Lake Bled, picture perfect fairy-tale location and is a glacial lake in the Julian Alps in northwestern Slovenia. It has been nominated one of the seven new wonders of the world and much of that fame is assigned to the church in the middle of the lake.
The church, built near the end of the 17th century, is located on the island has a 52 m (171 ft) tower. There is a stairway dating from 1655 with 99 stone steps leading up to the building. The church receives many visitors and is also a popular place for your dream wedding. Ringing the bell and making a wish inside the church has long been a tradition at the church, but this is now more or less a tourist attraction.
Lake Bled has undoubtedly become very popular over the past few years. I wrote this guide to help you get the most of this beautiful location, without feeling like you missed out on something.
How to get to Lake Bled
I strongly recommend you rent a car for your travels through Slovenia. Especially if you plan on visiting several destinations. Public transport takes about much longer and you don’t want to waste adventure sitting on a bus. You could also opt for a guided tour from Ljubljana, then the transport costs will be included.
By car from Ljubljana: 40 minutes
By bus from Ljubljana: 1 hour, costs around €7 one-way
Where to find free parking at Lake Bled
Paid parking is available everywhere around the lake, but costs of even up to €3 for an hour. Instead, drive to Bled Jezero railway station and on the right side of the restaurant you’ll see a row of trees. It is the only place we ever found being free (last visit: June 2019). Leave your car there and walk down the road towards Camping Bled, which is just by the lake. It only takes about 5 minutes to walk and you’ll save a significant amount of money by parking there. Be early though.
Best time to visit Lake Bled
It’s safe to say Lake Bled is beautiful all year round. However, having seen it in all seasons, I’d recommend you visit it in early summer. June is a great month since the hoards of tourists haven’t arrived yet (July and August are very busy!) and the locals are still in school/work. Lake Bled looks amazing just when fall season starts and again in winter when it’s covered in snow.
As a first time visit to Lake Bled, summer should be your choice.
My favorite activities on Lake Bled
Row a boat to the church:
There are many activities and sights to see at Lake Bled, but we can start with the most important one – rowing a boat to the church in the middle of the lake. Boat rental cost at Lake Bled is €20 for each starting hour. It takes about 10 minutes to row from the shore to the church and you don’t need more than 15 minutes on the island. Ring the bell, eat an ice cream and head back down. But my favorite thing about rowing a boat at Lake Bled isn’t about going to the church at all – it’s having a picnic on the boat! So bring a basket with some fruits and your favorite wine (alcohol-free for the driver!) and enjoy your day that way as well!
Hike to the Ojstrica view point
We found out this year that flying a drone is now forbidden at Lake Bled (a local came to us just after I flew it) and you can face a penalty of up to €5000 if caught without permission! So if you want to get some amazing shots of the lake from above, then put on your sneakers and take the 30 minute moderate hike to Ojstrica.
I always travel with a tripod to get shots which includes both of us. We got quite lucky here to be early enough and that there was only one person there when I was setting up the tripod and took this picture through my Canon app. Just 15 minutes later a wave of tourists arrived and by that time we walked a little further down to take those pictures where I am sitting on the rock.
Stroll around the lake
We decided to walk around the entire lake and I am so happy we did! It was so beautiful and calm as the majority of people were around the boat hire places and the lake shore for sunbathing and swimming.