As the clouds roll over the mountains they draw your attention to this lonely church sitting on this lonely island in the middle of a vast lake.
It’s beautiful. It’s magical. And I’ve never seen anything like it.
It’s the type of place you would only see in your dreams and the only way to access the church on the island is by boat, driven by a person, similar to gondolas in Venice.This article is now available as a mobile app. Go to GPSmyCity to download the app for GPS-assisted travel directions to the attractions featured in this article.
Getting to Lake Bled
Ljubljana To Lake Bled
There are two train stations in the vicinity of Bled, the larger one is Lesce train station which has very frequent train connections to Ljubljana. Unfortunately, the station is located about 4.5 km from Lake Bled which means you will have to catch a bus (see below) or taxi from the train station to the lake. The other train station is the Jezero Bled train station which is located at the northwestern end of the lake; from this station, it’s 3 km to the centre of Bled and about 2.5 km to Bled Castle. The Bled Jezero station can be reached by train from Jezenice.
Getting there by car is fairly easy, the highway E61 between Ljubljana and Villach passes about 5-6 km from the lake. From the highway take exit no. 3 towards Lesce / Bled. Do not forget that you need a vignette to drive on the highway in Slovenia if you wish to avoid paying for the vignette you can also travel on country roads to the lake.
This is, in my opinion, the best option. Getting to Bled by bus is quite easy, from about 06:00 (6 AM) to 22:00 (10 PM) you more or less have hourly departures from the main bus station in Ljubljana (Located beside the Main Train Station. During the winter season, there are fewer departures. It takes about an hour and 10 to 20 minutes.
Bled Slovenia Accommodation
Best Places To Stay In Lake Bled Slovenia
As of this post, I’ve been to Bled twice and both times I took a bus from Ljubljana early in the morning and returned in the evening which means I never needed accommodations. That being said, with so many outdoor activities to take part in, Bled is easily the type of place you can visit for a weekend getaway.
Nature Hotel Lukanc
Nature Hotel Lukanc is a nine-minute walk from the beach and is located two kilometres from the centre of Bled. Guests can relax on the terrace and have access to the communal garden.
Old Bled House
Old Bled House is a three-hundred-year-old farmhouse located downtown, 300 meters from Bled Lake,1.8 km from Bled Island and 800m from Bled Straža ski lift.
Vila Bled is located on the shores of Lake Bled and surrounded by a beautiful park and once the former President Tito’s summer residence.
Bled Slovenia, Things To Do On A Day Trip
With indoor and outdoor seating, Slascicarna Zima is known for serving delicious pastries like the Šmon slice, Cream slice, Grmada with the cream topping, apple cakes and more. You can never order just a cup of hot coffee here! They also have homemade ice creams if you still have a space in your stomach for more sweet treats.
Župnijska cerkev sv. Martina
This beautiful neo-Gothic church was designed by Friedrich von Schmidt in 1905, who also did the city hall and Votive Church in Vienna. Outside there’s a small shrine designed by renowned Slovenian architect Jože Plečnik. Usually, you can enter the interior during Mass (times posted on the door), but the front door is open so that you can peek through the glass.
Walk uphill to the Bled Castle
In recent months I’ve actually started feeling good about hiking – which I discovered in Watkins Glen State Park. This is nowhere near what would be considered a hike but the climb is pretty steep and takes about 15 minutes – or 30 if you like me.
Note to self: Drink beer after the hike – not before.
Bled Castle is a medieval Romanesque castle built on a precipice above the city overlooking Lake Bled since the 17th century. According to written sources, it is the oldest Slovenian castle and is currently one of the most visited tourist attractions in Slovenia.
The regular entrance fee is 10 EUR / 11.30 USD.
Park Restaurant and Cafe | Bled Cream Cake (Kremna Rezina “Kremsnita”)
If you ask any Slovenian what’s the first thing to do in Lake Bled, he or she will tell you to first try a cream cake. Just strolling around the lake you’ll find many cafes selling cream cakes which is a specialty in this place. But it originated here at the Park Restaurant and Cafe. It is made of wholesome ingredients like eggs, cream and milk with a small amount of sugar. This dish is also known in parts of Austria and Germany.
The Church of Mary the Queen, also known as the Pilgrimage Church of the Assumption of Mary, or Our Lady of the Lake, is located on a small island in the middle of Lake Bled. It’s something so beautiful that so many pictures can be found on the internet and in travel magazines – which coincidentally inspired me to come here. There’s a very interesting spot in this church called the bell of wishes, made by Francesco Patavino from Padova back in 1534. The legend has it that those who ring the bell and make a wish will see their wish come true.
But there’s one rule: No wishing for more wishes…
Veslaški klub Bled
Eager to close the rings on our Apple Watches we decided to go for a walk around Lake Bled.
Closing rings allow for more beer and cake.
Anyways, I noticed a lot of those makeshift ropes attached to floating like buoys, running across the length of the lake-like lanes – similar to what you would see in a swimming pool. I did a little digging and discovered that rowing is the most known sport in Bled and at the same time one of the most successful sports in Slovenia.
The first rowing competition was organized in Bled in 1905 while this club was founded in 1949. So far they have won 6 Olympic medals and 50 medals from world championships in different categories.
The Bled Rowing Club has hosted four world championships and a host of other international competitions.
Outdoor & Adventure Activities
Cycle or walk around the Lake Bled
Lake Bled is approximately 6 kilometres (3.7 miles) and should take about 2 to 3 hours to walk around – maybe longer if you include how many times you stop to take pictures of Our Lady of the Lake from various great viewpoints.
Besides walking or cycling around, you can also have a picnic, relax on a bench or drink coffee at a nearby restaurant while enjoying these picturesque views.
While walking around in downtown Bled, you will come across many tourist offices offering services to rent boats, surfboards, bikes etc. When the weather is nice locals and visitors alike head out on the lake for various water sports including; stand-up paddleboarding, rowing, and swimming.