A fairy-tale location if ever there was one, Lake Bled’s green waters, baroque church island and looming clifftop castle are Slovenia’s most famous attraction.

Set amidst the snow-capped Julian Alps, less than an hour from Ljubljana, the emerald lake is small enough to walk around on foot. The beautiful Church of the Assumption sits on an islet in the lake and dates back to 1698. The Island Is reachable by pletna boat – a large gondola-type vessel – or by rowboat, as the lake restricts motorised crafts. According to local legend, if one rings the church bell loud enough, they will be granted a wish. Another is that if a husband is able to carry his new bride up the 99 steps from the dock into the church, they will have a happy marriage. Sodden wedding party guests are also not unheard of!

Watching over the lake is the imperious Bled Castle. The oldest part of the medieval castle is the beautiful Romanesque tower and other areas were constructed in Renaissance style, during the 17th century.

The sublime walkways of Vintgar Gorge are close by and Bled also serves as wonderful base from which to explore the stunning Triglav National Park. The park is popular for hiking and outdoor adventure sports, such as rafting on the Soca River, and is home to Slovenia’s largest lake, Bohinj. Enjoy a boat trip on the sparkling waters before taking a cable car 1,535m (5,036 feet) up to admire the view over Triglav’s three peaks and beyond.

When to go

The weather is most reliable during the summer months, but the mountains here can look particularly striking in the quieter spring and autumn seasons.


What to do

  • Boat across to Bled's island church
  • Hike in the Julian Alps
  • Rafting on the Soca River
  • Ascend Mount Vogel's cablecar