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Things to Do in Bled

Bled is Slovenia’s flagship resort town, renowned for its lake, fairytale castle, and views of the snow-capped Julian Alps. An ideal retreat for peace-and-quiet seekers, Bled draws visitors from all over the world to its picturesque shores.

The Basics
Rich in both history and scenery, Bled is a peaceful lakeside getaway and popular day trip destination from Ljubljana and the Croatian city of Zagreb. Highlights of full-day tours often include a Bled Castle tour, a pletna boat ride to Bled Island, and a chance to sample the town’s famous Bled cream cake. Opt for a small-group or private tour for a more intimate experience, or choose a day trip that also includes other Slovenian attractions such as the Lipica Stud Farm, Postojna Cave, and Predjama Castle. 

Things to Know Before You Go
  • Bring comfortable walking shoes for exploring the town and its surroundings. 
  • Almost all of Bled’s sights can be reached on foot, although a tourist train runs around the lakeside every 45 minutes during summer.
  • The path around the lake is flat, although some parts are gravel and may be difficult for wheelchair users to navigate. 

How to Get There
Bled is located in northwest Slovenia, adjacent to the Austrian border and Triglav National Park. The lake resort is 34 miles (55 kilometers) northwest of Ljubljana and 121 miles (194 kilometers) northwest of Zagreb , or roughly 45 minutes and two hours by road, respectively. Regular buses connect Bled to Slovenia’s major cities, while trains from Ljubljana and the Austrian city of Villach arrive at Lesce-Bled station. The nearest international airport is in Ljubljana. 

When to Get There
Summer is the busiest time to visit, when the town hosts festivals such as Bled Days (July), the International Music Festival (July), and the Okarina Etno Festival (August). During this season, travelers should book tours and accomodations well in advance. Bled is also an enchanting winter destination, when visitors can see the landscape beneath a sheen of snow and benefit from reduced prices. 

Outdoor Activities Around Bled
The natural beauty of Bled Lake provides stunning views and an idyllic landscape for outdoor activities. Summer visitors can enjoy rowing and water sports on the lake, while winter travelers can get their powder fix at nearby ski resorts such as Vogel, Krvavec, and Kranjska Gora. There are also ample opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding, with trails running to Bohinj Valley, Vintgar Gorge, and Triglav National Park—home of Mt. Triglav, Slovenia’s highest mountain. 
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Bled Castle (Blejski Grad)
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The ninth‐century Bled Castle is the oldest in Slovenia, perched precariously 130 meters (426.5 feet) up on a rocky precipice overlooking the lake of the same name among the peaks of the breathtaking Julian Alps. Built as a stronghold for the aristocratic bishops of the Brixen dynasty to defend their territories from attack, its fortified Romanesque walls and ramparts today hide a largely 16th‐century Renaissance castle built after a devastating earthquake in 1511 destroyed the previous building. It is centered around a pair of courtyards, constructed in an enticing jumble of red‐roofed wine cellars, forges, servants’ quarters, mansion, a stately knight’s hall and a chapel swathed in frescoes. Today, an historical museum occupies the Baroque suites of the main house, which exhibits jewelry discovered at pagan Slavic burial pits in nearby Pristava and a noted collection of weaponry.

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Bled Island (Blejski Otok)
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Marooned in the middle of its eponymous lake in the fairy-tale Julian Alps of northwest Slovenia, Bled Island is a minuscule rocky islet clad in tall beech trees and accessed by the brightly painted, two‐oared wooden pletna ferries that are peculiar to the region. The island was formed after the retreat of the last Ice Age left behind limestone moraine and today its tiny length is virtually covered with a small hermitage, a gallery and souvenir store in the former Provost’s House, and a cafe selling delicious local cream cakes, but its stellar attraction is undoubtedly the lovely Baroque Church of the Assumption, with an ornate spire peeking above all the greenery. The church is reached by an elegant flight of 99 stone steps built in 1655, but it is known that human habitation of Bled Island started long before then, with remains of pagan temples excavated there that date back to the 11th century BC.

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Pilgrimage Church of the Assumption of Mary (Bled Island Church)
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While the romantic position of the lovely Baroque Church of the Assumption on a minuscule mound in the middle of Lake Bled is enough to attract thousands of visitors to it each year – it is one of Slovenia’s most popular wedding venues – it is also feted thanks to its internal ornamentation, 177‐foot (54‐meter) tower and dedication to the Virgin Mary. Starting out as a pagan temple many years before the advent of Christianity, the church has at various times been a small, wooden structure and a single‐aisle Gothic church, which was consecrated by the Bishop of Ljubljana in 1465. The freestanding bell tower appeared later in the same century and the church was reconstructed yet again in 1685 in its present Baroque style, with a deliciously OTT gilt‐encrusted altar and black marble and wood‐carved pulpits contrasting keenly with its serene white and cream aisles.

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