Lake Bled in Slovenia - 7 Facts and 5 Things to Do

Lake Bled in Slovenia - 7 Facts and 5 Things to Do

Slovenia
Slovenia

When Is the Best Time

Lake Bled in Slovenia is a popular travel and wedding destination with more than 1.2 million overnight guests annually. Communication is easy because the Slovenes speak English and often German as well. The weather is influenced by the mountain ranges and especially the Julianne Alps.

Lake Bled and several rowing boats
Swimming in Bled is fantastic in the summer - more about the typical "pletna" boats below.

The best time to visit Bled regarding weather and crowds is April, May, September, and October. Temperatures are pleasant, and a bath in the lake is refreshing.

The Island in Bled with the Chapel of our Lay of Lourdes
The 99 Wedding Steps to the Church - more below

The summer is the busiest, hottest, and wettest time of the year with half of the annual visitors. Day temps are frequently topping 30°C/86°F. The winter months are the quietest and driest.

Seasons and Weather Guide

Bled Castle - Blejski Grad in the winter
Bled Castle is dating back to 1004.

Spring (March-May)

Lake Bled late June
The Church of the Assumption

March can be pleasant and nice but also cold. The average daily temperature is 13°C/55°F but can drop significantly as well, especially at night to 3°C/37°F. April has much warmer day temps are on average around 18°C/64°F but nights are still cold around 7°C/45°F. Increasing rainfall in May and warmer day temps around 23°C/73°F during the day. The water temperature of Lake Bled is refreshing cold. Expect one-digit night temps if you plan to camp in spring.

Summer (June-mid-September)

Vintgar Gorge close to Bled
Don't miss out on my additional article of Vintgar Gorge

June is a lovely month for Lake Bled. Temperatures are on average already around 25°C/ 77°F but can climb up to 30°C/ 86°F as well. Swimming in the lake is fantastic with water temps around 22°C/72°F. It is super busy around Statehood Day in late June. Most residents are taking some days off to enjoy a long weekend. We came here at this specific weekend, but there is plenty of space to go swimming. Luckily, we had our bikes with us because the traffic was a real issue. July and August are the hottest and wettest months.

The turquoise blue water of Lake Bled
Lake Bled is crystal clear and awesome for swimming.

It is more likely to experience thunderstorms in the afternoon. Temps above 30°C/ 86°F are common in summer. Nevertheless, nights are cool around 16°C/61°F perfect for restful sleep. If you want to dodge the crowds, don't go in these summer months and try to avoid weekends in general. The crowds thin out in September. There is a lower risk for thunderstorms and day temps are pleasant not any longer too hot.

Bled Castle enthroned above Lake Bled
At the bottom of Bled Castle is a guarded swimming area.

Time of Day in Summer: You can avoid the crowds by starting your activities early in the day. For example, visit the iconic Bled Castle (QR Code for your mobile - Bled Castle Audio Guide) first thing in the morning: It opens at 8 am. It starts to get really crowded at around 11 am. Enjoy your day at the lake and walk through Vintgar Gorge in the late afternoon. The next morning you could rent a boat and row to Bled Island. Again, if you do this early, you'll dodge the crowds and enjoy a peaceful lake and island.

The lake and island from another perspective from the west side.
We took the bikes to circuit Lake Bled.

Special tip: When it gets insanely crowded later in the day, circumference Lake Bled, go swimming, and you'll find at least some spots of solitude. The trail around Lake Bled is 5,8 km/3,6 miles long and takes less than 2 hours. Another option is to hike to the mentioned viewpoint in this article. Most visitors walk around Lake Bled only.

Bled Castle and rowing boat on Lake Bled
One of the 22 existing "pletna" boats.

Can You Go Swimming in Lake Bled?

Yes, it is wonderful. Although an alpine lake the water is pleasant from May to September and a little warmer than expected. The reason thermal springs occur in the northeast of Lake Bled.

Autumn (mid-September-November)

Blejsko srce at Lake Bled for lovers
The Heart of Bled is the new attraction for lovers; bring a lock with your names on it. There is still space available. - Google Maps 

Decreasing rainfall in autumn but lower temperatures. In October the day temps are on average around 18°C/64°F in November around 12°C/54°F. Crowds are not any longer an issue. Expect one-digit temps during the night in October and November. November is often cold, rainy, and overcast.

If you fall in love with Lake Bled, the Applique Shield Patch is a must-have! It comes with the Slovenia Flag Metal Badge Pin. A colourful and great decoration for outdoor activities, personal clothing, or collection hobbies.

Winter (December-February)

Picture taken from a pletna boat to the Church of Assumption
Pletna boats already transport tourists at the end of the winter.

The winter at Lake Bled is the driest time of the year. However, usually, it starts snowing in December and even more in January. The mountain peaks are covered with snow. You frequently experience a sunny blue sky but freezing temperatures ranging from minus degrees up to 7°C/45°F on average in the winter.

The Church of Assumption with Mount Stoll in the back
Walk around Lake Bled for different perspectives of this magical place.

The glacial Lake Bled freezes over every few years, which is perfect for ice skating. The Vintgar Gorge is closed for safety reasons. Except for Christmas and New Years' celebrations Bled is quiet and accommodations offer discounts for your stay. However, winter is a great time to enjoy this place since it's super quiet. Compared to the summer months Lake Bled has 80% fewer visitors. Some hotels are even closed during this season. However, after several visits, I definitely prefer the wintertime.

Lake Bled Map

Lake Bled Map
Bled Map large version

Top Tip to Explore Bled

E-Bike Rental Bled
e-Bikes example

We always bring our bikes to Lake Bled. This is the most convenient and fastest way to get to all interesting spots. Finding a parking space is an issue during the day. However, this time we also visited the Bled Castle and this was challenging with our old bikes. So getting around, to Bled Castle, and Vintgar Gorge is easiest by e-bike (link for booking at no extra cost). You can cancel the e-bike up to 24 hours before but are likely to be fully booked when you try to get one at the lake.

How Many Days Needed for Lake Bled

Lake Bled with snow capped mountains in the back.
Lake Bled with Mount Stoll and the Karavanke Mountains in the background.

2 days and one or two nights; There is more to see and do than just Lake Bled. If you like to explore Bled at a slow pace without missing out on all highlights I recommend two days. I summarize how much time you may need for each spot without the travel time. More details to all those "Things to Do" below.

  • Walk the almost 6 km around Lake Bled - 2 hours.
  • Take a pletna to Lake Bled Island and chapel - 1 1/2 hours.
  • Hike to the viewpoint Mala Ojsonica and back - 1.15 hours.
  • Explore Bled Castle and drink a coffee - 2 hours.
  • Experience Vintgar Gorge on the short circular trail - 3 hours.
  • Have lunch at one of the restaurants and enjoy the view.
  • In summer: Go swimming in this pleasant water and enjoy the breathtaking scenery.
Where to Stay 
  • Adora Luxury Hotel

    Adora Luxury Hotel next to Lake Bled
    It is a beautiful historical villa directly at Lake Bled. It offers fantastic views of the lake and the mountains in the back. It is a family-run hotel, and the staff walks the extra mile for you. The rooms are super clean, and the food is excellent. However, there are some of the best restaurants within walking distance. One of our preferred accommodations!

  • Hotel Park

    Hotel Park at Lake Bled
    The hotel has truly a beautiful location in front of the lake. Rooms are newly renovated in 2020. There is a fantastic wellness area on top of the hotel with an awesome view of Lake Bled. The restaurant offers a high food quality. The Bled Cake was invented in the kitchen of this hotel. The staff walks the extra mile for you. And You can rent a bike at the reception which is perfect during the summer months.

  • Old Parish House

    Old Parish House less expensive
    Budget Tip! Not really cheap, but significantly less expensive. Unique location in a historic building next to a church, but still quiet except for the bell tower. You can walk in 7 minutes to Bled Castle. Helpful staff, remodelled rooms, modern bathrooms and very clean. Excellent food!

  • Penzion Kaps

    Penzion Kaps close to Lake Bled

    This guest house is highly rated due to its hospitality, spotlessly clean rooms, the delicious breakfast. What I like most is the quiet location. Lake Bled, restaurants, and shops are all in walking distance. Parking is in front of the house. Even a laundry service is available for 5€ only.
     
  • Camping Bled

    Camping Bohinj
    That's me and our fantastic campervan

    There are two huge campgrounds at lake Bled. One is located north of the lake and the other south with beach access. Both are well-rated, but we spent a couple of days close to Lake Bohinj at Camp Danica. We visited Bohinj and Bled at the end of June. It was super busy at all campgrounds next to one of the lakes. Therefore, we chose one in six kilometres distance of Lake Bohinj. We loved our stay at this newly renovated campground with a bakery shop on site.
     

Parking in Bled

Parking Fees around Lake Bled

There are plenty of parking zones in Bled. The parking fee is a little expensive 2€/hours from 8 am-8 pm. Therefore, I recommend exploring Bled by bike. We did this already twice by bike which is more convenient getting around and just stop wherever you want. Parking can be an issue here.

Apartment House close to Bled

This time we tried another accommodation an apartment 1.5 km away. It is super quiet located they offer an excellent breakfast and on top, you can borrow bikes during your stay. That is definitely the best option to explore Bled and the surroundings. You can also get easily by bike to Vintgar Gorge. This is my new top tip for 2022.

Best Months to Visit

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Related Topics

Location and Tips

Bled
Slovenia
Slovenia

Bled Island was already an attraction 700 years ago for visitors travelling to Lake Bohinj. Because of the high demand for accommodations and transport, it all was developed a long time ago. Pilgrims visited the chapel on Bled Island already in medieval times.

Lake Bled and Castle from higher elevation
View from the Mala Osojnica Trail - more below.

Bled is just a 45 minutes drive from the capital city Ljubljana. The only international airport is located 27 km north of Ljublijana, just half an hour south of Lake Bled. The lake is famous for its picturesque "Church of the Assumption of Mary" on the tiny island.

Pletnas at the jetty and tourists climbing the steps up
Lake Bled and the island are much quieter in the winter.

To get to the island, you can either rent a boat and row or book a trip on a traditional "Pletna" boat. These boats reminded me of Venice; they are gondola like rowboats made from wood. You can swim to the island, but you have to be a good swimmer. Don't underestimate the difficulty of swimming 290 m/951 feet to Lake Bled Island without a break.

Magical atmosphere with clouds and light at lake bled and island
We never get bored of the spectacular views at Lake Bled.

Is Lake Bled Worth Visiting?

View to Lake Bled Island from Bled Castle
The view from Bled Castle to Lake Bled in winter.

Lake Bled is truly a magical place with so much to see and do. When we arrived for the first time in Spring, to our amazement, we saw a beautiful clear freshwater lake with an island in the centre. The lake is well preserved with no motorised boats, but you can row, take a pletna or swim to the island and explore it.

The terrace of Bled Castle
The church of the castle is to the left.

For picturesque views of the lake, you can either climb up to a viewpoint or walk up to Blejski Grad or Bled Castle, enjoy a meal or a coffee and have a great view. We have visited the lake already multiple times, and never got bored by its pristine beauty and available hikes.

A woman sitting on the staircase, the 99 steps to the church
Me, on Lake Bled Island this winter.

If you are still up for more, I suggest visiting Vintgar Gorge (a 2-4 hour roundtrip through the gorge) easy to reach by public transport, car or bike. This was another highlight of walking over the fast-flowing river in the canyon. It was a beautiful display of nature which showed very little interference from tourists. Whatever your way of travelling and expectations are, you won't be disappointed with Lake Bled.

 

7 Lake Bled Facts

Lake Bled from far away from an outlook
The view from halfway up on the Mala Osojnica hike.
  1. Located on 475 meters elevation.

  2. Max length of the lake is 2.120 m/6.955 feet - Max width 1.380 m/4.528 feet.

  3. Depth 30,6/100,39 feet

  4. Hike around the lake on the 5,8 km/3,6 miles trail.

  5. It freezes over every few years.

  6. Swimming from May to September with pleasant temps (for free) at many spots.

  7. The beautiful landscape attracted wealthy people already hundreds of years ago, the reason for such luxurious villas around the lake.
     


5 Things To Do - Activities Around Bled

1 Visit Vintgar Gorge

Deep in Vintgar Gorge
The gorge narrows.

This gorge is a must-see; it extends over a waterfall and has a built-in bridge. However, there is plenty of parking next to the gorge entrance. It is a ten minutes drive from Bled only. The gorge is pretty busy during weekends, especially from June to September. The walk through the gorge and back through the forest takes a maximum of 2 hours, depending on your pace. There are two trails to get back to the parking, a shorter and less strenuous one in total 4.5 km long and a longer 5.5 km climbing upslope for a fantastic view. Both trails are well marked. Due to COVID 19, one-way traffic only. The entrance fee is 10 €, and parking is 5 €. Gorge opening hours are constantly changing. It is closed in the winter for safety reasons. During summer, the early morning and evening are tranquil; the rest of the day is crowded. The busiest time is from 10 am to 2 pm. More details and pictures in my additional article Vintgar Gorge:

2 Bled Castle

Bled Castle perched above Lake Bled
Bled Castle on the top of this steep cliff. Bled Castle Map

Bled Castle or Blejski Grad towering over Lake Bled on a 125 m high cliff. The castle was first mentioned in 1011. It was always expanded into a circular fortress during the centuries depending on the needs and the financial situation.

The cash point and the old gateway to the castle
The entrance door to the castle.

The castle was damaged during two earthquakes in 1511 and 1690, and some parts had to be rebuilt, like the chapel. Few rooms are open to the public where an exhibition tells the story about Bled and Bled Castle.

The exhibition in the castle on the first floor.
The exhibition rooms in the castle.

Unfortunately, all furniture was looted at the end of WW2. However, enjoy the stunning views and check out the exhibition. 

The circular castle construction view from inside.
Several parts are accessible to visitors.

Depending on the location of your hotel, it’s a 10 minute to 60 minutes walk. You can also get here by car, but there is limited space or take an e-bike. You may have to queue at weekends during midday to get a parking space.

3 Hiking for this Instagram View

Lake Bled view from the hiking trail Mala Osojnica
Bled Island was declared a cultural and historical monument in 1951. 

There are many marked/signposted trails around Lake Bled. A short but outstanding hike to a fantastic viewpoint is the Mala Osojnica Trail (Link Google Maps). 

A long and steep narrow staircase leads up to the viewpoint
I recommend proper hiking shoes for the steep and slippery trail.

The walk takes 30 minutes uphill. It is a narrow, steep trail offering spectacular views from different elevations. If you have any fear of heights, it is tricky to get up and down on this narrow staircase. 

The lookout of Mala Ojsonica offers drone like views.
Soak in the beauty of this exceptional drone-like view.

The scenery from the viewpoint is awesome and therefore a little busy during weekends.

4 Rent a Boat or Take a "Pletna"

Rowing boat with group of people
It is popular to take a "pletna" boat, only 22 exist rich in history.

Hire a boat to row around the lake. You can get to the island and wander about at your leisure. Between 12-18 EUR/hour. I recommend taking a so-called "pletna" boat. The boat reminded me of the gondolas in Venice. Our tour took roughly an hour with 45 minutes on the Bled island for 15 € p.p. It is a privilege to own this typical kind of boat to transport the pilgrims in former times and tourists nowadays.

A pletna at Lake Bled Island waiting for the visitors
I highly recommend such a pletna trip.

Roughly 20 families got the right to earn their income with these boats, and this right has been passed from father to son until today. There are 22 boats offering transport from the shore to the island and "The Church of the Assumption of Mary".

5 Eat a Bled Cream Cake 

Bled Cake
The cake is heavy but delicious.

No kidding, try it at least once. It can be bought at most cafes and restaurants in Bled. This unique cake was first created in the Park Hotel Restaurant in 1953. Estimated 500.000 pieces are sold annually in total more than 30 million pieces of the Bled Cake since then. Another speciality which I tried this winter is hot chocolate with cream. This liquid was more a chocolate pudding and delicious.

The Weeding Tradition at Lake Bled Island

View to the 99 steps and chapel from the pletna boat
The groom has to carry his bride up on these 99 steps.

Bled is a prime wedding location for centuries. A lovely chapel perched on the slope of Bled Island became an ultimate destination for newlyweds. When you arrived at the island you immediately know why this is a popular wedding spot. So couples take a pletna after their ceremony to get to Bled Island. To ensure a happy marriage the groom has to carry the bride up to the church on the 99 steep steps. Not an easy task, and that is not all.

The chapel inside and the rope to ring the bell.
Me, in the chapel when I have rung the bell.

The bride or the couple have to ring the bell three times in the chapel to get a wish fulfilled. Anyone who does so and believes in god will have one wish granted. Of course, I couldn't resist and rang the bell. The full name of this iconic chapel is "Pilgrimage Church of the Assumption of Mary".

The Bell Tower on Lake Bled Island

Also, the bell tower next to the chapel is worth a visit. The tower stands segregated the entrance is in the back.

The pendulum from the clock in the bell tower

Most fascinating is the pendulum clock. The pendulum moves from side to side which controls the clock mechanism. The entire clock was restored during the restoration work in 2013.

    Ticket Prices and Entrance Fees for Bled

    Tickets for Bled Castle and the Church of the Assumption on Bled Island
    Our tickets from Bled

    The entrance fees to all attractions are a bit pricy for Slovenia. Therefore, I like to give you an overview what to expect where.

    • Blejski Grad - Bled Castle: 13 € adults - 8,50 € students - 5 € children - discounts for groups, seniors, and disabled people
    • Church of the Assumption and Bell Tower on Bled Island: 12 € adults - 8,50 € students - 5 € children - 24 € families
    • Pletna Boat: 15 € approx. one hour
    • Boat Rental: 12-15 € one hour
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