Bled, Slovenia – 9 Reasons why to love this place

Bled is a small town in the northern part of Slovenia. It impresses by it’s location right beneath the Julian Alps, which set this place so beautiful in scene. It’s a small town, but yet has plenty to offer. In this article I collected plenty of the most important things about Bled so that you want miss anything out on your trip to Bled. Enjoy 🙂

Bled is located in the north-western area of slovenia, close to the austrian border.

Traveling to Bled

The closest airport to Bled, Ljubljana-Brnik, is 36 km away from the city centre. To overcome these last kilometers you have the choice of going by taxi (~35-40€), shuttle-service (~13€-19€p.P.) or by bus and train (~5-11€).
Going by bus and train from the airport to Bled isn’t that easy since there is no direct connection to the trains at the airport. You have to get to Kranj first. The bus to Kranj goes once per hour. From Kranj you have the choice of either going by bus or by train. Both go equally frequently, only if you decide to go by train you’ll have to change again, since the train station closest to Bled, Lesce-Bled is still 4km away from Bled. But a bus is going from here to the heart of the city every half an hour. You can easily plan your journey by train on their homepage.
If you decide to go by bus from Kranj, you at least win on the last meters, since the final bus stop, Ljubljanska cesta, is located directly in the city centre.
The shuttle-service ask for reservation beforehand. Despite all that you could have the chance to go by shuttle even without reservation. Especially off-season you wont succeed to wait for the next bus without at least once being asked to go by shuttle.

Tipps:
You can plan your trip to Bled by local public transport on these pages:
Train schedule: http://www.slo-zeleznice.si/en
Bus schedule: http://www.ap-ljubljana.si/en
If you want to go by shuttle you find all information needed here:
Shuttle-Service: http://www.zup-prevozi.eu/en

Experience Bled

If you start looking up Bled, the first to stumble upon will surely be pictures of lake bled. The Church of Mary, with it’s wishing bell, on Bled Island is famous already beyond the borders of Slovenia. And the dreamy scenery of Bled and it’s Lake invites to extended walks along the Lake and it’s surroundings. But this is still far from being all.

Lake Bled

Bled is located directly at Lake Bled. The Lake is about two kilometers long and one kilometer wide, surrounded by woods. A mostly asphalted walkway leads around the lake and invites for a walk. But also to go for a run around the lake in the morning, the path is very adequate.
The most beautiful – and famous – view on the lake and Bled Island with it’s church, can be seen from the western end of the lake.

Go by ‘Pletna’

Pletnas are traditional boats, built by locals. The small wooden boats are flat-bottomed and are operated standing with two tillers. The boatsmen are called Pletnar, which does not only name their profession, but also is a title only handed down within the family from generation to generation.
At Lake Bled you get the opportunity to go by Pletna in multiple locations. You can also get to Bled Island by Pletna. You’ll have to budget 14€ per person for the passage.

Bled Island and Church of Mary

On the hill of Bled Island the Church of Mary is located. Legend has it, that once the temple of the slavonic goddess Živa was situated here. During the battles between the christs and the followers of the wendish gods the temple has been destroyed and a christian church has been built. In the 15th century the church has been altered to gothic style. Since then the church has heavily damaged by earthquake twice, and had to be radically renovated each time. It’s today’s appearance is unchanged since the renovational work in the 17th century.

As already mentioned you can crossover to Bled Island by Pletna. Most of those land at the foot of a long stairway. The stairway of 99 steps has to be clambered before reaching the summit with the Church. Close to the Church with it’s bell tower a souvenir shop, a cafe and a museum are also to be found. When going to Bled Island you better ask beforehand for the duration of the stay. In general a tour takes 1,5 hours, but the passage already takes about 25 minutes, leaving you with only 40 minutes for the visit of the island. Wich sounds like pretty enough time at first hand, turns out to be roughly enough time to walk round the Island once, climb the stairway, ring the wishing bell and take some pictures here and there. Also, right from the early morning, the Island is full of people. For the passage you have to budget 14€ per person, if you want to visit the church this adds up another 4€ per person.

Wishing Bell

According to legend, a beautiful widow lived on the castle once. In the mourning for her deceased husband she ordered a bell for the church. The day the bell should be delivered to the island a heavy storm came up so that the boat keeled and the bell sunk. The ringing of the bell is said to be still audible from the ground of the lake. 🙂 After the death of the widow the church got a new bell, and it is also said that a wish would be fulfilled to everybody ringing the bell.

Ojstrica and Mala Osojnica

At the south-western end of the lake a trrail is starting, pretty unremarkable, at the edge of the forest. This is the beginning of a rather steep trail up to two remarkably beautiful lookouts.
Already after a few minutes of climbing you reach a parting of the ways, where you turn to the right for the first lookout – Ojstrica. This one you already reach after only a few really steep meters. On a rock, over the top of the trees you’ll find a small clearance, with a bench where you can take a break and enjoy the beautiful view, you already have from this lower summit.

From here you have to go back to the parting of the ways. Now following the way to Mala Osojnica the path again gets rather steep. But the climb is really worth it, since the view from this lookout is even more impressing then already from the lower lookout.
From here you can choose to take the way directly down to the lake, which is even steeper than the way up, or just descending down the path of acsent.

Hinweis: For this trail sturdy shoes are strongly recommended!
The trail is really steep, in some places you nearly have to climb. If it had been raining during the past days, the way additionally gets muddy and slippery which makes especially the descent even harder.

More detailed information and the GPX-Data for this trail can be found here:
http://www.slovenia-trips.com/eng/hiking-mountaineering/trip/878/Ojstrica-and-mala-osojnica

Bled Castle

Bled Castle sits enthroned on a steep rock, directly above the eastern end of Lake Bled, and thus, already from afar, is a very impressive sight. The Castle, built already in the middle ages, houses a museum, a printer’s shop and a restaurant today. The museum exhibits lots of information regarding the history of Slovenia and Bled itself. Additionally, a small blacksmith’s shop can be found on the inner yard, where small hand-forged hardware can be bought. From here you also have a beautiful view of Lake Bled and the town.

For the visit of the castle the evening hours might be preferred, when it’s already less crowded. But it should be taken into account, that the blacksmith’s and the printer’s shop are already closed befor 8 o’clock in the evening. For the visit of the castle you have to budget 10€ per person. Additional information about the castle can be found on the Homepage of the castle.

Vintgar-Gorge

Four kilometers north-west of Bled the Vintgar Gorge is loacted. Here the Radovna by time made herself a way through the Mountains, so that the Gorge is up to 300meters high at some points. The entrance to the gorge is located a little to the north of the small town of Podhom. Starting at a small kiosk, a pathway leads along the turquoise mountain torrent for the next 1600m. The gorge ends at the Waterfall Šum, which is, with its 13m one of the largest natural waterfalls in Slovenia. From here you have a scenic view to the Julian Alps. Another little kiosk invites you to rest.

For the way back to Bled you can choose the small path that starts right behind the kiosk up the hill. The way leads over the hill and passes the small St. Catherines Church above the town of Zasip. Again you get rewarded with a view of the landscape and the alps. The way doesn’t seem to be further marked, but the castle which can already be seen, leads the way.
The gorge is opened daily from 8am to 7pm, you have to budget 4€ per person. Off-peak times might be preferred since the gorge is heavily frequented during the day.

What also shouldn’t be missed

Eat ‘Kremšnita’

You just can’t leave Bled without having eaten a cream-cake at Café Park, what Bled is so famous for. Here at Café Park the cream-cakes are still prepared strictly to the recipe perfected by Ištvan Lukačević.

60 years ago, the former pastry chef of the Hotel Park varied the original recipe until he was finally satisfied with the result and the cream-cake was of that quality that made Bled famous for. When choosing a nice sunny afternoon for this occasion, you can sit on the tarrace of the café and also enjoy the beautiful view onto Lake Bled and Bled Castle.

Go by ‘Fiaker’

Fiakers are open carriages, which have – like the Pletnas also – a long tradition in Bled. Like the title of the Pletnar, the title of the Fiaker coachman is handed down within the family from generation to generation.

On the waterfront of Lake Bled you can usually find free Fiakers to make a trip to the castle, around the lake or to the surrounding area. Sadly, I hadn’t enough time to try this one out, too. But if you’re looking for additional information you find it here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *