Lake Bled

An alpine lake in a sumptuous setting



4260 Bled, Slovenia

GPS: 46.364649503237, 14.094768791523

Plan my route

Surrounded by green hills, lush forests and snow-capped mountains, Lake Bled is in an alpine region of Slovenia, not far from the Austrian and Italian borders. Although modest in size – two kilometres long and only 1.5 kilometres wide – the lake is one of the most popular natural sites in the country. It was formed tens of thousands of years ago by the melting of the Bohinj glacier at the foot of the Julian Alps.

A destination renowned for the beauty of its landscapes, Lake Bled is home to the country’s only natural island (Blejski otok). This tiny island of greenery protects a 15th century neolithic church whose bells still ring. The baroque church has attracted pilgrims since the Middle Ages. This glacial lake is home to Slovenia’s oldest castle. Built in the early 11th century on top of a steep cliff, Bled Castle majestically dominates the Soča Valley at a height of some 130 metres. This defensive site, which has been converted into a restaurant and museum, presents the history of the area and the culture of the inhabitants of the Gorenjska region. It also offers a magnificent view of the majestic environment of Lake Bled. This leading tourist destination in Slovenia is also popular for its thermal springs on the eastern side of the lake. Various private establishments continue a tradition of beauty and wellness treatments dating back to the Austro-Hungarian aristocracy in the 19th century.

Located 500 metres above sea level, Lake Bled offers ideal conditions for outdoor recreation in all seasons (swimming, hiking, biking, water sports, winter sports, etc.). A path for walkers and cyclists allows you to walk around the lake and admire the crystal blue water and the breathtaking mountainous landscape. It is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful Alpine lakes in Europe. The Ojstrica, Mala Osojnica and Straža hills, which can be reached on foot, offer the most spectacular views of Lake Bled. With such a romantic setting, it is no wonder that many Slovenian and foreign couples choose Lake Bled as the perfect setting for their honeymoon.

Read more

  • The mountain scenery and the sparkling water of Lake Bled
  • The charming little island in the middle of the lake with the Church of the Assumption of Mary accessible by traditional rowing boat (pletna); the view from the bell tower and the restored clock mechanism
  • A visit to Bled Castle (historical exhibitions on the region, armour collection, wine cellar, archery activity) overlooking the lake and its spectacular panorama
  • Outdoor activities: hiking, walking around the lake (6 km long), swimming, kayaking, fishing (open from 1 April to 31 December), cycling (bicycles can be rented at the visitors’ information centre), tree-top course (Pustolovski Park), golf complex; skating and skiing in winter (Vogel resort)
  • Phenomenal views from the Osojnica and Mala Osojnica hills (south-western shore of the lake); Straža hill (ideal for summer sledging or skiing over the lake)
  • Swan and fish populations
  • 19th-century villas that have housed many heads of state; wellness centres and spas on the lake shore; the remains of Villa Rikli
  • Triglav National Park (to the west), the medieval town of Radovljica (to the east), the Babji Zob cave in the town of Bohinjska Bela to the south (only accessible in summer)
  • The wild river Sava Bohinjka (on the Pokljuka plateau between Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj), ideal for kayaking, rafting and canyoning
  • The Swiss naturopath Arnold Rikli played a key role in the development of Bled as a health resort in the late 19th century. He was an advocate of natural and alternative methods to conventional medicine and founded a health institute on the shores of Lake Bled. This revolutionary healer offered various therapies using the benefits of the sun, water, and air to cure all kinds of diseases. His naked patients enjoyed cold water or steam baths, prolonged exposure to the sun and hiking trails in the natural lake environment. In 1906, when Rikli died, the small town of Bled ranked among the top tourist destinations in the Austro-Hungarian Empire before declining sharply as the First World War approached.
  • The neo-Gothic Church of the Assumption of Mary, perched on the small island in the lake, was built in the 15th century on a former place of worship of Slavic pagans.
  • The waters of Lake Bled are partly frozen in winter but can reach a temperature of 25°C in midsummer.
  • Every year, more than a hundred amateur divers participate in the cleaning of Lake Bled. The spread of cyanobacteria turns the crystal-clear waters of the lake red.
  • Lake Bled is easily accessible by bus from the Slovak capital, Ljubljana, which is about 50 km away (about an hour’s travel time).
  • You can rent a rowing boat (with or without a pilot) to roam the lake or to visit the historic Church of the Assumption of Mary and ring the bells. It is possible to swim to the island, but you will not be allowed to enter the church in a swimming costume.
  • The climb to the castle is quite steep but you will be rewarded for your efforts by the beautiful view of Lake Bled.
  • On the northern part of the lake, which is less frequented by tourists, a 4-kilometre route leads to the Vintgar Gorge, a remarkable natural site in the Triglav National Park.
  • Enjoy the beautiful setting of the lake from one of the many café terraces while tasting the local Bled speciality, kremšnita cream cake.

Where to eat

  • Public Bar & Vegan Kitchen Bled
    (excellent vegan burgers)
  • Steakhouse Berc
    (fine and generous cuisine)
  • Bled Castle
    (enchanting setting)

Where to go

  • Vintgar Gorge
    (lush natural setting)
  • Museum of Apiculture Radovljica
    (beautiful collection of beehives)
  • Lake Bohinj
    (of great scenic beauty)

Where to stay

  • Jazz Bled
    (well-equipped flats)
  • Garni Hotel Berc
    (quiet and friendly)
  • Villa Adora
    (cosy house)