A visit to Lake Bled

There’s little I love more than an autumn walk (except autumn jumper layering. And naps). Massive scarves, kicking leaves and the higher-than-likely chance you’ll come across hoards of dogs. What’s not to enjoy?

Whilst I normally spend walks lost in thought about life and calculating when I’ll be settled enough to have a canine friend of my own, there are those rare moments when the scenery around me is so breathtaking that I can’t help but lose myself in it instead. Perhaps it was the clear water or it being the closest I’d come to snow all year, but travelling to Lake Bled, Slovenia, gave me no other choice but to give the landscape my full attention.

Lake Bled_town

Located in the small town of Bled within the Julian Alps, the lake is situated in a picturesque environment, surrounded by mountains and forests. The medieval-era Bled Castle stands above the lake on the north shore, with the Zaka Valley lying at the west end.

Getting to Lake Bled

Lake Bled_island

Getting the train from Ljubljana is straightforward enough, if not slightly slow once you get the Bled stations. There are over 20 45-minute train trips a day from the Slovenian capital to the Lesce-Bled station. However, the station itself is 4km away from the town centre, meaning you will either have a lengthy hike or a short bus ride into town.

The other option is Bled-Jezero, which sees up to five trains a day from the capital. The downside to this one is that you have to transfer at Jesenice, which can lead to a total journey time of almost 3 hours.

Lake Bled_path

Useful links

You can use the following links for full train ticket prices and schedules:

If your planning allows some leeway, you can use your Interrail ticket for your trip to Lake Bled.

What to do once you get there

Lake Bled_island_2

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Wandering around Lake Bled can easily take up the best part of a day, so allow yourself enough time to take in as much as possible. As well as its unique setting, the lake is also known for the small island that occupies its centre. The island’s most important building is a Gothic-style church dedicated to the Assumption of Mary, which is still a popular pilgrimage destination today.

Rowing is the way forward

Lake Bled_gondolas

Lake Bled_rowing club

Itching to try the water for yourself? There are public wooden gondolas (pletna) that take visitors across the lake and onto the island every 30 minutes, which cost around €12. However, if you’re more of a lone wolf (and don’t mind aching muscles the next day), you can hire your own boat from various places along the shore.

There’s something to be said about rowing in Bled. The lake hosted the World Rowing Championships in 2011, and the Bled Rowing Club come out every day at around 5PM to show the rest of us how it’s done properly.

The world through a lens

Lake Bled_island_3

Lake Bled_island_4

Bled is something akin to a perfect model: elegant from all angles and makes even the most lacklustre photographer look like a pro. Whether you’re aiming for the island or trying to get the snowcapped Alps in the foreground: there’s no such thing as a bad shot at Lake Bled.

Lake Bled_lillypads

Just be careful when walking around: you’re more than likely crossing through someone’s one-in-a-lifetime shot (be prepared for swearing – either directed at you or coming out of your own mouth).

Eating (and sometimes walking) your way through town

Lake Bled_walks

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If you’re looking for a less taxing day out,  you can easily watch the views whilst taking breaks along one of the smaller cafes or pub-style restaurants Bled has on offer. The town is famous for its Kremna Rezina, or cream slice: thick layers of vanilla custard and fresh cream, sandwiched between two layers of puff pastry and covered with a dusting of icing sugar. While I didn’t get to try one myself (too busy petting dogs), this traditional pastry is available in every cafe, bar and restaurant. Do some digging (anyone against a dessert bar crawl?) to find your personal favourite.

Heading to Slovenia soon? For more tips and opinions, comment below and tweet me @sideroutes

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