I know, it’s a big call. But after a year of travelling around Europe and seeing some amazing lakes (notable mention to Königssee, Germany and Lake Como, Italy), Lake Bled in Slovenia was for me, the most beautiful lake in Europe.
Think shimmering turquoise water, a quaint chapel only accessible by boat in the centre island, vibrant green mountains in the background and a charming castle overlooking the area. Not to mention wooden rowboats carved as swans (I know, swans?!?) and the ridiculously friendly locals who go out of their way to help travellers enjoy their stay. Does this sound like something out of a fairytale… because it totally felt like it!
Overlooking the lake is Bled Castle, which has the best views of Bled island, the town of Bled and the Gorenjska countryside. Locals informed us that entry into the castle is €5 and is probably not worth the fee because the views from around the castle are the real attraction. I can confirm that these views are spectacular!!
During the warm months, the castle courtyard hosts numerous cultural events such as Medieval Days where knights showcase medieval life to visitors.
Pilgrimage Church of the Assumption of Maria
The Pilgrimage Church of the Assumption of Maria found on Bled island dates back to the 17th century. It can be seen from all around the lake really makes this destination unique.
Of special interest is the ‘wishing bell’ in the upper roof beam above the church. According to legend, a young widow who once lived in Bled Castle had a bell casted for the chapel in memory of her husband. During the transport of the bell a terrible storm struck the boat and sank it together with the crew and the bell, which to this day is said to ring from the depths of the lake. After the widow died, the Pope consecrated a new bell and sent it to Bled Island. It is said that whoever rings the bell and thereby gives honour to the Virgin Mary gets a wish come true.
How to get to Lake Bled
It takes 1 hours and 15 minutes to reach Bled from the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana by bus. The bus costs €6 and a full timetable can be accessed via the Avtobusna Website. If you have any issues at the bus station do not fret! There were people employed specifically to help tourists, all of which spoke perfect english 🙂
Tips for your visit to Lake Bled
- It takes an hour and a half to circle Lake Bled by foot at a leisurely pace.
- Make sure to walk around the back of Bled Castle (to the right) to get a ‘secret’ lookout over the lake.
- I would recommend catching a bus over catching a train as Bled train station is not actually in the town of Bled, so you would have to pay an additional taxi fare to get to your accommodation.
- Jazz hostel & apartments is the most friendly hostel I have ever stayed in: The owner gave me his and his wife’s personal mobile in case I had any questions, I was given a list of affordable eats, the best boat rental companies and a map of the area with helpful marked places like the local grocery shop. The hostel was immaculate, filled with amazing facilities and a really welcoming atmosphere! I literally extended my stay in Bled solely because I loved the owners so much, I have never experienced such a high standard of customer service!!
Overall, I completely recommend adding this amazing lake to your European itinerary as it is in my top 20 most amazing travel experiences. I can see it being a destination that really grows in popularity as Eastern Europe’s tourism continues to blossom. So get in quick before it is inundated with tourists 😉 To learn more about Lake Bled and the activities you can do in the area the Bled Tourism Website has some great information!
Suitcase And I was not commissioned to write this article and as always, the opinions in this review are my own.