Lake Bled is stunning. Fact.
Seriously, it’s stunning, like really really pretty. I don’t often do Sunday morning walks, actually that’s a lie, I NEVER do Sunday walks, but lake Bled succeeded where everything else has failed. Sunday March 8th, I got out of bed of my own accord and walked 6km around its waters for pleasure … having typed that I think I need to sit down for a bit, excuse me for a minute.
About Bled and it’s famous lake
And I’m back in the room, sorry about that. Right, about Bled and it’s rather nice lake. Well, Bled is a quaint town located in north west Slovenia, about an hours drive from the capital city of Ljubljana (55km). The reason for my visit to Bled was in fact it’s location – the Julian Alps – as there is some nice affordable snowboarding up there, the town of Bled itself and the lake came as a nice bonus.
As mentioned above, the walk around the coast of the lake is about 6km long. The lake itself measures roughly 2km by 1.4km, and yes, you can swim in the lake, but only really during the summer months when thermal springs heat the water to a pleasant 26° C. During the winter months, it’s probably advisable to stick to either rowing or canoeing across the waters surface.
Most of the boats on the waters of lake Bled have a specific purpose – to take people to and from the iconic church on the island. The present form of the church dates from the 17th century when it was renovated after another earthquake, yep ANOTHER earthquake, a previous quake in 1509 damaged the church almost beyond repair. It had to undergo some major renovation work, and those renovations saw the church move from a Gothic to Baroque style. That was pretty ‘recent’ though, in terms of the Church’s history, archaeologists have discovered traces of prehistoric (11th to 8th centuries B.C.) and Slavic (9th to 10th century) settlements on the island upon which the church sits, so it’s pretty damn old and has it’s fair share of history.
Sadly we were both up too early in the morning (not often I say that), and visiting out of season for any boats to be operating so that we could reach the Church of Assumption and make a wish upon it’s special bell, and so instead we duly carried on with our walk, and took to photography some of the houses we might like to live in one day. We can all dream right?
Lake Bled from above
Walking around Lake Bled affords you some pretty great views, but if you’re willing to walk (climb) a little further and pay a relatively small fee, you can also get some great views over the lake from up in Bled Castle.
There it is, in the top left hand corner of the photo below. Notice the difference in weather between the below and the photos above though, safe to see we visited the castle on a different day to walking around Lake Bled.
The walk up to the castle isn’t particular long or difficult, the path is well laid out, and with benches to rest along the way.
Once you reach the castle gates and entrance, 130 metres above lake Bled, it’s roughly €10 per adult and €5 per child to enter. It might seem a bit steep, but there is a really cool museum, a lovely terrace restaurant and of course the views are stunning! … both of the lake, and the mountains surrounding Bled.
Believed to be the oldest castle on Slovenia, and one of countrys most visited tourist attractions, the castle dates back to at least 1101. Expanded and rebuilt a number of times through the ages, the castle you can visit today was last renovated in 2008. The details of the castles history, changes, builds and rebuilds are all detailed in the museum, it’s pretty interesting!
The best view in Bled?
Now, depending on whether you love the outdoors, nature and history, your best view in Bled my differ to mine.
As I mentioned earlier, I’m not usually a walking/hiking fan, and whilst I did really enjoy our walk around lake Bled, this sight of the below at the ‘finish line’ was still the best thing I’d seen that day. Look at the comment on Facebook from my brother in law, even he agrees.
So cake, it’s pretty good right!? Well the above was a chocolate reincarnation of the traditional Slovenian vanilla slice. Don’t worry, I tried one of those too. In fact I ate a lot of cake over the course of my stay in Bled, a slice a day after snowboarding was always a good plan, and one last chocolate number after our walk around lake Bled and before we got on the bus to Ljubljana was always a priority (hint – the chocolate version isn’t always easy to find).
In a nutshell
So in a nutshell, that was the beauty of lake Bled. Our group travelled for the Julian Alps, but were blown away by Bled itself and all agreed we would happily return. Personally I would quite like to re-visit in the summer months and see the lake come to life. I better get saving.