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.
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, after spending two days in Ljubljana. The weather is cool but sunny. 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.
Interested in visiting Ljubljana?
Read my post about the Best Places to Visit in Ljubljana.
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.
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What a nice place! The place looks so awesome, one day I will visit Europe. thanks
I am heading to Slovenia in a few weeks and plan to visit Lake Bled too. It really looks stunning and I would like to hike also around Triglav (if possible – hope that snow has melted already). Congratulations for so many great trips. I am a really big fan of yours.
Thank you, Iuliana. Glad to hear my post gave you some idea about beautiful Lake Bled.
Your photos of Lake Bled are fabulous. I did not know of the legend of the sunken bell. It’s an interesting tale. I can see why visiting Lake Bled was your number one priority when you were in Slovenia.
We lived in Northern Italy and went to Bled many times. Sadly, you used to be able to go in summer and hardly anyone would be there. That’s overtourism for you!
But it’s definitely worth braving the crowd for the Bled Days and Bled Night in July. They light 10,000 biodegradable floating candles and release them on the lake, then fireworks are lit off from the castle over the island. It’s incredibly beautiful.
Wow, this is so beautiful! I have seen photos of the Church of the Assumption before but didn’t know what it was. I would probably make an active day of it and hire a kayak to work out my arms before climbing all 99 of those steps! What a stunning lake, I need to arrange a visit soon.
I’ve seen this place pop up a lot in my Instagram feed lately! I can see why. It’s simply stunning! I would definitely want to do the Kayak option or a small boat rental. And I’d want to avoid the crowds because places as majestic as this are best with less people around! Can’t wait to go some day!
How beautiful…It’s clear looking at your gorgeous pictures why you made it a priority a visit Lake Bled. A great place to walk around and just relax. What a tragic story about the bell, though love the idea that your wishes can come true. Never heard of Lake Bled but I do hope to visit and enjoy that delicious looking cream cake!
I’ve heard wonderful things about Bled. It looks so beautiful and I love your tips for visiting. A calming trip is exactly what it sounds like.
Lake Bled in Slovenia looks beautiful and like a fairy tail the way the building are. The Legend of the Sunken Bell is tragic, but a lovely story. I like myths and legends of a town it makes it is much more interesting! I would like to visit more of Slovenia and especially Lake Bled.
This is a truly spectacular place, wow! Your photos are phenomenal! The shots on the lake are pure postcard perfection . . . and the slice of Kremna Rezina looks positively scrumptious!
I went to Slovenia and visited Lake Bled 2 years ago and at that time, Slovenia was not spoken about much as a tourist destination at all! I absolutely loved the nature and landscapes there and Lake Bled was unbelievably beautiful. I went up to the Fort as well but I regret not taking a boat to the island in the centre of the lake! Such beautiful views, I love your pictures.
That was just a sad tragic story about a woman who lost her husband. The Lake Bled is beautiful, and yea I’m not really into history so I can skip the museums and just enjoy the view. It’s always a great idea to avoid the crowd so being early is important! Kremna Rezina, Bled’s famous cream cake looks yum yum! Now I’m craving for something sweet like this!
Lake Bled is definitely going on my bucket list. Thank you Anda for sharing this. The pictures that you have included are simply mind blowing. Especially the one of Bled Castle.
I’ve seen so many photos of Lake Bled which are spectacular, and I can’t wait to visit to witness it in person. Your photos are stunning – what a beautiful day you had in the end. Totally understand the want to be snapping photos from all angles!! Thanks for the tip on getting there early, yes I can imagine the resort crowds would be quite a lot! I would totally be up for kayaking over to Bled Island. Thanks for the tip on doing this as a day trip instead of staying, and visiting it from April to June.
Hope you’ll get to visit Lake Bled soon, Meg.
Such a beautiful part of Slovenia and I’m glad its getting a lot more attention. I was there in 2002 and you couldn’t visit the castle at the time. Taking the boats on the lake is so picture perfect.
In regards to the Lady of the Lake, what a tragic story. And that the bell sank too is pretty spooky. Lake Bled has been on my radar since I first read about it. It sounds like a wonderful place, and uour pictures have captivated its beauty and serenity. Thanks for the tips on when to go as I’m not into crowds, and what to do, along with the costs. I totally want to try the cake! Yum!
The lake looks gorgeous! You have some fabulous photos here. This is on my bucket list.
I’ll be honest and say I’d never heard of Lake Bled until a few years ago. But now that I’ve seen your photos, I’d love to go. Adding it to the list. Stunning photos as usual!
Such a beautiful place. I’ve been to Bled before but totally missed the cake, that alone is a reason to return! #Theweeklypostcard
This is perfect! If everything goes well, I will be visiting Lake Bled in May. I do want to keep my expectations low since last year I ended up having a miserable time in the place I was more eager to see. Hope I have better luck here. We want to visit as a day trip and, yes, we are going to depart early to make the most out of the day. #TheWeeklyPostcard
I hear you, Ruth. Sometimes the places we expect to like the most are the ones that disappoint us the most. I hope it’s not the case of Lake Bled. I really loved this place.
OMG I’ve never heard of Lake Bled but it surely stole my heart away! The scenery is so gorgeous and I would love to have a little boat ride in the lake. I really hate hot humid weather, so Apr sounds perfect to me!
Seeing Lake Bled Slovenia on a day trip is a great plan. I hope to do so later this year. Looking forward to experiencing the wishing bell. That is interesting.
What a stunning and peaceful place! I love that little island. I think I could sit and look at this view all day.
Agness of a Tuk Tuk
This place seems like a piece of paradise, Anda! I really hope I’ll get to explore this magnificent scenery soon! 🙂
I like the way you say – the walk up to the castle is steep and so is the entrance fee. Sometimes I wonder why do we pay to enter the places that rightfully belong to us the citizens of this world, but then I guess they need to be maintained. I had never heard of the Lake Bed before reading your blog so thank you for introducing me to another gem of nature.
Beautiful pictures! We had done a road trip through the region a few years back and basically ran out of time so we had to drive right through Slovenia to make our appointments in Italy. I’ve always wanted to go back, as I was sad we didn’t make it to Lake Bled. Maybe we’ll try for Springtime when it’s not as crowded. And, that photo of the cream cake! *Drooling*
That legend is definitely different from what I found in my research! I had heard that it was tradition for the husband to carry the bride up the stairs to the bell on their wedding day, but they no longer allow that.
I am a little surprised to hear that the legend is different. Usually there are variations on the same theme, but they are very similar. I know they have the lighting of the bell tradition in December on the lake, but I haven’t heard of the husband having to carry the bride up for 99 stairs. Wow, can you imagine how hard it may be?
Gorgeous! Beautiful photos. I have been wanting to go to Lake Bled for awhile. Thanks for the scoop on a day trip. I agree April-June sounds like the ideal time to visit. Not sure if I can make it this year, but hopefully soon. #TheWeeklyPostcard
Lyn aka The Travelling Lindfields
We visited Lake Bled many years ago, like you on a day trip from Ljubljana. It is one of the prettiest places we have ever been. We hired bikes and cycled around the lake. We never got out to the island but I remember taking a detour on the way back to Ljubjana on a road with some spectacular views.
I can only imagine how beautiful it must have been to bike around the lake, Lyn.
This place looks so amazing! Lake Bled is definitely on my “some day I’ll visit Europe” bucket list.
I’ve read so much about Lake Bled last year that I actually started planning a trip for this year already. Your pictures are so gorgeous – can’t wait to see it all myself!
Thank you, Lisa. Looking forward to hear about your adventures.
Mary (The World Is A Book)
Stunning photos! Have heard so much great things about Lake Bled. It’ so photogenic. Hopeto visit someday. That cake looks delicious!
What a beautiful place! I never heard of it until now, but I need to put it on my next Europe itinerary. Gorgeous photos!
Hi Anda and thank you for the article. I’ve been wondering for some time about Lake Bled but wasn’t sure if it would be worth it. The next time we are in Slovenia, I’ll put it on the itinerary. As we usually travel in June, it should be fine with regard to the crowds. Now that we have our power bikes we should be able to ride up to the castle.
So good to hear from you, Rosemary. So you decided to buy power bikes. It must be so much easier on them, then peddling I imagine. Yes, Bled is really worth a visit. You should definitely go see it if you are in Slovenia. Best regards to your husband.