Mala Osojnica viewpoint at Lake Bled (Slovenia)
Slovenia

Bled 👑 – The Most Picturesque Lake in Europe That’s Worth the Visit!

It’s almost impossible to describe my feelings when I first saw the cozy town of Bled, and when the spectacular landscape unfolded right in front of me. On one side, there is an epic castle on a steep rock, on the other, a beautiful island with a magnificent church.

The sun is shining, and the crystal clear turquoise water in the Bled lake whispers in your ear to relax and jump into it. In the distance, you see more than two thousand meters high peaks of the Julian Alps. It feels like the Julian Alps have the duty of protecting this fairy tale place. You breathe the unmistakable fresh mountain air, and yet the Julian Alps are far away. You feel optimistic, calm, and… happy! If you walk on any path near the forest, you will find a lot of big and healthy mushrooms growing all around you. It is said that this lake has magical healing effects. Locals practically don’t know anything like cancer or other serious diseases here. After what I saw in Bled that day, I believe it. And you will too! 😉

Bled island at sunrise in Slovenia
Bled island at sunrise

Bled – the most picturesque lake in Europe That’s Worth the Visit! – Contents:

How to get easily to Lake Bled

Lake Bled is located in northwestern Slovenia, it is not really far from the Austrian border. One can even consider Bled as a gateway to the Triglav National Park 🏞.

For most of you, it is probably best to fly to Ljubljana – the capital of Slovenia. Not only is the historical center of this city very picturesque (I would even compare it to Prague), but fortunately it is only 55 km from Lake Bled. When you’re in Ljubljana, you have many options of how to get to Bled – you can rent a car (less than an hour journey), take a train or bus (less than two-hour journey). It’s really easy, since Ljubljana – Bled is a busy connection, so buses and trains run frequently.

Another common option is to get to Slovenia by your own car. You can go from the north through Austria, or from the western border, from Italy (the journey from Italy is only half an hour longer). Anyway, it isn’t important where you come from, but the current situation at the border is what matters most. Yes, I’m talking about the COVID restrictions. Always find out in advance (and check regularly) the current situation on the borders with Austria and Italy, as it can be SIGNIFICANTLY different from day to day!

This brings us to the last option – getting to Lake Bled by a coach. Believe it or not, it is an quite attractive choice. For example, you can get from Prague to Bled by Flixbus without a transfer in only 8 hours. Plus, it goes overnight, so you can sleep for the whole journey. And the return ticket costs only about 70 Euros! I personally tried this option. However, due to the COVID, I experienced a 50 km long traffic jam at the border! And I’m not talking about the situation when our bus was sent back to Austria by the Slovenian border officer, because we had a German on board without papers …

Enjoy the unique Vintgar Gorge without tourists

This stunning 1.6 km long gorge, which wasn’t discovered until 1891, is probably one of the best places you can near Lake Bled visit. From Bled you can get to Vintgar Gorge by car or a regular bus in 10 minutes, or… you can hike there like I did. 

Through Vintgar Gorge flows a wild alpine river – Radovna, which in some places, reaches a depth of 250 m. At the end of the Vintgar gorge, you will find a 16m high waterfall Šum – typical insta spot. You walk here on wooden paths and suspension bridges, which will only enhance the local atmosphere – the beauty and power of nature.

However, be prepared because in summer it can be really cold here – for example, only 16 degrees. And very high humidity. Nevertheless, I recommend visiting Vintgar Gorge early in the morning – literally as soon as you possibly can. Vintgar Gorge is one of the most visited places in Slovenia. And you know how it goes – everyone wants to take pictures everywhere, crowds of people are formed and you can’t move freely. It is difficult to enjoy the gorge in such circumstances. And that would be a shame because this place is indescribably beautiful! And don’t forget – early in the morning you will see a lot of water vapor over the river, which takes the experience to the next level!

Vintgar Gorge in Slovenia
Vintgar Gorge in Slovenia

The best view of Lake Bled at Mala Osojnica

Why should you hike to any view? Isn’t it enough to get up in the morning and see the sunrise over the Bled lake from your campsite? I have a clear answer – no! 😋

The landscape view from the top of the mountain Mala Osojnica (altitude about 700 m above sea level) is a must-visit spot. As proof, I will tell you that I climbed this peak every day before sunrise. Why? Because the view of the Bled Lake was just breathtaking. The landscape is gradually flooded by the sun, the rays refract the mountain peaks which create columns of light, and the water catches its unique color. Nobody anywhere, no boats, no disturbing noise. You only hear the bell of the church, which gives the impression that you are in heaven. You will not experience such strong warmings anywhere else.

The Mala Osojnica viewpoint is located in the western part of the lake near Camping Bled (on the opposite side from the center of Bled). It is a simple hike, which will take you only 30 minutes (map here). I will mention that if you plan to go to the sunrise like me, don’t forget the flashlight!

Is the Bled island and Blejski Castle worth a visit? 

You can take both of these mini-trips virtually at any time. And be sure not to miss them, it is a unique experience! You can take a boat to the island of Bled, but it is better to rent a rowboat and paddle to the church by yourself. It’s a more romantic and fun option. You can then have a snack on the island or go on a tour. Boat and paddleboard rentals are practically everywhere. But don’t forget that it’s a bit overpriced here, you pay around 20 Euros per hour.

The breathtaking Blejski Castle, which can be seen from every corner of Lake Bled, is a similar attraction as the island with the Church of the Mother of God on the lake. It is only a few-minute walk from the center of Bled and the view from it must be amazing. I admit, I missed a visit to this castle, and I regret it. Since I found a better view of the lake (Mala Osojnica), I kept postponing my visit to the castle, but the ticket costs 13 Euros per adult.

The longest zip line in Europe  – Dolinka

What is Zipline? To be honest, I also didn’t know it until I reached Lake Bled. But it’s something you want to try, trust me! Basically, you ride down one ore more cables – zip lines, and thanks to the force of gravity, you experience the thrill of flight. You’ve probably seen it many times in Indiana Jones-type movies. That’s right, you’ve always wanted to try this. Just pure fun and adrenaline! 🐱‍🏍

And you know what is near the center of Bled? Yes, it is Zipline Dolinka – the longest Zipline in Europe. 7 zip lines in a total length of 4 km can be found above the beautiful nature of the river Dolinka. I know this is a bit of an unconventional recommendation for fun around Lake Bled, but it would be a great pity not to try it! Like paragliding, which is also experiencing a big boom here – but this is really for the more adventurous of you!

The best (non)ordinary activities to do at Lake Bled

Holidays in Bled are ideal for both couples and families with children. Everyone will find fun and peace here, plus there is no need to go anywhere far from the lake. The average water temperature in summer is 21 – 24 degrees. Yes, it’s not much, but it’s enough for any fun that is offered here. Rowboats, paddleboards, swimming – access to crystal clear water is possible from anywhere! 💧

Don’t forget to walk around lake Bled! On foot, it will take you less than 2 hours. During the hike, you will feel like you are in one neatly landscaped royal garden. But there’s no need to walk – you can also rent electric scooters, a bike, or go horse riding… anything you can imagine. Kids will love feeding ducks and the local swans. A great idea is to arrange a picnic in one of the parks by the lake and just enjoy a sunny day. The possibilities are endless and any everyday activity will be an amazing experience. You are in a fairy tale. In the Slovenian natural Disneyland.

Mala Osojnica viewpoint at Lake Bled (Slovenia)
Mala Osojnica viewpoint at Lake Bled

Stunning Lake Bohinj in the heart of Triglav Park

Lake Bohinj deserves its very own article, still, I have to mention it here. Every hour a direct bus from Bled drives to Lake Bohinj, and the journey takes only half an hour. Lake Bohinj, the largest Slovenian lake, can be found near the heart of the wild nature of the Triglav National Park. It’s definitely worth the visit.  

Beautiful, surrounded by high mountains, and you can easily reach the Triglav Park from here, or you can also take a 2-day hike to the highest mountain in Slovenia – Triglav. The water in Lake Bohinj is much deeper, and you’ll find algae here. Plus the water temperature is a bit lower (about 21 degrees in summer). Although this might not sound as impressive as Lake Bled, trust me, Lake Bohinj has its own unique charm. It is wilder and rawer. But I’ll tell you more about that next time!

Where to stay at Lake Bled

First of all, I would like to clarify one thing – everything around Lake Bled is far more expensive than you think. It is one of the top destinations in Europe, so the prices correspond to it, even though you are not in Switzerland or Norway. This is one of the main reasons why I recommend sleeping at a campsite. If you are traveling on a low budget, sleep under a tent. If you can afford to spend more, choose one of the modern cottages.

I must say that the local campsites are truly luxurious. They offer literary everything – from dryers to trampolines and restaurants to a dog shower. So even if you sleep in a tent, you will have everything you need. In the main tourist season, the price for a tent is close to 40 euros. 

The advantage of Camping Bled is mainly its location – the campsite is located on the western side of Lake Bled. That means as far as possible from the center. At the same time, you can go directly from here to the view of Mala Osojnica – as you already know, the best view of the lake and the surrounding countryside. I can only recommend Camping Bled – I spent 3 days here 🏕.

If you can spend more on accommodation and at the same time you like more luxurious accommodation, I recommend Glamping houses near the center of Bled (10 minutes walk). Here you will find modern accommodation for couples in nature in cottages with their own hot tub, as well as luxury large cottages for families with children.

5 Basic Tips for a Trip to Slovenia

  1. Slovenia is a member of the European Union, so it is not necessary to have a passport if you are traveling within the EU borders. Of course, you pay here in Euros.
  2. Many people still think that Slovenia is a cheap country, but that is no longer true. Beer in the camp by Lake Bled costs 5 Euros. 
  3. If you are planning a trip to Slovenia, in addition to Lake Bled, visit Lake Bohinj and the valley of the river Soča.
  4. If go to the capital Ljubljana, visit Postojna Cave. A great idea is to take a trip to nature from here to observe bears (Slovenia is one of the few places in Europe where there is a large concentration of bears, wolves, and other wild animals).
  5. Slovenia does not have a centralized app that will help you find all public transport connections. So take a look here and download the information you need.

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