Lake Bled is a picture-perfect tourist destination and a glacial lake in the Julian Alps of northwestern Slovenia. Lake Bled boasts with a breathtaking alpine panorama, a fairy-tale island, a medieval castle clinging to a rocky cliff, a photographers’ paradise, and the coziest day trip out of Ljubljana. It has been nominated as one of the seven new wonders of the world and once you see it in real life, you will understand exactly why. I wrote this guide to help you get the most of this beautiful location, without feeling like you missed out on something. Here are the 5 best things to do in Lake Bled.
1. Row a boat to the church
There are many activities and sights to see at Lake Bled, but we can start with the most important one – rowing a boat to the church in the middle of the lake. Boat rental cost at Lake Bled is €20 for each starting hour. It takes about 10 minutes to row from the shore to the church and you don’t need more than 15 minutes on the island. Ring the bell, eat ice cream and head back down. But my favorite thing about rowing a boat at Lake Bled isn’t about going to the church at all – it’s having a picnic on the boat! So bring a basket with some fruits and your favorite wine (alcohol-free for the driver!) and enjoy your day that way as well!
2. Hike to Ojstrica viewpoint
We found out this year that flying a drone is now forbidden at Lake Bled (a local came to us just after I flew it) and you can face a penalty of up to €5000 if caught without permission! So if you want to get some amazing shots of the lake from above, then put on your sneakers and take the 30-minute moderate hike to Ojstrica.
I always travel with a tripod to get shots which includes both of us. We got quite lucky here to be early enough and that there was only one person there. I was setting up the tripod and took this picture through my Canon app. Just 15 minutes later a wave of tourists arrived and by that time we walked a little further down to take those pictures where I am sitting on the rock.
3. Stroll around the lake
We decided to walk around the entire lake and I am so happy we did! It was so beautiful and calm. The majority of the people are there for water activities, so the promenade doesn’t get too busy. Walking around Lake Bled in Slovenia is also perfect for those wanting to catch new angles to take photos of the church. You’ll find some great inspiration just by taking a stroll!
4. Swim in Lake Bled
If you are visiting Lake Bled in the summer months, then you can definitely bring your swimsuit! Go towards ‘Camping Bled’ on the west side of the island and you’ll see plenty of people sunbathing and swimming here. If you’re not into crowds (it can get very busy on the weekends), then walk just a little more to get to ‘Veslaski Klub Bled’. There you’ll have a nice pier to jump from and slightly more shade if you don’t feel like being in the sun the entire day!
5. Eat Kremsnita
You can’t really say you visited Lake Bled in Slovenia if you haven’t tried this local delicacy. Kremsnita is a custard and chantilly cream cake dessert and is very traditional for the area. Sit in any nearby bar or restaurant and order it with a coffee and a view of the lake. My favorite place for kremsnita is at Vila Preseren.
How to get to Lake Bled
I strongly recommend you rent a car for your travels through Slovenia. Especially if you plan on visiting several destinations. Public transport takes much longer and you don’t want to waste adventure sitting on a bus. You could also opt for a guided tour from Ljubljana, then the transport costs will be included.
By car from Ljubljana: 40 minutes
By bus from Ljubljana: 1 hour, costs around €7 one-way
Where to find free parking at Lake Bled
Paid parking is available everywhere around the lake, but costs even up to €3 for an hour. Instead, drive to Bled Jezero railway station. On the right side of the restaurant, you’ll see a row of trees. It is the only place we ever found being free (last visit: June 2019). Leave your car there and walk down the road towards Camping Bled, which is just by the lake. It only takes about 5 minutes to walk and you’ll save a significant amount of money by parking there. Be early though.
Exact location HERE.
Best time to visit Lake Bled
It’s safe to say Lake Bled is beautiful all year round. However, having seen it in all seasons, I’d recommend you visit it in early summer. June is a great month since the hoards of tourists haven’t arrived yet (July and August are very busy!) and the locals are still in school/work. Lake Bled looks amazing just when the fall season starts and again in winter when it’s covered in snow.
For first-time visitors to Lake Blad, summer should be your choice.