A trip to Slovenia no matter how short would not be complete without a trip from Ljubljana to Lake Bled. You can do anything from a one-day trip to lake bled, to spending multiple nights in this beautiful lake-side town. But for those in a rush, one day in Lake Bled is also enough. With the right planning of course.
During my recent trip to the Balkan countries, I had the opportunity of visiting Slovenia while I made my way to Germany. Just like many of the countries I visited in Europe throughout the summer, Slovenia was a pleasant surprise especially Lake Bled and the surrounding area. With an abundance of nature, history and hiking there is plenty to see and do in Bled.
How to get from Ljubljana to Lake Bled
There are three primary options for getting from Ljubljana to Lake Bled and I have ordered them in what I believe is the best way for you. You can also check out Rome2Rroio for other options.
How far is it from Ljubljana to Lake Bled?
Lake Bled is 52Km from Ljubljana making it a perfectly manageable day trip should you choose to do so. There are numerous public and private modes of transport which I will talk about below. The bus from Ljubljana to Lake Bled takes roughly 1.5 hours and it is the most suitable mode of transport for those backpacking in Slovenia.
Taking a car will give you the opportunity to take detours of course. Both buses and cars are the quickest options.
If you are on a one day visit to Lake Bled, I would recommend paying for a return ticket. This way you can catch an early morning bus to Bled from Ljubljana and a late evening bus back from Lake Bled. This will give you ample time to explore the area and get some great photo opportunities without feeling rushed.
The bus from Ljubljana to Lake Bled is the most efficient method of reaching Bled. It’s both costs effective and surprisingly shorter than the train. The cost of a one-way ticket is €7, and a return ticket is €12. Buses run every half hour from 6.00 am until 9.00 pm at night. During winter buses are less frequent. The travel time is usually 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Try not to catch the bus around midday as this is when it is at its busiest. I was unfortunate and I had to stand for the duration of my journey along with some other passengers.
Once you reach Bled it is a short 10-minute walk to the lakeside.
Train to Lake Bled via Lesce:
Trains also run from Ljubljana main station, but they will drop you off at Lesce station which is roughly 4km from Bled. This means you will have to catch a bus servicing the area, which is very frequent.
Trains are generally a bit slower and your journey will take around 1.5 hours. If you want to relax and enjoy the scenery, then perhaps this is a better option for you.
You can check the train timetable here. Tickets cost about the same as the bus to Bled, plus €1.20 for the bus from Lesce to Bled
Car to Lake Bled:
If you plan to rent a car or have one already the journey should take around 40 minutes. The added benefit of driving is you can stop along the way in towns and scenic locations.
Taxi to Lake Bled:
A taxi really shouldn’t be your option to Bled, but if you must go a journey will take around 40 minutes and cost you upwards of €80. Try to negotiate before you start your journey.
Things to Know about Lake Bled:
Can you swim in Lake Bled?
Lake Bled is perfectly safe to swim in and there are several designated and undesignated places in which you can swim. While you take a stroll around the lake be sure to have your bathing clothes with you. My general rule of thumb is to swim where you see others swimming.
There is a small beach located at Velika Zaka and it is probably the busiest. It is located near a campground, shop and restaurant nearby. There are several boardwalks and docking points where you can swim. Be prepared for a rocky lakebed and you may have to walk some distance before you cannot stand up in the water. Great for the bad swimmers like me.
Lake Bled is chilly but I found it very pleasant when I visited in September. It was the perfect break from a long day of hiking and walking around the lake.
Obviously, don’t try to swim in winter as it will be freezing and not the most pleasant experience.
Is Lake Bled worth visiting?
A trip to Slovenia would not be complete without a trip to Lake Bled. The lake itself and the surrounding areas are the perfect getaways from city life. You can explore stunning waterfalls; amazing mountain ranges, Castles and churches and the generally relax. Although I only spent two days their Lake Bled is worth visiting.
How many days do you need in Lake Bled?
1 to 3 days is enough for Lake Bled depending on your hiking and mountain climbing plans. As I am not an avid hiker, two days was enough to cover what I wanted. Though I met many travellers who were extending their time there to hike and explore more of the region and I could totally understand why.
For those on a time limit, a day trip from Ljubljana is worth it even for a few hours, the travel is both cheap and regular.
What is there to do in Lake Bled?
Swim in Lake Bled
Being a stunning freshwater lake, Lake bled is an ideal place to take a dip, especially during the warm summer months. You will find plenty of beach and rest areas where visitors and locals alike will be swimming, fishing and taking boat rides across the lake.
Visit The Church of the Assumption, Lake Bled:
Of course, one of the crowning features of Lake Bled is the stunning Church of the Assumption. Bled island is reachable by rowboat, charter ferry or by swimming for those who are brave enough. Though I wouldn’t recommend the last option.
Many couples take the opportunity to take a relaxing boat ride on the lake and you will see plenty of tourists visiting the island during your stay.
The island is quite small, you can go for a small walk, ring the church bell and pick up some nice souvenirs on the island. It is a great location for some photography and Instagram shot.
Hiking in Bled Slovenia
There are several trails, gorges and mountain tops to ascend while in Bled. Located at the foot of the Alps, there are opportunities for novices and more experienced climbers and hikers in Bled.
This is one of the most popular hikes around lake Bled. It is also one of the easiest. Around 20 minutes up from the lake, Ojstrica provides some of the best panoramic views of Lake Bled. It is best to attempt the climb at sunrise or sunset for the best shots. But do not expect to be alone.
Vintgar gorge and Sum waterfall:
This was probably my favourite hike while at lake Bled. I could have easily spent more than the four hours I did, but I had a bus to catch.
4 km North of Bled, the walk to the gorge is probably the most difficult path, as the gorge trail is a very well-kept wooden trail.
At €10 for the entrance fee, it was not the cheapest thing to do In Lake Bled but I believe it was worth it. Try to go early in the morning as the huge amount of buses and visitors that come later in the evening can be a downer on the experience.
Be sure to check out Sum waterfall which will either be at the start or end of the gorge depending on the direction you arrive.
Walking around the lake:
Exactly what it says on the tin. Walking the lake should take around 1.5 hours without a break, but I highly recommend stopping for a swim or to reach some of the viewpoints.
Bled Castle Slovenia
Bled castle (blejski-grad) which overlooks the lake is probably the most iconic image of the region, besides the Church of the assumption. A short 15-minute hike from the lake path will bring you to the entrance of the castle. At €8 and having an abundance of castles in Ireland I decided not to enter the castle.
Dating form, the year 1099 though I am sure the castle has plenty of history and galleries to check out, for my budget, it was a little too much. You can learn about the history of the castle here.
Check out this link for more of what to do in Lake Bled.
Where to Stay in Lake Bled
For my two nights in Bled. I stayed in the Ace of Spade’s hostel. One of the most spacious and cleanest hostels I have stayed in quite a while. Run by both locals and foreign volunteers, it is the perfect spot for those wishing for a little quiet but also with the opportunity to meet fellow travellers. Everyone, there was cool and had great suggestions on hikes, shopping and places to swim. Located beside a supermarket and just up the hill from the bus stop, it’s worth a visit.
Air Bnb and camping are two popular alternatives, you will find camping opportunities on both Booking.com and Hostelworld.
Places to visit and things to do near Lake Bled
As I was stuck for time I missed out on quite a few locations and things to do close to Lake Bled. I guess I will have to visit on my next trip. Here are places to visit and things to do when in Lake Bled
Triglav national park:
Highly recommended by several friends, this park contains some of the most stunning views of the Slovenia Alps. You can take half-day or multi-day treks throughout the park.
Easily reachable by public transport Triglav can be reached in around 40 minutes. Catch the bus from Bled station to Bohinkjska Bela and a connecting bus to the park.
From here you can hike the Bohinj valley, visit Lake Bohinj the largest permanent lake in Slovenia and simply enjoy the beautiful wilderness of Slovenia.
Bled cream cake:
You will see varieties of this cake throughout Slovenia. But Bled is where it originated. For those with a sweet tooth, it cannot be missed. Go to Kavarna park for the most authentic ones, according to locals and reviews.
Of course, you must also visit the capital of Slovenia, steeped in history, small and beautiful it is one of my favourite capitals in Europe. The weekend markets and architecture are two stunning features that you definitely should not miss.