I bet you’ve seen the stunning image of the Alpine lake with a small church on the island in the middle.
I’ve been to this amazing place three times during my Balkan solo travels and I’m sure I will visit Lake Bled again in the future.
The view of the crystal-clear waters surrounded by the breathtaking mountains are addictive and makes my jaw drop every single time.
I’ve prepared for you a list of the best things to do in Lake Bled as well as tips for visiting Lake Bled. This should make planning a trip to Bled much easier.
In case you still have any questions feel free to join my Facebook group about traveling in the Balkans and ask there!
Table of contents
- 1 Things to do in Lake Bled
- 1.1 Walk around the lake
- 1.2 Take the traditional boat to the island
- 1.3 Rent a boat for the lake excursion
- 1.4 Go up to the castle
- 1.5 Swim in the Lake Bled
- 1.6 Try the famous cream cake
- 1.7 Have a coffee with the stunning view
- 1.8 Stay in the former Tito’s Villa
- 1.9 Hike to the viewpoint
- 1.10 Go to Lake Bohinj and explore the area there
- 1.11 Go to Vintgar Gorge
- 1.12 Visit Radovljica
- 1.13 Hike in Pokljuka
- 2 Tips for visiting Lake Bled
- 3 Travel resources
Things to do in Lake Bled
Walk around the lake
That’s probably one of my favorite things to do in Lake Bled. I’ve walked around the lake a few times by now and I’m sure this will be the first of my Bled activities once I return.
The whole circuit is around 6kms and is easy to walk as it’s mostly a flat path. But you need around 2 hours to walk all the way around – you will stop too often to take pictures, I speak from my own experience.
The scenery around you changes, you can admire Lake Bled, the castle, the island with a church or the breathtaking Alps from so many perspectives!
You can even find a rowing track on the lake as Bled hosted World Championships in this discipline in the past and will host it again in 2020.
There are also some benches every now and then so if you feel like stopping for a second to relax a bit and enjoy the place you can easily do so.
Take the traditional boat to the island
The island in the middle of the lake is probably the biggest one of Bled attractions.
It hides the small Baroque Church of Assumption from the 17th century, although the legend says the temple of the ancient Slavic goddess Živa was located in this very place too.
To reach the church you first need to walk up 99 stairs. Once up you should also ring the so-called “wishing bell” – the legend says that whoever rings it pays the respect to Virgin Mary and gets a wish coming true.
You need to take the boat to get to the church. There are traditional pletna boats that you can find only in Bled.
They date back to the year 1590 and can fit up to 20 people. You can spot them right away as they have a characteristic colorful awning.
The pletna oarsman tradition is passed in the families for generations.
You can find pletna boats near Hotel Park, in Mlino near Vila Bled and near Rowing centre. The price is €15 per person.
There are also regular boats you can rent to get to the island, the price varies depending on the rental place and usually start at €15/hour.
The entrance fee to the Church of Assumption is €6.
Rent a boat for the lake excursion
You should rent a boat not only to go to the island with the church. Lake Bled is such a blissful place that you actually want to spend more time on the water, enjoying the day and relaxing.
The price for renting a rowing boat start at €15/hour but be careful with timing as apparently rental place are a bit fussy and if you spend a bit more time on the water they charge you for another hour.
I think the minimum time to aim for is 2 hours so you will do your part of rowing (which can get tiring) and you will be able to enjoy the well-deserved relax surrounded by beautiful nature.
Go up to the castle
One of the most popular Bled attractions is the castle, built on the rock high above the lake.
This is the oldest castle in Slovenia, it was first mentioned already in 1011. Its oldest part is the Roman tower but over the years the castle was expanded, mostly in the renaissance style.
There are two courtyards, connected with the stairs, in the upper one you can find a chapel with beautiful frescoes.
To be honest, the castle isn’t very spectacular, especially in comparison to other castles in Europe, but it’s definitely worth visiting. The ticket costs €11.
The view from up there is breathtaking, one of the best you can get in Bled! You can see Lake Bled in its full glory as well as surrounding mountains rolling gently down to the lakeshore.
There is also the onsite restaurant if you would like to eat something while enjoying the beautiful scenery around.
Swim in the Lake Bled
Lake Bled is also a perfect place to swim, although water might be a bit chilly.
Two best spots to do so are the area under the castle and the beach near the rowing center, on the other side of Lake Bled.
Try the famous cream cake
You can find cream cakes in many places around the world (recently I tried a famous one from Samobor, Croatia) but the one from Bled is special. And it’s the best I’ve ever tried!
It was invented in 1953 by confectioner Ištvana Lukačević, working in the Hotel Park. The cream cake receipt hasn’t changed since then and is probably the most kept secret in Bled.
It is a real calories bomb but so worth it. The layers of vanilla cream, whipped cream and puff pastry is to die for!
You can get the cream cake in numerous places in Bled but the most famous one is of course Hotel Park. Not only you can try a typical one but also the version with chocolate (super sweet) or fruits.
Each year there are around half a million cream cakes sold in Bled! The current price of the cream cake in Park Cafe is €4,70.
Have a coffee with the stunning view
Cafe Belvedere is probably my favorite place in Bled and the most hidden spot around Lake Bled.
Directly in front of the Lake Bled island, high in the forest, you can find a small pavilion with a cafe. It belong to the premises of Vila Bled but even if you are not staying there you can come here for a coffee and cream cake and enjoy the most beautiful view of the island you can get in Bled.
The pavilion was designed by Jože Plečnik – the most famous Slovenian architect whose works you can find all over Ljubljana. Inside you can find an interesting painting in the socialist-realist style, the whole interior is a perfect example of the art from the post-war period.
You can also see on the walls photos from official delegations visiting Tito at Lake Bled and Cafe Belvedere – this place is full of history!
Even if the cafe seems to be a bit upscale the prices are very moderate. The coffee will cost you around €3 and the famous cream cake is €6. The view you will have right in front of your eyes is priceless!
Every time I’m at Cafe Belvedere I’m surprised how empty it is. It seems like not too many people know about it but this really is the highlight of Bled!
Sometimes finding a way to the Cafe Belvedere is a challenge but it’s definitely worth a bit of the effort!
Stay in the former Tito’s Villa
If you have a bit money to splurge and would like to stay in the unique and historical place then Vila Bled is your answer.
It used to be the summer residence of Tito – the beloved leader of former Yugoslavia. Some of the best-known people in the world have stayed here – Nikita Khrushchev, Indira Gandhi or King Il Sung, just to name a few.
The hotel is located in the quiet park, in a calm area a bit away from the center of Bled, with direct access to the lake.
The place is kind of stuck in time, with the fancy decor from the 1950s – wooden floors, crystal chandeliers, marble and a huge socialist-realist painting on the wall.
It’s a perfect place to feel the past time and enjoy a modern luxury at the same time. And wandering the same premises as the most important people in the world is a bit special.
Hike to the viewpoint
That’s one of the best things to do in Lake Bled that I sadly missed because I got there just before the sunset and decided to skip – hiking in the forest in the dark isn’t fun. But that gives me a good reason to return.
On the opposite side of the Lake Bled from the center, you can find three viewpoints offering a splendid panorama of Lake Bled and the dramatic Alps in the background.
You can choose between Ojstrica (611 meters above the sea level), Mala Osojnica (685 meters above the sea level) and Velika Osojnica (756 meters above the sea level).The most popular place is the first one, with a small bench where you can sit down, relax after the hike up and enjoy the breathtaking scenery around.
The best time to be here is early in the morning, especially around the sunrise time – if you are lucky you can admire as stunning views as my friend Łukasz did when he visited Lake Bled.
Go to Lake Bohinj and explore the area there
As much as I like Lake Bled, it’s Lake Bohinj that I’m crazy about and adore with my whole heart (so much that I have the picture of the lake on my public transport card).
Lake Bohinj is located 26kms away from Bled but these two places are so different! While in Bled the mountains can be seen but are a bit away in Bohinj they are literally rolling down to the lake.
This place is among one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen! Every time I visit Bled I try to go to Lake Bohinj even for a short time, to let the view take my breath away one more time.
There are frequent buses connecting Bled and Lake Bohinj. If you take it you have two options where to go: Ribcev Laz which is the first settlement with the stone bridge and a beautiful church or Ukanc at the very end of the lake.
I suggest you take the bus to Ribcev Laz, take a look around (it’s so beautiful!) and then take a boat across Lake Bohinj all the way to Ukanc. The scenery is really amazing!
While Ribcev Laz is a small settlement with restaurants and hotels, Ukanc is much smaller and less touristy.
From Ukanc you can take the cable car to Mount Vogel for even more incredible views (you can even see Triglav – the highest peak in Slovenia – from here) and some hiking. Click here for the prices and opening hours of the cable car.
Another option is taking the bus (only operating in the summer season though) to the Savica Waterfall. Just keep in mind from the parking lot it’s over 500 stone stairs to the waterfall itself – when I heard that I thought it was a joke, it wasn’t. The entrance fee is €3.
You should plan the whole day to explore the area – there are so many things to do at Lake Bohinj and all the surroundings! The last bus from Ukanc to Bled departs at 19:40.
Go to Vintgar Gorge
Vintgar Gorge is a must-visit half-day trip from Bled!
The gorge is located some 4kms away from the center of Bled. Once there you walk 1,5kms long trail along Radovna river.
The water is crystal clear, the scenery around just stunning and you are in for a treat! At the end of the trail, you can find the Sum Waterfall.
You need to go back the same route but that’s not bad as you can see the place from another perspective. There are a few bridges that cross the river, in some parts the walking path is glued to the rocks that looks incredible.
Some parts of the path are very narrow so you might have to give way to other tourists coming from the opposite direction.
You need some 2-3 hours for visiting Vintgar Gorge. The place might get a bit busy, especially in the morning and in the peak season.
I visited at the beginning of June around 10am and it was ok although there were moments went it got really crowded for a narrow path.
The entrance fee to Vintgar Gorge is €10.
There is a local bus connecting Bled with Vintgar Gorge but it operates only in the summer season.
You can also rent e-bike to visit Vintgar Gorge from Bled – click here for the details.
Only 10kms away from Bled you will find Radovljica – a cute little town full of attractions, some of them still from the medieval times.
The architecture is well preserved, the Old Town is charming and welcoming but the biggest highlights of the place are two museums that you can’t miss: gingerbread and beekeeping.
I found them both super interesting, especially the beekeeping one. It’s among the best museums of this kind in Europe, showing the history and the whole process of honey production.
But Radovljica is also a perfect place just to sit down for a coffee and relax, to escape the crowds of Bled and just enjoy the day.
Hike in Pokljuka
If you are a fan of winter sports (I am!) you might know the place as it’s a popular center for biathlon competitions.
A plateau located not far from Lake Bled, offering stunning views and some very good hiking options. The view of the green meadow dotted with wooden houses, surrounded by pine trees and with rocky mountains in the background is just amazing!
You can visit Pokljuka, as well as other places mentioned above, as part of the highly-rated Triglav National Park Tour from Bled – you can check the details and book the tour here.
Lake Bled can be also a perfect base to enjoy some adrenaline sports. I’m not a big fan of those but you might be interested in these tours:
Tips for visiting Lake Bled
Now that you know what to do in Bled it’s time to plan your trip. Here are some Lake Bled holidays tips.
Where is Lake Bled?
When to visit Lake Bled?
Lake Bled is a wonderful destination all year round but I would recommend visiting Bled from mid-May to late September, when the weather is still good and you can enjoy some of the water activities or sip a coffee on the terrace with a stunning view.
On the other hand, ice skating on Lake Bled must one of the coolest things to do in Slovenia.
The choice is yours but no matter when you visit Lake Bled, you will love it for sure!
How to get to Lake Bled?
It’s very easy to get to Lake Bled from every direction.
Your best option would be of course renting a car. You can do it at Ljubljana Airport (the main entry point to the country) or at your previous destination.
But even if you are using public transport you can easily get to Bled!
If you are coming from Ljubljana your best option is the bus.
There are frequent connections, at least once per hour, between Ljubljana and Bled. You can check the connections here.
The journey takes a bit over 1 hour, depending on the connection, the ticket currently costs €7,80.
In the summertime, the bus can be packed and you might encounter a traffic jam, especially just before Bled. The delay also might occur on this route.
The bus station in Ljubljana is located next to the train station, some 10 minutes walking from the Old Town.
The bus station in Bled can be found 3 minutes from the lake, near Hotel Park.
I wouldn’t recommend taking the train from Ljubljana.
I did it once because I adore trains and that’s what I do for a living, but to be honest, that wasn’t the smartest idea.
There is no direct train connection between Ljubljana and Bled, you need to change trains in Jesenice and the journey takes at least 1 hour 30 minutes, depending on the connection.
What’s more, the train station Bled-jezero is located on the other side of the lake than all the main attractions, some 3 km walking to the center (but it’s a nice walk along the lake!).
You might also see the station Lesce-Bled in the schedule. It’s quicker to get there from Ljubljana, less than 1 hour, but then it’s 5 more km to the lake and you need to take the bus (that most likely is coming from Ljubljana anyway).
If you are taking the train from Austria (like I did last time) you will arrive at the station mentioned above – Lesce Bled, where you need to change for the bus. The connections are very frequent, the journey takes 10 minutes or less and the ticket costs €1,30.
There are two bus stop in front of the train station in Lesce, if going to Bled you need to take the bus from the stop on the opposite side of the road than the train station building.
How long you should stay in Lake Bled?
To enjoy all the amazing things to do in Bled, Slovenia to the fullest you need to spend at least 2-3 days. If you want to go hiking in the nearby mountains or do some other Lake Bled activities – even more.
Lake Bled is such a wonderful holidays destination!
Where to stay in Lake Bled?
Lake Bled is a popular destination and there are plenty of Bled accommodation options to choose from.
Here are some of the recommended places to stay in Bled:
- Hotel Park – located in the center of the town, right at the shore of Lake Bled, is probably the most popular accommodation in Bled, with the rating of 8,1/10 on Booking.
This is your typical 4* hotel. When booking try to ask for the room with the lake view – it must be stunning (when I stayed there my room was, unfortunately, on the other side).
- Vila Bled (8,9/10 on Booking) – a former Tito’s residence, located a bit away from the crowds, with amazing views of the Lake Bled and the island in the middle. You can read more about it down in the article.
- Central Bled House (8.1/10 on Booking) – more budget-friendly accommodation only in the center of Bled, a few minutes away from the lake.
Rooms are neatly decorated and come with handy tea/coffee making facilities. The only downside is steep stairs to the last floor (where I stayed).
- Penzion Berc (9,5/10 on Booking) – not only it’s a highly rated accommodation option, it also features a restaurant with delicious local food. Guest can rent electric bikes to use so they can see Bled easier.
- Old Bled House (9,3/10 on Booking) – recommended for beautifully decorated rooms, perfect location and delicious breakfasts.
- and many more!
Day trip to Lake Bled from Ljubljana
While I think it’s definitely stay in the area longer, Lake Bled makes a perfect day trip from Ljubljana.
You can do it on your own, using the bus as described above. Or you can go for the organized tour and I actually recommend this option more.
When visiting Bled as a day trip from Ljubljana independently you have to rely on buses and those are sometimes late or overcrowded (I experienced both recently).
You might also not make it to all the great places to visit at Lake Bled. With the organized tour, you have more chances to see everything and enjoy your trip to Lake Bled to the fullest.
Here are some of the highly-rated tours from Ljubljana to Lake Bled:
- Day Trip to Bled and Vintgar Gorge
- Bled and Bohinj Alpine Lakes Tour
- Lake Bled and medieval town of Radovljica with lunch
Map of things to do in Lake Bled
As always, I’ve prepared a Google Map of all the places mentioned in this article. Click here to access it.
If you would like to download the map and use it offline in maps.me app you should click on the three dots in the upper left corner and download .kml / .kmz file. Send the file to your phone, open it with maps.me and you can use the map offline during your trip to Lake Bled!
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