vintgar Gorge consists of 1.6 kilometers of path (all wooden bridges) that weaves through the vertical rocks of the Hom and Borst hills. There are many waterfalls, pools, and rapids to see. It is not a difficult walk. I would classify this as “beginner”, so I encourage everyone to go visit the gorge. It’s extremely beautiful. The largest waterfall in Slovenia can also be viewed here!
One more of the Gorge because it’s so beautiful:
Okay, that’s all I’ve got! If you have recommendations you’d like to share, PLEASE DO. I truly loved my visits to Lake Bled, and I would love to go back again in the near future. I’d be especially interested in hearing about any restaurant recommendations. If you’re a big foodie yourself, you might be interested in my post about The Top 10 “Locals Only” Places to Eat in Barcelona.