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.
Visiting Lake Bled, Slovenia: Best Things to Do + Map
- When to Visit: All-year-round
- Top Attractions: Bled Castle and Bled Island
- Top Tours: Wine Tasting Experience in Bled and Food Tour Bled,
- Top Day Trips: Original Emerald River Adventure, 7 Alpine Wonders, and Triglav National Park Tour
- Swimming: Allowed
- Recommended Itineraries: 5 Day Slovenia Road Trip and 2 Week Slovenia Road Trip
- Guesthouses: Guesthouse Marko (budget), Vila Alpina (midrange), and Old Parish House (midrange)
- Lakefront Hotels: Hotel Starkl (midrange), Vila Bled (luxury), Grand Hotel Toplice (luxury), and Adora Luxury Hotel (luxury)
- Luxury Hotels: Bled Rose Hotel and Hotel Lovec
- Glamping: Ribno Alpine Glamping
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Lake Bled Map
1. Mala Osojnica and Ojstrica Viewpoints
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.
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 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.
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
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
Adults | 12 EUR
Students | 10.50 EUR
Children | 5 EUR
Family | 24 EUR
Pricing is updated on blejkiotok.si.
4. Ride in a Pletna Boat
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 | 18 EUR per adult, 10 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
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.
6. Hike to Viševnik in the Julian Alps
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.
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
Though Lake Bled is located in the Julian Alps, the mountains that form the backdrop of every swoon-worthy Lake Bled photo are the Karawanks (also spelled Karavankas, Karavanks, Karawanken, and Karavanke).
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
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’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
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.
Adventurous travelers can book these tours starting in Bled:
- Canyoning in the Bohinj Valley (GetYourGuide)
- Canyoning Bled Slovenia (Viator)
- Water Rafting on the Sava River (GetYourGuide)
- Bled Rafting (Viator)
- Original Emerald River Adventure (Viator)
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.
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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.
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.
Where to Stay
Top Things to Do
- Summit Mount Triglav.
- Eat Štruklji Borovničevi at Kofce Mountain Hut.
- Trek across Triglav National Park along this epic 4-day Triglav National Park Trek.
- Visit an alpine dairy like Koča na planini Dolga njiva.
- Stay in a farm stay like Tourist Farm Šenkova domačija in Zgornje Jezersko.
- Swim in the crystal clear waters of Lake Bohinj.
- Watch the sunrise at Mala Osojnica, overlooking Lake Bled.
- Hike to the Kamnik Saddle.
- Glamp in a treehouse like Ribno Alpine Glamping.
Slovenia Packing List
- Day Pack: Osprey Tempest 30 Women’s Backpack / Osprey Talon 33 Men’s Backpack
- Grade B/C high-cut hiking boots: Meindl Schuhe Island Lady (Kati’s Boots), Women’s Hanwag Tatra II GTX (Sabrina’s Boots), Men’s Hanwag Tatra II GTX (men’s equivalent)
- CAT 4 Sunglasses: Julbo Shield Mountain Sunglasses
- Hiking Poles: Black Diamond Trail Trekking Poles
- Reusable Water Bottle: Ion Leakproof 32 oz Water Bottle
Outdoor Photography Gear
- Camera Body: Sony Alpha a6400
- Mid-range Zoom Lens: Tamron 17-70mm 2.8 Di III-A VC RXD
- Wide angle Zoom Lens: Sony – E 10-18mm F4 OSS Wide-angle Zoom Lens
- Backpack Camera Clip: Peak Design Camera Clip
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.