Lake Bled, Slovenia

November 3, 2011, In: Europe, Travel

Lake Bled

Of all the places that have taken my breath away, one of my favorites will always be an accidental find. Imagine a picturesque little town at the foot of the snow-covered, Julian Alps. A little white church, complete with bells and a steeple, that appears to float in the middle of the lake. A fairytale castle perched on the edge of cliffs. A gorge located in the middle of the forest with water so clear it almost glows.

Before my backpacking trip in 2007 I spent months reading travel books and “planning” the perfect route. Of course I was heart set on going to all of the typical places: Rome, Barcelona, Prague, etc. but a country that never came up in my research was Slovenia. To be honest, I had never really ever heard anything about Slovenia, so when we met backpackers that told us it was their favorite spot in all of Europe, I was intrigued. When one of the girls described it as a “fairytale land” it was done. I had to see it. The beauty of traveling, is that things can always change, so I pulled out a map to figure out where we could sandwich in Lake Bled, Slovenia. Turns out it was the perfect stop right in between Vienna and Venice.

We arrived by train in Ljubljana (Pronounced: “Lubliana” [lyoo-BLYAH-nah]). Ljubljana is about an hour and a half southeast of Bled, so from Ljubljana we took a smaller train to the “Lesce-Bled” stop. This train stop was still about 4km away from the hostel we had booked, and with zero public transportation in this little Slovenian town, we made an exception to our “no taxi rule” and took the first cab ride of our 2-month trip.

Our hostel was called “Bled Backpackers” located on top of “George Best Bar.” The rooms are located upstairs and each sleeps between 4-8. The beds all have two locked drawers under the bottom bunk, so your things will be safe. I would highly recommend the hostel for those who want interaction with the locals as it is not only on top of a pub, but was also one of the only places in town with public internet access as of 2007- so it was always hopping. Lake Bled and Vintgar Gorge are both within walking distance. However, if you are looking for privacy or a quiet environment- this is not the place for you! We were there during the Rugby World Cup, so it might have been especially boisterous, but I can’t imagine it being quiet under any conditions.

While in Bled you must:

  • Visit Bled Castle. It is a steep path, but worth every step. The church itself was built in the 17th century, and great fun to tour. Also on the hill, you can visit a winery run by monks. From the terrace you will get my favorite view of the Church of the Assumption (located on a teeny-tiny little island right beneath you). The pictures I took from this spot are among my favorite in the world. And for me, that is really saying something.
  • Hike to the Vintgar Gorge. The water is Caribbean-blue and endlessly inviting, so while you are looking at it you can easily forget that you are in the middle of a forest. While I was there all the leaves had turned brilliant shades of red and yellow which made it almost impossible to comprehend the brilliance of the water. There is a wooden bridge/path that winds around and over the gorge and everything about this hike is take-your-breath-away perfect.
  • Walk the perimeter of the Lake. There is a path that circles the entire lake and it seemed that every 20 steps there was a new view I just had to capture. During the summer there are slides down the side of the mountain and people swim across to the island. I was there at the end of October, so it’s hard to imagine. Maybe I’ll just have to go back in the summer.
  • We did not get to go into the Church of the Assumption because it was freezing and there were no boats running back and forth, but if you do have the chance, I have heard that it is quite the experience as well. There is a “wishing bell” inside and ringing the bell grants the ringer one wish. Guess I should start planning for next time :)

Lake Bled

Lake Bled

Lake Bled

Lake Bled

Lake Bled

Lake Bled

Lake Bled

Lake Bled

Lake Bled

    • Leanna Smith
    • November 10, 2011

    I think these are my favorite of your travels so far!!!

    • Meme
    • November 6, 2011

    Since seeing your pictures in 2007, I believe this is the place I most want to go. It is absolutely beautiful and so picturesque. I do not understand how it isn’t a place that is featured on more calendars, travel brochures, etc. Your pictures are exquisite!

    • Beth
    • November 3, 2011


  1. Reply

    Amazing photos ans superb post on Lake Bled. You’re absolutely right it is indeed a place famous among backpackers. And as for you it represented paradise when I was backpacking through Europe. Its relaxing, fresh and unique. It was perfect to take some time to rest between exactly Vienna and Venice ;)

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