Bled is one of the most beautiful places we have ever been to (and we have been to a lot of pretty places)! Here you will find the only island in all of Slovenia, a majestic castle upon a cliff, and some of the most magical views.
Bled is a town in the Julian Alps, in northeastern Slovenia. It is home to Lake Bled (a glacial lake) the Church of the Mother of God (pictured below), and the infamous layered Cream Cake. During our visit, the colors of fall were just starting to pop out amongst all the trees. We only had 3 days in the area but could have easily spent many more!
We took a bus from Ljubljana to Lesce, a small town outside of Bled. Our bus ride was a little over an hour, but there were pretty views almost the whole way.
First night in our hostel
We arrived at our hostel (our first one ever) which was a short walk from the bus station in Lesce and checked in. We chose this hostel, 1A Adventure Hostel, because they offered a free shuttle to Bled and tours to some of the surrounding places.
The hostel was pretty empty and we thought we might be the only guests that night… We explored the small town of Lesce and grabbed food for the next few days.
Grocery shopping on this trip has been interesting. We are so used to having almost EVERYTHING we can think of in the store. Well, that’s not the case everywhere so we went with pasta with veggies (again… this has become our go to because it’s easy and you can always find it).
We went back to the hostel, made dinner, and found out other people staying here! We met two people from the U.S. and spent the rest of the evening/night getting to know them (hooray for friends).
Lake Day in Bled
The next morning we took the hostel shuttle to Bled. As we walked up to the lake that morning, Sam almost teared up because the view was just amazing. When we got there the lake was empty and the town was pretty quiet too (no complaint here).But, you could tell that in the summer, it would be a lot busier.
We walked the paved path around the lake (about 6 km), taking pictures every few steps.
On the path, we found a chunky orange cat watching birds. He was super friendly and we nicknamed him Cheddar.
Views from above
Along the lake, there are hikes up to various viewpoints. We hiked one called Mala Osojnica. The 1 mile out and back hike was steep and had a very tall staircase to climb!
But with views like these (below), we are not complaining. Even though we had a cold, cloudy day, we were blown away. We’re sure that on a sunny day or at sunset, it’s even better!
After the hike, we were super hungry and so happy to find a vegan restaurant in Bled. We headed to Public Vegan and Kitchen for lunch. We split a HUGE veggie burger, soup, and the infamous Bled Cream Cake (a must try when visiting Bled or Slovenia in general).
After lunch, we walked around some more, admiring the amazing views. The sun came out and felt SO nice!
Later, we took the shuttle back, ate dinner, and hung out with the guys we had met the night before. We also met a couple from Ireland, biking their way across Europe! And we mean ACROSS Europe, all the way from northern France to Turkey. WILD! (and our family thinks we’re crazy!)
Visit to the Gorge
The next morning we woke up and went to Vintgar Gorge. The gorge is a few kilometers from Bled and a must do if you’re visiting the region! Tickets cost 10 euro but there is a student discount if you have your ID card! In the gorge, you walk one way, along the railed path and boardwalk bridges.
We took the hostel shuttle and were joined by the Irish couple we met the night before. It was a stunning walk. We kept stopping to take in the views, not able to believe it was real. The water was SO blue and clear! In sections where the water ran slower, you could barely tell it was there.
Tip: If you are visiting, take your time walking through the gorge. There is a “waterfall” at the end but it is nothing compared to the gorge itself. If you just keep walking, it’ll fly by. Stop and enjoy the views throughout the hike.
After the hike, we stopped at the cafe outside the exit of the gorge. We got coffee to warm up and chatted with the couple from Ireland, enjoying the views (pictured below). We were picked up by the shuttle from the hostel and headed back so Ty could get some school work done (so proud of him).
Bohinj + Bled
On our 3rd full day in the area, we took the local bus to Bohinj. We hadn’t done a ton of research before our visit and planned to walk around the lake, hike, and get lunch. Well, when we got there we realized there were only a few buses back. We only had a couple of hours before the last bus, unless we wanted to stay there until around 8 pm.
Not only did we have limited time, but we also realized the lake is A LOT larger than we originally thought. So, we ended up just walking along one side of it, which was about 3 miles. The lake was so reflective and the mountains around us were breathtaking. The colors were so bright and we were so lucky to have a sunny day!
Heading to Bohinj? There is a ferry that takes people from one side to the other but is CASH ONLY (we did not have enough cash, tip for Europe: have lots of cash!!).
Even though the day didn’t go as planned, we had such a great morning and the views were amazing. We wish we could have spent more time in Bohinj because there are a ton of hikes to do!
If you’re heading to this area, definitely plan for at least a whole day in Bohinj but check bus schedules ahead of time!
After we walked along the lake, we caught a bus back to Bled for lunch and spent the afternoon there. We got lunch at Spica and had a vegan stew and idrija zlikrofi dumplings. The dumplings are a traditional slovenian dish recommended by our tour guide from Ljubljana!
After lunch, we walked around part of Lake Bled again and saw the orange cat, Cheddar, from the first day!
Seeing him made us think of Puddin and Tofu, our cats back home. We really miss them but are so grateful to our family for taking care of them while we are gone (you are the best!).
The weather was much nicer today, so we wanted to enjoy the views again with bright blue skies. (Don’t let the sky fool you, it was still super cold out haha). At 6 we waited for the shuttle to take us back to the hostel and made dinner. We met a group of girls from the Netherlands, a couple of guys from London, and a guy from Belgium.
There is a legend in Bled of a rich widow who was so depressed by her husband’s death that she had all their silver and gold cast into a bell. While bringing the bell to the church on the island, a storm caused the boat to sink and the bell sank to the bottom of the lake.
The widow was so upset, she donated all of her money to construct a new church in Bled. Then, she headed to Rome to become a nun. After her death, the Pope sent a new bell to Bled in honor of her that is still in the church today.
There are two things that come from this story: The bell is considered a “wishing bell” and if you ring it 3 times while making a wish, it will come true. It is also said that on quiet nights it is said that you can hear the bell ringing from deep below the water.
Side Story: Fancy Dinners and White Rice
Since we had finished our pasta and were too lazy to go grocery shopping, we found some white rice in the cupboard and had that for dinner…(we are on a budget remember). Of all nights, this was the night multiple groups of people decided to make fancy looking meals and all we had was WHITE RICE (of course we had a better meal the night before and no one was around to see it!).
The next morning we packed up our things and got ready to leave. At breakfast, one of the girls we met the night before saw our cereal and said “What? No white rice?”.
Dear family, we promise we are eating more than white rice, it was a one (maybe 2) time thing!!
Overall, we loved our time in Slovenia! Both Ljubljana and Bled were so interesting and so beautiful. The views in Bled and Bohinj were magical. We wish we would have explored more of the country.
If we ever get a chance to come back, we will be spending more time outdoors and on the trails. There are so many hikes, including a summit to Triglav (something we have added to our bucket list!).
Although we weren’t 100% prepared for the cold, the excitement these places brought made us (almost) forget about the temperature. Next stop: Croatia!
Until next time,
Sam and Ty
Heading to Slovenia? Check out our Top 10 Must Dos in the capital, Ljubljana, here!