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How to Spend a Day at Lake Bled Slovenia

Last updated on June 16th, 2024 at 02:32 pm

Visiting Slovenia? You must spend a day at Lake Bled!

Located in the Julian Alps of northwest Slovenia, Lake Bled is a popular tourist destination and once you have been, you will see why. With its beautiful scenery, long history and an array of activities on offer, Bled has something for everyone, even those with limited time.

In this post I’ll share how you can make a day trip to Lake Bled from Ljubljana, what you can include in your Lake Bled itinerary and offer up some travel tips and suggestions for further activities should you have longer than one day in Lake Bled.

Is Lake Bled Worth Visiting?

Absolutely! You will no doubt have seen many images from Lake Bled, including the iconic shot of Bled Island, but being there is so much better. Slovenia isn’t a big country but it’s a very beautiful one and a day trip to Lake Bled is a perfect way to experience that and much more.

Lake Bled’s proximity to Ljubljana makes a day trip entirely possible and, given its popularity as a destination, the transport infrastructure is in place to make the entire experience a very enjoyable one.

Surrounded as it is by natural beauty, Lake Bled is also home to an impressive castle and a cream cake you just cannot resist!

How to Get to Lake Bled from Ljubljana

There are several options for getting to Lake Bled from Ljubljana – an organised group trip, car, taxi, train and bus.

1. Organised Group Trips

An organised tour will likely be the most expensive option but there are many tours that also include a visit to Vintgar Gorge, Lake Bohinj or Postojna Cave in addition to visiting Lake Bled. You will therefore want to consider whether spending more to see more is a better choice.

Most organised trips will include a pick up from/drop back to your hotel and offer a driver guide. They may not include the price of entry to various attractions however so you will need to add these to the tour price.

You can explore these popular Lake Bled day trip options and book here:      

2. By Car

Lake Bled is a little over 54 kilometres (34 miles) from Ljubljana so a taxi or rental car will likely be the fastest options for getting there. I’ve seen prices for taxis ranging from €55-65, although of course this should be checked at the time of travel.

If you prefer to take your own car, then factor in car rental and fuel costs. You can research rental options and book here:

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3. By Train

Trains leave from Ljubljana train station, about a 10-15 minute walk from Prešeren Square, with prices starting at around €5.

Although there are regular trains, they do not take you directly into Bled. The stop for Lake Bled is called Lesce-Bled which is 4-5 kilometres from the lake so you will need a bus or taxi to take you the remaining distance.

You can check schedules and tickets on the Slovenian Railways website.      

4. By Bus

The option I chose was to take a bus from Ljubljana bus station which is located right in front of Ljubljana’s train station.

Tickets can be purchased in person at the station or from the Ljubljana Bus Station website. If booking online, select the station called Bled as this is the best stop for lake access. Tickets currently cost €5.70 one way on a weekday and €2 on a weekend, however do check the Ljubljana Bus Station website for up to date pricing and timetables.  

Note: if you buy a ticket online you will need to print it out – the bus company does not have capacity to verify tickets on your phone.

I actually bought my ticket at the station on the day. This may be a bit risky in the high, summer season however so you would be advised to book in advance (either online or in person) to avoid disappointment.

The bus I took was a fast bus at 8.55am which arrived a little under an hour later. If you are booking online, click the ‘details’ tab and it will expand to show you the number of stops.

Image shows the lake as first seen on arriving to spend at day at lake Bled
First view of Lake Bled on arrival

Best Time to Visit Lake Bled

The lake is a popular destination all year round, but particularly in the Summer. To avoid the added crowds, I chose to visit in mid-April, which is Springtime in Slovenia and, in my view, an excellent time to visit. The surrounding mountains still had a dusting of snow, flowers were out and although there were visitors, there weren’t queues for any of the attractions I visited.

I would expect that the Autumn months of September and October to be similar, with Winter being colder but beautiful.

If you are a lover of heat and crowds, then the Summer months of June, July and August will suit you.

In terms of the time of the day, I would suggest getting there early!

Image shows a view of flowers and Lake Bled, the image having been taken during a day trip to Lake Bled from Ljubljana

What to See and Do

Lake Bled offers a wonderful mix of history, natural beauty, relaxation and physical exertion making it a perfect place to visit with something for everyone.

Here are my suggestions for how to spend a day at Lake Bled:

1. Walk around the Lake

I would highly recommend starting your visit to Lake Bled by taking a walk around the lake.  The total distance is 6 kilometres and will take about 1.5 hours, depending on how often you stop.

The walking surface is very good and the views are beautiful. As you move around the lake, your view of Bled Island will of course change and offer some lovely opportunities for photos.

2. Visit Bled Island by Traditional Pletna

You can’t visit Lake Bled and not go out on the water! So, if the idea of climbing aboard a traditional pletna and having someone else do all the work appeals, then this is the option for you!

Pletna boats date back to 1590 and are wooden, flat-bottomed boats which are propelled by a standing oarsman.

You can expect to pay around €18 for a return boat ride to Blejski otok (Bled Island) which takes about 15 minutes each way. The pletna delivers you to the bottom of the 99 steps leading up to the Assumption of Mary Church (also referred to as the Mother of God Church). Although these steps are not too high, I expect they will be challenging for those with mobility issues.

You will have about 45 minutes on the island before you need to rejoin your pletna for the journey back.

3. Visit Bled Island by Rowboat

Rowboats are for hire for those looking for more exercise! There are several places around the lake where you can hire them by the hour. You can expect to pay from around €20 per hour.

Taking your own rowboat out to Bled Island will give you a greater chance of taking photos with just Bled lake, and not your fellow travelers, in the background!

Image shows rowboats available for hire at Lake Bled, something you can do when you spend a day at Lake Bled.

4. Ring the Good Luck Bell

The ringing of bells is the dominant sound as you arrive at Bled Island. Legend has it that if you ring the bell by pulling the rope in front of the golden altar within the Assumption of Mary Church your wish will come true!

The story dates back to the 1500s when a widow, in mourning for her husband, had a bell made for the Church in his memory. During the transportation of the bell to the island, a storm hit causing the boat, bell and those transporting it to sink. The Pope consecrated a new bell and thereafter whoever rings the bell and sends wishes to the Virgin Mary will have their wish come true.

The entry fee to the Assumption of Mary Church is €12 (concessions are available). Check the official Bled Island site for up to date pricing and visitor information.

The decoration inside the Church is very ornate, although the Church itself is quite small.

5. Climb the Bell Tower

Included in your Church ticket price is a climb up the Bell Tower. Standing at 54 metres tall, you would hope that the Tower offers great views. Unfortunately, the viewing areas are small and with bars and netting covering the windows the experience was a little disappointing. The steps up inside the Tower are good.

You can see the mechanics of the pendulum clock in the Tower in operation and views from the window toward the Church allow you to see the wishing bell.

6. Visit Bled Castle

The history of Bled Castle (Blejski Grad) dates back over 1000 years. Perched 130 metres above Lake Bled, today the castle houses a museum, chapel, wine cellar, cafe and printing works.

To get to the castle, you can either hike up or go by car. There are a couple of hiking options – I walked up directly from the lake edge and although not a gentle stroll, the views on the way up made it worthwhile.

A ticket into the castle costs €17 (concessions available). Check the official castle site for up to date pricing and visitor information.

Once inside, the castle walls offer lovely views out over the surrounding plains whilst the views from the café, middle and upper courtyards over Lake Bled are stunning.

Aside from the views, I was a little disappointed and thought the ticket price quite high. If you don’t want to go into the castle, you can still explore the castle grounds which offer a beautiful view over the lake.

7. Indulge with Bled Cream Cake!

This is where all that exercise you’ve done comes into its own! Blejska kremšnita (otherwise known as Bled cream cake) is an absolute must when you spend a day at Lake Bled.

Made from pastry, vanilla cream and custard, the cream cake can trace its origins back to the Austro-Hungarian Empire of the 18th and 19th centuries. However, Blejska kremšnita has been made in Bled since it was first developed in 1953 by the pastry chef at Park Hotel. An estimated 15m slices have been sold since then and each slice measures 7x7x7 cm.

I enjoyed my Blejska kremšnita with a glass of wine at Bled Castle.

Image shows a slice of Bled cream cake and a glass of wine enjoyed by the author of this blog post during a day trip to Lake Bled from Ljubljana

More Time at Lake Bled?

If you prefer to do something different or you have more than one day at Lake Bled, then you may want to consider these options:

  • Taking a day trip to Triglav National Park
  • Going for a swim! There are various swimming spots around the lake
  • Joining a kayaking adventure such as these:

  • Experiencing canyoning adventures such as these:

Final Thoughts

Lake Bled is certainly a beautiful place and a definite must see when visiting Slovenia. It is easily accessible from Ljubljana and a day trip will allow you to experience much of what this area has to offer.

Are you planning to spend at day at Lake Bled? Let me know in the comments.

If you are looking for help in planning your itinerary in Slovenia’s capital, do read my post How to Spend One Day in Ljubljana.

If you need any general assistance in planning your visit to Ljubljana, then do check my Resources page.

Disclaimer – Visitor information was correct at the time of writing but do check before visiting.

Disclosure – This post may contain affiliate links. That means that if you book something using them, I will earn a small commission but you will not pay anything extra. Thank you for supporting my blog.

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