Lake Bled is arguably Slovenia‘s most famous destination. Perhaps even more famous than the country’s capital, beautiful Ljubljana. Given its proximity to the capital, Lake Bled is best explored as a day trip from 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. 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.
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Day Trip to Lake Bled From Ljubljana
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.
Attractions to Visit on Your Day Trip to Lake Bled
Visit Bled Castle
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. The views from the castle terrace are absolutely stunning!
After you finish visiting the castle, stop at the little restaurant next to the entrance for a slice of Kremna Rezina. This custard and whipped cream puff pastry is Bled’s famous cream cake. I think you are going to love it!
Visit the Church of the Assumption on Bled Island
Another important attraction to see on your day trip to Lake 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.
Discover 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.
Walk Around the Lake
One of the most relaxing things to do on your day trip to Lake Bled is walking around the lake. It’s a great area for walking and for peace and quiet.
Lake Bled is not very big and the scenery is lovely, with the Julian Alps as a back drop. This is a 60 to 90 minute walk, depending on how fast you walk and how many stops you make to photograph the island, the church, the castle, the mean swans.
How to Reach Lake Bled From Ljubljana
Staying in Bled can be expensive. Therefore, most visitors prefer to stay in the nearby Ljubljana and visit Lake Bled on a day trip. Getting to Lake Bled from Ljubljana is fairly easy, given the town’s proximity to Slovenia’s capital. Here are your options:
The fastest way to get from Ljubljana to Lake Bled is by driving your own (rental) car. The ride take about 45-50 minutes, which will leave you with plenty of time to explore all the attractions in Bled in a day.
If you need to rent a car in Ljubljana, I recommend using Auto Europe. We used this company successfully many times before when traveling to Europe, and they always proved reliable.
You can also get from Ljubljana to Lake Bled bus. The cost is €12 each way and the journey takes about 1 hour 15 minutes. The bus leaves from Ljubljana bus station which is right across from the train station on Trg Osvobodilne. In Bled the bus will drop you at the central bus station which is about 3 minutes walking distance from the lake.
Alternatively, you can travel between Ljubljana and Lake Bled by train. There is a direct train departing from Ljubljana and arriving at Bled, but the train departs only twice a week. So the train is less convenient than the bus. The journey takes approximately 1hour 50minutes.
If you don’t want to visit Lake Bled independently, there are several tour companies that offer guided day tours from Ljubljana to Lake Bled. They give you a great overview of the region and include pick up from the hotel, boat ride to Bled island, Bled Castle tour and lunch.
Best time to visit Lake Bled
Lake Bled is beautiful all year round. Even in winter, when snows covers its shores. However, if it’s cold and rainy, it’s not a good idea to do a day trip to Lake Bled. Although Bled is pretty close to Ljubljana, the weather here may be very unpredictable because of the town’s proximity to the mountains.
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.