Situated at the foot of the Julian Alps in the North of Slovenia, Lake Bled is one of the country’s best-loved natural attractions. An opalescent turquoise on a clear day; dark and brooding when a storm is brewing; it is definitely worth a closer look. The 6km circumference is a delight to walk around, and makes for a very easy walk as the path is flat and clearly defined at all times. The walk takes around 2 hours at a leisurely pace. Today, let me take you around the lake…
Starting point: Bled Town
Bled is a bustling tourist town, which can get very busy during the summer season and in winter when skiers flock to the area for the unspoilt slopes. It is full of restaurants, bars and upmarket souvenir shops. An absolute must when visiting Bled is to try the delicious ‘kremšnita‘ (vanilla cream slice); they sell these all over town but the original comes from Kavarna Park by the lake shore. You can start your walk from here with a little sweet indulgence, or save it for a well-earned treat when you get back. The start of the lakeshore path is obvious; you can of course walk in either direction but I will be taking the anticlockwise route.
Moored at the lakeside near the Kavarna Park, you will find large pletna rowing boats waiting to ferry passengers to the iconic Bled Island. The island’s church is a famous location for weddings, and looking across at its picture-perfect profile from the shore, it is easy to understand the appeal.
The Bathing area and the Olympic Rowing Centre
First, pass below Bled Castle (a path forks upwards so you can also visit the castle on foot from this point) and alongside the area of the lake reserved for bathers. This opens during the summer months, and has a water slide which provides a fun way for children to enter the lake. If it’s too cold to take a dip, kids are sure to love feeding the ducks and squirrels which frequent the lakeshore at this point.
For a county of only 2 million people, Slovenia has had outstanding success in the field of rowing, winning a host of Olympic medals over successive games from 1988-2012. Our route passes by the Olympic Rowing centre, and you may well see teams of rowers setting out from here and speeding across the lake, their shoes recklessly abandoned on the jetty. Here you can stop at Penzion Zaka for a coffee, a beer or a reasonably-priced lunch and enjoy the ambience of the peaceful lakeshore garden.
The Far Shore
After passing the camp site where you will find a small pebble beach perfect for paddling or bathing, you will reach the most secluded and peaceful part of the lake. From here you can see the church on the Island from a new perspective, and you may also see the lake’s resident swans. Returning by the south shore, a great place to stop for refreshments is the Cafe Belvedere which has a terrace offering unspoilt views over the lake.
Just before you re-enter the town, you will find another landing for the pletna boats offering trips to the island and tours of the lake. Pass below the Straza Bled (a fun bobsleigh/slide experience which opens in summer) and return via the gardens of the Hotel Grand Toplice to the grassy shores where you may dip your tired feet in the crystal clear waters of the lake and finish off your walk in the most perfect and memorable way.
I hope you enjoyed today’s tour of Lake Bled. Stay tuned for more Postcards from Slovenia which I will be sending out very soon!