Visiting Lake Bled in Slovenia is probably one of the best things to do in the region and should not be missed on any Slovenia road trip. Lake Bled really offers a dreamlike fairy tale scenery like from a Sissi movie and no matter from which side you look at the glacier lake, the panorama is simply magnificent. At Lake Bled there are countless sights, beautiful hikes and of course the famous (and very tasty) Bled Cream Cake. If you are now wondering where to park at Lake Bled, what to do and if the trip to Bled and Lake Bled is worth it, continue reading. We have written down the most important travel tips for a visit to Lake Bled for you
We are Sabrina and Andreas, two adventurous travelers who never miss an opportunity to discover the world. Whether by plane to distant countries or with our campervan Bruno, we just love to travel. We hope to give you helpful tips for your next trip on our blog.
Sabrina & Andreas Globetrotters, Travelers, Adventurers
Bled & Lake Bled
Lake Bled takes its name, how could it be otherwise, from the Slovenian climatic health resort of Bled, which has just under 5000 inhabitants and was founded over 1000 years ago. Bled is located only a few kilometers away from the neighboring country Austria and only 50km away from the capital Ljubljana.
The place is really touristy, there are many restaurants, cafes and souvenir stores here. Apart from the lake, we didn’t find the place really beautiful. Therefore, it makes sense to concentrate on the lake and the surroundings during a visit. Lake Bled is relatively manageable with a size of 2 km x 1.4 km and so you can easily go around it by foot or by bike, because the distance is only about 6 km.
By the way, Lake Bled is very famous for rowing. Almost every day you can see rowing teams training on the lake. Rowing is so popular here that it is even an Olympic sport. In 1992, the Bled rowers won the first Olympic medal for the then newly founded Slovenia. The most beautiful sights on Lake Bled are clearly Bled Island and Bled Castle. We will now tell you the most important facts in a nutshell.
Lake Bled was formed by the Bohinj glacier. When this glacier melted after the last ice age, its meltwater filled a tectonic basin, which formed the present lake. In the middle of the lake, however, a large rock was in the way of the meltwater, which was eroded by the water until only a tiny island remained.
On this island, which by the way is the only one in the whole of Slovenia, stands today the Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. The island is really tiny, but big enough to be home to probably the most famous pilgrimage church in Slovenia.
The Church of the Assumption was built in the 15th century and you have to climb exactly 99 steps up a small hill to visit it. And of course, you have to get to the small island by boat first. You can either rent a boat and row it yourself, or you can take a boat tour with one of the many providers at the lake.
The Castle of Bled
The other big highlight of Lake Bled is Bled Castle, which sits majestically on a 150 meter high rock on the other side of the lake. There will hardly be a photo of the lake where neither the castle nor the island can be seen.
Built in 1004, today you can reach the castle by a short but very steep path. Up there, besides the spectacular view over the lake, a chapel, an old printing house and the castle museum await you. The best way to reach the castle is to use this inexpensive parking lot (Google Maps). Admission to the castle is 13 Euro for adults and 5 Euro for children. Tours to the castle and other Slovenian highlights can be found at here*.
Arrival & Parking at Lake Bled
If you are coming from Austria and have passed the Karavanke tunnel, you will be at Lake Bled in less than 30 minutes. If the weather is good, you can even see over to the neighboring country Austria from the lake. Coming from the highway, Bled is very well signposted and therefore impossible to miss. Directly when you drive into the town you will see big blue signs with a white P on them. There are really many parking spaces and they all cost exactly the same. For 6 hours you pay 10 Euro.
Cheap Parking at Lake Bled
We know of only one other parking lot that is cheaper and therefore recommended for a stay of only 1-2 hours. This parking lot costs only 1€ per hour and is only 10 minutes away from the lake. You can find it here on Google Maps.
Where is the best place to park at Lake Bled?
In our opinion, it doesn’t matter which parking lot you choose at Lake Bled, because you will definitely walk around the lake once, so it doesn’t really matter where you park. Since Bled city itself is not super worth seeing, you don’t have to park in the town itself. Therefore we would recommend you the above mentioned cheap parking lot.
Accommodation at Lake Bled
Wild Camping at Lake Bled
Wild camping is unfortunately forbidden everywhere in Slovenia and is also prosecuted by the police. It is therefore very rare that there is really an official site where you can stay overnight with your camper or motorhome for free. Very close to Bled there is such a place, which we have also used to spend the night for free at Lake Bled. It is only a simple gravel site in the middle of the nearby town of Begunje, but from here you are in 10 minutes at Lake Bled.
Most Beautiful Campsite in Bled
One night we spent on the not quite cheap, but super nice Bled River Camping. The pitches are located on a large meadow, the sanitary facilities are brand new and in the neighboring forest you can even choose your place freely under large trees. Only 100 meters away is the raging river Sava, which is too wild for swimming, but still invites you to walk along.
More information at: www.rivercamping-bled.si
Hotel Recommendation in Bled
If you are not traveling with a camper, but by car, we can recommend the following beautiful hotel.
Penzion Pibernik is a family-run bed & breakfast in a quiet location.
The hotel is located on a large meadow surrounded by a forest above the Sava River, only 300 m from the main road to Lake Bled.
You can reach the lake very quickly on foot. Nevertheless, you are in a quiet environment in the middle of the forest.Penzion Pibernik | Check Prices*
Bled Cream Cake
Some say it’s just a piece of cake. But I say it is one of the most delicious cakes I have ever eaten. Bled Cream Cake is a masterpiece of puff pastry, vanilla pudding and cream. The slice is cut into cubes of exactly 7cm edge length and really dreamy delicious. You can buy it everywhere in Bled (and actually in all of Slovenia) and you can get it especially cheap at Mercator supermarket.
Best Time to visit Lake Bled
You can visit Bled and Lake Bled all year round. The main travel time here is of course the summer months. In August, the water in Lake Bled can have up to 25 degrees, but most other vacationers are here in the summer. Therefore, we recommend spring or autumn. We ourselves were here in October and it was very quiet and still super sunny and warm.
Hiking at Lake Bled
The easiest and also most popular hike at Lake Bled is the path once around the lake. After less than 6 km and just under an hour you have walked once around and this hike we would also recommend to everyone.
If you have a little more time and want to take a more strenuous hike, then we recommend the climb to the viewpoint Mala Osojnica.
Mala Osojnica Hike
From up here you really have a wonderful panoramic view of the lake. You can find the starting point here on Google Maps. There is an official and an unofficial way up, on Google Maps both ways are marked. We walked up the left (unofficial) way and down the right (official) way. We would recommend the left way only if you are really good on foot and want to walk up an almost adventurous route.
The unofficial route is really steep and not signposted. But you will probably not meet any other people on this route. But you should consult Google Maps or Maps.me to not get lost. At the top of the viewpoint there is a small terrace with a perfect view of the western part of Lake Bled with the small Bled Island.
For the way down we took the official path. It is well developed and signposted. Right at the beginning just behind the viewing terrace comes a very steep metal staircase, which is really hard to walk. Our dog Aaro I have rather carried on the passage. Otherwise, the path goes in serpentines back and forth through the forest until you arrive back at the bottom of the road.
Swimming in Lake Bled
Generally, swimming in the lake is prohibited, but there are some places where you can officially swim and – with a water temperature of up to 25 degrees in summer – should. First, there is the lido Grajsko Kopališče, which is located directly below the castle rock. It is open between June and September and costs 10 Euro per day per person. In addition, there are the beaches Velika Zaka (Google Maps) or Mala Zaka (Google Maps), which are located directly on Lake Bled.
Boating on Lake Bled
One of the main attractions on Lake Bled is boating. You can either rent a rowing boat yourself or go boating with one of the many providers. You will ride on the so-called pletnas, which are traditional wooden boats with roofs made of colorful canvas, which are waiting for passengers everywhere on the shore of the lake.
Excursions from Bled
The region around Bled is naturally so well visited because there is an enormous amount to do here. The most beautiful destinations in the area of Bled, which you can reach in less than an hour, we will tell you now.
You can also book a tour to the most beautiful sights* directly. Here you can discover the greatest highlights and get lots of information.
Only 15 minutes away from Lake Bled you can find the wonderful Vintgar Gorge. Here, the Radovna river has carved itself into the rocks over thousands of years, creating a real natural spectacle. The gorge is almost 1.6 km long and you walk the whole time on wooden walkways directly above the water.
The view of the raging river is really spectacular and at the end of the gorge there is a small waterfall waiting for you. The way back does not lead you through the gorge, but first through a small village and above the gorge back to the starting point.
If you are sporty, you can also take an e-bike tour from Bled to the Vintgar Gorge*.
Peričnik waterfall is really a small highlight in the region around Bled. It is one of the highest waterfalls in Slovenia and offers the special feature that you can walk along behind the waterfall. We know this otherwise only from Iceland. Just the way to the Peričnik waterfall is beautiful, it leads through a beautiful gorge along the wild river Triglavska Bistrica.
From the parking lot you walk along a beautiful path through the forest to a small viewpoint, then after another few minutes uphill to the path behind the waterfall. Attention: you will definitely get wet here. A few meters further up, invisible from below, is the second step of the waterfall. As you can see, you should definitely discover this waterfall.
Lake Bohinj is less than an hour away from Lake Bled and yet it seems like another world. It’s just hardly touristy here. There are only a few restaurants and much less visitors. Everything is much more natural and pristine. You can enjoy nature much more. The lake is beautiful and you can also walk once around the lake here via a beautifully landscaped path in just under 2.5 hours.
We think that Lake Bohinj is not as spectacular as Lake Bled with its small island and Bled Castle. Nevertheless, you should pay a visit to Lake Bohinj, because the Mostnica Gorge is located nearby.
You can walk along this impressive gorge in less than an hour and catch great views of the gorge that the river has carved into the rocks. A real must-do when you are in Bled.