1. Walk it
I had two and a half days in Slovenia with three of my best friends so I wanted to make the most of every minute. On our first morning, we walked from our hotel at the opposite end of the lake from the town, all the way around the lake. It’s about four miles and is all flat unless you want to walk up to one of the viewpoints. The lake is surrounded by thick, vibrant green forest and the view across to the mountains in the distance is stunning, absolutely picture perfect. A really beautiful setting for a gentle wander.
2. Row it
Bled island sits in the middle of the lake (making your photos look awesome). Legend has it that the island was formed long ago when there was a chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary sitting on a small hill in the meadows. Sheep that were grazing on the meadow would often walk into the chapel and God wasn’t really down with that. He sent a few divine warnings to build a fence but the local people did nothing about those pesky sheep, so God flooded the meadow to protect the sacred place.
Around the lake, there are a few places to hire small wooden rowing boats to visit the island, or there are boat trips that will take you to the island if you don’t feel like rowing yourself. Once I had rowed us across we visited the Church of the Mother of God on the Lake and rang the wishing bell which many pilgrims come to ring and commend themselves to the Mother of God in hopes that their wishes will be fulfilled. We also walked the 90 steps up to the lookout in the bell tower which houses a pendulum clock. I found the tower too high for my liking which was let’s say amplified when the bell started ringing, shaking the tower. I may have had to sit down with my head in my hands until it stopped.
3. Climb it
Perched high above the lake on towering sheer rock, sits Bled Castle. We had started our walk to it from the lakeside so it was quite a steep climb up to the gate tower. Bled Castle is one of the oldest castles in Slovenia, being first mentioned in writing in 1011. The castle boasts spectacular views across the lake on one side and the Gorenjska region, tucked between the mountain range of the Karavanke and the Julian Alps from the other. The castle coffee shop does really good coffee and the famous Bled cream cake ‘Kremna rezina’.
4. Eat it
We weren’t short of choice for places to eat in Bled and all the restaurants we ate at were really good at telling you what was in the dished, perfect for any dietary requirements. My favourite place to eat was the Public bar and vegan cafe. There was a good choice of burgers which were delicious, washed down with some freshly squeezed juice.
5. Leave it
A 15-minute shuttle bus out of town and over the hill will take you to Soteski Vintgar (Vintgar Gorge). A stunning trail along boardwalks perched on the rock edges of the snaking Radovna River. The blues of the rushing river and greenery on the towering gorge is absolutely stunning. I would definitely recommend making time for this, there is something tranquil about following the flowing water whilst being surrounded by jagged rocks and nature. From the bottom of the gorge, you can walk back over the hill and across the valley to Bled. It’s a beautiful walk of about one and a half hours and takes you through woodland, the neighbouring village of Spodnje Gorje and farmland.