Slovenia is definitely not a country that everyone thinks about when planning a trip to somewhere in Europe. It is bordered by Italy to the west, Austria to the north, Hungary to the northeast, Croatia to the southeast, and the Adriatic Sea to the southwest. It uses the (€) Euro (for an Irish person, it’s quite convenient) and it’s a relatively affordable country to travel in.
The most popular place in Slovenia has to be Lake Bled, a beautiful lake, and town situated below the Julian Alps. It’s a tourist destination but it’s not over-commercialized which is a nice change if you’ve been to other major tourist attractions in Europe.
How to get there
By plane, it’s best if you fly into Ljubljana International Airport (the capital city of Slovenia). Which is about 35km away from the lake area. From there you can take a bus to Ljubljana and explore the Ljubljana area and then after a few hours take a train to Lesce- Bled. The journey time is about 40 minutes if it’s an express or 55-70 minutes if it’s a local train. You can buy your tickets at the station, tickets will be around €6. From Lesce-Bled you can take the local bus or a taxi to the lake area. The train station is around 4km from the lake area.
Another option would be to take a taxi straight from the airport to the lake area. This is by far the quickest way, the drive will take around 25 minutes and it will cost around €55-€65.
You can also get a shuttle bus from the airport to the lake area. This will take approximately 45 minutes. You can book a shuttle bus here. Some hotels and hostels offer an airport transfer also.
Ljubljana International Airport is not your only airport option for getting to Lake Bled. If your willing to fly into Venice Marco Polo (it can be a lot cheaper to do so) you can take a shuttle bus from Venice Marco Polo Airport to Lake Bled. I would only suggest doing this if you have plenty of time and you are trying to save some money. You can book the shuttle here
Where to Stay
Some people only take a day trip here, but I suggest you stay here to really get the most out of the area. We stayed in Bled Hostel which was a great hostel to stay in. It was conveniently located and it was really affordable. All of the dorm rooms are mixed and I met some really nice people whilst staying here. You can book it here.
On the completely other end of the budget is Adora Luxury Hotel, if you want a little bit of luxury whilst staying here this place looks amazing! It’s situated on the lake and has a very classical-style to the rooms. You can book it here.
What to Do
Hike up to the Mala Osojnica Viewpoint
This viewpoint is a little tricky to get too, it’s a steep hike up-hill, it’s especially tough in 30 degree heat but the view once you reach the top is definitely worth it! Make sure to bring water with you because hiking in the heat can really dehydrate you, we didn’t realize that the hike was so steep and forgot to bring water with us. So don’t make the same mistake as us.
Address: Mala Osojnica, Ljubljanska cesta 8, 4260 Bled, Slovenia
Toboggan down a Mountain
This is such a fun activity. At Straza Bled, you take a chairlift to the top of the mountain and you then you toboggan down. The track length is 520 meters, and you can reach speeds up to 40 km/h. The ticket for 1 ride costs €10 for adults and €7 for children. Once you reach the top there’s a great photo opportunity to take a picture with a beautiful view of the lake behind.
More information can be found here
Address: STRAŽA BLED, Pod Stražo, 4260 Bled
Row a Boat out to the Island
You can take a Pletna boat out to the island but I think it’s a lot more fun to row a boat out yourself. All around the lake you’ll find opportunities to rent boats, I think we paid €15 for an hour, my friend and I took turns. One of us rowed there and one of us rowed back.
On this island you’ll find the Pilgrimage Church of the Assumption of Maria, while we were there was a wedding taking place. Such a stunning location for a wedding. There was also a gelato cart there too, so grab some gelato and take a break before rowing the boat back.
Visit Vintgar Gorge
This is a very nice place to explore. It’s situated a few kilometres outside of the area. The day we visited was a very rainy day, and there were practically no tourists there. This apparently never happens, as it’s usually very full and sometimes can be difficult to move around leisurely. We took a bus from the hostel but we had intentionally planned to rent bikes to ride out to see it.
Tickets cost €10 for adults and €2 for children aged 6-15 years. More information can be found here
Address: Turistično društvo Gorje, Podhom 80, 4247 Zgornje Gorje, Slovenia
This activity is definitely not for everyone, but if you like jumping off cliffs into freezing cold water, this activity is for you! We booked a canyoning excursion with 3glav and it cost €60 per person. It was such an exhilarating activity, it was like going to a nature-made water park. We slid down rocks, jumped off cliffs and climbed through holes. If you’re an adrenaline junkie, I couldn’t recommend it enough. You wear a harness, neoprene socks, shoes, a wet-suit and a helmet which are all included in the price. A pick-up/drop-off transfer is also included.
Book it here
What to Eat
In the area the one thing that you have to try is the Cream Cake or Kremna rezina . It’s flaky, creamy and has just the right amount of sweetness. The portion is also huge! I suggest you try it in Hotel Park, as it’s known for it. If you choose not to go there, you can find cream cakes in many cafés and hotels around the area.
Address: Hotel Park, Cesta svobode 15, 4260 Bled
I also suggest you try the pizza in Pizzeria Rustika. They have an extensive range of pizzas on the menu and the pizza is just as good as you’d get in neighboring Italy. They also serve salads, burgers and chicken.
Address: Riklijeva cesta 13, 4260 Bled
Why you need to go
When planning a trip to a place in Europe, countries like Slovenia are overlooked. I hope this guide showed you that you can have a great mix of nature, adventure, luxury and budget travel. Lake Bled is not only beautiful in the summer, it’s also a great place to go skiing in the winter months. The summer toboggan mountain turns into a ski slope in the winter and the Julian Alps look just as beautiful covered in snow.
So I hope you consider Lake Bled as an option for your 2021 travel!