Lake Bled (Blejsko jezero) is a picturesque glacial lake at the edge of the Julian Alps in northwestern Slovenia.

With its fairy-tale looks and alpine surroundings, Lake Bled is undeniably scenic. There’s a clifftop medieval castle, a church-crowned island, a romantic lakeside promenade, and sweeping mountain views at every turn. 

We find Lake Bled particularly appealing, because there’s a ban on motorized boats. That means clean water and no noise pollution.

You can visit all-year-round and relish the delights of each season: swimming in summer, fall foliage in autumn, wintry landscapes and solitude in winter, and off-season prices in spring. 

Furthermore, Lake Bled is an attractive base for exploring Triglav National Park and even the Karavanke mountain chain. 

Read on to learn about the best things to do at Lake Bled and discover hidden gems worth visiting. This Lake Bled guide compiles insights from multiple trips we’ve taken over the years. 


Lake Bled, Slovenia: 10 Best Things to Do & Hidden Gems

Lake Bled, Slovenia

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Lake Bled Map


1. Mala Osojnica and Ojstrica Viewpoints 

Mala Osojnica Viewpoint, Lake Bled, Slovenia

The western shore of Lake Bled is flanked by the forested hills of Mala Osojnica, Velika Osojnica, and Ojstrica.

These hills serve as postcard-perfect viewpoints overlooking Lake Bled, Bled Island, and Bled Castle. From these elevated vantage points, Lake Bled is backed by the Karawanks (Karavanke), a long mountain chain which straddles the Slovenian-Austrian border. 

A forest trail links Mala Osojnica, Velika Osojnica, and Ojstrica together. The Mala Osojnica and Ojstrica circuit hike takes 1:30 hours, or 2 hours with the detour to Velika Osojnica. 

The closest car park to the trailhead is Parkirišče Velika Zaka, located near Camping Bled, on the west side of the lake. If you’re traveling without a car, you can follow the Lake Bled circuit trail along the south shore to the trailhead. 

The best time to hike up to Mala Osojnica and Ojstrica is at sunrise. While sunset is tempting, the lake and the island will be completely in shadow. 

Learn more about this must-do hike at Lake Bled in our Mala Osojnica and Ojstrica trail guide


Trail Details

Parking | Parkirišče Velika Zaka | Google Maps

Trailhead | Mala Osojnica Trailhead | Google Maps

Distance | 3.7 km lollipop-circuit

Time Needed | 1:15 – 1:30 hours

Elevation Gain/Loss | 224 meters

Difficulty | Moderate

Minimum Elevation | 479 meters

Maximum Elevation |  678 meters


2. Vintgar Gorge

Vintgar Gorge Boardwalk Path, Slovenia

Vintgar Gorge is a river gorge in Triglav National Park, only 4 km northwest of Bled. It was formed by the eroding force of the Radovna River. 

Because of its close proximity to Lake Bled, it’s often called the “Bled Gorge.”

A pleasant walking path, made up of boardwalks and bridges, leads through the 1.6 km-long Vintgar Gorge from Pondhom village to the Šum waterfall. It’s an easy, family-friendly trail, which is accessible between late spring and early fall. 

At the end of the trail, you can either hike back to the gorge entrance via the Green Trail Vintgar – Sv. Katarina,” or along the shorter “Red Trail Vintgar – Blejska Dobrava.”

We hiked the red circuit trail and it took about 2 hours total. 

There’s a car park directly at the gorge entrance (P1 – Google Maps) and another park-and-ride car park nearby (P3 LIP Central Parking P+R – Google Maps).

From Bled, you can also e-bike to the Vingar Gorge entrance. Book this self-guided e-bike tour, which includes the admission ticket, e-bike rental, bike lock, and map.

Read our complete guide to Vintgar Gorge for information on opening times, pricing, parking, and hiking. 


3. Visit Bled Island and the Church of the Assumption

Lake Bled Island and Assumption of Mary Church, Slovenia

Bled Island (Blejski otok) is a tiny oval-shaped isle, dominated by the 17th century Church of the Assumption. It’s also home to Potičnica café, which sells potica cake, ice cream, and coffee. 

To reach the island, you can either rent a rowboat, or ride in a traditional pletna, or wooden electric boat

The pletna boat will deliver you to the bottom of a 99-step staircase, built in 1655. Climb the steps to reach the church entrance.

It’s free to visit Bled Island. However, there is an entrance fee for entering the pilgrimage church, the lookout bell tower, and museum exhibition in the Provost’s House. 

Bled Island has a long and rich history of worship. Before the Christianization of the area, there was a pagan temple on Bled Island, dedicated to the Slavic goddess of life and fertility. In the 8th century, the temple was replaced by a church dedicated to the birth of Mary. 

Over the centuries, the church has been repeatedly rebuilt and restored. It gained its baroque appearance at the end of the 17th century. 

If you visit the church, don’t forget to ring the 16th century Wishing Bell.


Church of the Assumption Opening Hours

January, February, March, November, December | 9 am – 4 pm

April and October | 9 am – 6 pm

May, June, July, August, September | 9 am – 7 pm 


Church of the Assumption Admission Fees 2023

Adults | 12 EUR 

Students | 10.50 EUR

Children | 5 EUR

Family | 24 EUR


4. Ride in a Pletna Boat

Pletna Boats, Lake Bled, Slovenia

A pletna is a handmade flat-bottom wooden boat with a colorful canopy awning. It’s 7 meters long and 2 meters wide. There are benches for passengers on both sides of the boat. 

Pletnar rowers stand at the stern of the boat and propel the boat using two oars. 

It’s somewhat similar to a Venetian gondola, though the shape of the boat and the navigation technique are quite different. 

Local carpenters from Mlino have been making these boats since the 12th century. Historically, farmers were exempted from paying local taxes, if they transported pilgrims to Bled Island on their pletna boats for free. 

In the 18th century, the Austrian Empress Maria Theresa granted 20 families the right to transport people to Bled Island for money. 

The pletna boats are docked at several locations around Lake Bled, including Port Mlino, Port Vila Bled, Spa Park, under the Park Hotel, and Velika Zaka. 

The pletna boat ride to Bled Island takes 20 minutes one-way. 

Pletna Boat Ride Pricing 2023 | 18 EUR per adult, 9 EUR per child. For updated pricing, consult pazlar-bled.com.

When | You can ride in a pletna all-year-long, unless the lake is frozen or in cases of very strong winds. 


5. Visit the Bled Hut 

Bled Hut, Blejska Koča na Lipanci, Slovenia

The Bled Hut (Blejska Koča na Lipanci) is a managed mountain hut located on the Lipanca mountain pasture above Pokljuka Plateau in Triglav National Park.

The idyllic Bled Cottage (1630 m) was formerly a shepherd’s hut. In 1976, the Bled Mountain Society purchased and renovated the building. 

Today, you can visit Blejska Koča na Lipanci almost all-year-round. You can eat lunch at the hut, or stay overnight (make a reservation in advance). To see what the current conditions are, check out this Blejska Koča na Lipanca webcam

From the Medvedova konta Car Park, it’s an easy 45 minute hike along a forest road to Blejska Koča na Lipanci. 

While based in Lake Bled, we highly recommend taking a half-day trip to Blejska Koča na Lipanci. From the hut, you can extend your visit to the surrounding peaks of Debela peč (2014 m) and Brda (2009 m). 

These peaks offer spectacular views of Krma Valley, Rjavina, Mala Rjavina, Luknja Peč, and the Karawanks. 

Find out how to get here in our Debela peč trail guide

If you don’t have a car, you can join one of these guided tours starting in Bled: Panoramic Hike in Julian Alps (GetYourGuide), or Panoramic Hike in Julian Alps (Viator). 


6. Hike to Viševnik in the Julian Alps

Viševnik summit hiking trail, Julian Alps, Slovenia

Viševnik is a 2050 meter-high mountain in the Julian Alps. The summit affords sweeping views of Mount Triglav, Bohinj Valley, the Southern Julian Alps, and Rjavina ridge. 

To start the hike, drive 30 minutes to Rudno Polje on Pokljuka Plateau. 

A moderate trail ascends to the summit in 1:30 hours. 

Learn more about this hike near Bled in our Viševnik trail guide.


Trail Details

Trailhead | Rudno Polje, Pokljuka | Google Maps

Distance |  6.5 km out-and-back

Time Needed | 3 hours

Elevation Gain/Loss | 678 meters

Difficulty | Easy-moderate marked trail

Minimum Elevation | 1346 meters

Maximum Elevation | 2050 meters


7. Eat Štruklji in the Kofce Mountain Hut

Štruklji Borovničevi, Dom Na Kofcah, Kofce Mountain Hut, Karawanks

Though Lake Bled is located in the Julian Alps, the mountains that form the backdrop of every swoon-worthy Lake Bled photo are the Karwanks. 

The Karavanke mountain chain is always overshadowed by its dramatic neighbors, namely the Julian Alps and the Kamnik-Savinja Alps. 

However, these mountains are home to some hidden gems and interesting places, including Dom na Kocah. 

The managed Dom na Kofcah (1488 m) is located on a beautiful mountain pasture on the southern slope of the Košuta ridge.

This isn’t just any hut. This is the best place in Slovenia to eat Štruklji, a traditional Slovene dish made up of dough and various types of savory, or sweet fillings. 

You can order Štruklji Sirovi (cheese), Štruklj Čokoladni (chocolate), Štruklj Čokolada malina (chocolate and raspberry), and Štruklj Ajdovi z orehi (buckwheat and walnuts). Our favorite is Štruklji Borovničevi (blueberry).

There are a few ways to get here. The most popular ascent route starts at the Matizovec farm (1:35 hours one-way). We started at the mimo Kapelice trailhead near Jelendol (30 minutes one-way), because of road construction. Both routes are indicated on our Bled Map. 

Before, or after feasting on Štruklji, consider hiking up to Veliki Vrh. 

Matizovec Car Park | Google Maps 

Mimo Kapelice Trailhead | Google Maps

Insider Tip | If you’re interested in exploring more of the Karawanks, also check out this Košutnikov Turn trail hike.


8. Visit Bled Castle

Bled Castle, Slovenia

Perched on a sheer cliff 130 meters above the lake, Bled Castle (Blejski Grad) is a storybook scene come to life. 

The castle dates back to 1004 when Holy Roman Emperor Henry II bestowed the Bled estate upon Bishop Albuin of Brixen. The first castle was built around 1011 for defensive purposes, making it the oldest castle built in Slovenia. 

Castle entrance tickets include entry into the lower, middle and upper courtyards, castle printing works, the tower gallery (which houses monthly exhibitions), the gothic chapel, museum with a permanent exhibition about Bled, the castle wine cellar, and the much-celebrated Bled Castle Restaurant. 

Entrance Tickets | blejski-grad.si


9. Eat Bled Cream Cake 

Bled Cream Cake, Lake Bled, Slovenia

The famous Bled Cream Cake was developed by the Hotel Park patisserie in 1953. 

Bled’s famous cake is made with eggs, flour, cream, milk, sugar, and butter. Cake slices are always served in perfect squares measuring 7x7x7 centimeters. 

You can eat the original Bled cream cake in the Park Café across from Hotel Park

We sampled the cake at Slascicarna Zima. This confectionery sells a divine selection of cakes and pastries, including a delectable Tiramisu. The portions are more than generous. 


10. Explore Triglav National Park 

Brda, Julian Alps, Slovenia

Lake Bled is located just outside of Triglav National Park

From Bled, you’re well-positioned to visit many places in Triglav National Park, including Lake Bohinj, Pokljuka Plateau, and Peričnik Waterfall in Vrata Valley (with a car). 

In summer, we love swimming in Lake Bohinj and enjoying its laid-back, non-commercial atmosphere. Like Lake Bled, no motorized boats are allowed on the water. From Lake Bohinj, you can hike to Mount Vogel and the Seven Lakes Valley

Pokljuka is a forested karst plateau between Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj. In addition to Debela peč and Viševnik, you can hike to Mount Triglav from Pokljuka. 

If your time is limited, you can join this full-day From Bled: Triglav National Park Tour (Viator), or Triglav National Park Tour from Bled (GetYourGuide) to see some of the park’s highlights.

Adventurous travelers can book these tours starting in Bled:


Lake Bled Accommodations

Budget | Guesthouse Marko is a top-rated guesthouse in Bled, walking distance to the lakeshore. 

Midrange | JAZZ B&B is a friendly bed and breakfast with clean, comfortable rooms, a wonderful breakfast, and a shared kitchen. It’s a 10 minute walk to Lake Bled. 

Midrange | Old Parish House is a cozy and clean bed and breakfast, 100 meters away from Lake Bled. 

Top Choice – Midrange | Hotel Starkl – Heritage & Unique is a darling lakefront hotel with an on-site restaurant and bar. Breakfast is included. This family-run property stands out with its friendly service, exceptional cuisine, and location. 

Luxury | Adora Luxury Hotel is a lakefront boutique hotel with 7 luxurious suites. Stay here for the lake views and dreamy location. Breakfast is available for an extra charge. 

Luxury | Vila Bled is a historic lakefront hotel with 33 rooms. Set in a quiet area of Lake Bled, guests can enjoy the historical flair of President Tito’s former summer residence. Breakfast is included. 

Luxury | Bled Rose Hotel is a modern, 4-star hotel in the center of Bled. The hotel features an on-site bar, an indoor swimming pool and spa, a fitness room, and private beach area. Breakfast is included in the room rate. 

More Bled accommodations: Old Bled House (midrange guesthouse), Vila Alpina (midrange guesthouse), Hotel Lovec (luxury hotel), and Grand Hotel Toplice (lakefront luxury hotel).

Look for accommodation in Bled.



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Slovenia Trip Planning Essentials

Use our Slovenia Travel Guide to plan an unforgettable trip.


When to Visit Slovenia

Summer and Fall Seasons. The best time to travel to Slovenia is between May and late October.

The best time to hike in the Slovenian Alps is between June and October. For hut-to-hut hiking, we recommend planning your trek between early July and mid-September.

Winter Season. For skiing and winter activities, the best time to visit Slovenia is between mid/late December and March.


Car Rental

It’s possible to visit Slovenia without a car if you want to concentrate your time in Ljubljana, Lake Bled, and Lake Bohinj.

When we visited without a car, we planned two linear hut to hut hikes.

Unless you’re trekking, we recommend renting a car, because many places are simply not accessible with transit. For example, there are no buses to Logar Valley, Vrata Valley, and the Košuta mountain pastures.

Check out our itineraries for road trip inspiration:

Use the intuitive Discovercars.com car rental reservation platform to search for and book car rentals. This easy-to-use booking platform compares car rental deals from 500+ trusted providers, so that you can choose the best option for your trip.

Tip: If you can only drive automatic transmission cars, as opposed to manual transmission cars (stick shift), book your car rental as early as possible.

Check car rental rates here


Where to Stay

We’ve summarized our favorite destinations and accommodations in Best Paces to Stay in Slovenia, including Lake Bohinj, Logar Valley, Kranjka Gora, and Kobarid.


Top Things to Do


Slovenia Packing List

Hiking Gear

Outdoor Photography Gear


Slovenia Hiking Guides

Slovenia is heaven on earth for hikers. We recommend allocating sufficient time to discover both the Julian Alps and the Kamnik Savinja Alps.

In Best Hikes in Slovenia, we’ve summarized the most thrilling day hikes and multi-day hikes across the Slovenian Alps, ranked by difficulty.

If you’re interested in hut-to-hut hiking, read our guide to Slovenian Mountain Huts and Hut-to-Hut Hiking in Slovenia.


More Slovenia Hiking and Travel Guides


European Alps Hiking and Travel Guides