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Lake Bled, one of the most picturesque places in Europe, attracts thousands of visitors a year. But why is this lake so unique? What’s the reason more and more people come to see it? Slovenia has long been a hidden gem in Europe, and that’s changing now. And Lake Bled is one of its top attractions.
In this article, I’ll tell you why this lake is so special and the best things you can do here. I’m sure it’ll take your heart despite it being a trendy place among tourists. So let me help you plan your visit so that you can get the most out of it.
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What Is Special About Lake Bled?
Lake Bled is one of Slovenia’s most iconic locations, attracting thousands of visitors every year. It’s mainly popular thanks to its beautiful island in the middle, the only natural island in Slovenia. You can reach it by taking a traditional Pletna boat unique to Slovenia.
The lake is an amazing place for outdoor activities and a relaxing holiday in nature. Kremšnita Cake originated in Bled, which is another special thing you must try while visiting.
It’s also a popular day trip from Ljubljana.
Can You Swim In Lake Bled?
Yes, you can swim in Lake Bled. There are several great spots from where you can jump into the water. The best beach and spot to access the lake for swimming is Velika Zaka. Another one is next to the Pletna pier.
17 Best Things To Do In Lake Bled
I’ve selected various activities so each of you will find the perfect one. Choose some and enjoy it fully.
Here is a list of all the activities in Lake Bled and a map for your reference:
- Bike & Walk Around Lake Bled
- Explore Bled
- Visit Bled Castle
- Ride Traditional Pletna
- Explore The Bled Island
- Go Swimming
- Go Paddle Boarding
- Go Kayaking
- Eat Kremšnita Cake
- Enjoy Hiking
- Watch Sunset & Sunrise
- Go Canyoning
- Go Rafting
- Hop On A Zipline
- Visit Vintgar Gorge
- Enjoy Lake Bohinj
- Go Camping
Map Of The Best Things To Do In Lake Bled
To help you navigate to the spots, use this map for your visit to find all the activities I mention in this article:
1. Bike & Walk Around Lake Bled
The main reason why you come to Lake Bled is to enjoy its beauty and surroundings. So the first thing you should do is bike or walk around the Lake. The entire trail is 6 km long and will take about an hour and a half on foot or 40 minutes on a bike.
It’s a scenic road full of stunning views. Don’t forget to take your swimming suit as you’ll pass by several great swimming spots and beaches.
Exploring Lake Bled by foot or on a bike is my favorite activity and the perfect way to start your visit here.
➡ Rent an E-Bike here and ride around Lake Bled (or even further).
2. Explore Bled
Bled is a small town right next to the Lake. It wasn’t the most interesting place for me, but it has everything you need. It’s mainly a town full of hotels, a few supermarkets, restaurants, and souvenir shops. Don’t expect a lot from it. But it’s good for shopping if you like.
3. Visit Bled Castle
Bled Castle elevates the entire scenery of Lake Bled as it’s built on the rock overlooking the entire place. It’s one of my favorite views in Slovenia. This castle was built in 1011 and is the oldest in the country.
It has a chapel from the 16 century, a wine cellar, and a Guttenberg printing press, where you can still print your own souvenir. There is a museum about the first settlements and history of the region, so check it out.
Even if you don’t enter the castle, come here to soak up the breathtaking views of Lake Bled. It’s one of the best spots to take your photos from.
➡ Book this guided tour of Lake Bled with Bled Castle and explore it with a local guide.
4. Ride Traditional Pletna
Pletna is a traditional wooden boat in Slovenia. It’s one of the main attractions here, and you can take it to Bled Island. Pletna was invented in the 12th century by rowers, who developed a special rowing technique back then.
It was passed from generation to generation, and you can still experience a ride on the Pletna nowadays. Go to the Pletna Boat Cruise Spot on the side of the Lake and take one to the beautiful island.
5. Explore The Bled Island
This island (called Blejski Otok in the local language) is the only natural island in Slovenia. And it’s one of the main reasons this Lake attracts many visitors. Bled Island is located in the middle of the Lake, and the way to reach it is by the traditional Pletna boat.
It hosts a few buildings and a church. Once you arrive, you’ll have to climb 99 steps to reach the church. Locals say that a groom should carry a bride through these steps to make their marriage happy.
The church has a famous bell, and your wishes will come true if you ring it 3 times. I haven’t done it yet, so I’ll have to return and see if it’s true. It worked for me with Trevi Fountain in Rome, so that it might work here on the Bled Island, too.
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6. Go Swimming
If you’re visiting Lake Bled in the summertime, it’s the perfect place to cool down and swim. You can walk around the Lake and find your perfect beach and swimming spot for yourself.
Or check out some of these swimming spots:
- Next to the Pletna port
- Velika Zaka
If you want to spend time on the beach and enjoy swimming for a day, go to Velika Zaka.
7. Go Paddle Boarding
If you want extra fun, paddle boarding is another great way to enjoy the Lake. Get one and try to get to the Bled Island or just enjoy a different scenery from the Lake. Test your body balance and enjoy it independently or as part of this group activity.
➡ Get on this paddle boarding tour and enjoy Lake Bled with a group.
8. Go Kayaking
Another great way to explore the Lake is on a kayak. It’s my favorite way to enjoy lakes. Don’t get me wrong, riding Pletna is a must to do here, but it’s very popular and crowded. I always try to avoid tourist crowds. And kayaking on Lake Bled was one of the options to do so. So, if you also don’t like crowds, go kayaking instead.
➡ You can join this organized tour on a transparent kayak and explore the Lake with a local guide.
9. Eat Kremšnita Cake
Any foodies out here? I’ve got a must-do activity for you here: try local Kremšnita Cake. Its origin is in Bled, and you would miss out if you didn’t try it. It’s not just for the foodies; everyone should try it.
I’m not the biggest fan of cakes, but this was super delicious. It has a custard cream with whipped cream in the middle and is covered in pastry layers.
If you want to try the most original one, go to the Park Restaurant and Cafe. It’s where it was invented and offers beautiful views of the Lake.
10. Enjoy Hiking
Lake Bled has two great trailheads that you can follow for breathtaking views: Mala Osojnica and Ojstrica Trailhead.
I recommend starting your walk at the Cafe Belvedere or Starkl Hotel. First, walk the Mala Osojnica trail and follow the signs to the viewpoint. Afterward, return to the Lake and walk along the coast through the Ojstrica trailhead. You’ll end at the Velika Zaka, the best beach spot for swimming.
It’s the perfect way to spend half a day at Lake Bled.
11. Watch Sunset & Sunrise
One of the most memorable things at Lake Bled is watching the sunrise or sunset. The best views are from Straza Hill, close to the tourist center in Bled. Even if you don’t make it for the sunset/sunrise, it’s worth walking up and enjoying the views.
It’ll take you about half an hour to get to the top of Straza Hill.
12. Go Canyoning
Lake Bled is on the edge of Triglav National Park, Slovenia’s most beautiful nature place. Thanks to its location, you can do many outdoor and adventure activities. Canyoning is one of them.
It’s adrenaline and fun; if you’ve never done it, this is your time. You can join this guided tour and enjoy canyoning in the local rivers. They’ll give you equipment and organize everything for you.
➡ Book this canyoning tour with a guide in the Bohinj Valley from Lake Bled.
13. Go Rafting
More than canyoning, I always enjoy rafting. It’s more adventurous, and you don’t have to be afraid; the water is not so rough, and the guides know the best spots, so you’ll be safe.
If you want to try rafting, join this organized excursion that local organize from Bled. All the equipment is included.
14. Hop On A Zipline
Zipline Dolinka is another great adventure activity you can join from Bled. Local guides will take you to where you can enjoy 4 km of ziplining over the forests and a crystal clear Soča River.
The entire excursion takes 2.5 hours, including a transfer. You’ll pass 7 ziplines and walk in beautiful Slovenian nature.
15. Visit Vintgar Gorge
Vintgar Gorge is the perfect half-day excursion from Lake Bled. It’s 4.5 km away from Bled, and you can reach it by car (10 minutes), on foot (1 hour), or on a bike (30 minutes).
You can walk through the gorge and enjoy the stunning views of the Radovna River. It’s an easy 1.6 km long walk on the wooden trail, suitable for families with kids.
On the way, you’ll also see the stone bridge of the old Bohinj Railway. The end of the walk marks the Šum Waterfall.
➡ Rent a bike here and make a self-guided tour to Vintgar Gorge.
16. Enjoy Lake Bohinj
As I mentioned above, Lake Bled is often full of tourists. So it might not be the perfect place to relax. To disconnect and enjoy more tranquility, visit the nearby Lake Bohinj. I loved it slightly more than Lake Bled, as it’s a hidden gem that only a few people visit.
Lake Bohinj is located 30 km from Bled, and it only takes 30 minutes to get there by car. You can go swimming, paddle boarding, and enjoy some time in nature.
I also recommend you to go hiking to the nearby Vogel Mountain. You can take a cable car to the top and then follow some hiking trails while enjoying breathtaking views of the region.
17. Go Camping
If you have a camper van or want to spend time in nature in your tent close to Lake Bled, go camping. There is a camping resort close to Ojstrica Hill, where you can stay.
The camping offers many activities, such as a picnic at Lake Bled or a wellness stay in a nearby hotel. One of the best things about camping here is waking up in the morning and being able to jump straight to the Lake and go swimming.
➡ Check out the Bled Camping and book your stay with extra activities.
What To Do In Bled When It Rains
You can do many activities in Bled even if it’s raining. Indeed, you can do almost everything if you don’t mind the rain. One of my favorite activities to do when it rains is to go swimming and do outdoor activities such as rafting and canyoning. The rain adds even more adrenaline to these activities, and I’m sure you’ll love it.
Here are my top recommendations for things to do when it rains at Lake Bled:
- Go swimming
- Go rafting
- Go canyoning
- Eat Kremšnita Cake
- Walk around the Lake
- Visit Bled Castle
- Take Pletna boat
- Visit Bled Island
Things To Do In Lake Bled In Winter
Even though Lake Bled is at its best beauty in the summertime and fall, you can do many activities in winter, too. It’s just that it’s not so picturesque in the wintertime.
Yet, it shouldn’t put you off visiting Lake Bled if winter is the only time you can see it. So, if you happen to be here in winter, here are some of the things you can do:
- Go hiking (Straza Hill, Mala Osojnica Trailhead)
- Visit Bled Castle
- Visit Bled Island
- Eat Kremšnita Cake
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Free Things To Do In Bled
You don’t have to necessarily spend a fortune if you want to enjoy Lake Bled fully. Some activities don’t require any cost. Here are a few of them:
- Walk around Lake Bled
- Go swimming
- Visit Bled Island (if you swim there)
- Go hiking
- See Bled Castle from the outside
PRO TIP: You don’t have to spend extra money on accommodation if you rent a car. Sleep in the car and enjoy a free experience at the Lake.
How Do You Spend A Day At Lake Bled? Suggested Itinerary
Here is my suggested itinerary for a day at Lake Bled. To sum it up, here are the activities I recommend you do in a day in Lake Bled:
- Start in Bled
- Walk around the lake while visiting some attractions
- Take traditional Pletna boat
- Visit Bled Island
- Hike to Mala Osojnica
- Relax at Velika Zaka
- Go Swimming
- Eat Kremšnita Cake At Park Restaurant & Cafe
- Explore Bled Castle
- Enjoy sunset views from Straza Hill
Morning At Lake Bled
In the morning, I recommend exploring Lake Bled first. The best way is to walk around the Lake and enjoy the views. So start in Bled and walk towards the Pletna pier on the left side of the Lake.
While going around the entire Lake, you can stop for several attractions. The first one will be a traditional Pletna ride to Bled Island. So once you reach the Pletna pier, take a Pletna ride to Bled Island. Take some time to enjoy the island, and once you’re ready, come back to the shore.
Then, keep walking around Lake Bled. I suggest hiking up to the Mala Osojnica viewing point, just a 15-minute walk from the Lake. Enjoy the stunning views and come back to the shore.
Afterward, you can stop at Velika Zaka beach and swim for a while. Then just keep going around the Lake until you reach Bled.
Afternoon At Lake Bled
Have lunch in Bled, and treat yourself to a delicious Kremšnita Cake at the local Park Restaurant & Cafe.
In the afternoon, explore Bled Castle and take some time to walk around for more beautiful views. In the evening, I recommend walking up Straza Hill to enjoy the sunset over Lake Bled.
Best Tours To Lake Bled
If you don’t want to visit Lake Bled on your own, join one of the guided tours from nearby cities. All of them give you a specific meeting point and will take care of everything else throughout your visit.
So book one of these tours to Lake Bled if you want to explore it with a local guide and don’t want to plan anything:
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Practical Tips For Visiting Lake Bled
To help you plan your visit to Lake Bled even more, here are my tips to get the most out of this beautiful place. Learn when the best time is to visit, where to stay, and how to get around the Lake below.
Where Is Lake Bled Located?
Lake Bled is located in the northwestern part of Slovenia, next to the Bled town. It’s close to Austria (Villach) and Italy (Udine). You can easily reach it by car or a local bus.
You can visit Lake Bled from the following major European places:
- Ljubljana: 55 km/34 miles (50 minutes drive)
- Trieste (Italy): 144 km/89 miles (1 hours & 50 minutes drive)
- Udine (Italy): 172 km/107 miles (2 hours & 10 minutes drive)
- Maribor: 180 km/111 miles (2 hours drive)
- Zagreb (Croatia): 200 km/124 miles (2 hours & 20 minutes drive)
- Graz (Austria): 220 km/137 miles (2 hours & 40 minutes drive)
- Venice (Italy): 290 km/180 miles (3 hours & 20 minutes drive)
Best Time To Visit Lake Bled
The best time to visit Lake Bled is September. It’s because it gets less crowded than in the summertime. Lake Bled in September (fall) is at its best beauty – picture autumn colors and the crystal clear blue Lake with an island in the middle.
The scenery in September at Lake Bled is simply breathtaking. The weather is still beautiful, and temperatures are pleasant (around 20°C on average). You can still enjoy all the activities, yet with fewer tourists.
MY EXPERIENCE: I visited Lake Bled at the beginning of October. It was already a bit colder but less crowded, and the scenery was still beautiful. However, only some of the activities were operating. So September is the perfect time because everything is still in function, it’s warm, and you’ll also enjoy the place with fewer tourists.
How Many Days Do You Need In Lake Bled?
2 days is the perfect amount of time to spend in Lake Bled. On the first day, you can enjoy the Lake, walk around, swim or hike, and relax. On the second day, you can relax or do some outdoor activities such as rafting, canyoning, ziplining, or visiting Vintgar Gorge.
What To Pack For Lake Bled
Lake Bled is mainly an outdoor destination. So the main type of clothes I recommend you bring is hiking clothes. You can pack a pair of jeans with a T-shirt for your time in the city. But other than that, think about it as an outdoor vacation.
Here is a brief packing list for your visit to Lake Bled:
- trekking shoes/running shoes
- hiking pants or shorts
- sporty T-shirts
- waterproof light jacket
NOTE: If you’re visiting in winter, bring a winter jacket with gloves, a cap, and warm shoes to keep you warm.
How To Get To Lake Bled
The best way to get to Lake Bled is by car. It’ll give you flexibility so you can create your own schedule. You can also visit other places such as Lake Bohinj or Vintgar Gorge with a car. Rent a car in Ljubljana or another major city nearby and drive to the Lake.
You can also visit Lake Bled with a local bus from Ljubljana called Arriva. It’ll take you to Bled, right at the Lake.
Trains also run to Lake Bled. A train runs between Jesenice and Sežana and stops by Lake Bled and Vintgar. To visit Lake Bled from Ljubljana by train, you must change once in Jesenice. So it’s easier to take a bus or a car.
How To Get Around Lake Bled
The best way to get around the Lake is on foot. Hiking and walking gives you extra time to enjoy the beauty of this place and soak in the views. You can walk around the entire Lake within an hour and a half.
Walking around will keep you right next to the Lake.
Alternatively, you can also rent a bike and ride around the Lake. It’s also possible to drive around by car, but you won’t always be the closest to the Lake.
Where To Stay At Lake Bled
Lake Bled offers plenty of accommodation options. There are hotels and apartments with a traditional Slovenian style, from budget-friendly to luxury places.
I’ve selected the top 3 accommodation options for you below, so check them out. Stay in one of them to have a great time in Lake Bled.
FAQs: Best Things To Do In Lake Bled
To sum it up, I’ve also answered the most frequently asked questions about this destination. So check them out below.
Is Lake Bled A Tourist Trap?
No, Lake Bled isn’t a tourist trap at all. It’s a natural lake full of beauty. While it’s a very touristy spot and often crowded in summer, you can still find spots to relax and enjoy the Lake with fewer people.
I’m sure you’ll love the place if you visit it one day as it offers activities for every type of traveler.
Is It Better To Stay In Lake Bled Or Ljubljana?
It’s better to stay in Lake Bled because it’s closer to Triglav National Park and more activities that Slovenia offers. You can explore more things from Bled, such as Velika Planina, and do outdoor activities around Bovec, which is closer to Lake Bled than Ljubljana.
How Long Does It Take To Walk Around Lake Bled?
Walking around the entire Lake takes about 1 hour and a half. The trail is 6 km (3.7 miles), and it’s a beautiful, relaxing walk with many points of interest, including Pletna pier, viewing points, Velika Zaka Beach, and a tourist office in Bled.
Is It Free To Swim In Lake Bled?
Yes, it’s free to swim in Lake Bled. You don’t have to pay any fee and can jump into the Lake anywhere.
WRAP-UP: Best Things To Do In Lake Bled
I hope you’ll get the most out of your visit to Lake Bled, one of the most iconic locations in Europe. The advantage is that not many people know about it and its surroundings, so you’ll enjoy a unique vacation with the best outdoor things, such as rafting, canyoning, and ziplining.
If you have any more questions, contact me at email@example.com. I’ll gladly help you or design a customized travel itinerary for your trip.
More Travel Tips For Slovenia
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About the author: Nicoletta is a travel enthusiast and passionate language learner. While traveling, she loves to connect with locals using her language skills to learn about new cultures. Look for her skiing, hiking in the mountains, or exploring new destinations as she designs travel itineraries for her clients.