The best things to do in Lake Bled make it obvious that the beautifully blue body of water is a pearl in Slovenia’s crown of natural beauty. The underrated European country boasts tons of little-known waterfalls, lakes, and mountainous hiking, but Lake Bled remains the most popular.
When I visited Munich, I was set on making it to Slovenia to see Lake Bled. Slovenia isn’t a far drive for a weekend trip from the German city, though most choose to visit Lake Bled from Ljubljana, the country’s capital, or Venice, Italy.
Despite the gloomy fall weather (think cold and very rainy), I managed to thoroughly enjoy the town for its fairytale-like moodiness. When stopping on the way back to Munich, we got a lucky break from the rain and were treated to a sun-soaked, sparkling lake.
Though I only had a couple of days there, I was still able to do many of the best things to do in Lake Bled. Due to the inclement weather, unfortunately, I wasn’t able to accomplish everything I wanted to do, such as exploring Triglav National Park, hiking to Mala Osojnica, taking a Pletna boat ride, discovering Vintgar Gorge, and going for a swim, simply because it would’ve been too risky (and I was already getting sick).
The Best Things to Do in Lake Bled, Slovenia
Hike to Mala Osojnica and Velika Ojstrica Viewpoints
See Lake Bled from above by hiking to the Mala Osojnica and Velika Ojstrica viewpoints. Rising above the west side of Lake Bled, the hills provide panoramic views of Lake Bled and the Assumption of Maria Church.
The path is steep and short. Climbing Mala Osojnica is just over a mile out and back. According to trail guide AllTrails, you should be able to conquer this hike in under an hour.
Hiking the Ojstrica Loop is longer, though not by much. At exactly two miles, this trail takes around an hour and 20 minutes to complete on average.
Both hikes are rated as moderate. Note that trails around Lake Bled are not well-maintained and can be rocky and uneven. In the rain, they can be slippery and dangerous, especially if you’re hiking in the fall after leaves have fallen.
Dine in a Historic Cellar Restaurant
Discovering Old Cellar Bled was one of the best surprises and most special moments during my entire trip to Germany, Austria, and Slovenia.
The unique restaurant in Lake Bled is nestled in a cozy inn. When arriving, you might think that their dining room is just the rows of tables on the main level—charming, but nothing mindblowing—think again.
We arrived at Old Cellar Bled without a reservation during peak dinner time in cold, pouring rain. We had just checked into our hotel in Lake Bled and had spent a good hour trying to find a restaurant that was open, had good reviews, and was vegetarian-friendly.
Old Cellar Bled fit the bill, but we were originally turned away when we arrived because the restaurant was full. Little did we know that we were at one of the most sought-after restaurants in Lake Bled!
Pro tip: restaurants in Slovenia don’t really use waiting lists. They’ll just turn you away if they don’t have space. If you offer to wait, they’re more than happy to accommodate—you just need to ask!
As we turned away and began walking back down the hill to the inn, the hostess ran out of the restaurant in the rain, yelling out to us that she had a table that would be ready in a couple of minutes and, would we be willing to wait and have a drink until they did?
Of course, we said yes, only for a group of four to come in after us, also wanting a table. The hostess kindly asked if we’d give our table to them and wait an additional 10 minutes for “one of the most special tables in the restaurant.” Intrigued, we, of course, said yes.
Ten minutes later, we were led downstairs to Old Cellar Bled’s intimate, romantic cellar. We couldn’t believe our eyes. To this day, that cellar is one of the most unique, special places that I’ve dined at.
Enhancing the experience was the family-run restaurant’s impressive menu of local wines and Slovenian fare and, of course, the wonderful hospitality. Make your reservation well in advance, requesting the cellar, to make sure you can catch a glimpse.
Visit Bled Castle
Perched above Lake Bled is Bled Castle, a regal fortress boasting views of Lake Bled and the surrounding area.
You can pay to visit the inside of the castle or just walk around it, taking in the castle’s viewpoints for free.
Bled Castle features one of the best restaurants in Lake Bled: Bled Castle Restaurant. The restaurant offers floor-to-ceiling windows so diners can take in amazing views.
I really wanted to dine here, but unfortunately, when we arrived, the restaurant was fully booked with no availability for several days (we had tried to make a reservation before getting to Slovenia but never got through).
Try Bled Cream Cake
If there’s one thing I’ve come to understand during my trips to Europe, it’s the continent’s penchant for desserts. Lake Bled is no exception. Visitors can try the original Bled Cream Cake, a sugary confection of puff pastry, custard, whipped cream, and powdered sugar, at Park Restaurant and Cafe, the birthplace of the dessert.
Do yourself a favor and skip everything else on the menu—Park Restaurant and Cafe’s food and service are unbelievably unforgettable. If anything, get your cake to go and enjoy it outside, sitting by the lake.
Confectionary Zima and ŠMON Slaščičarna are other popular bakeries to try Bled Cream Cake in Lake Bled, though I only did so at Park Restaurant and Cafe.
Find some of the best things to do in Lake Bled below:
Explore Triglav National Park
Home to both the tallest mountain in Slovenia and the Julian Alps’ highest peak, Mount Triglav, Triglav National Park is one of the best things to do in Lake Bled to experience Slovenia’s incredible natural beauty. As a matter of fact, it’s actually the country’s only national park.
Waterfalls, turquoise blue lakes, and even a darling wooden Russian Church are among the treasures to be discovered in Triglav National Park.
While the park can easily be accessed from Lake Bled as a day trip for a quick walk through Vintgar Gorge, adventure travelers might be interested in spending a little more time in the protected land.
There are several interesting trails to discover for even more alluring landscapes, or travelers can commit two days to climb Mount Triglav.
Discover Vintgar Gorge
If you’re looking for breathtaking scenery that doesn’t require a steep hike like Mala Osojnica, Vintgar Gorge (Soteska Vintgar) is a perfect alternative.
The scenic gorge in Triglav National Park, carved out by the Radovna River, offers scenic views to travelers traversing its boardwalk trails.
Rated as “easy” by AllTrails, the Vintgar Gorge path is just 1.6 km. Though it isn’t nearly as steep as less-upkeep hiking trails near Lake Bled (this is more of a walk than a hike), Vintgar Gorge still requires a few stairs—something to keep in mind if you’re not able-bodied.
As Vintgar Gorge is such a busy Lake Bled attraction, it’s best to visit early in the morning when the park first opens or a couple of hours before the park closes.
Go for a Swim
If you’re visiting Lake Bled in the summer, taking a dip is a great way to cool off.
Swimming at Lake Bled is permitted and free. Also available at the lake are water sports such as paddleboarding, diving, kayaking, and canoeing.
There are multiple spots for swimming at Lake Bled, but among the most popular are Grajsko Kopališče and Velika Zaka, which has a large, grassy area for laying out and soaking up the sun after your cold plunge. I visited Vilika Zaka and loved the large dock and wide, open space.
Grajsko Kopališče is the most built-up swimming area at Lake Bled. It offers two waterslides, a climbing wall, outdoor pools, and other recreational activities. The area is only open from late April until early September. Unlike Vilika Zaka, you will need to pay a small admission fee to swim at Grajsko Kopališče.
Learn About Local Slovenian Wine
If you’ve never heard of a Rebula or Teran, you’re in for a treat. Food & Wine once labeled Slovenia as “the most underrated wine country in Europe.”
It’s true—Slovenia’s winemaking praises have yet to be widely sung, commonly being overshadowed by nearby viticulture juggernaut, Italy.
I’ll admit—I was grossly undereducated on the country’s years of wine history myself before visiting Lake Bled. Slovenia’s winemaking practice dates back all the way to 400 B.C. Further establishing Slovenia as one of Europe’s top wine destinations is that the oldest vine in the world grows in the country, existing for 450 years.
The country mostly produces white wine (Rebula is my favorite) and is best known for its orange wines, developed after winemaker Joško Gravner visited Georgia and brought the technique back, which also explains why, in a lot of ways, Slovenian wine feels like a hybrid of Italian and Georgian wines.
In Lake Bled, you can experience Slovenian wine culture for yourself at restaurants like Old Cellar Bled, Restaurant Sova Bled, and Vinoteka Zdravljica, which boast extensive wine lists.
Take a Pletna Boat Ride to the Assumption of Maria Church
The Assumption of Maria Church is the landmark that completes that picturesque image of Lake Bled in your head.
You can visit the church for yourself by hiring a traditional pletna boat to take you. No need to make a reservation in advance or book an expensive tour—there are tons of boat operators near the church side of the lake that take frequent trips across it.
Just know that this is definitely a fair-weather activity. Though some boats are covered, they don’t seem to provide much protection from the rain. We watched a few brave tourists try to make it out to the church who were absolutely drenched.
As the Assumption of Maria Church is on an island, you won’t be able to walk to it from any path, as there is no bridge from the shore. Taking a boat is the only way to reach the landmark.
Walk Around the Lake for Stunning Views
Lake Bled has a sidewalk wrapping around the lake, allowing visitors to view it from all angles. As you stroll, you’ll notice a long dock that you can walk out on and benches and bleachers to sit and take in the view.
Don’t rush—Lake Bled is a quiet, peaceful place that is best enjoyed slowly. Walking around Lake Bled is a great way to unwind and relax. Going early will help avoid crowds, though even in the afternoon on a weekend, foot traffic was nowhere near that of a major city.
Take a Day Trip to Ljubljana or Lake Bohinj
Those craving a city break in Slovenia can travel just 40 minutes away to Ljubljana, Slovenia’s capital city. Ljubljana is small, friendly, and peaceful.
It feels far less touristy than many of Europe’s major cities yet still offers engaging attractions for visitors, such as Ljubljana Castle and Ljubljana Cathedral. It was fun to spend a night there, though it could easily be done as a day trip from Lake Bled.
Lake Bohinj is even closer to Lake Bled. The largest lake in Slovenia, Lake Bohinj, is a great day trip from Lake Bled for those looking to continue relaxing in Slovenia’s beauty. Lake Bohinj is a 30-minute drive from Lake Bled or one hour and 40 minutes on public transportation.
How to Get to Lake Bled from Ljubljana
Travelers can get to Lake Bled from Ljubljana by driving or taking public transportation. Several Lake Bled tours from Ljubljana are also available for full or half-day visits, which include transportation between the cities.
We drove between Lake Bled and Ljubljana as we had the rental car we picked up in Munich. If we hadn’t, we would have been okay—taking public transportation to Lake Bled only takes 20 minutes longer than driving.
Bus to Lake Bled from Ljubljana
The fastest way to get to Lake Bled from Ljubljana on public transportation is by taking the bus. Buses from Ljubljana to Lake Bled typically take around an hour and 20 minutes.
Arriva, Slovenia’s most popular bus service, operates coaches between Ljubljana and Lake Bled daily. Buses depart from Ljubljana’s bus station, Avtobusna Postaja, every 30 minutes to an hour from 5 am to 9 or 10:30 pm. Tickets are usually around 7€ ($7.37 USD) each way.
Note that the bus schedule and ticket prices change based on the season and day of the week. Current schedules can be found on the bus station’s website.
Train to Lake Bled from Ljublana
Taking the train is a scenic way to get from Lake Bled to Ljubljana.
Trains to Lake Bled from Ljubljana depart from the city’s Trg Osvobodilne station, right next to the bus station. You’ll arrive at the Lesce-Bled station, 5 km from town. From there, you can take a short taxi ride or hop on an Arriva bus to make it to the lake.
Train ticket prices range from 5.10€ to 9.10€ ($5.37 to $9.58 USD) each direction, depending on your fare class and if you’re taking an old or new train. Old trains are marked as LPV, while new trains are distinguished with EC, EN, and MV.
Trains typically depart between 4:45 am and 11:50 pm. Check the current train schedule and buy your tickets in advance on the Slovenian Railways website.
Driving to Lake Bled from Ljublana
Driving is a great way to get to Lake Bled from Ljubljana if you want privacy and the freedom to make stops along the way. We rented a car in Munich and drove to Lake Bled in that. However, car rentals are also available at the Ljubljana airport and train station.
After departing the city center in Ljubljana, take A2/E61 to Lesce, then exit onto 209 (Lesce- Bled). The drive is relatively straightforward and on well-maintained highways.
If you don’t want to rent a car, taxis can also bring you from Lake Bled and Ljubljana. Expect to pay 45€ to 55€ ($47.37 to $57.89 USD) each direction when using a taxi service.
Lake Bled Tours from Ljubljana or Zagreb
If you’re only spending one day in Lake Bled and are planning on taking a taxi, going on a tour instead might help your money go further.
Lake Bled tours from Ljubljana range from $50 to $250 per person, depending on if you’re going on a private or shared tour. Tours often include other popular things to do in Lake Bled, such as Vintgar Gorge, and nearby attractions like Lake Bohinj.
Zagreb is also a common starting point for visiting Lake Bled. Some Lake Bled tours from Zagreb also include Ljubljana, so you can get a feel for Slovenia in just one day.
Transportation from Ljubljana is always included, which is why, even though I’m typically against them, tours are a great option for a Lake Bled day trip and solo travelers.
Click below to discover the best Lake Bled tours from Ljubljana and Zagreb:
Where to Stay in Lake Bled
Discover the best hotels in Lake Bled by clicking below:
Adora Luxury Hotel
Cesta svobode 35, 4260 Bled, Slovenia
Adora Luxury Hotel is where I stayed in Lake Bled. The adorable boutique hotel is positioned right across the street from the lake, offering a few rooms with views overlooking it.
The small hotel is nestled in a converted, traditional house constructed in 1878. It’s a few minutes drive from the main part of town, which makes it a quiet, romantic place to stay.
Each of the hotel’s rooms and suites is unique. Although not all of them have lake views, all guests can still enjoy the hotel’s prime position by lounging around on Adora Luxury Hotel’s garden rooftop terrace (just don’t go in the rain–I learned the hard way that those stairs are slippery when wet).
Old Bled House
Zagoriška cesta 12, 4260 Bled, Slovenia
Old Bled House is the rustic boutique hotel that Old Cellar Bled is located in. Like the restaurant, rooms in this unique Lake Bled hotel boast historic charm and coziness—it helps that the hotel is located in a 300-year-old farmhouse.
As the hotel is set back from Lake Bled, few rooms have views (you’re probably better off staying elsewhere if that’s what you’re looking for). What the hotel lacks in views, however, it makes up for in detail. Natural materials grace each thoughtfully designed room, decorated with handmade furniture. The enchanting rooms are a far cry from those at stoic chain hotels and will help enhance the fairytale effect of Bled.
Rikli Balance Hotel
Cankarjeva cesta 4, 4260 Bled, Slovenia
Lake Bled isn’t just cozy bed and breakfasts and cute boutique hotels. There are plenty of large, modern hotels to be found around the lake as well, and Rikli Balance Hotel is one of the best.
Towered above Lake Bled on a hill, the sleek hotel receives rave reviews from guests for its focus on wellness and rooms with fantastic views and private balconies. The hotel is home to Lake Bled’s largest thermal pool spa, giving guests an even better opportunity to relax and unwind.
Rikli Balance Hotel’s wellness focus dates back to the 19th century when the resort was founded by a Swiss healer. The hotel has continued that mission, also incorporating sustainability initiatives and locally sourced products into guest amenities and accommodation.
Things to Do in Lake Bled: FAQ
Lake Bled is beautiful during all seasons of the year for different reasons. Truly, the best time to visit Lake Bled is in the fall, from September to October, when the weather is still temperate, and leaves change colors, or in the spring, from April to May, when the weather warms up and flowers are in bloom.
Though there is plenty to do in Lake Bled in the summer, tourists may want to avoid visiting from June to August as crowds become overwhelming. In the winter, Lake Bled is a romantic escape, though there isn’t much to do due to the cold weather.
Two or three days is ideal for exploring Lake Bled. If you’re planning on exploring nearby day trips, you may need up to five days in Lake Bled. For many travelers, however, two or three days is plenty. Make sure to book at least two nights to have a full day at the lake.
There are tons of things to do at Lake Bled. Visitors will enjoy being active through activities like hiking in Triglav National Park and Mala Osojnica and Velika Ojstrica viewpoints, taking a traditional boat ride to the Assumption of Maria Church, seeing Bled Castle, trying local Slovenian wine, and, of course, swimming in Lake Bled.
One night in Lake Bled is enough time to do a few of the top things to do in Lake Bled, like visiting the Assumption of Maria Church on a pletna boat, trying Bled Cream Cake, and visiting Bled Castle. However, one night in Lake Bled is not enough time to visit some of the lake’s more impressive nearby attractions like Triglav National Park and the Mala Osojnica and Velika Ojstrica viewpoints.
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