I have to be honest with you, the idea of taking a day trip to Lake Bled was basically the only reason I decided to book a trip to Ljubljana. Having always wanted to visit Lake Bled, the rest of the trip basically revolved around this one idea.
I did some research about the best way of making the most of my day trip to Lake Bled. I looked up the various options and also looked at the other places I wanted to see.
It is possible to get the train from Ljubljana to Lake Bled, but do make sure you go to the right station. The larger station is the one that goes to Ljubljana, but this is about 4.5km from the Lake, so you would then need to get a bus. If I had more than one day I definitely would have taken this option, to be able to spend more time at the Lake.
I also looked into hiring a car for the day. However, I had read that parking can be really difficult and again as I was short on time, and also on my own, I didn’t want to face this hassle.
So, I decided the best option for me was to book onto a day tour. One that picked me up and dropped me off in Ljubljana. One of my main considerations, was that as a solo traveller it would be nice to spend the day with other people. I could also sit back, relax and allow someone else to deal with the logistics.
Doing more research there are so many different options of day trips from Ljubljana you can take. Have a look into the sights you want to see, as it is not possible to fit all into one day. In the end I decided I had to sacrifice a visit to the Predjama castle and Postojna caves. Something for next time!
So where did I visit?
This beautiful medieval town was the first stop on my day trip to Lake Bled. We arrived early, which I would definitely recommend as the streets were so quiet. To the point, I actually asked if anyone still lived there!
Škofja Loka is one of the best preserved medieval towns and at only 26km away from Ljubljana an extremely easy addition to a day trip to Lake Bled.
It’s a lovely little town to wander around, full of Slovenia charm. You enter the old town centre over the original bridge – although they have now added railings after people kept falling into the river. The town is also home to a castle, which dates back to the 13th century, although parts were damaged during an earthquake.
One thing not to miss is the main town square, which is home to three statues as a thanks for the protection of the town during plagues and fire. While there try and make the stone fountain work. This fountain dates back to 1883 and is still in use. The water is drinkable, if you can work out how to turn it out – it’s magic!
I could have easily spent a day here, wandering around, admiring all the old buildings and eating at lots of the bakeries. But it was also a lovely first stop on my day trip to Lake Bled.
This lake is the largest lake in Slovenia and wow is it beautiful! Visiting this lake meant I had to sacrifice the aforementioned caves and castle. But it was definitely worth it. It is so huge and so beautiful, and had a more rustic feel to it than Lake Bled. With absolutely crystal clear, glacial waters it was such a wonderful place to just sit and take in the moment.
You could spend hours here, walking around the perimeter and taking in the views. Or if you are feeling adventurous there are plenty of options for things to do on the lake. Swimming, hiring canoes or boat trips.
And if you have some time to spend there, there are so many hiking trails you can do to be at one with nature. Again, when I plan my return trip to Slovenia, I would like to take some time here to truly appreciate all the lake has to offer.
This beautiful stretch of river is absolutely, definitely worth a visit. It was the last stop on my day trip and actually I was lucky for a number of reasons. Firstly, it was getting late in the day, secondly it was getting later in the year and thirdly because it was raining. I know, rain doesn’t sound like luck! But trust me, when I say it definitely was. Because of all these combining factors we basically had the gorge to ourselves.
I have heard horror stories about the crowds of tourists who appear in the summer. And with the layout of the walkway, I can see why this is a problem. So I would recommend you do your research into the time of day and year you are wanting to visit.
Having said that, I don’t believe that hundreds of tourists would detract from the beauty of this spot. It might just make it harder to walk at your pace. The wooden rustic walkway down the gorge weaves and winds itself along the rock, clinging to the sides. Occasionally the path crosses the river, over some dramatic spots – allowing you to peer down the gorge.
You can enter the walkway from both ends, meaning you are going to pass people along the way. The entire gorge takes about 45 minutes to walk. The plus here with being on a day tour, was that our guide dropped us off at one end and then drove around to pick us up from the other. Otherwise, it would either involve walking back uphill to the car park, or a hike around the countryside back to the beginning.
And of course… Lake Bled
I was worried when I booked a day trip to Lake Bled, that it would be one of those destinations where expectation exceeded reality. Luckily, this was not the case. Of course, there are quite a few people around but it didn’t feel overcrowded at all.
When we rounded the corner and I caught my first glimpse of the lake, I could barely contain my excitement. I had wanted to visit Lake Bled for so long, I couldn’t quite believe I was there. Lake Bled is the only island in Slovenia, which I think is pretty special!
The first thing I did when arriving at Lake Bled was take a boat out to the island. These traditional Plenta boats, have been handed down through families over time. 20 families were given the rights to these boats, and where the only ones allowed to transport people over to the island. The boats take about 20 people are solely powered by one man rowing! Cost: €14
I loved being on the water, and watching the island getting closer and closer. If I am honest, it was the best thing about getting the boat over there.
If taking a Plenta boat over, you get 45 minutes on the island, which is actually plenty. It’s lovely to walk around, visiting the café and you can also go inside the church for an additional cost. I am really pleased I went over, but it was the journey there that made it more special.
After visiting the island, I then headed off to Bled Castle. This castle, perched on a hilltop overlooking the lake, dates back to 1011 making it the oldest castle in Slovenia. Cost: €11
The views from the castle over the lake are absolutely spectacular. From the highest point on the north side of the lake, you can see the island and the rolling hills behind. Definitely worth the entrance fee.
While there make sure you also indulge in the famous Bled Cake. You even get a discounted price with a full price adult entry ticket. This traditional cake is a layer of cream, a layer of custard, topped with pastry and dusted with icing sugar. Sounds bizarre, but I really enjoyed it. It has designated protected status, and so can only be found in bakeries in Bled.
For me, sitting atop a castle looking out over Lake Bled was a pretty perfect place to try it!
Would I recommend a day trip to Lake Bled?
Yes, absolutely and without question. It was a magical day and everything I had hoped.
However, I would have liked to spend more, often much more, time in each place. If, and when, I plan my return trip here I would definitely look into more self sufficient way of getting around and so I can determine my own timetable a bit more.
But if like me you have time constraints, and it always feels like I have time constraints, this is a perfect way to see a little bit more of Slovenia. Whichever way you do it, and which ever way works for you; make sure you get out of Ljubljana and see some more of this absolutely incredible country.
If you are thinking of taking a trip to Slovenia then make sure you take a look at my other posts:
And if you are looking for somewhere to stay:
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