I had driven through Slovenia years ago, it was in a car that had to be pushed to start, was always running on fumes and had no working aircon or fan in 35 degree heat. Needless to say we drove through it as quickly as possible to reach the beaches of Croatia and some relief from the scorching heat.
This time I was melting in Novi Sad Serbia, needing to find a way to get To Graz in Austria, looking on the map it seemed pretty straightforward cut through Croatia straight to Austria. But I had told my friend who was joining me on this eurotrip that she should decide the last leg of our journey and she mentioned Slovenia. A quick google search revealed Bled and 15 min later bus schedule was consulted and our itinerary confirmed. We were going to Slovenia.
Bled turned out to be one of the highlights of our Balkan trip, and it is where we spend the majority of our time besides a day in Ljubljana. It is an absolutely stunning gem of a lake surrounded by mountains and forests. The days we spent there were packed with activities, mountain climbing, canyoning, rafting, biking and zip lining it is an outdoor lover’s paradise.
Singing at the top of our lungs, drinking wine on mountain tops, getting thrown into freezing rivers, and biking in the rain. Bled will have so many amazing memories that I will never forget!
Image by Nolan
How to get there
The main airport is in Ljubljana and from the central station you can get either a bus or a train to Bled. The bus station is right in Bled center but the train station is about 4 km from the centre so you will need to either get a taxi or wait for the local bus to take you into the centre. If you are in Croatia you get get a bus directly to Bled from Zagreb, this is what we did and it cost EUR 18, there is only one bus a day at 08:00am. If going from Ljubljana the bus costs EUR 7 and there is a bus about every hour.
Where to stay
Bled is fairly pricey and since we booked last minute there were only a few overpriced hostels available. We ended up renting a private room on Airbnb for EUR 50 for the two of us, although if you book in advance you can find better deals then this. Compared to the surrounding cities though Bled is going to cost more due to its location.
If you want a USD 35 discount for Airbnb then use this link.
What to do
There is lots to do in Bled but I will just mentioned some of the things that I did. First things first rent bikes, there are bike rental places all over Bled and prices are usually 12-EUR 15 for the day. Once you have your bike you can get to all the main attractions very easily. The lake is beautiful to cycle around and find a quiet spot for a picnic and the viewpoint from the lake at Ojstrica is stunning. I personally didn’t visit the island in the lake as I had heard from other travelers that it was not worth the money to go see it.
This gorge is a few km from Bled and can be reached easily by bike. There was some confusion when we went to the Gorge as we decided to not follow google maps but take the bike route that was signposted on the road. This turned out to take us on a roundabout journey that wasted allot of time. A 15 min ride took us over an hour and on the way back we took the shorter route and found that it was perfectly safe for bikes.
The gorge itself costs EUR 5 and is absolutely beautiful, we spent a few hours walking the pathway which ends in a big waterfall. The walkways can get crowded during peak times so try to come early to avoid the crowds.
During the winter this is a ski slope but during the summer they run a toboggan down the length of the hill, the cost for the ski lift up and the toboggan down is 9 euros and it is allot of fun. At the top is a beautiful viewpoint with a cute picture frame where you can get a photo taken and there is also an adventure park with treetop obstacle courses and ziplines. The Pustolovski adventure park costs EUR 20 for adults and is open from 10-20:00, more info is on their website. It is very easy to reach from Bled, you can see it from the city and you just follow the lake until you reach the sign where you can catch the ski lift to the top of the hill, if you don’t want to pay for the lift then you can also walk up the hill.
There are several viewpoints to see Bled lake from but without a doubt this one is the best. It is also a little more difficult to find as it is easily confused with Mala Osojnica. To get to the right one we biked around the lake until we were directly opposite the town on the other side of the lake. There we reached a dirt path that went straight out from the main road signposted with Ojstrica and Mala Osojnica, at a certain point the dirt path will split and you must stick to the one on the right at another point it will split again and you will see two signs one to the left for Mala Osojnica and one to the right For Ojstrica. The one to the right will start to get steep very quickly and soon you will be climbing a stone path until you reach the top which will open up to the best view of Bled. Bring a lunch and take some time to sit at the top. Because it is not as well signposted there were only a handful of other people at the top and we had a bottle of wine and cheese picnic without feeling like we were blocking anyone’s view. A truly magical afternoon which was even better because it was completely free
Image by Guido
Bled castle was personally a bit of a let down for me, after seeing the amazing free views at Ojstrica and Straza Bled it seemed a little silly to be paying EUR 10 to see a view which was not half as good. But the castle itself is cute and its position over the lake is pretty impressive. If you have the time and the money then by all means visit but if you are budget conscious then skip this one.
White Water Rafting
This is something that is very popular in this area due to the rivers that come off the mountains. It is relatively cheap as well and I had an amazing day on the Sava river. You can book rafting from several agencies in Bled, we went for one by the tourist office and it was run by A1 adventure hostels. The price was EUR 35, including pick up and drop off in Bled. It was a fun packed day with games, swimming, and adrenaline. It is suitable for beginners and if you want more exciting rapids then the Soca river would be better suited.