On Lake Bled (Slovenia)

About 34 miles (55 km) northwest of Ljubljana, Lake Bled is a lake at the edge of the Julian Alps. Surrounded by mountains and forests with a medieval castle on a rocky face high above the lake and a small island within the lake, this setting is very picturesque. The large lake, 6,980 feet by 4,530 ft (2,120 m by 1,380 m) is without motor boats.

Water from multiple natural springs feed the lake. The bluish-green water is clear, tranquil, and smooth as glass. Lake Bled is large: 6,980 feet by 4,530 ft (2,120 m by 1,380 m), and without motor boats.

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Our morning ride to Bled Island was on a plenta – a flat-bottomed wooden boat seating 20 passengers propelled and navigated by an oarsman. In 1740, Empress Maria Theresa granted 22 families exclusive rights to transport people to the island, and that tradition remains today.

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Bled Island is small, large enough for a church and several buildings. The church is a popular wedding site and has several traditions. It is good luck for the marriage if the groom carries his bride up the 99 steps before ringing the bell inside the church and making a wish. The wish will come to true if the bell rings three times on one pull of the rope.

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After returning from the island, we walked the 3-mile (5 km) paved path circling the lake. The walk provides beautiful views of the island, the castle, the town, hotels, and relaxing views across the calm water. Along the way we passed the Slovenian Olympic Rowing Training Facility. Lake Bled has hosted the World Rowing Championship 4 times.

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High on a cliff above the lake sits Bled Castle – a medieval castle that protected the people since 1004. Today, the castle houses exhibits, a museum, restaurant, wine cellar, chapel, banquet hall, and a printing shop – but it also provides outstanding views of the lake, the island, the town of Bled, and the surrounding countryside.

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Enjoy this very short video (17 seconds) of Bled Castle at night.

 

We were told that Lake Bled is very busy in the summer months. We were fortunate because our visit was in early October – the crowds were down and the weather was excellent. The boat ride, the walk around the lake, the hike to the castle, lunch at the castle, and a group meal was a delightful way to end our Rick Steves’ Europe tour – but, for us, our vacation was not over! Meanwhile, enjoy the 2-minute video about Lake Bled by Rick Steves.

Next Stop: Trieste

Click here for past posts of this tour.

42 thoughts on “On Lake Bled (Slovenia)

  1. This is an enchanting journey Frank. It’s thrilling to see the beauty of.This region of the world. The customs are fascinating and old as time. Thank you for the amazing gallery of photographs. I think Croatia is a stunningly beautiful land too, enjoy your travels. And thanks for virtually bringing us along.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Very neat! I especially like the part about Empress Maria Theresa granting 22 families the rights to transport on the lake. Is that why there are no motorboats?
    The castle is gorgeous at night. Thank you, Frank!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Resa,
      Correct … no motorboats on this lake, which (in my opinion) enhances the experience. The castle’s presence is part of the charm. Outside of its presence and the views it provides, the castle itself is no more than OK … but still – it’s mere presence is still worth it! Glad you enjoyed the video!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Patti,
      I know you enjoy a touch of history added into posts. Of course we both know any location in Europe has a much longer historical record than we do … which is one of the reasons I enjoy Europe so much!

      Like

  3. Hi Frank!
    We went to Bled in the summer of 1998, on the way to Trieste! It was a wonderful place. We rowedout to 5he islands and rang the bell. It was a memorable trip,and Slovenia remains the most delightful surprise of my time in Europe. I had no knowledge before we went, and was so very glad we went.

    Forgive my absence. I’ve been reading, but my iPad keeps causing me trouble as I try to comment. But I have been reading!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Elyse!!!!!
      Glad to see your presence here. I’ve missed you. Hope all is well with you.

      You may be the first commenter here who has also been to Lake Bled. Slovenia was a definite surprise! Thumbs up. … Just think, although our tour end here, Trieste was our next stop – therefore the next post!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. As I mentioned on an earlier post, I’ve been to lake Bled. It was near the end of a long trip going through Northern Italy (Venice, Verona, Padua, Mantua, Lago Garda, Trieste, etc…), Austria (Innsbruck and Salzburg), Slovenia (Ljubljana, Bled, caves, Piran), so Bled ended up as one of the less memorable places on the trip. It was still a good place to visit, though.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That really is a beautiful church and I think as a wedding site, quite special! Lake Bled is quite special, too. I don’t think I’d do very well remembering the name of all these fantastic destinations, but I am enjoying the scenery! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Debra,
      The scenery at Lake Bled is quite memorable … the mountains, the lake, the island, the castle above, the views … simply wow. Remember, you don’t have to remember these destinations because they are filed right here. 😉

      Like

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