Lake Bled is arguably Slovenia’s most famous destination. Perhaps even more famous than the country’s capital, beautiful Ljubljana. Ever since seeing pictures of the emerald-green lake with the mysterious Bled Island in the center, I kept dreaming of visiting this area. In my mind, Lake Bled was one of those lovely, absolutely perfect places. So when the opportunity to visit it arose, I jumped at the chance. We had very little time planned for Slovenia on our road trip through the Balkans. So squeezing in a day trip to Lake Bled from Ljubljana was my number one priority.
Visiting Lake Bled
A day trip to Lake Bled from Ljubljana requires an early start in order to avoid the crowds. Bled is Slovenia’s most popular resort, so people come here in droves. The lake is every bit as beautiful and romantic in real life as it is in pictures. A great place to decompress and enjoy sheer beauty. Whether you take a stroll along the shore, ride a boat to the island, or simply sit and admire the landscape, you will find the experience calming and rewarding.
We visited the Lake Bled in early spring, when the weather is cool and the area is less crowded. The first sight of the lake in the morning light was mesmerizing! Breathtaking! The tranquil water was totally undisturbed. No swimmer in the water. Just an occasional boat crossing to Bled Island.
We walked around the lake for about 90 minutes, stopping along the way for a cup of coffee and to take some pictures. It’s hard to resist snapping the lake from every angle. Or Bled Island with its pointing church bell tower. Or Bled Castle clinging to a cliff, surrounded by some of the highest peaks of the Julian Alps.
Attractions in Lake Bled
One of the main attractions in Lake Bled is Bled Castle. The walk up to the castle is pretty steep and so is the entrance fee (11€ plus/person plus 3€ for parking). But visiting the castle is very rewarding. From up there you get the best views of the lake, the island and the entire area.
If you are not interested in the castle’s history you can skip the museum and just walk around the grounds, enjoying the views. They are absolutely spectacular! Before getting down to Bled, I recommend stopping for a slice of Kremna Rezina, Bled’s famous cream cake. It’s a custard, whipped cream puff pastry. Delicious!
The other main attraction in Bled is Bled Island with its beautiful Church of the Assumption. The 52-meter free-standing bell tower is perhaps the most recognizable symbol of Lake Bled. To get to the island you’ll have to take one of those lovely little boats known as pletna.
These wooden flat-bottom boats are propelled with a special technique. The oarsman is standing at the back of the boat, rowing with two oars. You can hire a pletna on the town side of the lake. The cost is 14€ per person round trip payable only in only cash. If you feel more adventurous, you can rent a rowing boat or a kayak for 20€/hour.
After dropping you on the island, the boats usually give you about an hour to look around before they pick you up for the return trip. Enough time to climb up the 99 steep steps leading to the church to visit it.
The Legend of the Sunken Bell
The Church of the Assumption doesn’t have a wishing well, but instead it has a wishing bell. The legend says that once upon a time in the castle of Bled there lived a wealthy woman with her husband. One night as he was walking home, the husband was killed by robbers who then threw his body into the lake. Heartbroken with grief, the widow gathered all her gold and silver and cast a bell for the chapel on the island, to honor her beloved husband.
Tragically, an unexpected storm hit the lake and the boat commissioned to transporting the bell sank. Saddened by this accident, the woman decided to leave Bled forever. She sold all her belongings and paid for the construction of a new church on Bled Island. She spent the rest of her life in Rome, as a nun.
Long after her death, the Pope heard of her good deeds and her misfortune and decided to make a new church bell in her memory. The widow became known as the Lady of the Lake.
They say that if you ring this bell three times and tell your wish to the Lady of the Lake, your wish will come true. On moonless nights, in the cold bleak darkness of winter, you can still hear the ringing of the original bell rising up from the depths of the lake.
Best time to visit Lake Bled
Lake Bled is beautiful all year round. Even in winter, when snows covers its shores. Given its proximity to the mountains, the weather in Lake Bled is very unpredictable. Visiting it from April to June would give you a better chance to find nice weather. Although the most sunny days are in summer, I would not recommend visiting the lake in July and August. It is very hot and crowded.
Tip: Staying in Bled can be expensive. The cheapest and easiest way to see the area is taking a Lake Bled day trip from Ljubljana. It’s an easy 45-50 minutes drive and a day gives you plenty of time to explore all the attractions in Bled.