If you’re staying in Ljubljana then a day trip out to these beautiful lakes is an absolute must. In less than an hour’s drive north-west of the city you can be at Lake Bled. Try and avoid weekends though, as when we were there last time (on a Sunday) the traffic getting out of the Bled area was heavy and finding parking wasn’t easy either. It seemed like all of Ljubljana was there!
Once you’re at Lake Bled, there are many ways to spend the day. To get the very best view of the lake you’ve got to take a hike to (or drive to the car park of) Bled Castle. Standing guard over the lake since 1004, its elevated position affords breathtaking vistas or the Julian Alps to the north and over the lake and of the island in the middle. Entrance is a hefty 10 Euros. Students get a 3 Euro discount.
Back down to the lakeside next you can choose to rent a bike and cycle the circumference, it’s just over 4 miles so shouldn’t take long and could even be walked comfortably in under a couple of hours. If it’s a hot day, head to the ‘Castle Bathing Area’ directly below the castle rock, the only official designated swimming area on the lake.
If you’d rather take to the water by boat, then you can either take a Pletna, the traditional flat-bottomed boat, out to the island – it’s a 12 Euro round trip, or if you’re feeling energetic, row yourself out there. Rowboat rental costs €15 for the first hour and €10 for each subsequent hour.
If all that exercise has worked up an appetite then you could do worse than taking a table on the informal terrace of Villa Preseren and ordering a full meal, just a starter (the trio of octopus salad, smoked tuna carpaccio and caprese was a good selection last time) or a coffee and a slice the irresistible kremšnita, the creamy sweet cake that Bled is known for.
If you have time, then we definitely recommend the 15 minutes or so drive further on that will take you to Lake Bohinj. Whereas Bled is very developed, with plenty of hotels, cafes and restaurants, Bohinj is much more natural and peaceful.
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Charlie is head of marketing at JayWay Travel. A long-term Prague resident, his interests are cooking, eating out, cycling, skiing and of course, travel.